Gun rights rally draws 1,000 to Boston Common

Boston-4/03/13- A large gun rights rally was held on Boston Common as participants listen to a speech from the Common bandstand. Boston Globe staff photo by John Tlumacki(sports)
Rally participants listened to speeches from a Boston Common bandstand.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

American flags mixed with Revolutionary War banners that warned, “Don’t Tread on Me.” Dire predictions of tyranny were answered with defiance by 1,000 people on Boston Common. And the overarching message, delivered by a parade of speakers today to a receptive audience, was that gun control will subvert the US Constitution and open the door to a police state.

“When they ask us for ‘reasonable restrictions,’ what are we going to say?” asked Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League. “No!” the crowd roared.

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Speakers described gun-control lawmakers as “wolves” who prey on law-abiding “lambs” who own firearms. Legislation to regulate guns was derided as a cynical political maneuver to capitalize on the tragedy at Newtown, Conn. And the specter of mass confiscation of weapons was raised over and over on a chilly afternoon.

“They continue to push their anti-freedom and anti-American agenda. It’s time to remind them who’s in charge — we, the people,” said Shaun Sweeney, a leader of It’s Time 2A, a gun-rights group. “This is America, and we will not be ruled by a tyrannical government. We will be free, and we will be heard.”

“The wolves in Massachusetts are salivating,” said Ying Li, a US citizen and Chinese immigrant who participated in the deadly Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Increased gun restrictions are a “slippery slope,” Li said.

The Second Amendment, he told the crowd, is not for hunting or sport but to guarantee legal protection for “righteous killing” in self-defense. “When they send their enforcers to remove your instruments of freedom,” he said of a police state, “they want you to not only be outnumbered but unarmed.”

After the hourlong rally, many in the crowd walked to the State House, where Governor Deval Patrick and legislators have proposed a wide range of new restrictions, including capacity limits for ammunition magazines, a limit on monthly gun purchases, and a mandate that gun owners buy liability insurance.