Molly Vinyard, 9, held a large sign while sitting atop a cement post next to her father, Tim.
The pair left their Spokane home at 5 a.m. Saturday to show their support during a pro-guns rally on the Capitol Campus.
The Washington State Patrol estimates that 1,200 to 1,500 people showed up to show protest any further gun restrictions and voice disapproval with the government as part of the Guns Across America movement. Demonstrators planned to rally at capitol buildings nationwide.
The lyrics of Steve Lee’s “I Like Guns” and the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right” played over loudspeakers as demonstrators quickly surrounded the Tivoli Fountain.
Some carried handguns while others opted to strap rifles and semi-automatic weapons to their backs. Some held signs or U.S. flags; others passed out information and waved to cars as they drove by along Capitol Way.
“It’s very important that responsible gun owners have their voices heard,” Tim Vinyard said, armed with a SIG Sauer handgun on his hip. “There are an overwhelming number of people speaking out against it.”
He held a sign stating, “Millions of gun owners killed no one yesterday.”
Molly held a sign saying, “I trust my teacher to protect me.”
“Mine means we want the teachers to have guns just in case a bad guy comes in,” Molly said.
The girl, dressed in a bright-pink coat, read each demonstrator’s sign as they walked by.
“… and protect our right to free species?” Molly said.
“That’s speech. That means we have the right to be here,” her father said.
Jeff and Melissa Sikes of Auburn brought their 13-year-old son to the rally.
They have guns at home, and Jeff carried a concealed pistol Saturday afternoon. They said they focus on teaching their son gun safety, and all guns in the home are locked in a safe.
“We wanted to stand for our rights and make it known we as Americans are not going to stand idly by while they stomped on us,” Jeff Sikes said.
Melissa Sikes admitted she was nervous after seeing some demonstrators walking around with large-caliber firearms.
“I think they have done a good job making it a safe place for families to come and support,” she said.
She went on to say while the family doesn’t support bans or restrictions on guns, she does see the need for increased background checking.
“They need to be getting more information from people,” Melissa Sikes said. “I understand HIPPA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is trying to protect people’s privacy, but some things should be brought to light — like mental illnesses.”
The crowd listened as speakers shared their thoughts on the direction in which the nation is headed.
Among them was Shahram Hadian, a Christian pastor and gubernatorial candidate. Hadian was born in Iran and moved to the United States as a child.
“I left there because of the oppression, because of the oppressive government, and came to America for freedom,” he told a cheering crowd. “Tyranny is now at our doorsteps; now in our path; now in our faces; and is a reality of our children if we do not act now.
“We are on the verge of a dictatorship.”
Former Washington Redskins tight end and U.S. Senate candidate Clint Didier also spoke.
“Get yourself ready for the worst possible predicament, so you won’t be surprised,” Didier said, quoting his former coach, Joe Gibbs.
To do that, Didier urged the crowd to stock up on food, guns, ammunition, communication devices and medicines.
“Time is of the essence,” Didier said.