Activists bring guns to Olympia to defend rights

Staff writerJanuary 19, 2014 

About 200 people gathered Sunday on the Capitol Campus to rally support for gun rights, two days after the Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held a rally there.

Sunday’s gathering belonged to those who believe strongly in the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

And many did just that by bringing a firearm to the rally.

“Many participants are expected to openly carry firearms, as is allowed under state law,” the state Department of Enterprise Services, which manages public events and activities at the Capitol grounds, announced in a news release. “There is no prohibition against carrying weapons on Capitol grounds.”

Following the singing of the national anthem and saying of the pledge of allegiance, several speakers lined up to address the crowd.

Lynda Wilson, chairwoman of the Clark County Republicans, kicked things off by talking about how she’s the mother of three daughters and the “disparity of force” between men and women.

“Guns are the great equalizer,” she said.

She later added that she wants to do more to protect individual rights.

Among those in the audience was Gene Seymour of Tacoma, who said he was attending his second gun-rights rally.

Wearing an NRA cap and carrying an AR-15 rifle, Seymour, who turns 45 this year, said he has been around guns since he was 12. His mother was not a fan of guns, but she insisted he get training and learn to use them responsibly, which led to more experience hunting and competitive shooting.

Seymour said his belief in the right to bear arms was solidified when he was 18 and working at a Domino’s Pizza in Fair Oaks, Calif., near Sacramento, in 1987.

He was on duty when the manager of the business was shot and killed during an armed robbery.

Seymour said he needed a month off before he could return to work after what he had seen.

“If you’re not out trying to hurt someone, you should have the right to defend yourself,” Seymour said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403; rboone@theolympian.com

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