Pro-gun activists rally for gun appreciation
January 19, 2013 (CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill.) (WLS) -- Groups that support gun rights in America have designated Saturday as Gun Appreciation Day.
It comes as President Obama looks to increase restrictions on assault style weapons follow the Sandy Hook School massacre.
Pro-gun activists rallied in northwest suburban Crystal Lake and in dozens of others states Saturday to support the right to own firearms they say is now under attack.
"Ninety million gun owners with over 300 million guns killed no one last year," said second amendment activist Jan Morgan.
Morgan taught a firearms seminar to potential female gun owners on what a new coalition of gun rights and conservatives groups have proclaimed Gun Appreciation Day.
"The most important part of legal gun ownership is to identify the fact that criminals are the ones who perpetrate the crimes against the community, not law-abiding gun owners," said Nick Provenzano, Illinois Gun Owners Pact.
The gun control debate heated up in December after a gunman used an assault rifle to kill 20 first graders and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school.
"I don't know anybody who cried harder that day when that happened, said Tom Dorsch, On Target Shooting Range. "We were ashamed that this would happen in our country again, it tore our hearts out."
Since the mass killing, gun control advocates have pushed to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as well as for more stringent background checks for gun purchasers.
Back in Chicago, they're hoping to stop the gun violence plaguing neighborhoods by stopping the sale of guns.
"A couple of months ago, my nephew was shot in the head on the South Side," said Richard Davis. "This is something that has to stop because there's too many killings."
Although gun sales are prohibited within Chicago city limits Saturday morning, about a dozen community residents gathered in front of a West Side Wal-Mart demanding the retailer support President Obama's gun control initiative and stop selling firearms.
"How can you be the nation's largest gun seller and also say that you're there to support the community," said Elce Redmond, South Austin Coalition.
Company officials could not be reached for comment.
The reaction has been fierce from gun supporters.
"To a point, I can understand part of it, but it's my second amendment right to bear arms," said gun owner Robert White.
Those who participated in Saturday's Gun Appreciation Day say they want Americans nationwide to send a strong message to Washington in support of responsible gun ownership.
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