Gun-rights supporters rally in several states across U.S.

Published: Friday, Feb. 8 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Ted Price, of Irvington, N.J., holds a sign Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Trenton, N.J., as he stands with a large gathering at a Second Amendment rally outside the New Jersey Statehouse. The group opposes New Jersey's gun-control laws, which are among the nation's toughest. Gov. Chris Christie declined an invitation to address the rally. The governor has refused to say whether he supports stricter gun laws. Christie created a task force to study gun violence after the Newtown, Ct., school killings.

Mel Evans, Associated Press

Maine governor addresses gun-rights rally

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage spoke to more than 100 people who turned out for an outdoor gun-rights rally at the State House despite the snowstorm and bitterly cold temperatures.

LePage drew cheers when he told the crowd Friday morning that their rights to have guns won't be abridged while he's governor.

LePage mingled with the crowd after his brief remarks and shook hands with many of those attending, despite a 5-degree temperature in Augusta and a stiff wind that blew the snow.

The rally came two days after a coalition formed in the wake of the Dec. 14 Connecticut school shootings announced its support for state legislation to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people, limit magazine capacity, have universal background checks and promote gun safety.

Second Amendment rally draws 300 to NJ Statehouse

TRENTON, N.J. — In dreary weather outside the New Jersey Statehouse, hundreds rallied Friday for the Second Amendment and against the state's gun control laws, among the nation's toughest.

Amid the crowd of about 300, some carried signs that read: "We're good guys with a gun," ''If guns kill people, cars cause drunk driving" or "No guns (equals) tyranny."

Evan Nappen, a lawyer who has written three books on gun laws, was among the first to speak.

"I am really sick of gun owners being scapegoated every time the system fails," he said, adding that New Jersey's gun laws were "oppressive."

Gov. Chris Christie declined an invitation to address the rally, citing a scheduling conflict. His staff said he was attending meetings outside Trenton in the morning, but planned to be in the Statehouse later in the day.

The governor has refused to say whether he supports stricter gun laws. Christie created a task force to study gun-related violence after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. He also has called for better treatment options for people with mental illness, but hasn't been specific.

Organizer Frank Fiamingo said he hopes to discuss the issue with the governor soon.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Buono, who is running for governor, has called on Christie to take a position on gun control. In kicking off her campaign a week ago, she vowed to "do what the current governor has been unwilling to do, take on the gun lobbyists who are standing in the way of protecting our children and keeping our streets safe."

The Legislature's two most conservative members, Sen. Michael Doherty and Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, both Republicans, spoke to the crowd.

"I want you to know there's a number of us in the Legislature that do agree with you 100 percent and we're going to be fighting every step of the way to protect your constitutional rights, law-abiding citizens taking care of their families, taking care of their homes," said Doherty, who represents parts of Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties.

Gun rights supporters show force at Wash. Olympia

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Supporters of gun rights in Washington are showing their force at the state Capitol.

A few hundred proponents rallied in Olympia on Friday, carrying guns and signs while decrying efforts to restrict weapon sales. State lawmakers have proposed a variety of ways to combat gun violence this year, including an expansion of background checks and allowing teachers to carry firearms.

Gun advocates say new restrictions on gun sales and magazine capacities would infringe on Second Amendment rights. Some suggested that it would be better to eliminate "gun-free" zones or strengthen punishments for those who commit crimes with firearms.

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