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Guv's anti-gun proposals 'likely doubled' rally turnout

Fueled by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposed bill to further limit magazine sizes to seven rounds and to impose new firearm-purchase and -sale regulations, about 2,000 people turned out in Boston today to voice their anger over the governor’s proposals.

Patrick said his proposed bill will also bring the Massachusetts background-check system into compliance with national standards.

Most of the attendees at the rally question Patrick’s proposed legislation. One of those, Ben Dexter, said the bill before the legislature would not solve any problems.

“As a police officer, I can tell you that the restrictions that our legislature is going to put upon us will have no benefit on public safety,” Dexter said.

Dexter said he believes there is an interesting historical dimension to the governor’s proposals.

“I would also add that I find it ironic that out legislature is pushing a seven-round limit. Seven rounds will not allow you to completely load an M1-Garand, a rifle that secured the freedom for millions of Europeans and millions of people under Japanese tyranny in World War Two,” Dexter said.

Statehouse rally co-organizer Chris DerRoma says he wants to know why Gov. Patrick believes the proposed bill will help reduce violent crime.

“I would tell him to show me where any of this is going to work. Prove it to me. Statistics haven’t proven it; he hasn’t proven it,” DerRoma said.

“Time and time again statistics bear out the other direction that people who have the necessary means are able to defend themselves from violent crime,” DerRoma said.

DerRoma says that the crowd at the rally was comprised of ordinary people – people he says need to be a part of the national dialogue.

“These people are the flesh and blood. These are the people who, at the end of the day, these are the ones who matter,” DerRoma said.

“I think at the end of the day we represent our cause a lot better than the media pundits and the foaming-at-the-mouth radicals,” DerRoma said.

DerRoma added the Boston rally is only the beginning.

“We’re just going to keep going. We’re not going to stop. We’re not going to stop talking. We’re not going to stop organizing,” he said. “We’re going to make certain that we have our rightful place in this discussion.”

DerRoma indicated that he’s confident that if enough people who support the Second Amendment in Massachusetts will lobby their lawmakers, they’ll win this round in the gun-control debate.

Rally co-organizer Shawn Sweeney said the numbers of attendees – pulled together mostly by social media – likely doubled as a reaction to the governor’s proposals.

“The tools and means we used to get this whole thing organized were the social media, primarily Facebook. The name of the Facebook page is the 2A Movement,” Sweeney said. “ NortheastShooters.com was another way we spread the word.”

Sweeney said his purpose for holding the rally was to get out the word on the Second Amendment.

“The message is the importance of the Second Amendment and how that pertains to everyone here. We want to educate people. That’s the main focus,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney acknowledged that the Boston rally was part of a bigger enterprise.

“This is part of a larger organized event across the nation. It’s called Guns Across America for the specific rallies. I just did my small part to help organize Massachusetts,” Sweeney said.

“I wanted Massachusetts to be seen and heard. This is the birthplace of American freedom, so it’s fitting that we actually show up,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney, along with other speakers and organizers, doesn’t believe more controls on firearms will help, yet he says if someone can find the data, he will be willing to dialogue about limits.

“From the statistics I’ve read from the ‘assault-weapons’ ban in 1994, there was no appreciable decrease in crime attributed to limiting magazine capacity. So, bearing out the statistics alone, I can’t necessarily agree with it,” Sweeney said.

“But, if someone is able to show me how it would help, then I would be open to have that conversation,” Sweeney said.

Gun control has been a frequent recent topic of discussion by political leaders. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has drawn fire from Second Amendment supporters for his recent statement that he didn’t believe 19-year-olds were responsible enough to own a firearm.

Dexter had an answer for Bloomberg.

“Mr. Bloomberg, when I was 19 I was behind a .50 cal in Iraq. I assure you I’m responsible,” Dexter said.

There is no date set for Gov. Patrick’s bill to be brought before the Massachusetts legislature.