Protesters carried giant-size cutouts of guns as they rallied yesterday in New York City in support of the constitutional right to bear arms, which, they say, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to destroy.

“He’s attacking our gun rights under the guise of attacking illegal guns and crime,” Nic Leobold, an organizer for the event held outside the gates of City Hall in downtown Manhattan, told WND.

“Tens of thousands of New Yorkers actually own guns which are not registered and are therefore so-called illegal. But these people are not criminals, nor are they violent, they are respectable, responsible citizens and residents who want a dependable way to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Leobold said.

It was called the “New York City Rally for Illegal Guns,” because Leobold says Bloomberg’s campaign to target “illegal” guns actually has been going a little bit beyond what it should. Requirements to register or license a gun, such as New York seeks, implies that those that are unregistered are “illegal.”

But Leobold said Bloomberg is working with “elistists” to erode the city’s rights to self-defense and privacy by pursuing crackdowns on dealers and gun sales. Those who have guns frequently don’t want the government to know about it, any more than they want their neighbors or local criminals to know.

“They know Michael Bloomberg or various other government thugs will seize their guns if they register them,” Leobold said.

One of those addressing the rally, described by Leobold as small, was Jeffrey Russell, the Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate.

On his website, he says the right to self-defense is the most fundamental of all civil rights.

“Without it, we have no rights,” he said. “Government should not make self-defense a crime. Merely possessing a firearm should not be a crime, and using a firearm in self-defense should not be a crime. The bad guys will always have access to weapons. The police cannot protect everyone, everywhere, all the time. We must allow and encourage the people to be responsible for themselves.”

Jim Lesczynski, who earlier had organized the famous “Guns for Tots’ toy gun drive, said any law “that purports to prohibit or regulate gun ownership” is just unconstitutional.

“‘Illegal gun’ is an oxymoron,” he said. “The only people who should feel threatened by armed citizens are tyrants and criminals.”

Leobold said those he considers “elitists” have as their agenda to make everyone dependant upon the government for everything.

“Basically, they have all the power,” he said. “You would have to ask to defend your own life.”

“Illegal guns are the ones that won our revolution,” Leobold told WND.

Bloomberg’s campaign, meanwhile, has hit a few roadblocks. He was sued just a few weeks ago by a South Carolina gun dealer to seek damages from the city over its undercover sting operations. It was the second lawsuit over those operations.

The action alleges the city smeared the storeowner’s reputation, according to a Sun report.

Fifteen gun dealers were targeted by the stings, and two have accepted settlements that mandate a special monitor audit of their stores.

Several comments on a weblog show a fair amount of support for the freedom to own guns.

“Do you think that a link to video of a couple psychopathic nutjobs shooting up schoolkids is an argument AGAINST guns? That is just fear-mongering … This video of the Columbine massacre is one of the strongest arguments FOR firearms rights that I have every seen,” said IronDioPriest.

“Imagine if you will, that a law enabled a certain percentage of the teachers and administrators in Columbine to holster legal firearms that day, and that these people were highly trained in the use of their weapons.

“How many lives could have been saved that day by the heroic use of a firearm in the hands of a few skilled, law-abiding citizens?”

“It’s funny,” said Leobold, “but I never knew or heard of any gun that got up, walked out of a house or a gun store, and proceeded to shoot someone. Usually when I read about a murder or a robbery or a rape involving a gun, there is always someone called a ‘criminal’ who committed those crimes.”

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