Local politicians, citizens deride gun control debates

Feb. 24, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

The sign on the door of the Lee County Republican Party headquarters proclaiming “Protected by 2nd Amendment Security” was backed up by at least a half-dozen people inside the building Satuday afternoon.

There was some debate as to who could provide the best security, as former Lee County Board of Commissioners candidate Max Dolan playfully scolded local political blogger Sheila Barber for the .38 Special revolver she was carrying, unloaded, in her pocket.

“Does it start with a four?” Dolan asked her, referring to the gun’s caliber and implying that she needed bigger bullets. “You need a .44 or .45, or a .46 if you can find one. I carry a .45, and for backup, I have another .45.”

Dolan, an Army veteran, later noted: “I’ve never even given anybody a bloody nose — well, not since I was 12 — let alone shot someone, but I support the right to own and carry a gun to protect yourself.”

The two were part of a crowd of about 20 who gathered at the downtown building to eat hot dogs, compare guns and proclaim their support for the right to bear arms. Sponsored by the Lee County Young Republicans, it was part of a national campaign called Day of Resistance that was publicized by Stop This Insanity, a political action committee that supports Tea Party-backed politicians and policies.

The PAC picked Saturday because its calendar date was 2/23, which it restyled to .223 as an allusion to the caliber of bullets fired by the Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, which has been front and center in the national gun control debate ever since one was used in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School earlier this year. Saturday was also the 68th anniversary of the famous photo of Marines raising an American flag at Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest battles in World War II’s Pacific theater.

N.C. Sen. Ronald Rabin (R-Harnett) addressed that during a speech to the crowd, saying he remembers seeing that picture and reading newspaper stories and headlines about the war as a young man, which instilled his respect for the men and women who died to protect this country’s people and Constitution.

“There is no debate,” the retired Army Colonel told the crowd, referencing gun control and the 2nd Amendment. “It’s in very clear text. I don’t know how we fight (gun control debate), but we have to find a way. ... I really love my country, and I hate to see it being screwed up by people who don’t belong in office.”

Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter shared similar sentiments, telling the crowd that any infringement on the 2nd Amendment could start the country down a slippery slope in which other rights are scaled back or taken away entirely. And for that reason, he said, gun rights shouldn’t be framed as a partisan issue.

“There’s a lot of people from sides of the spectrum, Republican and Democrat, who support the 2nd Amendment,” he said. “... The driving force behind gun control, or whatever you want to call it, are socialists — communists — who want to harm our country.”

He later added: “That’s my opinion; that’s what I believe in, and it’s sad that we have to have things like this. It should be a no-brainer.”

Jonathon Fallin, president of the Lee County Young Republicans and the event’s lead organizer, said he believes the 2nd Amendment is being seriously threatened. He won’t watch it without putting up a fight, he said, evoking the old adage that guns don’t kill people; people kill people — and that the focus should be on keeping guns away from criminals instead of away from everyone.

“It’s always the criminals killing people,” he said. “... Most of them with prior convictions, felonies. A lot of times they don’t even have (firearms) legally.

“This right here,” he continued, taking a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his hip holster and laying it on a table: “This isn’t killing anyone.”