Nate Gardner’s 5-year-old daughter wanted to play Saturday afternoon, but she relented when her father told her she had to make a choice:
“I said to her, ‘Do you want to defend your rights, or do you want to play?’” Nate said.
She chose to defend her rights. The Gardners were among the couple hundred who showed up at the Capitol on Saturday to voice their support of the Second Amendment, which, in the words of one speaker, “is under constant threat, whether you believe it or not.”
Janalee Tobias, founder and president of Women Against Gun Control and one of the roughly 10 people who spoke over the almost two-and-a-half-hour rally, called the gathering a “grassroots effort” after taking a poll of the well-armed crowd to see if anyone was a “paid protester.” (Nobody raised their hands.)
“God gave us 10 Commandments. Only 10,” Tobias told the crowd, but when people want something, they disobey laws to get what they want.
“No one, not children, not politicians, not business leaders, not religious leaders, not even the president of the United States—no one gets to use a crisis or a tragedy to take away any of our civil rights,” she continued.
Collin Thorup, a 16-year-old local high school student and member of High School Kids for Guns, spoke about his pro-gun views and about voicing his conservative ideology in school—“It’s quite rough, but my facts do get to them,” he said—before name-dropping one teacher who he said had “disrespected” him in class.
“We’re proud of you!” someone from the crowd yelled as he stepped down from the lectern.
Robert Whalen, of the Utah Unorganized Constitutional Militia, said teens like Thorup are “why I have hope for the future.”
The crowd dispersed shortly before 2:15 Saturday afternoon, taking their American and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and packing up their pro-gun signs as patriotic music played them off the Capitol grounds.