By Debby Woodin
JOPLIN, Mo. —
A Joplin man is organizing a “Day of Resistance Rally” on Saturday against proposed gun controls.
Jesse Mills, a student at Missouri Southern State University, said he intends to hold a peaceful rally in favor of gun ownership rights and against measures proposed by President Barack Obama to control assault weapons.
“I’m doing this because I’m a veteran,” he said. “I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican. I believe in the education of people’s constitutional rights.” A news release he later sent represented that the rally is being held in conjunction with Joplin and Southwest Missouri tea party groups.
A national “Gun Appreciation Day” was publicized by a political group for Jan. 19, but nothing developed then in Joplin. The organizer, Larry Ward, who does not list where he is located, issued a statement supporting the resistance rallies. Ward said in the statement that Obama has “exploited the tragedy at Sandy Hook to a shameful degree,” in reference to the mass murder of 20 children and six adults in December at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Mills said he believes that gun-control advocates are unfairly labeling guns as a result of tragedies, such as the school shooting.
“They’re trying to ban something that doesn’t need to be banned,” he said of assault weapons. “The problem is the people who are mentally ill” who use the weapons illegally.
“As lawful gun owners, they’re attacking us, and we want people to know you can own a gun and not be one of those people you see on the news who does something illegal with the gun.”
He said concerned residents who are law-abiding and who believe that the Second Amendment is absolute in its protection of gun ownership are invited to participate in Saturday’s rally.
Mills said a number of speakers have been invited.
“I want to educate people,” he said. “We’re not here to shove our message down your throat, but we don’t want people shoving their messages down our throat” in regard to gun control.
Police Chief Lane Roberts said there is no law against carrying weapons, openly displayed or with a concealed-carry permit, in city parks.
When asked whether guns could be taken into the rally, City Attorney Brian Head said he would have to research whether the parks had ever been posted by the city as being off limits to people carrying weapons.
Parks director Chris Cotten said Mills has been issued a permit for use of a park shelter and was required by the city to provide liability insurance for the event.
THE EVENT IS TO BEGIN at noon Saturday at the north shelter in Landreth Park.