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Gun Advocates Say 2nd Amendment ‘Under Attack’ At PA Capitol Rally

Marc Levy
Pennsylvania state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong, speaks at an annual gun rights rally in the state Capitol Rotunda on Monday, April 30, 2018.

Gun owners focused on their Second Amendment firearms rights brought their cause to Pennsylvania state lawmakers Monday in what has become an annual event.

Hundreds of gun rights supporters filled the Capitol Rotunda to the point where security had to turn additional people away.

Speakers outlined the threats they see to gun rights, including lawsuits and the national political environment.

"Make no mistake about it, they're coming for your guns," said Bechtelsville attorney Joshua Prince, who often handles gun rights cases.

He was among several speakers who brought up a "state of emergency" declaration for the opioid crisis issued by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, an order they warned could prevent people from carrying concealed weapons.

Wolf's office has said the declaration does not allow police to take guns and does not affect carrying weapons or using them to hunt or for self-defense.

"These declarations are commonplace occurrences and often used in weather emergencies and there is no evidence of this ever happening," said Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott. "Law enforcement officials understand the intent of the governor's opioid emergency is only to help save lives."

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, the rally's founder and organizer, said he noticed billboards along the Pennsylvania Turnpike have recently been put up on the topic of gun rights, including one with a message against the National Rifle Association.

"The left has been going crazy, they are so over the top with attacks on our rights," Metcalfe said. "The majority of us aren't buying into the nonsense they are putting up on these billboards."

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, a Republican whose district spans a large segment of rural northern Pennsylvania, warned that the Second Amendment is "under attack," and that "liberals finally made their intentions clear."

Thompson drew boos when he brought up a recent column by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens who argued that repealing the Second Amendment would make it easier to enact gun control laws.

"The retired justice is obviously no student of history," Thompson told the crowd.

Many of those attending the rally arrived in buses, and they were fanning out to visit individual lawmakers in their offices after the raucous Rotunda session.