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Gun Owners Crash Anti-Gun Violence Rally in Concord

Chants and counter-chants, arguments, and one arrest at Mayors Against Illegal Guns event at the Statehouse.

CONCORD, N.H. – With dueling chants, what was supposed to be a respectful presentation of the names of those lost to gun violence since the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, CT, turned into bedlam on June 18 at the Statehouse.

The No New Names bus tour, sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, was parked outside the plaza, to read the names of thousands of victims of gun violence and hold a rally later in the day.

ALSO READ: Police Taser Gun Rights Advocate at Anti-Gun Violence Rally

AND: No More Names Anti-Gun Violence Bus Tour Visits Concord

At 9 a.m., clergy members, including two from Concord, began reading names of the more than 6,000 who have died since the Newton shootings.

Later, at 3:30 p.m., one gun control advocate, John Cantin, dropped of a list of the names of those killed by guns at U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s Manchester office, pressing the case that the country needs better background checks. 

At 5 p.m., anti-gun violence advocates stopped reading the names and began to talk about why they were there.

Judy Stadtman, the co-founder of NH Project for Safer Communities, of Portsmouth, said the event was held to memorialize and mourn those that died, deaths that were preventable, had there been laws that kept guns out of the hands of dangerous and irresponsible people.

“The one thing that we can know for certain is that the epidemic level of gun violence in the United States is not an inevitable, naturally occurring feature of contemporary civilization,” she said. “It’s a form of death and destruction invented and practiced exclusively by humans, using weapons designed by humans, to increase our capacity to kill.”

About two minutes into her speech, as Stadtman began to criticize Congress and Ayotte for rejecting new laws that she said would ensure that only those who were qualified and intended to do no harm would own guns, counter protesters began to boo. Stadtman asked members of her side to close in ranks in a circle. 

Protesters began to yell at each other with Stadtman and others chanting “background checks” and the other side chanting “freedom” and later, “go home.”

The Rev. Steven Silver of Lebanon began to read more names while gun advocates yelled “shameless.” A few anti-gun violence advocates yelled back, "Have you no respect for the dead?"

Cantin of Manchester, who was injured by gun fire while his daughter was murdered by an estranged husband in 2009, began to speak about his efforts trying to convince Ayotte to support the Toomey-Manchin background check bill. He was approached by Daniel Musso who challenged his speech for a few minutes and then walked away. Later, Musso was Tasered and arrested by Concord Police, and he faces charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and simple assault.

The back and forth continued throughout the rally, with more names being read and more chanting. There were a number of side arguments between both sides. State representatives like J.R. Hoell, R-Dunbarton, were trying to explain their positions while SEIU activist Kenneth Roos stepped in to make sure the No More Names supporters stayed out of trouble. 

Jack Kimball, of Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC, who assisted in throwing together the counter protest, said he was surprised at the lack of gun advocates who were in attendance for the event.

“I thought that their turnout would be much larger,” he said. “I think, probably, we have as many as they have, and we’ll have more.”

He said he hoped to see less animosity and emotionality around the issue in the future.

“Believe me, everyone feels terrible,” he said. “(Sandy Hook) was tragic … I shed tears watching that, the whole week … (but) if the teacher at Sandy Hook had a weapon, I don’t think we’d be here today.”

Jeff Grappone, speaking for Ayotte, criticized the group for spending millions on “false attacks against” New Hampshire's junior senator. The gun control bill desired by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the group’s supporters, “Unfortunately … wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy in Newtown,” Grappone noted.

“Senator Ayotte voted for legislation that had bipartisan support to fix the current broken background check system, increase the prosecution of those who illegally seek to obtain firearms, and provide additional resources for school safety, while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” he said via email. “She also worked across party lines to pass an amendment to strengthen the nation's mental health system.”

clarita June 20, 2013 at 02:14 PM
brassO wants facts ? read the Constitution of the United States of America brassO and write back. brassO wants facts ? take out the stats from chicago,detroit,newoleans,LA,nyc which are ALL due to gangs, make the stats truly REFLECT AGES as all under 21 are listed as CHILDREN and last but not LEAST-brassO needs to write back on the FACTS of gun free zones which have PROVEN to be VERY successful.......SUCCESSFUL IN THE CREATION OF KILLING FIELDS- so brassO thinks he'she is so superior via the liberal mind set ? write back brassO with the FACTS and YOU PRESENT THEM. from the Constitution crime stats deaths due to crimes true ages of the dead etc. and again LIST CRIMES AS CRIMES. those are the FACTS on "gun violence"
M Abbott June 20, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Glaring dishonesty and misrepresentation-They start out acting as if this was nothing more than reading of names by the anti-gun crowd, a "memorial"(despite its underlying agenda) and it was callously interrupted...That is a typical smoke screen tactic. The memorial suddenly switched to POLITICAL agenda and speech against gun rights, gun owners, and rival politicians. At that point counter protest was fair game. If they expect 2a supporters to stand by and not exercise thier rights out of fear of the left and thier agenda on guns and other "causes" they need to hire alot more "private police," becasue they can expect alot more counter protest. Interestingly, Hitler came to power using his own "private security force" as well. It was called the SA, nothing more than politically motivated street thugs used to enforce a agenda.
Wonk June 20, 2013 at 08:45 PM
NYC is the safest big city in the country, with incredible low gun violence. More than 90% of guns recovered in crime in New York came from out of state. So what he is doing IS important to the citizens of New York.
steve forte June 20, 2013 at 08:54 PM
But NY state still has a homicide rate that is more then double NH Theirs 4.0. NH 1.3 http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state
annonymoous July 12, 2013 at 05:47 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v14kLw-TV6k ammust watch video

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