On Saturday afternoon, Big Bend residents gathered at the Brewster County Courthouse lawn for live music by the Doodlin’ Hogwallops and speeches during the “Support the 2nd Amendment & U.S. Constitution Rally.” Gun rights advocates and veterans from the Big Bend rallied around the courthouse gazebo sporting “Don’t Tread On Me” and “Come and Take It” flags and t-shirts.
While the group had no unified vision, they all stressed passionate support for the right to bear arms.
Organizers Sheriff Jim Wilson and J.R. Smith of Alpine created the second amendment rally because they were concerned about government infringement of the constitutional rights of Americans with recent political current events.
Gun rights advocates and veterans from the Big Bend rallied around the courthouse gazebo sporting “Don’t Tread On Me” flags and t-shirts.
Sheriff Ronny Dodson, kicked off the event by reading a letter sent from Governor Rick Perry. In it, Perry expressed support for the rally and discussed his beliefs on the importance of the right to bear arms in America.
Perry wrote, “I believe that responsible gun owners are not a threat to society, but a deterrent to crime. We must continue to protect the rights of gun owners while increasing the penalties to those who use guns to commit crimes.
Professor Ray Kessler at Sul Ross State University, said the second amendment means that people have a natural right to protect themselves.
“The bad guys are going to be armed. It doesn’t make any sense to say you have a right to defend yourself, if you don’t have the rights to weapons to defend yourself,” said Dr. Kessler.
Echoing Kessler’s sentiments was Bob Rose of Ft. Davis. He said that gun ownership is not a right given to us by the United States government but a God-given right of nature.
“Like a mother bear has a right to protect her cubs, we all have a right to protect ourselves,” said Rose.
According to stay-at-home mom, Julia Ferjo of Alpine, owning a firearm makes her feel prepared to protect her family from violent crimes.
“With a gun, we’re equal and we can protect our families and our children and ourselves from rape or murder. And I personally have been protected and saved on a couple of occasions because I had my pistol,” said Mrs. Ferjo.
Jim Wilson said he believes it is critical for an American citizen to uphold the great responsibilities that come with gun ownership.
“The school shootings and certainly children who are injured with a gun accident in a home–someone is shirking their responsibility. Because if you have a gun, if you keep a gun, you better teach your family how to handle it safely or how to keep it locked away safely. The Constitution does not give you and I the right to ignore our responsibility as citizens,” said Wilson.
With the gun debate in full force, Big Bend gun advocates believe its their responsibility to maintain the second amendment and the U.S. Constitution by being in active communication with lawmakers.