Walking over to Sarasota’s Bayfront Park Saturday morning, you could see American Flags and Gadsden Flags flying in the stiff breeze from blocks away.
Although the “Rally For Our Rights Manasota” was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., the park was packed hours earlier.
“I got here at 7 a.m., but there were already people here just waiting for the rally to begin,” said Joe Krawtschenko, owner of Aegis Tactical and one of the rally organizers.
“This is outstanding!”
Click here to see a photo gallery of the rally
The first sign that greeted attendees was: “Firearms Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
There were many more: “Real Women own AR-15s” — “My 2A Rights Don’t End Where Your Feelings Begin” — “Guns are not the problem. Evil is” — “God + Guns = Freedom” — “If the Second falls so do the rest” — “Making good people helpless won’t make bad people harmless” and “If it weren’t for 2A there wouldn’t be 1A.”
The grassroots rally was the brainchild of Sarasota attorneys Cindy Clark and Jeff Young, who reached out to Krawtschenko and others to help organize the rally through social media and shoe leather. Young personally visited every gun shop in the area and dropped off flyers with the owners.
“This is a grassroots effort,” Young said. “We don’t have George Soros money or NFL teams loaning us their planes.”
The rally drew an estimated 300 people.
“I’m very happy with the turnout,” said Clark. “I just spoke to two people from Massachusetts. Everyone is putting their minor differences aside and coming out here to support the Second Amendment.”
Gold Star Father Kris Hager, whose son SSG Joshua Hager — an Army Ranger — was killed in 2007, opened the event.
“Eleven years ago, the bravest man I ever knew — my son — was killed in Iraq,” Hager said. “I’ve learned lessons since then. This is the only nation founded with rights recognized by God.”
Other speakers included Senator Greg Steube, Representative Julio Gonzalez, Col. Mike McCalister,
Melissa Howard, Christian Ziegler, James Satcher, Martin Hyde and guest emcee Captain Matt Bruce of
The Captain’s America Radio Show.
“Thank you for being a patriot today,” said Senator Steube. “There is not a stronger supporter of the Second Amendment than me.”
Steube said he has personally sponsored 23 pro-gun bills.
“Every single mass shooting in the state of Florida has one thing in common. They happened in Gun Free Zones,” he said. “That is why we are fighting to get rid of gun free zones. It is unfortunate we have politicians in Tallahassee — including some Republicans — who have forgotten the four words: Shall not be infringed.”
Representative Gonzalez, who faces Steube in the Republican primary for the District 17 Congressional seat, said one of the attendees asked him what he was doing for the Second Amendment.
“I said I’m running for Congress,” Gonzalez said.