Demonstrators read the names of thousands of children killed by gun violence as they protested outside the NRA Convention last weekend.
They demanded action on gun control, with some laying out in the grass to symbolize deaths caused by gun violence. They want the NRA to stop obstructing gun control legislation.
“Our kids are worth more than your guns!”
Their chants could be heard across the street from the event.
John Klassen was in town for the NRA Convention, and he stood across the street, watching the protest intently before heading inside.
“I am very intrigued. I actually see three cop cars parked side by side over there, and I would like to ask the protesters specifically if they’d like for them to be disarmed as well,” said Klassen.
He said police have a duty to protect citizens and they do so with a gun. Vice versa, citizens also protect themselves by using guns.
Klassen is from Canada where citizens are allowed hunting and shotguns with a firearms acquisition certificate.
Firearms are federally regulated in his country.
Canadian law prohibits automatic weapons and rifles. It’s largely illegal for anyone except police and military to own them.
In 2020, CDC data showed that 79% of all homicides in the U.S. were gun related while only 37% of all homicides in Canada were.
“I live in a small rural town but if I lived in any other place, I would automatically feel unsafe at night. When you have a bigger city there’s more crime. I would like to defend myself if I had the option. That would be better than having nothing,” said Klassen.
When it comes to the overwhelming number of mass shootings in the states, Klassen feels that it’s a separate issue.
He wishes that people didn’t lump independent gun ownership in the same category as mass shootings.
“I do think that part of it is fear and them not knowing a lot about guns. Murder by itself is against the law and that’s something that the majority of us can’t even conceive of doing. Especially to little kids,” said Klassen.
That’s something that activist, Jauston “TheKingTrill” Huerta, said is directly related to gun ownership.
The most vocal at the protest, he said he’s seen too many people die for him not to speak up on the issue on gun control.
“The fact that these systems have normalized it. What we need to do is regulate this system so that our children no longer continue to perish in bloody warfare right before our very eyes,” said Huerta.
He wants legislation to address gun registration because it’s too easy for anyone to access any type of weapon.
He’d like a more intense vetting system on purchasing firearms.
If there’s a person who has been documented with a mentally illness but can still walk into a local Walmart to purchase a gun, he said it’s not okay.
In recent years Walmart stopped selling modern sporting rifles and AR-15’s.
“When it comes to children being killed by what you say is your God-given right, that’s the issue. There’s a connection, but they [NRA] try to spin it like it’s not connected,” said Huerta.
Contact senior staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON