CLEARFIELD – It was standing room only at Grice Gun Shop Saturday during the Second Amendment Rally.
Tom Grice noted that more chairs had been added to the room since last year, and many people stood about the room during the two-hour rally.
Grice continued by recognizing current military members, veterans, police and other first responders before introducing U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, the first of several scheduled speakers.
Thompson began by stating he appreciates the people of Pennsylvania. He said America is in the middle of a “great comeback” with unemployment at a 49-year low and consumer confidence at a 17-year high.
However, Thompson also noted that many of the nation’s rights are under attack, referring to the Second Amendment at the “original homeland security,” referring to a banner erected with the words of the amendment printed on it.
He added that King George III, the English king in power during the American Revolution, had banned flintlock muskets in the colonies before the war and noted how that ended for him.
Thompson questioned the push to change the age for legal gun ownership, noting that high school graduates can serve in the military, at 18 they can vote, but would not be permitted to own a firearm.
The threats to gun ownership, he said, come from emotion and myth, but root causes, such as mental illness, are ignored.
Thompson called for the nation to address behavior health issues, noting that the federal government is already taking such steps, including demanding agencies to step up, referring to agencies knowing about the threat the Florida school shooter posed, but doing nothing about it.
“It’s not just ‘see something, say something,’” he said, “It should also be ‘do something.”
Additionally, the federal government is increasing funding for safe schools, including placing officers at schools to protect children.
Sheriff Mike Churner then spoke. He began by noting the power of the vote and how “bible-thumping, gun-toting hillbillies” affected the election.
Churner, as well as every speaker Saturday, emphasized that the shooting in Florida was a terrible tragedy, but the blame, he said, must be on the shooter, not the gun.
He said he has done research and referred to Australia’s gun laws. He said there has been a 3.2 percent increase in murder in that country and armed robberies increased 44 percent since the most recent buyback program in 2017.
He encouraged everyone to continue to turn out for every election and encourage their friends as well.
“I’m pro-gun and pro-life,” he declared, “We don’t need less guns, we need more Jesus.”
Rep. Tommy Sankey also spoke and referred to Pennsylvania’s constitution, which under Section 21 of the Declaration of Rights, states: The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.
“My rights to defend myself, family and property are not up for negotiation,” he said.
Sankey added 60,000 people die each year with a needle in their arm, and there are 700,000 abortions each year. More people die while texting and driving than by being shot. He encouraged citizens to do research and also to turn out to vote.
Chris Dush, representative of the state’s 66th district, also briefly spoke and echoed much of what others said, adding a friend had a conversation with a resident of Philadelphia who said if thugs can have guns, than he should also be able to have one to defend his family.
“Our message wins where people feel threatened,” Dush said.
Sen. Wayne Langerholc concurred, asking the residents, “What has the government ever done successfully?” He said he is part of a task force on school safety and, in talking to district superintendents, their biggest concern is the mental health of their students.
Representatives of both Republican candidates for governor were present and both emphasized that their candidates, Paul Mango and Scott Walker, will stand for and defend the Second Amendment, if elected.