Three dozen supporters of the Second Amendment gathered Saturday at Window on the Bay Park in Monterey to wave at honking cars and display homemade signs reaffirming their right to bear arms and decrying what they believe is government infringement upon their liberty.
The rally, organized by the Central Coast Tea Party Minutemen, was the second of three stops by the protesters, who demonstrated earlier in the day in Carmel and relocated to Prunedale in the late afternoon.
"There are 34 bills in the House and Senate in Washington, D.C., right now that address gun control. Some of them are good. Some of them are gun grabs," said Jackie Dick of Pacific Grove, a founder of the Central Coast group and organizer of the rally. "What's happening in California is basically a gun grab, including one bill that would require every gun owner to have a license. The information they'll collect for that license is proprietary, and the government has no right having it."
Among the messages on demonstrators' signs were "Dictators Want You Disarmed," "Honk If You Want to Keep Your 2nd Amendment" and "What If Slaves Had Guns?"
"Most of the people here, and a lot of people around the country, are very concerned that when a gun-control frenzy comes into play, it takes focus away from what self-defense, home protection and the Second Amendment are all about," Dick said.
Lawrence Samuels, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Monterey County, said there are 20,000 gun laws on the books now that aren't being enforced, a problem that makes it easy for known felons and mentally ill people to possess them.
"There are thousands of assault rifles out there in the possession of people who cannot legally have them, but the government doesn't go after those people," he said. "They won't enforce the laws.
"We want to make it as easy as possible for law-abiding people to have weapons to defend themselves against gangs, murderers and rapists — but also, just in case, against a government that becomes tyrannical. And most governments are tyrannical. That's what the Arab Spring is all about."
Saturday's event, decorated by dozens of American flags, was part of a national "Day of Resistance" organized by Tea Party groups across the country.
A protester from Prunedale named Dave, who declined to give his full name, said proposed gun-control legislation "doesn't address the real problem."
"Most people are being killed by gang members with illegal guns," he said. "Let's go after the real problems. Legal gun owners aren't killing people."
Regarding the movement to implement universal background checks, he said, "It should be open carry and open buy. Gang members are buying their weapons out of somebody's trunk. New laws aren't going to stop any of that, so why burden law-abiding citizens with mandatory registration, insurance and other things? That's just taxation."
Governments will remain more free if those in charge know the people are armed, said Samuels, who hosts a Monday night radio program, "The Classic Liberal Hour," at 8 p.m. on KRXA 540 AM.
"If you want a dictator to come in, take the guns away, so only the police and military have them," he said.
Dennis Taylor can be reached at 646-4344 or email@example.com.