Anti-Gun Activists on Parade

About 200 people marched on the NRA meeting in April, and I went to talk to a few of them about what inspired them to participate in a protest, what they believed was happening inside the convention, how they felt about concealed carry at such an event, and how they view the Second Amendment.

First, I want to thank reader Adam Z. for taking the pictures. Oh, and for bringing a buddy new to the issue along to Pittsburgh for their first NRA meeting. They both decided to go check the protest out with me, and this video would be missing several of the shots of signs & people if it had not been for Adam. Second, I apologize for the shaky images. Again, forgetting the tripod was not one of my better moments. But, for much of the video, it would not have mattered since I was conducting most of the interview while we were actually marching. During said march, I was dodging construction signs, potholes, and cars.

24 thoughts on “Anti-Gun Activists on Parade”

  1. what strikes me as sad is how uneducated they are on the issue. But from dealing with my mom who is anti gun. anti Gunners really do not want to know the facts on the issue all that matters is how they feel.

    1. It wasn’t about arguing a point. No one who was at a protest march was going to change their mind about the issue or how they feel about NRA and its membership.

  2. Yup. Arguing online, or off, is fruitless with most people.

    A white liberal who makes way more money then I do called me a poor-and-minority-hating racist, because I am on the other side of the argument. Last time I checked, I am the none-white who makes less then he does. Also he believes white racists will become so hot, it will melt earth.

    There are facts, and the best way forward is to win the culture war [saying things like, “hey buddy, you need a gun to protect your family, otherwise you are a wuss”].

    That, and sue the anti-right fascist laws out of existence.

  3. They are not uneducated; they are stupid.

    It is not just the Mercedes-Benz signs that they moronically wave about, but listen to them speak.

    Tucson? Registration? Shooting of police by felons? Put guns down, no more violence? It’s illegal even if it’s legal to carry a gun? Wild Wild West?

    These people are fools. We are and will continue to eat their lunch because they are brainless.

    We are not fighting a mindset, we are fighting base, brainless emotions and feelings. We should response accordingly.

  4. The NRA was planning the loopholes to distribute “illegal guns” at the convention?! I missed that on the agenda.

    Oh wait, is that the loophole for citizens that have never been convicted of a crime, pay their taxes, serve their country and go out of their way to respect the rights of others? Better close that up quick.

  5. I’m glad someone took pictures. I looked for the protesters and did not find them. They are fading awayyyyy…..

  6. They were a mile away from the convention center. People tried to claim that there were none, or that there were only a handful, but no one else from our side (other than NRA News) was actually at the rally or the march through downtown.

  7. The Professor: Guy was a tool. Bet he’d have had a stroke if he’d known you were carrying. For a person in higher edumacation he sure didn’t have a good grasp of the constitution and where gun crime really stems from.

    Red Hat Beard: Had a good head on his shoulders…untill the end.

    Older Woman: Total follower, didn’t know what she wanted.

    Sunglasses McLady: Smart but ill informed.

    Quiet Guy Out-Shined by the Prof’: New to the cause? Ill informed? Either way the guy needs to get taken to the range by some well meaning friends.

    Sunglasses Black Lady: Same as Miss McLady.

    Preacher McLooks-at-Your-Chest-alot: Wants the violence to stop but has no real power or ability to do so. Takes up a cause and tries to get people to band together yet eventually his efforts are gonna be fruitless.

    Makes me sad at the level of ignorance shown by them all. But as the argument always goes; You can’t bring them around even with a truckload of evidence that their cause is misguided. Poor people.

  8. Bitter, I had a few questions to put this into better context if you don’t mind.

    – Did you identify yourself as a pro-gun rights person (T-shirt, verbal, open carry, etc)? If not did anyone ask?
    – How many people were willing to talk to you?
    – How did you choose who to talk to? Do you think the people you talked to were somewhat representative of the demographics and opinions of the larger crowd?

    Thanks! I found the video really interesting.


    1. I identified myself as someone who just wanted to talk to people about what inspired them to participate in the rally and march. I was dressed as I normally dress at events like the convention: jeans and a basic tank with a cardigan. Sebastian did dare to call it a “hippie look” because I added a beaded necklace to it, but I don’t think anyone else agreed. :) No one asked me about my personal views on the issue.

      Everyone who talked to me was in the video. I did have my camera die on me in the middle of one interview, but I was still able to use some clips. I only had one person refuse to speak with me. As for how I chose them, it was very random. The preacher happened to be standing around alone while waiting for things to start and the two guys just happened to be kinda near the end of the line of marchers, which is where I started since I recorded the march from the sidelines as it started. The girl with the earrings was someone else who wasn’t wrapped up in conversation with anyone else around her, and it was the same with the older woman even though she was helping to carry a sign. Once we reached the area near the convention center, I had to run in to the hotel to get batteries for my camera, then I came out and just randomly asked people in the crowd. That was where I ran into the one woman who said she didn’t want to talk to me. Otherwise, I either asked people in between chants or just looked for folks who weren’t really screaming along. Contrary to what some might say, I’m actually a very nice person and just went in with a smile and friendly attitude. I didn’t have to pretend to be on their side, I just had a conversation with them.

      Yes, I would say it was a pretty representative mix of the crowd. You can see several crowd shots in the video, and there are several in this older post, too.

      I basically just went with the goal of having a conversation with them. I didn’t want to get into arguments, and I didn’t want to start any fights by declaring my positions. I asked questions and listened. I’ve had the idea for several years, but there haven’t been sizable protests at most of the other NRA events. Pittsburgh seems to be the only city that can consistently deliver a good protest. (Unfortunately, my picture links have been lost to the multiple hosting moves over the years, but here’s my post on the last protest in Pittsburgh. The crowd & organizers seemed much more serious this year.) So while I’ve had the idea stewing in my head for years, I came up with the questions while driving with Sebastian & Ian Argent. I made Sebastian type them up & email them to me, and then I wrote them down in the handy reporter’s notebook NRA used to give out in the press office. (Thank goodness I had mine from last year since this year they switched to USB sticks.)

      The only thing I found of interest that didn’t make it into the video (again, due to batteries dying much more quickly than I thought they would) was the fact that everyone I talked to lived in town. The two guys who were walking actually complained about how disappointed they were that only urban clergy members were in attendance, and that there was no support from the suburban religious communities. Some of the other interviewees also made comments along those lines of believing that the NRA members were all from outside of Pittsburgh and they were the ones actually representing the city. Even the woman holding the sign with the sunglasses who is originally from the Philly suburbs now lives in Pittsburgh. It was a very urban vs. suburban/rural atmosphere in some ways.

  9. Hey Bitter… At 12:00, the sheep in the orange hat said he doesn’t want to talk to somebody who’s carrying a gun that he doesn’t know about. That begs the question… Were you carrying at that point?

    I really hope you were. It would only make the irony more rich.

  10. It’s just sad that so many Americans today are sheep. They just accept what they’re told on the TV or the newspaper or their buddy in the next cubicle. They don’t do any fact checking or try to make their own opinion. Let alone try to separate emotion from the issue, and they think we’re the uneducated… I’d wager that the average “red neck” hunter as they like to put it, understands more about complex math in relation to ballistics, and shooting than most of those people we saw there who likely couldn’t change their own oil if their lives depended on it.


  11. “These people are fools. We are and will continue to eat their lunch because they are brainless.”

    I was thinking along similar lines.

    These people are not uneducated in the sense of formal public education, but they are extremely ignorant of the law and about American gun culture.

    And yes, the more “educated” they were the more foolish they seemed to be. As Glenn Reynolds would put it, they are credentialed, they are not educated.

    This is why we win. We have truth and justice on our side, and all they have on their side is prejudice and ignorance. Unfortunately they are numerous enough to form a majority in some corners of the nation, such as California and New Jersey.

  12. Bitter,

    Thanks for the info! The urban/suburban-rural split is interesting to note. Thanks for taking the time to gather information. It seems like the tape was allowed to roll in a way that let them articulate their views pretty fully, too. That seems fair.

  13. Great job getting out there and covering this. I just loved the guy who said he wouldn’t even talk to somone if he knew they were carrying. Sounds like he may lean a bit towards the “no other viewpoint but mine is worth discussing” end of the spectrum.

  14. Its sad to think that there people think guns are the problem… Its the scum that slither around and create the environment that they live in that are the problem.

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