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WEST CHESTER, Ohio - There was no mistaking the intent of the rally at the Square at Union Centre in West Chester on Saturday.
From the speeches to the signs, to the firepower, several hundred people gathered to protect something dear to their hearts: the Second Amendment.
"If you look at the Second Amendment, it's the only one that says 'shall not be infringed'. And that's all we do, is try to infringe that amendment," said Rep. Ron Maag (R) who represents Ohio's 62nd District
Event organizers called it "The Day of Resistance," or ".223." That refers not just to the date but to the caliber of cartridge used in many rifles, including the AR-15.
"I want you to remember two simple words. It's related to if you're confronted by an armed gunman. The two words are this: shoot back," said John Becker, a Republican State Representative from Ohio's 65th District .
Similar rallies were scheduled across the United States by those who say they're afraid the government wants to restrict their right to bear arms.
"Firearms and weapons in general are liberty's teeth," said gun rights advocate Noah Hymel from College Hill. "And if we lose those, then there's nothing to stop our government from taking any other liberties that we may have now."
Many gun rights advocates say President Barack Obama's well-publicized 23 executive actions to curb gun violence were a catalyst for Saturday's rallies.
"The real concern though is of course that President Obama wants to turn those into legislation and those legislations are the issue when they start going after weapons or limiting magazine rounds," said George Brunemann, president of the Cincinnati Tea Party .
While the rhetoric of some may not be shared by all, these activists believe protecting their right to say it is backed up by their right to defend themselves.
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