BLOOMINGTON — As a single woman from Peoria, Kim Malcom worries about the future. She is especially concerned about the possibility of changes in gun legislation. On Sunday, Malcom was one of about 200 people at a rally in front of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts supporting the preservation of the Second Amendment.
“I believe in our constitutional right to have guns, and it frustrates me that the government is trying to whittle away at that,” she said. “I don’t want the government to tell me I can’t defend myself. Guns aren’t necessarily dangerous. It depends on what people do with them. It can be a nice bonding thing for families. They aren’t something to be scared of and it’s a nice hobby to have.”
The grassroots rally was designed to draw support for the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, said Regina Noland, one of the co-organizers of the event.
“We are trying to let people know that infringement on our Second Amendment rights and blaming guns every time there is a shooting, is not going to happen and we aren’t going to let it happen, anymore,” she said.
Her husband, Douglas Noland, said he hopes that rallies such as this one show politicians that people care and have concerns.
“I think that some of the people passing some of these laws, don’t understand that the criminals don’t care, and they are just hurting the legal citizens,” he said. “If they would just go and enforce the laws that are already on the books, things would be better. If they had done that prior to that Florida school shooting we just had, things might have been different.”
Burton Grusy II of Gridley said he was there to ensure that his Second Amendment rights won’t be infringed on.
“I believe that gun-free zones are killing zones,” he said. “It’s more than coincidental that most of your shootings have occurred in gun-free zones and it takes away a person’s right to have the ability to defend themselves. I’m not saying the outcomes would be any different, but people should have that right.”
Many of those attending the rally held signs showing their support for the Second Amendment or carried flags, such as Wayne Musson of Bloomington.
“Because of the terrible school shooting in Florida, I get this sense that times are changing,” he said. “It happens every time there is a mass shooting, but this one feels different and I think that has the potential to harm good, law-abiding citizens who aren’t the reason for violence like that.”
George Nash of Bloomington carried a sign that said “Protect my Second Amendment Rights” and said he attended the rally because he wants his voice to be heard.
“I’ve owned a gun for almost 40 years,” he said. “I’ve never shot anyone and don’t intend to. But, I want the right to have it with me. The thing is that all of this talk about gun legislation makes me so angry and yet, it doesn’t want to make me want to shoot anyone.”
Several drivers supported the rally, which lasted about 90 minutes, by honking as they drove by.
“What so many people don’t seem to realize is that we all want a safe community,” added Tim Newman of LeRoy. “If you legislate gun control to the point where it takes the rights away from American citizens, a constitutional right, then, we’re going to have a lot of upset American citizens.”
Stan Anderson of Peoria said he also attended the rally to show politicians that even though they are getting pressure to eliminate guns, now is not the time.
“First, I’m glad I am not a politician, because they have some tough decisions ahead of them surrounding this issue,” he said. “They have to find a way to keep the guns out of people who are likely to cause mass shootings, but allow normal citizens, who follow the rules, to have their guns.”