2013-04-18 / Local & State

Open Carry Slated For This Sunday

Event to begin on courthouse stairs at 1 p.m.
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
NEWS EDITOR

This Sunday, Fulton County will join the ranks of seven other communities in the commonwealth to not only organize but host an open carry walk in support of the Second Amendment.

Event organizer Bill Watson of Hustontown, told the “News” the open carry walk will kickoff at 1 p.m. on the stairs of the Fulton County Courthouse located at the intersection of Second and Market streets. Participants openly carrying a firearm or a United States flag will be guided around the McConnellsburg Borough before returning to the courthouse at 2 p.m. where Larry Garlock, legislative assistant to Rep. Dick Hess, will share some words from our state representative.

According to Watson, in his genuine excitement to be a part of this event on April 21, Garlock is slated to carry a rifle he brought home with him from Vietnam for the walk.

In addition to Garlock serving as a keynote speaker, Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall may also possibly be taking the podium to speak to walkers.

“The purpose of the walk is to send a message to those who would gut it (the Second Amendment), that it won’t be an easy ride here,” said Watson, who related other events are currently being planned across the state.

“We hope we are helping to generate a level of comfort with this type of demonstration,” said Watson in preparing a list of questions a person may ask an open carry walker. “Admittedly, it is a rather dramatic way of getting our points across to law and policy makers, who need those points driven home. The more communities voicing these sentiments, the better.”

Watson indicated the walk is not being sanctioned by anyone, but is simply an organized gathering of “like-minded neighbors” who feel the need to lend their support to the effort. Participants can carry any legal firearm in the walk. Pennsylvania State Police at the McConnellsburg barracks have been notified in advance of the walk and have no objections as long as open carry walkers do not break the law, Watson said.

A list of “dos” and “don’ts” will be made clear at the beginning of the event,” he emphasized.

Open carry walks began gaining popularity about a decade ago. In fact, the first walks occurred in the state of Ohio in 2003 when residents began walking to persuade the state’s then governor to sign concealed carry legislation into law. By the conclusion of the year, it was noted the governor had changed his initial stance on the subject.

Watson said at least five walks have occurred in Pennsylvania, to date. All were peaceful without any incidents.

Hoping to draw in a big crowd, the event organizer said anyone in support of the Second Amendment should come, even if they don’t own a firearm.

“The bigger the crowd, the louder the message,” he said.

In the event of rain, the open carry walk will be rescheduled for Sunday, April 28.

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