Second Amendment supporters from across East Texas gathered at the Rose City Flying Clays shooting range to stand in unison during the Tyler “Day of Resistance” event.
Ms. Walsh said she is not affiliated with any group but thinks she should speak up on this issue.
Ms. Walsh said she was then contacted by a website, which organized similar events across the country and asked her if she wanted to organize an event in Tyler — and she said yes.
Ms. Walsh echoed the theme of the day — the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is what protects the rest of the freedoms for all Americans.
This was a point hammered home by the first speaker of the afternoon — Shane Dyson.
Dyson also said elected officials, who try to enforce stricter gun policies, are ignoring the Constitution and don’t belong in positions of government, including President Barack Obama.
“I think (President Obama’s) executive orders are unconstitutional, and he should be removed from office,” Dyson said.
He also said there should be fewer restrictions on guns in America.
“We need to loosen gun laws, we need to make it easier for law-abiding citizens to possess firearms,” he said. “We already have too many gun laws that we don’t enforce, so more gun laws is insanity.”
“I didn’t take that oath lightly,” he said. “I didn’t choose to support and defend the first, the fifth, the seventh or whatever amendment, I swore an oath to defend every one of them.”
Smith also said the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas issued an agenda that they would support and defend the Constitution, implying they are against what they feel are further restrictions on the Second Amendment.
Also in attendance were departing District 6 Texas State Representative Leo Berman, who spoke briefly about the importance of the Second Amendment, especially regarding personal defense.
Berman praised the Castle Law, which was passed during his time in the state legislature.
The Castle doctrine states an individual is allowed to protect his home with force in the case of an intruder.
District 5 State Rep. Bryan Hughes also spoke on Saturday.
Hughes said the Second Amendment allows for private ownership of guns for three primary reasons: private self-defense, national defense and the ousting of a tyrannical government.
He said while he hopes no one would have any of these reasons for using their weapons, guns serve as a deterrent in all three scenarios.
Many of the speakers stressed guns weren’t the problem, instead citing societal problems such as mental illness.
Walsh said she feels the mental health issue is the most important factor.
“There (are a lot of people) falling through the gaps. I feel like if more attention was put on (mental health issues), that it would help,” she said. “We need to facilitate an open dialogue — an intelligent dialogue, about mental illness and the issues that we see. … It’s a problem with violence and mental instability.”