What began as a small rally transformed into an impressive group, and then into controversy. Last Saturday over a hundred people convened outside of Pack Place in downtown Asheville in support of the Second Amendment. Some carried signs, others carried Glocks. All of them carried a positive attitude.
Andrea Boyer, who with husband Cody brought this idea to life said, “The Day of Resistance was a nationwide protest, in just about every state. Standing amidst that crowd, I’ve never felt safer. These are the people that protect themselves & each other.”
However, not everyone in Asheville felt this way. City Councilman Cecil Bothwell turned the event into controversy by proposing hypotheticals. “Suppose somebody had a loaded gun and dropped it and it went off and shot some kid?” Bothwell inquired.
The councilman wasn’t alone in his hypothetical situation though. John Boyle from the Asheville Citizen-Times added “What if a counterprotester hurls a bottle, and one bad-egg protester gets ticked and fires off a round?”
“It disappoints me that those opposed to the Bill of Rights would found their statements on absurd hypotheticals,” countered Jonathan Elkin, Chairman of MACPAC, who helped organize the event. “You can make up a ‘what if’ for any situation. We prefer to base our ‘what ifs’ on statistics and the Constitution. 99.9% of guns harm no one. Regardless of that, we support the entire Bill of Rights, from freedom of speech to States’ rights, and everything in between.”
Aside from hypotheticals, Bothwell cites a violation of the city’s ordinance. The ordinance prevents weapons from being carried to picketing events on city property.
“If there were ordinances broken, it was not intentional, as we followed the rules laid out by APD, who referenced the City Attorney,” stated Timothy Elkin, event organizer. “We abided by every expectation given to us.”
That seems to be the case as confirmed by the Asheville Police Department. MACPAC inquired about the legality and was told there would be no enforcement of any carry laws as long as they were not on the grounds of the park at Pack Square. No violations were cited, and APD kept a watchful eye on the peaceful gathering.
Dr Carl Mumpower, former Asheville City Councilman and speaker at the event was quoted as saying, “If the city is confused about their own ordinances, that’s not fair to put off on the protesters, who did everything they were asked.”
The Bill of Rights comment appears to be a theme with those challenging Bothwell’s statements. Kevin King, Managing Editor of The Asheville Tribune, and also a speaker at the event had this to say, “I think that Councilman Bothwell should be with us, not against us. His campaign website states ‘The intent of the resolution is to make it absolutely clear that Asheville embraces the Bill of Rights and that our law enforcement officers will not target enforcement efforts based on…political beliefs…or any other arbitrary categorization.’”
King sends out a challenge to the councilman, “The Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, and every American should be able to stand behind every amendment, regardless of political affiliation. Councilman Bothwell has a record of being vocal about changing current policies in the name of equality. I encourage him to join us in changing city policies to be more favorable to the Bill of Rights. Stand with us Councilman.”
Above all, the message of the rally was, and maintains to be a positive one of equality of Constitutional rights to all. Many of the words spoken Saturday by the speakers were that of patriotism and resolve to restore freedom. “To those of you out there wondering what to call us, Patriots would be the name” added Boyer.
“This is just the beginning of many things to come for MACPAC,” Jonathan Elkin stated. “Our goal is to unite people of all political orientations behind certain truths, like Constitutional rights. Everyone is tired of politicians and parties dividing our friends and families. We’re here to unify our community and county.”
MACPAC stands for Mountain Area Citizens’ Political Action Committee and was founded in the fall of 2012 in the wake of a political hostile environment. Their next monthly meeting will be held on March 19 at 6:30PM at Frank’s Roman Pizza on Sardis Road.