LIMA — A group hosting a walk through downtown Lima on Sunday to promote the right to carry guns in the open insisted the event was much more than a display of gun rights.
“There is a lot of attention on the rights to conceal carry and people do not even realize you also have a right to open carry,” said Ryan Anderson, public relations director for Northwest Ohio Carry, a group that promotes the safe, open carrying of firearms. “Some locals requested us to come here. We wanted to help them get the word out.”
A group of 28 residents from Lima and surrounding communities turned out for the event and walked from the Allen County Jobs and Family Services through downtown Lima, carrying a variety of weapons ranging from AR-15s to Smith and Wessons, from Glocks to Springfield XDs, to simple home defense shotguns. Most of the people attending all agreed that the public’s right to bear arms is being infringed upon, and through walks such as this they hope to get information out to the public.
“I was invited to participate and I was glad to,” said Angel, who did not want to give her last name. “I think our rights are under attack. If they will take away some rights, they will try and take away all of them.”
Sam Grim, of Findlay, said the Second Amendment is under attack and that history has shown that taking away gun rights is always one of the first steps to tyranny.
“Too many rights are being trampled on,” Grim said. “They didn’t write the Second Amendment for chasing deer. The Second Amendment was written to protect the First Amendment. A right you choose not to exercise is a right lost. People need to be educated that guns are not an evil creature that jumps out of your pocket and shoots somebody.”
Grim said gun laws have been shown not to work. He said they are just political tools to get votes.
“They feel like they have done something to address problems when they pass a law,” Grim said. “If someone wants to cause harm to someone, a no-gun sign isn’t going to help anyone. I can understand what they are trying to do, but it is energy that is misdirected. They need to focus on real problems in society without taking away rights.”
Jesse Orick, of Lima, who is a Navy veteran, said he had served to protect rights and wanted to keep them. He is now a member of the Ohio Minutemen Militia, the only state-recognized militia group in Ohio.
“People don’t realize that they don’t carry a weapon to protect the public,” Orick said. “They carry it to protect themselves. People need to learn to take care of themselves and quit waiting on the government to hand them everything. We have forgotten what [President John F. Kennedy] said. ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ People need to be more serious about protecting their own families, friends and neighbors.”
The group had plenty of supporters as drivers drove past and honked in approval and visitors in numerous stores and restaurants came outside to cheer the walkers on as they strode through town. Anderson said the primary way to protect Second Amendment rights is through education.
“We focus on safety and being responsible,” Anderson said.