The right of the people to keep and bears arms is identified in the Bill of Rights as the Second Amendment, a sovereign right superseded only by free speech, Second Amendment advocates say.
No entity may impinge upon this freedom under the Constitution that they may arm themselves to protect hearth and home.
But, after a series of gun-related deaths this past year, a broad-scale move to restrict gun ownership has some Uintah Basin residents concerned.
On Saturday, Aug. 10, supporters of gun ownership participated in the first-ever Vernal Second Amendment Protection Rally at the Western Park amphitheater.
Keynote speaker James “Mitch” Vilos, attorney and expert in self-defense law, drove home the point by raising and firing his pistol into the air.
Billed as Utah’s Gun Attorney, Vilos, opened the evening rally, saying Vernal’s “air smells like freedom.”
He was followed by Colorado State Sen. Steven King, R-Mesa, who has lead a challenge against a bill that would avoid criminalizing law-abiding people who borrow or lend firearms within their own family.
King is also the co-sponsor of a bill to allow Coloradans continued access to large-capacity ammunition magazines.
Included on the slate of speakers were Sutherland Institute President Paul Mero, Utah State Rep. John Mathis, Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell, Utah State GOP President James Evans, Uintah County GOP Chair Duane Shepard and Utah Congressman Rob Bishop.
The event was sponsored by the Vernal Hay Company, ZECO, Jiffy Pawn, Bad Boys Auto Body, Uintah County Western Park and the staff of KVEL.
Crowds were small for this first-time rally, perhaps due the short notice of the event, but the organizers say their spirits are not dampened.
They hope to make the Second Amendment Protection Rally a yearly event.