SOUTH BEND — Elkhart County Sheriff Bradley Rogers told supporters of gun rights Sunday that he will not enforce future infringements on the right to bear arms.
Bradley was one of three scheduled speakers that included U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski who voiced support for gun rights outside of the Morris Performing Art Center in South Bend Sunday before a crowd estimated to be more than 200 people, many of whom touted signs and carried firearms.
The rally came just weeks after Congress defeated legislation aimed at expanding background checks for people purchasing firearms. Despite the fact lawmakers chose not to seek a vote on a proposed ban of assault weapons, some of the speakers and people at the rally expressed concern that another round of gun legislation is on the horizon.
Rogers said he believes “gun legislation is not the way to control gun violence.”
Rogers, an outspoken advocate of the Constitution, recently appeared on a CNN news special that looked at the gun debate following the Newtown, Conn., shootings that left about two dozen people dead.
He said lawmakers who want to change gun laws need to try to amend the Constitution rather than simply pass new laws.
Lawmakers who support the assault on liberties and foundations of the nation, Rogers said, should be “marked as a tyrant and an enemy of liberty.”
He said people need to demand lawmakers honor their oath to support the Constitution.
He also pledged to oppose future gun legislation imposed on the community he serves.
“I will not allow gun confiscation in my county and I will not enforce any additional anti-gun laws,” Rogers said amid a round of loud applause.
Walorski said it is critical that lawmakers continue to protect the right to bear arms for responsible Americans.
She said she signed a resolution opposing the United Nations arms trade treaty as a way to help make sure the United States would not be put into a position to have gun rights “challenged by others.”
“As we continue in this debate, it's important to examine the true causes of gun violence and identify a common-sense plan that will resolve these issues without offending the rights of law abiding citizens,” Walorski said.
The afternoon rally happened under gray skies, a threat of rain and a noticeable police presence.
The rally was organized by the St. Joseph County Republican Party. Among the many people gathered in the plaza outside of the Morris were Tea Party enthusiasts, bikers and veterans.
Seth Youngblood, who moved to the area from Georgia about a year ago, held a sign that read, “Millions of gun owners killed no one today.” He carried a Glock handgun in a holster, and his friend, Maggie Mountsier, of Granger, carried a Ruger under her jacket.
They came to express their support for the Second Amendment and its correlation to freedoms Americans enjoy.
“If you look at history once they take guns away, the governments kill their own people,” Youngblood said. “The Second Amendment protects your other rights.”
Bob Moore, a leader of Elkhart County Tea Party Patriots, said he felt the need to show his support for the gun rights. Despite recent legislative victories, he said he believes President Barack Obama will make it a goal in his second term to establish new gun controls.
He compared the gun control effort to Obama's ability to pass healthcare reform despite great odds.
“He won't quit,” Moore said. “It's going to be very tough.”
Also speaking were St. Joseph County Sheriff Mike Grzegorek and conservative talk radio host Casey Hendrickson, of radio station WTRC, 95.3, which is owned by The Truth's parent company, Federated Media.
Hendrickson said many opponents of gun rights don't understand enough about guns to make an intelligent argument for gun control.
As the gun control debate continues, Hendrickson urged gun rights advocates to use smart, reasoned arguments to make their points.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this story had the incorrect call letters for Michiana News Channel. The current version is correct.