The Buena Vista Rally for Gun Rights will take place at noon Saturday, March 31, near Buena Vista Town Hall north of the railroad crossing.
Buena Vista resident Steven Nold said he is helping to organize the event because “mainstream media has been pushing a lot of coverage for the March For Our Lives and other gun control rallies. It seems that those of us on the other side haven’t been able to have our stories heard as much.
“This rally is to show everyone that our voices will be heard. … This rally is not an NRA rally, and we have not been sponsored in any way. This is purely a citizen rally to ensure that we are not ignored in this discussion.”
Nold said the message he and other gun rights advocates need to convey is “what the Second Amendment is actually written for and why guns are an important aspect of the American lifestyle. We will also strive to push opposition to current legislation, such as HR 5087, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018.”
Nold said he doesn’t see the proposed legislation as promoting “common sense gun control” but as “a dangerous infringement on the right to keep and bear arms” that seeks to ban “hundreds of semi-automatic weapons.”
Part of his message, Nold said, is to inform people “that an AR-15 isn’t this scary, military-grade weapon. … It’s a simple semi-automatic like most simple handguns. It’s important that people become informed about this so they can make their own decisions.”
Assault weapons is the main topic Nold said he wants to address, noting that a true assault rifle is already more difficult to purchase than other guns. “An AR-15 is not an assault rifle. … An assault rifle is a weapon that has select rates of fire, meaning you can set it to fire faster than semi-automatic.”
No military in the world uses an AR-15, Nold continued. “The military grade version of this weapon is known as the M4 carbine, which has a selectable rate of fire known as “burst,” firing three rounds with each pull of the trigger,” while some versions of the M4 include a fully automatic option.
“To be able to purchase one of these actual assault rifles, you would need to go through the processes detailed in the National Firearms Act. For starters, you would need a tax stamp paid to the ATF as well as a packet of detailed information, photographs and fingerprint cards.
“The wait time for the ATF to clear this purchase is anywhere from six months to upwards of a year or more, not to mention that the weapon itself costs as much as a car. … These types of weapons have rarely been used (in mass shootings).”
Nold said the facts show that handguns are used to kill many more people in America than any type of rifle. He also asserted that guns save lives, pointing to a study by the Centers for Disease Control.
That study, commissioned by former President Barack Obama, states, “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”
Growing up, Nold said, his father worked in various law enforcement positions, so Nold has been around guns his entire life. “We learned the importance of firearms from a very young age.”
Nold said the primary reason he owns guns is because “you can’t rely on someone else to come save you, as some of the gun control lobby likes to imagine.
“Most police agree with this. The average response time of a police officer to your house is minutes. Having experience in combat, with my deployment to Afghanistan, I know firsthand that minutes can be a lifetime, literally.
“I believe it is important for every household to arm themselves and be well-trained on their weapons in case the day does come that it will be the only thing that saves their life.”
He said his other reason for owning firearms “goes back to the original intent of the Second Amendment,” which he sees as important to ensuring “that the people remain the ultimate control over the government.
“Many people argue that this is an outdated mindset, that the idea of tyranny is bogus because there hasn’t been any. I would argue that the Second Amendment has a very strong influence on why that hasn’t been the case.”
While he supports Second Amendment rights, Nold made clear that there should be limits to those rights: “I believe background checks should absolutely be necessary to purchase a firearm, and they are already in place. … Existing law also requires that felons are not allowed to purchase firearms, to which I agree. … I was actually happy to see the ‘gun show loophole’ get a makeover.”
While he expressed support for reasonable restrictions on firearms ownership, Nold questions whether more laws are the answer, adding that the Columbine shooting occurred “in the middle of the assault weapons ban.”
When asked about liability insurance, Nold expressed opposition to the idea because owning a firearm is a right, not a privilege like driving a vehicle.
Regarding mental health issues, Nold said laws are already in place to prevent persons with certain mental illnesses from purchasing firearms. “Anyone that has actually tried to purchase a firearm knows that mental illness is already addressed to some extent,” he said, noting that ATF Form 4473 addresses mental health issues, issues that should show up in a background check.
“Beyond this system I am at a loss for how this can be more effective,” said Nold. “What would the criteria be for mental illness and who decides who makes the cut? I think this is a dangerous road to go down. … If we are so good at finding mental illness, why do 22 of my veteran brothers and sisters take their own lives every day? … I would say that system should be improved drastically before you start using it to infringe on the rights of citizens.”
Nold emphasized the importance of becoming better informed “on the topic of gun ownership and the Second Amendment. Too many times I think the argument from both sides is drowned out by those that are making a fool of either side. Or one side has the debate while forgetting to invite the other side.”
With that in mind, Nold extended an invitation to anyone who disagrees with his viewpoint: “I would like to personally talk with them and have discussions. It’s important for everyone to have a clear understanding of other points of view, us included.”
Nold proposes preventing future mass shootings by arming and training security guards or police to protect schools “like we protect courtroom criminals. Why do we have armed guards around our criminals but not around our children? … We fail at protecting our children with the same standards and instead turn to stripping rights away from the citizens. When we begin taking away rights from citizens, where do we stop?
“Please come out on Saturday and let’s have a discussion,” Nold said. “I look forward to meeting everyone and I’ll see you Saturday.”