On the second anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, a group of gun control activists held a national die-in on the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C.
A rally preceded the die-in where a range of speakers touched on their personal experiences. About midway through the rally, a group of counter-protesters from the Patriot Picket, which is in favor of protecting the Second Amendment, showed up with flags and posters of its own.
“We demonstrate whenever there’s an opportunity, on behalf of the First and the Second Amendment,” Patriot Picket founder Jeff Hulbert explained to Independent Journal Review. “There’s no better opportunity than at this place, here and now, to say that gun control is not the answer.”Kaylee Greenlee/IJR
While the group was there to peacefully protest, its goal was to make sure that “both sides of the aisle” were heard.
“We’re the silent majority,” one member said. “We’re just here to tell you we’re here.”
“I applaud them exercising their First Amendment rights,” Picket Patriot spokesman Paul Brockman said. “We support all of our rights. Do I think it will affect change? No.”
Brockman didn’t think that the kind of change the students were looking for would help anyone.
“They’re talking about universal background checks, but all these perpetrators of these mass shootings would have passed a background check,” he said.
“So we know that background checks don’t stop killers. They’ve already committed a crime (obtaining guns illegally) before they’ve done the mass shooting,” Brockman added.
When asked if he had any words of advice to pass along to the students protesting for gun reform, Brockman encouraged them to work on the mental health system. He used the Parkland shooter as an example.
“A lot of these kids, like the Parkland, Florida, shooter — how many times did the cops go to his house?” Brockman asked. “Thirty-nine times?
“Something was wrong with that kid. And that’s the kind of thing they need to reach out for, to institute more controls over these epidemics,” he added.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated after publication.