SALT LAKE CITY — Flag-bearing, gun-wearing passionate Second Amendment supporters turned out by the hundreds Saturday to rally in support of a right they say is under vicious attack across the country.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said Steven Lund, who owns ACE Firearms in West Jordan.
"As my God-given right to self-defense, I want a bigger, badder gun than my enemy."
The crowd roared in support of Lund's remarks and criticism of the media, the "left" and others who they say demonize weapons and make excuses for people's actions.
Lund said volunteer teachers should be trained in tactics of defense and armed with a handgun.
So-called gun-free safe zones at schools, he stressed, have become killing zones.
Earlier, Collin Thorup, 16, and with High School Kids with Guns, spoke of the bias and hate he experiences at his school because of his conservative beliefs and support of the Second Amendment.
He noted he was one of three students who was "present and on time" during a national high school walk out in mid-March over school shootings.
"I got a lot of hate for that."
The rally was held in conjunction with the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans, which urged organized rallies across the country. Two other rallies were held in Orem and in Cedar City.
Longtime gun rights advocate Janalee Tobias said the rally was about supporting natural rights to self-defense, resistance to oppression and the civic duty to act in defense of family and community.
"No one gets to use a crisis or tragedy to take away our civil rights," she said, noting that high school students are being exploited to further a political cause in the wake of the mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Tobias, founder and president of Women Against Gun Control, Ladies of High Caliber, urged participants to speak out and protect their Second Amendment rights.
"Why do we have the right to own a firearm? It's simple. Because we are the freest nation in the history of the world."
Kathy Vasquez attended Saturday's rally to support the Second Amendment.
"I just believe we should have the right to bear arms, like everyone else here does."
Jason Reese, a California native, participated in last month's gun rights march and turned out for the rally as well.
"I wanted to support the speakers."
His friend, Kendall Sorensen, said there is danger in a "right" becoming so regulated that it ceases to be a right at all.
Participating groups in the rally included Students for Liberty, Pink Pistols, the Utah Shooting Sports Council and the Crossroads of the West gun show.