ASHEVILLE — Rather than a gun, Daniel Jarvis had a banana tucked into the holster on his hip as he rallied in support of Second Amendment rights Saturday on Pack Square.
The Candler man said the substitution was only a way to poke fun at a city ordinance prohibiting the open carrying of guns at “picketing” events, but he’s seriously concerned about erosion of the right to bear arms enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
“The banana is just a little bit of comedic relief,” said Jarvis, one of more than 100 people who attended the event. “But I think it’s important that we stand up for what we believe in.
“I’m only 24 years old, and I’m here securing my future. I have a 3-year-old, and I’m securing his future, as well. If we don’t stand up for these things now, then who will?”
At last year’s event, several of those attending openly carried guns, prompting a debate over language in a city ordinance about whether that’s allowed under the local law governing picketing. Organizers this year encouraged participants to “bring signs containing supportive language to the Second Amendment and/or wear an empty holster demonstrating your inability to exercise your rights.”
No guns were openly carried at the event Saturday, but several people wore empty holsters.
“The point of this rally is to bring awareness to the fact that we cannot open carry right now,” said organizer Kevin King, founder of the Mountain Area Citizens’ Political Action Committee. “It’s an infringement.
“A militia is us. It’s an armed populace. That is the basic right of people to bear arms.”
Participants carried signs with messages including “Guns have 2 enemies: rust and liberals,” “What part of ‘Shall not be infringed’ confuses you?” and “The Second Amendment protects all the others.”
But Asheville attorney Joe Connelly wasn’t there in support of gun rights. He had a sign reading, “Do the people standing on the sidewalk beside me support the murder of health care providers like Dr. David Gunn and Dr. George Tiller?” The message referred to the killing of the two abortion providers.