Protesters went against the city on Saturday, to have their guns out in the open during a rally at Perry Square. They say it’s in the name of freedom. “We are American patriots, and we are a force to be reckoned with,” Pastor George Cook of North Bangor, PA yelled passionately into the microphone in the park gazebo. He traveled 350 miles from his home to preach a different kind of message, defending gun rights. “First, our constitution… says that the right of people to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned,” said Cook. “The preemption clause in our state law… says that local towns like Erie can’t make other laws concerning firearms.” He was just one of many speakers who traveled to support “Open Carry Pennsylvania”, as they spoke up in the name of the right to bear arms. The setting was appropriate for the cause, flanked by police officers who threatened to fine ralliers for carrying guns in Perry Square. Carrying firearms is not allowed in the park because of a city ordinance from the 1970’s.
Here is a video of Erie PD running license plates of people parked near the rally for the purpose of issuing citations to the attendees for carrying firearms into the park. What rally attendees call “Police state tactics.”