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"It's Not Just About Guns": Pro-Constitution Groups Rally in Woodbridge

A coalition of groups gathered Saturday to support the Constitution and individual rights. But it wasn't just about the Second Amendment, they said.


If you were driving down Amboy Avenue Saturday morning, you might've come across a group of protesters, hoisting signs and waving flags, and wondered what they were about.

The casual protest was a coalition of patriotic and Constitutional groups, mostly there to commemorate April 15, the day tax returns are due to the Internal Revenue Service. They weren't there to fight against gun control bills floating around in Congress, members said, but proponents of tightening laws against guns and gun ownership in the wake of December's school shootings in Connecticut seemed to insist they were.

So explained Gary Charwin, a leader of the Tea Party of Middlesex County, who said he was in Woodbridge to stand up for Constitutional rights.

The Tea Party, one of the groups represented at the protest, wasn't there to protest gun control alone, although the Second Amendment is as important as the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, he said.

"We were expressing our frustration at big, omnipotent government that strips citizens of their God-given rights," Charwin said. "The rally wasn't just about protesting gun control.

"It's about supporting the entire Constitution and individual freedom."

Gun control proponents, though, focused on one sign, "Legal Gun Owners Save Lives," Charwin said. There were a few catcalls as motorists drove past their set-up at the old Gulf station near Green Street.

Charwin wasn't sure if the pro-gun sign was what the yelling was about. 

"People who are trained in the use of firearms protect their families. They do save lives," Charwin said. "Most people beeped their horns and gave us a thumbs' up sign.

"They liked what we were doing."

About 25 protesters were there at the height of the rally, Charwin said. One of them was Bob Henn of Old Bridge, a member of the pro-gun rights Second Amendment Society.

"I'm just a member. I'm not an officer," Henn stressed. "I was in Woodbridge to show support for the entire Constitution."

Although, as one might expect, Henn is completely opposed to current federal efforts at gun control.

He pointed to a recent PoliceOne survey of 15,000 law enforcement officers, the majority believe federal bans on 'assault' weapons would have no effect on violent crime. Almost 90 percent of those surveyed think that casualties caused by crazed shooters would would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of an incident.

"The Second Amendment has nothing to do with guns. It has everything to do with protecting individuals from government tyranny," Henn said. "It's not about having a gun to do target practice, or having a gun to go hunting."

There will be more rallies through the state today, including one at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth at 11 am. Another one is slated for 2 pm at the headquarters of the Asbury Park Press.

Charwin called the Woodbridge protest a success. "We get a bigger turnout in other parts of the state. Middlesex County is a tough nut to crack."

Tom C. April 14, 2013 at 01:00 PM
Good for them!!!
Joe R April 14, 2013 at 01:47 PM
From the article: "It has everything to do with protecting individuals from government tyranny.." John Wilkes Booth thought he was fighting tyranny and assassinating a tyrant when he killed Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln happens to be one of our most revered presidents though there are some libertarians who revile him because they feel that he abused his office and usurped too much power in his pursuit of the Civil War.
John April 14, 2013 at 06:18 PM
For those who wrap themselves in the American Flag and spout that it is their constitutional right to bear arms: think about those 20 kids killed in Newtown... or the kids killed in Columbine... or the many other children (and adults) gunned down every day in Anytown, USA... There is no need to bear arms against the government- maybe in the 18th century it was needed, but not now- it is a loophole that many of the pro- gun advocates are clinging to to keep the Second Amendment relevant. It is no longer relevant, and it is time to change. GUN CONTROL NOW.
Tom C. April 14, 2013 at 11:40 PM
Trust the government? disarm the public? Ever seen shindler's list? The people who committed those acts WERE NUTS!!! I do believe in background checks. I am also a combat veteran. If it was ok for the government to send me to south Viet Nam at 18 yrs of age and put me behind a machine gun on a helicopter I have the right to own firearms!!!
MrDoughnut April 15, 2013 at 05:36 AM
Tom C. Where you Drafted at 18 years old? I thought you could only join at 18. I missed the Draft because the War was stopped. Had the war continued six more months rumor has it the next round of lotteries would have proceeded. I was 19 in 1973 so the war was on my mind a lot.
MrDoughnut April 15, 2013 at 05:46 AM
I heard stories about the war specifically the ones about friendly fire in which leaders were picked off because they tried to sacrifice troops against unfair odds. Seems quite a few guys that were over there said the same thing. I assume they were telling me the truth. Most of the survivors I knew were in the Navy aboard ship. I knew two people that died as a result of cancer they got from agent orange. One had lived accross the street from me and the other was a friend of my sister and left school joining at a young age.
Richard Zoppo April 15, 2013 at 05:51 AM
All dictators and socialist/communist governments ban guns. After that they confiscate property and murder citizens. That is history and you may have heard the old saying that history repeats itself. That may be true because reactionaries like John don't know or ignore history and instead rely on their emotions. If you don't believe it can happen here, pay attention to the class envy that the Democrat Communist Party whips up every day in their Media Machines at ABC, CBS,& NBC against the "rich" Governments that went the same socialist route in the 20th Century killed more of their OWN citizens than ALL the people killed in all the wars in history. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan's Savage Military 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey's Genocidal Purges 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland's Ethnic Cleansing 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito's Slaughterhouse IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS 15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea 16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico 17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia
MrDoughnut April 15, 2013 at 05:53 AM
One fellow I went to school with was in to marshal arts an became a Green Beret. That guy would practice on me and a friend of mine. He'd say if you don't fight back he'd hit you harder. I managed to wiggle my way out of it however. Later the guy went to jail for being an accessary ect. The guy was very dangerous in hand to hand combat.
MrDoughnut April 15, 2013 at 06:12 AM
Speaking of machine guns on helicopters one of them flew low over the house years ago an the marine had the rifle hanging down pointed at the ground in Iselin! The government use to use a helloport in the area. Years ago my sister called one day to tell me they were practicing on one of the office buildings.
MrDoughnut April 15, 2013 at 06:22 AM
According to the History channel Lincoln was good with his fists. Had Booth not had a gun Lincoln would of knocked him out and over the balcony.
MrDoughnut April 15, 2013 at 06:30 AM
Think about #15 it's a story on the table right now.
Tom C. April 15, 2013 at 11:36 AM
I was one of the last of the draftees.They were actually pulling guys out of the formation after checking they're birthdays after the law had passed. I had just turned 18 and was sent my report to duty letter. I was 18 in January and in South Vietnam by August!! Signed for an extra year to get the most out the service. Went to Aviation school. Didn't realize that also included learning to shoot a machine gun out the window of a helicopter. Didn't matter I wanted to do what was right!! I guess i watched to many John Wayne movies as a kid!!lol What I did doesn't matter anymore. There is a fresh crop of veterans coming home from Irag. Afganistan that need the help and support of the American people and the government!The news that comes from mainstream media is the junk the government wants to feed you... When the only thing you hear about is the Kardashians, tigers new girlfriend, and that some nut job who knifed, a bunch of people, or went on a gun rampage.. Keeping the people in a state of paranoia. then disarm them and we will become sheep.. We have the right to question the government, and the right to keep and bear arms.. My ancestry goes back to the civil war. I've been to reunions in Pennsylvania and have toured cemateries and have seen the markers on the graves of ancestors who have fought in these wars. Many people seem to forget that this country was built of a civilian Army where you were asked to pick up you're gun and go fight the English.To be continued!!
slyfox1961 April 15, 2013 at 03:16 PM
@John: you sound like a broken record. Yes, we are all sad aover the loss of life in Conn., but that state already has one of the toughest gun control laws on the books. The issue is not gun control, since the slaughter of life is already against the law. The issue is keeping deranged people off the streets. If this kid in Conn. did not have a gun, do you think he would have just stayed home that day and watched TV? No, he would have used a bomb, or started the school on fire with the doors chained from the outside, or some other means to inflict as much harm as possible. The reason he targeted a school is because it is a target rich environment that also happens to be "gun free."
rfm April 15, 2013 at 03:52 PM
You could join at 17 if a parent signed and gave his/her OK. You couldn't be sent into combat till you were 18. And the thing you are referring to, MrDoughnut, was called "fragging."
Joe R April 15, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Who the heck is calling for banning all guns? NO ONE in any position of power or influence. The Brady Campaign is NOT calling for banning all guns, though the right wingers and gun lovers tell all kinds of lies about them and those for gun control. I know this is a hard concept for the gun lovers but gun control does not mean banning all guns, not even close and not a slippery slope either. I am so sick of the fear mongering and sick paranoia of the gun worshippers. They love their guns no matter what, no matter how many bodies keep piling up. It's never about guns to these gun lovers, it's only about other things. Yes, we should address mental health, but the reactionaries who love guns don't want to spend any money on mental health or any kind of health... these are the guys who are against universal health care, Medicaid and Medicare. They want Medi-don'tcare.
Joe R April 15, 2013 at 04:13 PM
The 2nd Amendment is not some absolute right, it does not mean you can own any and every gun and take it wherever you want. Owning a gun may be a constitutional right but I think it's a privilege in a way because the 2nd Amendment doesn't obviate the need for being responsible with your guns and being held to account if you are stupid with your guns, irresponsible, reckless or careless. I am not even referring to criminals at this point, just regular law abiding folks who need to be responsible in their ownership of their guns.
slyfox1961 April 15, 2013 at 05:07 PM
@Joe R: why can't I own any type of gun I want to? Please explain that to me. I can own any type of car I want, yet I can run down people at will with said car. I don't, because I know that running down people is against the law. Every year we hear stories about nut cases in cars mowing down crowds of people, yet I do not recall seeing you opposing the right to own any type of car that we want to. The same applies to guns. Killing or injuring people with a gun is already against the law. And don't give me the BS that guns can inflict more damage faster than a car, because someone can take out alot of people with a large SUV or even a larger truck, both of which are capable of being driven straight into or through buildings.
Andrew K April 16, 2013 at 07:01 PM
If it is truly time to change the constitution do it do it legaly, let the chips fall where they may.Get it over with once and for all. LoL.
EnoughOfTheBull April 19, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Isn't it funny, we don't hear Joe R saying the 1st Amendment isn't some absolute right...If we interpreted the 1st Amendment the same way he interprets the 2nd, only the government would have modern media, and we the people of the United States would only have moveable type presses. Oh wait....

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