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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."

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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