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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Armed Gun Rights Advocates Rally At Northwest Capitols

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Several hundred gun rights advocates – many of them armed – rallied at the Washington state Capitol Saturday. Their purpose was to protest any new gun control measures. Similar rallies were organized in Salem, Boise and Coeur d'Alene as part of the national 2nd Amendment event, Guns Across America.

In Olympia, some in the crowd carried signs like “Arm The Teachers” and “Guns Are Not The Problem.” Many carried guns: holstered on hips and slung over shoulders. Semi-automatic military type rifles were common. Scott Robertson wearing a Marine Corps hat had one, AR-15 style rifle.

That’s the gun used in the Newtown school shooting and others. Robertson opposes efforts to outlaw rifles like his or restrict the number of rounds as New York state just did.

“Whether you have a 30 round magazine or whether you have a handgun and a whole bunch of magazines with only 10 rounds if you reload really fast you’ll achieve the same results,” Robertson said.

Robertson says he’d like to see a focus on financial incentives to buy gun safes and efforts to improve mental health. A couple of counter protesters showed up too in support of new gun control measures. Washington Governor Jay Inslee last week called for “commonsense” solutions to gun violence.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."