A U.S. Senate candidate has scheduled long-gun rallies this month in York, Chester and Lancaster – part of a plan to hold such a gathering in every S.C. county.
Rallies are scheduled for noon Aug. 13 at the York County Courthouse in downtown York and 2 p.m. the same day at the Chester County Courthouse in downtown Chester. A rally is scheduled for noon Aug. 27 at the Lancaster County Courthouse in downtown Lancaster.
Bill Bledsoe, the candidate of the Constitution and Libertarian parties, said the demonstrations are designed to promote freedom and train residents and police departments on how to work together to protect their rights under the law.
“We’re letting people know that we have a problem with government taking our rights,” Bledsoe said. “And it’s not just guns. Guns are just one of the visual rights that a lot of people are aware of, that the government’s trying take our guns over and over. It’s also our right to property ownership, and our right to freedom from searches, our right to a free economy. These are all being destroyed by the governments, state and federal.”
Bledsoe, a veterinarian in Spartanburg, plans to have a rally in every county in South Carolina. The rallies started in Pickens and Oconee counties last month and will end in Beaufort County.
Turnouts so far have been small, Bledsoe said, but it is important to “teach everyone how frail our freedoms are.”
Bledsoe said he communicates with police in advance of the rallies. As a courtesy to law enforcement, he asks attendees to keep their long guns shouldered, leave the breaches open, empty and without magazines.
“They make little bright blocks that you can put in there so the police know they’re empty and the breach is open,” Bledsoe said.
Those with concealed weapons permits are asked to conceal carry. People can also sign up for a drawing to win an AR-15 and take a picture of themselves holding an actual American Revolution-era Brown Bess musket.
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