OLYMPIA, Wash. - About 200 people attended a pro-gun rally at the Washington state Capitol on Saturday.
Event organizer "2nd Enforcers" had said it was expecting more than 2,000 at the Saturday event.
Most of those present were armed with long guns slung over shoulders or holstered handguns. Many carried signs critical of President Obama and defending gun ownership. One held aloft an upside-down American flag.
"Usually, we're up here debating issues. To see people walking through with guns is a bit odd," said lobbyist Jim Richards.
But it is legal.
A check of the legislative agenda shows at least 30 firearms-related bills, ranging from background checks, to allowing teachers to have guns at school.
While those debates begin Monday, gun advocates wanted to make sure House representatives could see them on Saturday.
Rally attendees cheered speeches telling of a "progressive conspiracy," warning against allowing children to become "slaves of the government" and citing Nazi Germany and contemporary Australia as cautionary tales of a disarmed citizenry.
Multiple speakers encouraged those assembled to keep posting pro-gun sentiments on Facebook even if people unfriend them.
Rep. Jamie Pedersen is one of the main sponsors of House Bill 1588, which requires stricter background checks for gun sales.
"We're worried that people, because they're convicted felons or mentally ill or subject to protection orders, have an easy loophole to get a gun," he said.