Opponents of gun control staged their own smaller rallies in Boston and Salt Lake City.
Tensions over guns seemed to converge in Salt Lake City, where a gun rights march kicked off just minutes before a gun control march.
The gun rights rally drew hundreds of people, many carrying signs — “AR-15s EMPOWER the people,” one said.
Brandon McKee was one of the many people with pistols on their hips. His daughter Kendall, 11, held a sign: “Criminals love gun control.”
Mr. McKee said of the Washington marchers: “I believe it’s their goal to unarm America, and that’s why we’re here today. We’re not going to stand idly by and let them tell us what we can and cannot do.”
As the gun rights advocates set off toward the Capitol, some began to heckle a gun control advocate, Linda Peer, 67, who had infiltrated the march line.
“She’s not a true American!” one man yelled. “Shame on you!” the group chanted at her.
In Boston, a clutch of Second Amendment supporters gathered in front of the Statehouse with signs that said, “Come and take it.”
“We believe in the Second Amendment,” said Paul Allen, 62, a retired construction worker who lives in Salisbury, Mass. “You people will interpret it the way you want and we’ll interpret it for what it is — that law-abiding citizens who are true patriots have the right to bear arms.”
Mr. Allen described supporters of gun control as “ignorant sheep who are being spoon-fed by liberal teachers.”
“They haven’t read the Constitution and they don’t know what it means,” he said.
Gun rights organizations were mostly quiet about the demonstrations on Saturday. A spokesman for the N.R.A. did not answer several emails requesting comment.
On the eve of the march, Colion Noir, a host on NRATV, an online video channel produced by the gun group, lashed out at the Parkland students, saying that “no one would know your names” if someone with a weapon had stopped the gunman at their school.
“These kids ought to be marching against their own hypocritical belief structures,” he said in the video, adding, “The only reason we’ve ever heard of them is because the guns didn’t come soon enough.”
Demonstrators gathered in gun-friendly states.
In places where gun control is less popular, demonstrators pooled together, trying to show that support for their cause extends beyond large, predominantly liberal cities.
In Vermont, a rural state with a rich hunting culture and some of the nation’s weakest gun laws, marchers gathered at the Capitol in Montpelier. Organizers hoped that thousands would turn out by the end of the day — an ambitious goal in a city of 7,500 people.
“I hope the national march is going to be impactful, but at least we know state by state that we can make change,” said Madison Knoop, a college freshman who organized the rally.
In Dahlonega, Ga., several hundred people gathered outside a museum, a surprising show of strength for gun control in an overwhelmingly conservative region.
“We’re going to be the generation that takes down the gun lobby,” Marisa Pyle, 20, said through a megaphone.
Ms. Pyle, a student at the University of Georgia and an organizer of Saturday’s rally in Lumpkin County, challenged critics of the demonstrations across the country.
“I’m starting to think they just want to shut us up because they’re scared of what we have to say,” Ms. Pyle said.
Young people were scattered in a crowd dominated by people in middle age and older. There were few signs of counterprotesters. But as Ms. Pyle led a roll call of the Stoneman Douglas victims, a man in a passing vehicle yelled: “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
Source Article from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/24/us/march-for-our-lives.html