Portland cookout stresses gun rights
Public park event draws 75 backers, some protesters

By David Sharp
The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine — About 75 gun rights supporters — most of them wearing side arms — gathered in a public park to exercise their Second Amendment rights Sunday, enjoying hamburgers and hot dogs as joggers trotted by and a small group of demonstrators gathered nearby. Shane Belanger, a University of Southern Maine student who organized the display of guns, which included a machine gun mounted on a jeep, said the aim wasn’t to frighten anyone. Instead, he said, the goal was simply to show that people have a constitutional right to bear arms.
“A right unexercised is a right lost,” Belanger said as the gas grill warmed up on a sunny afternoon.
“We’re law-abiding citizens just having a barbecue.”Dave Nelson of Gorham brought his restored olive drab 1951 Willys jeep with an operable .30-caliber machine gun mounted in the back and a box of ammunition. He said he doesn’t like what’s happening in the country when it comes to work ethic and government intrusion into people’s lives.

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