Driving rain dampened the garments but not the passion when approximately 50 area residents, many openly carrying firearms, gathered in Meadville’s Diamond Park on Friday for the Second Amendment Open Carry Rally sponsored by area residents Darrell Sivik Sr., Michael Wagner and Jon Weber, all of the West Mead Township-based Braveheart Radio.
Before introducing Republican state Rep. Brad Roae, who Wagner described as “the only politician to take up the challenge to speak,” Wagner urged everyone present to be sure to wipe their muddy feet on the United Nations flag staked to the ground at the front of the gazebo before the ceremonial burning of the flag that formally ended the rally.
As clouds gathered and mist turned to rain, “I fully support the right of everyone to have their own opinions and express their opinions,” Roae said, reading from a seven-page speech.
“Several people have contacted me and expressed their opinions that elected officials should not attend events such as this,” Roae said. “They say that today’s event will be controversial and that I should not be here. Some of them have told me that if I come here today they will not ever vote for me again. They say today’s event will get really radical.
“Well, I have the right to have opinions also,” Roae continued. “Here is my opinion. Since when is speaking in support of a personal liberty that is protected by the Constitution radical? My opinion is that as an elected official, if I can choose between helping to protect our Constitutional rights or I can choose to just sit there and watch our rights vanish but get more votes, I’ll just have to deal with getting fewer votes. I do not think there are that many people who will vote against me because I support our freedoms.”
Those freedoms, which he described as being enumerated in both the U.S. Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution, include freedom to bear arms, to worship, to have a free press and to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Noting that it’s common for each level of government to complain about the other levels of government, “there is a very important point that I would like to remind everyone,” Roae said. “The states created the federal government. That’s right, there was no federal government and there was no country until the states formed a country. Since we made them, they need to do what we say. We do not have to do what they say, unless it is in the enumerated powers of the U.S. Constitution. The states wrote the list, the enumerated powers, of what the federal government was allowed to do ...”
Describing a bill he is sponsoring in the Pennsylvania House as prohibiting enforcement of new federal gun laws that violate the Bill of Rights, “We are sick of the federal government gradually chipping away at our rights,” Roae continued. “We made them, they did not make us.”
Warming up the crowd by pointing out that “the fighters at Valley Forge had to deal with a whole lot worse than this,” Weber told the assembled group that their presence sends a message. “Settle down, federal government, or you’re going to get a spanking,” he said.
Sivik agreed. “If the federal government continues to push, we will give them the spanking they deserve,” he told the group, noting that every one of the “traitors” attempting to restrict guns “will be gone.”
After those in attendance took the oath to support and defend the Constitution administered to elected officials, the burning of the United Nations flag began.
In 2009, Sivik, a former gunsmith, was released from federal prison, where he served almost four years after pleading guilty to 2004 charges of violating firearms laws by building unregistered machine guns for himself and others. Although he claimed the law under which he was charged was unconstitutional, chest pains that developed shortly after his arrest led to concerns that a court battle would aggravate what doctors believed was advanced heart disease.
A longtime organizer of public protests against tax increases and the United Nations, Sivik marked his return from prison by planning a march through Meadville in honor of Patriots Day in Massachusetts, which marks the first battles of the Revolutionary War.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.