ROANOKE, Va. – On Monday night, a Roanoke gun store hosted a town hall meeting to educate people on changes coming in the Commonwealth. SafeSide Tactical specifically called on gun owners to get up to speed on where the new gun proposals stand.
SafeSide co-owner Mitch Tyler said he wanted to separate fact from fiction. He also made educated guesses on what he thinks will happen in Richmond over the remainder of the session. They didn’t take questions like a traditional town hall, but people still opened their ears.
The standing-room-only crowd gathered in a backroom linked together by a common thread. They’re all gun owners and Tyler wants them all on the same page.
“The idea was to get gun owners in the room, let’s de-escalate a little of the rhetoric and let’s talk factually in Richmond, what’s happening in the state, what’s coming," Tyler said.
Many gun owners have spent their time away from the range fighting an uphill battle against gun control proposals coming out of Richmond. Tyler and two other pro-gun experts spoke, firearms attorney John Pierce spoke with a sharp tongue when he talked about the lawmakers in Richmond who support gun control bills.
“These people are not our friends, these people truly hate us, they hate our traditions, and so you need to know what needs to happen in order to maintain your rights," Pierce said.
Some in the crowd were surprised to learn just what bills are still alive and that they will likely become law. The presentation was an attempt to cut the static and make it clear exactly what people needed to know. Roanoke Valley gun owner Daryl Altizer said he thinks it was a message people needed to hear.
“It’s a whole lot of people not aware of it, and a lot of them have their head in a hole somewhere and they’re not paying attention to it," Altizer said.
Monday night’s class did not feature any sort of mass open carry demonstration like we saw at the rally in Richmond.
Tyler also called out some on his own side for sharing fake news on social media and taking things out of context, reminding people that cooler heads prevail.
“I think it delegitimizes some of our really good points, and from a pro-gun side a lot of times our message is lost in the sensational headline," Tyler said.
No one in the pro-gun control camp made themselves obviously known Monday night if they were in attendance. And those who support gun control continue to go full throttle on the gun bills still on the table.