Gun owners rally for their rights

Published 01/19 2014 09:19PM

Updated 01/20 2014 03:55PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah)-There were gunshots at the Utah State Capitol Sunday, but this was no crime scene. Gun owners were rallying for their rights.

Organizers called it a rally for 2nd and 4th amendment rights; the right to bear arms and avoid unreasonable search and seizure. They’re also in favor of the so called stand your ground laws-and suggestions that those be repealed are what really have them up in arms.

Mitch Vilos, who refers to himself as “Utah’s Gun Law Attorney” punctuated his remarks to the crowd by firing blanks into the air on the Capitol steps.

“The reason states passed stand your ground is they didn’t want their citizens being shot in the back during the required legal retreat,” Vilos told ABC 4 News. “It’s a good principle. It hasn’t been a problem. I’ve never had a prosecutor here in Utah complain about it. It’s just another nail in the coffin of somebody who is defending himself legally.”

“There is a huge misconception out there that’s being pushed basically saying that everybody should have to retreat,” State Representative Curtis Oda (R-District 14) said. “Well, why should the good guy have to retreat? The bad guy, if they’re the ones causing the problem, they should have to leave, not the good guy.”

This is more than just constitutional theory for Preston Maurer. In 2008, the Sandy native was shot during a robbery in Arizona.

"A kid got out of the backseat of the car, put a gun to my face and robbed me,” Maurer said. “When I got the gut feeling that said this guy is going to do something, he’s going to kill you. I took action. I hit him with the longboard and tackled him. It was at that point he put the gun against my back and pulled the trigger.”

Now from his wheelchair Preston says it should be legal to carry a gun in Utah, concealed or not.

“We need to become a constitutional carry state because that allows the playing field to be equaled. Criminals are going to be carrying concealed, loaded and ready to fire at any point in time, “ Maurer said. “Why should I be hindered to protect myself? I should be able to conceal carry ready for a situation that happened to me. That actually happened to me. I don’t know if that’s going to happen again and I surely don’t want it to happen to anyone else that I love and care about or anyone else in general.”

The rally took place after a deadly week of gun violence here in Utah. Eight people, including four children were killed in two separate murder-suicides in the past seven days.

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