(Reuters) – Pro-gun activists plan rallies in 49 states at “high noon” on Saturday to support the right to own firearms they say is under attack from President Barack Obama’s proposals to reduce gun violence.
The rallies, to be held mostly at state capitals, were being organized by a group called Guns Across America that was launched by Texas airline pilot Eric Reed.
The U.S. debate over gun control flared in mid-December when a man killed 20 first graders and six adults in a matter of minutes at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, using an assault rifle.
In the wake of the mass killing, Obama and gun control advocates have begun a push to ban assault weapons. A number of other states have taken up gun legislation and New York, which had among the strictest gun control laws in the country, broadened its ban on assault weapons on Tuesday.
Obama also called for a ban on high-capacity magazines and more stringent background checks for gun purchasers.
Gun control advocates say American civilians have no justifiable need for assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, and they say more background checks will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals.