Rallying support: Candidates show defense of gun owners at Ottawa Sportsman’s Club

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Upper Peninsula residents gather in the Ottawa Sportsmen’s Club meeting hall to show their support of the Second Amendment.

PELKIE — People from across the western Upper Peninsula gathered at the Ottawa Sportsmen’s Club to rally and show support for gun ownership on Saturday. Several candidates running for the 110th District State House of Representatives. seat and the 38th District State Senate seat spoke to show their support for Second Amendment rights.

“It says ‘the people’s right shall not be infringed,’ and that should be the end of the argument,” Kirk Schott said,  speaking to a crowd of around 50 people.

Schott is running for the 110th District Representative seat being vacated by term-limited Scott Dianda this November. Schott’s opponents in the Aug. 7 Republican primary election, Brady Tervo, Greg Markkanen and Keith LaCosse, also stood to voice their support of gun ownership rights.

“I get out and shoot as often as I can,” Markkanen said.

LaCosse stood to speak with his AR-15 slung on his back.

“This is not an ‘assault rifle.’ It has never assaulted anyone,” he said, holding it up.

LaCosse promised to sponsor and support pro-gun legislation if elected.

“We need to keep the majority, otherwise we’re going to be looking at gun-grabs,” he said.

He also voiced support for arming school teachers and greater mental health support for students.

According to organizers of the event, Ken Summers, the only Democrat currently running for the 110th District Representative seat, was invited but couldn’t attend. Dianda, now the only Democrat running for the 38th District Senate seat, did attend to show his support, though.

“The only reason we’re free in this country is because we can defend ourselves,” he said.

Dianda co-chairs the Second Amendment Caucus in Lansing. His Republican opponents, Ed McBroom and Mike Carey, also attended the rally.

“It’s all about enjoying the outdoors,” Carey said, showing off the engraved, lever-action .22 rifles that he gives to his grandchildren.

McBroom is not only concerned with keeping guns and training with them for home defense, but also fighting overreach by government agencies.

“Passing laws is critical,” he said.

McBroom felt those laws are what limits the power of government bureaucracy.

The National Rifle Association was also represented at the event by Suzanne Anglewicz.

“We rely on our members,” she said. “They’re engaged, they’re educated, they know what’s at stake.”

Members from the Delta County Gun Owners Association also traveled to show their support for pro-gun candidates.

“All your constitutional rights rest on the shoulders of the Second Amendment,” said the group’s cofounder, Bob Petersen. “So many people think that the government gives us the right to bear arms, but it’s the people that give the government the right to exist.”