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Gun Rights Activists' "Day of Resistance" on Feb. 23, Honoring .223 Weapon

Activists for gun rights are planning a "day of resistance" on February 23, a day chosen because of its resemblance in numbers to the .223 assault weapon cartridges used in the Sandy Hook and Aurora massacres. 

The date was said to have been chosen as a "clever way to attract the gun crowd," but organizers deny it is insensitive to the recent shootings. 

February 23rd will include rallies by Tea Party activists and pro-gun campaigners. It is a response to the 23 executive orders Obama introduced, orders which many gun activists find "unconstitutional."

Bans on assault weapons have been contemplated after the Sandy Hook shooting, where a .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle was used. Bans were also considered after the Aurora theater shootings, where an AR-15 using .223 cartridges was used. 

An event organizer, Dustin Stockton, said the date wasn't chosen to capitalize on the shootings. "This is not something that is aimed at that at all. It's not a reaction to those events specifically at all," he said. "Everybody feels terrible for those families, but this is really a message to Washington, and is separate from those events."

"It wasn't intended in any way to connect with any weapons used by any crazy people."

When he was asked if people might make the connection, he said he could understand how they could but that the connection is not real. 

"The gun-grabbing crowd is going to be critical of this no matter what we call it. If we concern ourselves with trying to please everyone, we'll never be able to take any action," he said. 

He said it's just a date that will draw gun owners in. "It's just kind of a clever way to incorporate and brand, to really attract the second amendment crowd and the gun crowd, because they'll all recognize that .223 is the 22 caliber." 

Stockton also believes that the day might have a larger turn out than the Tea Party wave in 2009. 

"We're actually seeing an entirely new crowd of people who weren't politically active at all," he said. "All of a sudden they hear the debate move to guns. We're seeing a lot of people who are outdoorsmen, who probably didn't vote in the last election, or in the last two elections."

"From the response that we've been getting we believe this is actually going to be larger than the Tea Party wave in 2009. We have this whole new group who are involved, and the second amendment is really a unifying issue for a lot of Americans, Republicans, independents and even moderate Democrats."

Tiffany Rueger, of Women Warriors PAC, said that the recent massacres have nothing to do with the guns. 

"They are crimes of an individual who chose a gun as their weapon. People who kill will kill with a gun, a knife, or anything else they create. Enacting more bans on guns will not stop bad people - it will leave good people unprotected. If bans on things were successful, there would not be drug users."


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