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Resident to open carry group: Go educate Windsor Farms about guns

Posted at 5:39 PM, Oct 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-06 19:05:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A group of men who have been carrying assault-style rifles throughout parts of Richmond were back on the streets on Saturday.

The Right To Bear Arms Richmond's "Freedom Walk," passed by Creighton Court, one of Richmond's public housing neighborhoods, on Saturday.

olds

Creighton Court Tenant Council President Marilyn Olds

Several residents, like Creighton Court Tenant Council President Marilyn Olds, said they do not want the  group brandishing weapons in their backyard.

"Why would you come out here where we are to promote that we should have a gun?” Olds asked. "We hear gunshots seven days a week -- day or night. We don't need anybody coming through this property walking through with guns.

The Creighton Court resident is taking aim at more than just the violence in the area, but also the gun rights group.

"We are working on having a peaceful community to get rid of the guns, especially the illegal ones. We have enough of those out here,” Olds warned.

Organizers told CBS 6 reporter Sandra Jones that will march carrying unloaded rifles and other firearms from 33rd and Clay streets in Church Hill to Nine Mile Road, which is just outside Creighton Court .

The group said the demonstration's mission is to educate the public about their Constitutional rights, including the second amendment.

Phillip Van Cleave

Virginia Citizens Defense League President Phillip Van Cleave

"The idea isn't to remind criminals that they can kill each other, but to remind good people that they don't have to be subject necessarily to be murdered by these bad guys,” Virginia Citizens Defense League President Phillip Van Cleave said.

Van Cleave, who is not taking part in Saturday's march, argued that display will not promote more violence.

"I don't see that. In fact, if the bad guys know that a lot of the people that were disarmed before are now potentially able to protect themselves, they might think twice before making victims out of decent law-abiding people,” Van Cleave said.

Some people stopped to engage the group, but others were not so welcoming to the men who walked through the streets with their guns visibly strapped to their sides.

"I mean it`s pretty intimidating and it`s for no reason. You`re walking through a friendly neighborhood," said one woman.

Dean Starook was not happy about the march through his Church Hill neighborhood.

“It`s not necessary. Where were they in 1989 when bullets were flying and bodies were dropping? Nobody was here then,” Starook said. “What are they trying to educate us about? We know about guns. Why don`t they go walking through Windsor Farms or some other wealthy neighborhood? We don`t need this.”opencarrymap

CBS 6 News asked the organizer for an interview, but he and the group declined to speak on camera.

“When I talked to them I could see that they are regular people like you and me,” Darius Rattley said. “I think people should be able to do that.”

The gun owners did not  elaborate on why they chose Church Hill and Creighton Court, but as they handed out flyers and explained to neighbors they were there to educate people about their Constitutional rights.

The walk ended in front of the Creighton Court public housing complex without any incidents. And though the group was met with some raised eyebrows and stares – some neighbors said they had no problem with the group openly carrying assault-style weapons.

Richmond's Redevelopment and Housing Authority sent a letter to housing commissioners and Creighton Court’s Tenant Council president, along with her staff alerting them of Saturday's march. RRHA said it is legal for the group to carry the weapons into the neighborhood. However, Richmond police officers and federal officials were on hand to ensure the march remains peaceful.

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