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Gun control proposals spark showdown in Harrisburg

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 22 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 24 2013 06:17:50 AM CST

It was a showdown at Pennsylvania's state capitol in Harrisburg.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

It was a showdown at Pennsylvania's Capitol in Harrisburg.

Two sides were fired up over a raging gun debate. Dueling rallies were held Wednesday, hoping to attract the attention of state lawmakers.          

Inside the Capitol, CeaseFirePA was gunning for action and demanding for what they called, "common sense gun laws."

"We think gun violence is out of hand and we don't want to see people die," said Kyle Bostian, who wants to see some controls so guns don't fall into the wrong hands.

Outside the Capitol, Pennsylvania Responsible Citizens defended the right to defend themselves.

"To me, the gun is an ultimate symbol of freedom," said Tom Coulson, who wants the Second Amendment protected.

"Don't Punish Law Abiding Citizens" and "Demand Action Now" were two of many signs visible during the local debate over gun control. The rallies come amidst the aftermath of the massacre last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"We've seen a lot of energy since Newtown and a lot of concern that people want to see something done," said Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA.

Goodman called it a day of action to fight gun violence. Hundreds gathered as victims told their personal stories of heartbreak.

An hour before, gun supporters vowed to fight to protect the second amendment.

At the center of the gun rallies, Pennsylvania's largest outdoor gun show scheduled to start Feb. 2 in Harrisburg. Many praised the show for banning the display and sale of assault weapons, but gun enthusiasts called for a boycott.

"I'm really proud of those organizations, manufacturers and retailers that have pulled out," said one gun supporter.

Last week, President Obama issued an executive order banning assault weapons and strengthening penalties for illegal gun trafficking.

Gun control is in the spotlight, and both sides said this is only the beginning. One side argued it is time to trigger change, while the called for enforcement of current laws, not new ones.