Second Amendment Celebration

People support gun rights during a Second Amendment Celebration on Saturday at Town Square. The gathering was organized by Robert Benedict, originally from Northampton, England, for the second year to be a “celebration of freedoms and rights we have here in the U.S. — sometimes they’re overlooked.”

For several hours Saturday, amid the buzz of the downtown Farmer’s Market, Second Amendment enthusiasts hoisted signs, waved American flags and served up slices of “freedom cake” on Jackson Town Square.

“It was a fairly innocuous jamboree of the second amendment,” organizer Robert Benedict said. “It really was a celebration of America and what our Founding Fathers set out to do.”

This is the second summer Benedict has coordinated the gathering. Benedict said the reception to the Second Amendment event in Town Square was positive, receiving mostly honks and thumbs up.

“It’s really to show that this community here in Jackson Hole loves America and supports the rights that we hold so dearly,” he said.

The same weekend at least 31 people died in mass shootings at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday and at a nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday — tragedies that spurred calls for action for stricter gun legislation. According to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, so far 2019 has seen 253 mass shootings (determined as a gun-related incident involving at least four people injured or killed), resulting in 276 deaths and 1,054 injuries.

For some in the community the shootings coinciding with the Town Square gathering struck a chord. Vance Carruth said he was “disturbed right to his core” that the Jackson Hole rally took place almost simultaneously with the shootings.

“The irony, of course, for me was it was happening about the same time as this terrible tragedy was taking place somewhere else,” Carruth said. “It was like, this is Jackson Hole. Somehow that really got to me.”

For Benedict, a naturalized citizen who came from Great Britain, the right to bear arms and the violence in Texas and Ohio aren’t connected. He said his heart goes out to the victims and their families.

“I’m not too sure the two are connected,” Benedict said. “We’re talking about people who unfortunately have committed crimes, and this is a celebration of law-abiding citizens.”

He said access to guns is only one factor to consider, and Hollywood’s glorification of violence, video games and mental illness also should be considered in the wake of shootings.

“There are no law-abiding criminals,” Benedict said. “If people want to get their hands on guns in countries they’re banned, they will ... People will find ways of creating acts of terror regardless of what they can get their hands on.”

Carruth, on the other hand, has seen an urgent need for gun control legislation since the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012.

“I am extremely disappointed in what is going on in Washington right now,” he said. “It’s tearing me up inside. I’ve been sick for days now, inside. I can’t sleep, I can’t do anything. It’s crazy that we should be allowing this kind of thing to go on.”

Contact Allie Gross at 732-7063 or

Allie Gross covers Teton County government. Originally from the Chicago area, she joined the News&Guide in 2017 after studying politics and Spanish at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

(5) comments

Steven Kardas

Chad if you were censored I am very interested in what you posted. Please re-post and change the wording so it is more political "correct" .

Steven Kardas

Thank you Mr Culver for doing the research and pointing out the manipulation of information about school shootings to make the situation appear to be an epidemic. Lets call the intentional manipulation of data what it is. It is lying to the public. Lying to the public is now a standard operating procedure for most important issues facing Americans. We are fed disinformation because the truth will destroy the particular narrative. That said , I want to point out one more time the real epidemic of violence in our country in our urban areas. These areas that have the most restrictive gun laws, are rampant with constant daily shooting, killings and wounding. The media response is a big "yawn". The laws are a joke. It boggles the mind why the citizens of these places put up with it.

bob culver

Two points

In the above article the writer, Allie Gross, chose to include the following “statistic”. “According to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, so far 2019 has seen 253 mass shootings (determined as a gun-related incident involving at least four people injured or killed), resulting in 276 deaths and 1,054 injuries.”

In reporting statistics on this issue, there are several definitions and several sources that can be cited. Some are pushing an anti-gun agenda, but some are trying to be comprehensive and reliable, without an agenda. In my pending response to a Letter to the Editor from Wednesday, “Guns and freedom and death”, I presented the following regarding this problem.

------- begin ------

But lets start with statistics and the figures they are based on. A common refrain is that figures can lie and liars can figure, or in other words “if you torture statistics enough you can get them to say anything”. The statistics offered in the next paragraph illustrate these observations. The letter said, “These were the 250th and 251st mass shootings in the United States this year.” I believe this is an example of a wildly distorted “Statistic”, something you can often find in reports from groups or individuals who have an ax to grind against gun ownership. Here is a bit of news about such statistics.

Following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, 2018, Everytown (an anti-gun group) stated that the shooting was the 18th school shooting of the year. That was a statistic the Washington Post called "flat wrong". The instance Everytown counted as the first school shooting of the year regarded a 31-year-old man's suicide in the parking lot of a Michigan school that had been closed for seven months. Another instance regarded a third-grader pressing the trigger on an officer's holstered weapon, where the firearm discharged to the floor. Everytown's basis for a school shooting is defined as "any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds". USA Today reported that the "real number" of school shootings since January 1, 2018, was six. By TIME's standards, the number was only four. The group's definition of a "school shooting" was also challenged in 2014 when Everytown claimed there had been 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook.

Defining a mass shooting has similar problems and we can speculate that the 251st mass shooting claim came from Everytown. That group is said to be a movement of anti-gun activists claiming to be Americans working to end gun violence. Other similar groups operate under names like, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America / Mayors Against Illegal Guns / Students Demand Action / Etc. Here is where they came from.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) was formed in April 2006 during a summit hosted by mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City. In April 2014, MAIG merged with Moms Demand Action to form Everytown for Gun Safety. Most similar orginazations have a common thread, one called Michael Bloomberg.

Considering the evidence that the several anti-gun sources may have been inflating the

statistics, we suggest you consult with Crime Prevention Research Center at their web site and then download the /2019/07/Mass-Public-Shooting-List spread sheet at that site.

------- end -------

At least investigate the statistics you choose to cite, back check the validity of what is being given to you and look at any contradictory data.

Second, there are some quotes from Vance Carruth, some quite emotional quotes indicating the fear he experienced regarding the Second Amendment Celebration. Was he at the event and spoke of his feelings at the event to the photographer/reporter who was there? Or was this an after event telephone interview, the writer reaching out to someone to speak from the opposition, based on learning about the event? I know who Mr. Carruth is and what he looks like. I did not see him in the Two hours I was there. I only wish he had spoken to me, I could have assuaged his fear, perhaps a fear of the unknown regarding firearms and our reason for celebrating our freedom. As a firearm instructor this often something I am called on to do.

Bob Culver

Ken Chison

Well written Bob. You can expect to be deleted from the comment section, for not meeting news and guides agenda.

Steven Kardas

The mother of the El Paso killer called the police weeks before the murders and expressed concern that her son was lacking emotional maturity owning a firearm. Nothing was done.....The 2 killers at the Columbine school were reported to police by parents who's kids were threatened by them. Nothing was done.....Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland school killer, had more red flags than Bernie Sanders front lawn. Nothing was done... The Virginia Tech killer was judged to be a danger by psychiatrists and students and faculty feared him, nothing was done....

Russian authorities contacted the FBI and the CIA at least twice with warnings about the Boston marathon bombers. Nothing was done.....And of course the constant mass murders, every day by gangs, using firearms in Chicago and all our urban centers. once again, nothing is done. even though the identity of the perpetrators is well known by both the police and the citizenry.

In these cases and others, there is an appalling failure to react to warnings and to obvious danger.. We need to make some changes not more "gun control" laws that will not prevent the evil and unstable among us from killing.

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