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As Long as We Remember...

Organizer Corrects Columnist on Forum Report

May 3, 2013

Boyce Rensberger

Steven Berryman promulgates several falsehoods about the meeting on reducing gun violence that I helped organize in Urbana on April 27.

--Our meeting was NOT advertised as being an open-microphone event.

--Both senators did NOT "find an excuse" to leave at 11 A.M. They left as scheduled because we had set the first hour of the meeting to focus on the new state law and the second to focus on the federal situation. That was made clear in the (Frederick) News-Post article in advance of the meeting and it was repeated by the moderator at the beginning of the program. Anybody who was paying attention should not have been surprised.

--It did NOT deteriorate into "chaos" after an hour or become "almost a riot." There were shouts and laughter from the gunners in the standing-room-only crowd. But nobody even so much as rose from a chair except to ask a question or to make a statement. And the people standing never advanced on the speakers.

--Sheriff's deputies were NOT present. There was one fire marshal armed with nothing more than a tally counter who said he came because Sheriff (Chuck) Jenkins reportedly had called for a thousand pro-gun people to come to the meeting to vent their frustration with the new state law. The community room at the Urbana library was rated for no more than 132.

I can assure readers that the organizers of the meeting Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence and Organizing for Action were quite pleased with how things went. We were high-fiving one another after it was over.

We were afraid that only supporters of our cause would be in attendance, but thanks to the efforts of the other side and Mr. Jenkins, our audience was about two-thirds opposed to the new law. We saw this as an excellent opportunity to inform and educate people who were frightened by the law, often on the basis of knowing very little about it.

Anybody who wants to see photographic evidence of the chaos or near riot is welcome to look at our Facebook page here.

Boyce Rensberger Press Liaison for Organizing for Action

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