Critics blast 'appalling' speaker invited to 'family-friendly' Hillsborough gun rally

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ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Saturday, July 21, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NC (WTVD) -- Saturday's Orange County Second Amendment Rally is being advertised on Facebook as a family-friendly event, a chance to jumpstart a dialogue about guns. Critics got one look at the guest list and said they were beyond skeptical. They were appalled.

"I hope about 300 people will attend," said rally co-organizer Ashley Campbell. "We may be quiet-but-law-abiding gun owners, there's a lot of us here."

She said she hopes to provide a platform for people to show their support for the Second Amendment and private gun ownership among residents in Orange County and beyond.

"But also to do it in a way that would hopefully at the event and in the future help facilitate a dialogue between people with different views," Campbell said.

The group Hillsborough Progressives Taking Action is denouncing the event. They say not because of the gun-rights slant but because of the list of invited speakers.

Mark Robinson is the most well-known face scheduled to speak. He went viral in April when he addressed the Greensboro City Council over a debate on whether to cancel a gun show there.

But Robinson's Facebook posts have been blasted as hate speech. He called the teenage survivors turned activists of the Parkland massacre, "silly little immature media prosti-tots." And he posted a cover photo of a transgender child, describing it as "demonic."

"Appalling, yes appalling that anyone would choose someone that has those views as their guest speaker to align themselves with," said Tina Partner of HPTA.

Rally organizers say they may have different stances than Robinson on separate issues, but they're united with him on gun rights - which is all he is scheduled to speak about.

"Mark Robinson will be here just to talk about his support for the Second Amendment. He will not be expressing his views on other issues," Campbell said.

HPTA doesn't buy it.

"That is not good enough for us. That is not good enough for anyone in HPTA. No, no, inclusiveness for everyone," Partner said. "Speeches of hate, no, not OK."

HPTA says it is not planning to confront rally-goers face-to-face in any kind of counter-protest. Rally-goers are being asked to leave their guns at home. State and local laws prohibit firearms at rallies and on county property. But people are encouraged to wear their empty gun holsters in solidarity with the cause.