Gun rights advocates hold rally at Capitol in Atlanta

Shawn Bagby (center) leads a group of people around the state Capitol during a gun rights rally Saturday, April 14, 2018. Approximately 80 people showed up for the rally. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

caption arrowCaption
Shawn Bagby (center) leads a group of people around the state Capitol during a gun rights rally Saturday, April 14, 2018. Approximately 80 people showed up for the rally. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Dozens of gun rights advocates gathered at the Capitol in Atlanta on Saturday for a rally that was expected to be one of the many held at state capitols across the nation to counter a recent wave of student-led protests against gun violence.

Organizers encouraged gun rights supporters to bring unloaded rifles to rallies at state capitols this weekend, pushing back against recent efforts that some see as a threat to the Second Amendment.

caption arrowCaption
Approximately 80 people showed up for a gun rights rally at the Georgia State Capital Saturday, April 14, 2018.  The event was among dozens planned at state capitols around the U.S. on Saturday. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Approximately 80 people showed up for a gun rights rally at the  Georgia State Capital Saturday, April 14, 2018.  The event was among dozens planned at state capitols around the U.S. on Saturday. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

caption arrowCaption
Approximately 80 people showed up for a gun rights rally at the Georgia State Capital Saturday, April 14, 2018.  The event was among dozens planned at state capitols around the U.S. on Saturday. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

A group called the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans spread word of the gatherings on social media. Organizers had permits for rallies Saturday outside 45 statehouses, said David Clayton, of West Virginia, one of the coalition's founders.

The rallies come less than three weeks after hundreds of thousands marched in Atlanta, Washington, New York and other U.S. cities to demand tougher gun laws after the February school shooting that killed 17 in Parkland, Florida.

caption arrowCaption
Shawn Zarbrook (right) waits for the start of the gun rights rally at the Georgia State Capital Saturday, April 14, 2018. Recent protests in the wake of the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shooting have led to concerns about the Second Amendment.  STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Shawn Zarbrook (right) waits for the start of the gun rights rally at the  Georgia State Capital Saturday, April 14, 2018. Recent protests in the wake of the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shooting have led to concerns about the Second Amendment.  STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

caption arrowCaption
Shawn Zarbrook (right) waits for the start of the gun rights rally at the Georgia State Capital Saturday, April 14, 2018. Recent protests in the wake of the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shooting have led to concerns about the Second Amendment.  STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Clayton said a new gun law in Florida and similar measures being considered in other states threaten the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

caption arrowCaption
David Moor holds up a flag at a gun rights rally at the state Capitol in Atlanta on Saturday, April 14, 2018.  STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

David Moor holds up a flag at a gun rights rally at the  state Capitol in Atlanta on Saturday, April 14, 2018.  STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

caption arrowCaption
David Moor holds up a flag at a gun rights rally at the state Capitol in Atlanta on Saturday, April 14, 2018.  STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer