East Texans gathered at Lock & Load Indoor Shooting Range in Tyler to participate in the first National Gun Appreciation Day, which falls roughly a month after the Sandy Hook tragedy and just days after President Obama signed 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence.
"The way they're going especially against the Constitution, the Second Amendment, our forefathers thought enough of this to make it a Second Amendment. Also, the second in the Bill of Rights and I believe it's that important to stand up for it and make sure it doesn't get taken away from us," said Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith, who attended the event.
President Obama's proposals for curbing gun violence include a ban on military-style assault weapons like the one used in Newtown, they would renew a 10 round limit on the size of ammunition magazines and require background checks on all gun sales.
"In my 22 years with ATF and my 35 years in law enforcement, I have never once had trouble with any legal owner of a machine gun; not one time in 35 years. So that tells me, it's not the firearm, it's the individual," Sheriff Smith said.
"The Second Right Amendment does not hinge on the fact that someone wants to take our guns away; it's hinged on the fact that we are guaranteed in this country a republican government that stands on the constitution we were given. Not a living document, not a changing document, unless we the people change it by amendment," said Gun Day Appreciation attendee, Lee Mallard.
Several of those who attended the event headed over to a Tyler Gun Show at Harvey Hall Convention Center, where the line stretched around the parking lot.
"I've never seen the line this long before," said Jason Ormiston.
"Everybody is afraid of the government and what's going to happen, so they'd rather have and be prepared than to not have anything at all or to find they've run short on supplies," Ormiston explained.
President Obama's gun control proposals include legislative proposals that need to be acted on by Congress while some the president can do on his own.
The most controversial of the gun control proposals, like the ban on military style assault weapons, will have to go to Congress first, making it through the House and Senate before those bans can be passed.