Thousands turn out for gun rallies in Colorado, nationwide

DENVER - Thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully at state capitals across the U.S. on Saturday  to rally against stricter limits on firearms.

The size of crowds at each location varied -- from dozens of people in South Dakota to 2,000 in New York. The other largest crowds appeared to be in Tennessee and Texas.

About 1,000 people turned out for a pro-gun rally outside the Colorado State Capitol.

Many of the participants carried signs and waved American flags.

One of the signs said, "The right to bear arms is non negotiable." Another read, "If the 2nd falls, the rest will too."

State Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, spoke at the Denver rally.

"What we're seeing here today is people from around the metro area, the front range, to express their support for the Second Amendment.  We see the Second Amendment as a God-given right."

Later, Holbert addressed the crowd.

"The Second Amendment serves as a defense against tyranny and I will not compromise on that issue," Holbert said.

Justin Durnford, who was waving a Tea Party flag, said people should be able to have the weapons they choose to protect themselves and their families

The rallies were held at state capitals across America on Saturday.

Activists have promoted the "Guns Across America" rallies primarily via social media. They're being held days after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of gun-control proposals.

In Arizona and Oregon, some demonstrators came with holstered handguns or rifles on their backs. At the Kentucky Capitol, attendees gave a special round of applause for "the ladies that are packin'."

An estimated 600 people turned out for Saturday speeches in Austin, Texas. Many are carrying signs with messages such as "An Armed Society is a Polite Society" and "The Second Amendment Comes from God."

Saturday was also the first national "Gun Appreciation Day."  

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