March 8, 2014, BUCKS COUNTY – Tomorrow, March 9, CeaseFirePA, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and local groups like Bucks Safe are hosting a peaceful event to greet the Sandy Hook Riders Team 26, a group of cyclists riding in memory of the victims of gun violence and calling for stronger gun laws. For the last week, pro-gun organization Concerned Gun Owners of America had been planning a counter-protest and blatantly trying to intimidate supporters to avoid this event. Members of the group took to social media posting plans to carry firearms and shout through megaphones at the peaceful gathering, but gun violence prevention advocates were not intimidated. Late Friday, Concerned Gun Owners announced they were canceling their counter-protest.
“Their strategy has been to come to gun violence prevention events carrying military style assault weapons in the hopes of bullying us into silence,” said Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA. “We hope our perseverance and determination to hold our event has convinced them that their tactics will not work.”
Sandy Hook Ride on Washington is a bike ride to honor victims of gun violence and to call attention to the need for commonsense gun reform at the federal and state levels to reduce violence and save lives. The cyclists will stop in Buckingham Township Sunday where supporters will greet them with ringing bells and cheers of encouragement.
In the past, members of Concerned Gun Owners of America have disrupted gun violence prevention events, confronted peaceful volunteers and openly carried assault rifles and other weapons in violation of local laws. This week the group organized a phone campaign demanding that Central Bucks High School West withdraw as host of the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington event. Their tactics involved mischaracterizing the organizations involved and the nature of the event. We don’t fault the school for wanting to avoid having gun-toting bullies on its campus, but we regret that such bullying tactics worked. However, Trinity Episcopal Church has welcomed the bike riders and our members, understanding that peaceful Pennsylvanians talking about how to keep our communities safe is an event worth supporting. Having failed to ruin the event, the pro-gun group capitulated and canceled their rally.
“We will not be intimidated by lies, bullies and so called ‘good guys with guns,’” Goodman said. “Any teacher knows that bullies try to intimidate people because they’re insecure. This is a satisfying victory for the gun violence prevention movement in Bucks County and across Pennsylvania.”
The 26 cyclists of Sandy Hook Ride on Washington will stop at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2631 Durham Road in Buckingham Twp. between 4:00 and 5:00 PM on Sunday, March 9, 2014. “We thank the Trinity Episcopal community for their courage and moral fortitude,” Goodman said. “We also thank our partner groups, the volunteers and the organizers for their hard work on this event.”