Gun rights rally planned for Saturday
Organizers of a pro-gun rights rally scheduled for Saturday say many supporters plan on legally and openly carrying guns. The rally is happening on the same day as the first Dane County Farmers' market of the season.
The rally is being organized by the local chapter of The National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans.
"We want to celebrate our right to bear arms and we kind of like want to be an outreached hand to the community. We don't want to be intimidating in any way,” said Thomas Leager, National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans Wisconsin organizer.
Leager said a few hundred people are expected to attend, many of them openly carrying a gun. It is legal to openly carry a gun on the Wisconsin State Capitol grounds.
"It's just one of the things that we want to celebrate our rights and kind of help inform the public," Leager said.
Some farmers' market vendors are concerned about how the rally could impact safety and business.
Jennifer Patrello, a manager at Stella’s Bakery said they will not be at the market this weekend because of the weather, but she said she is worried the guns could turn shoppers away and negativity impact business for vendors.
"For families to have to chose whether or not they want to come verses having to put themselves in this position to have open carry, I think this puts them in a tough spot,” said Jennifer Patrello, Stella’s Bakery manager.
"We believe that everyone in our group is intelligent and knows how to carry a gun responsibly," Leager said.
Organizers of the event say they're working with Capitol Police. The rally is set to start at 1 p.m. Capitol Police and the Madison Police will be monitoring the event.
The organizer of the farmers’ market said they do not have an opinion on the rally. She said shoppers who don't want to be around the protest are encouraged to get to the market early. It opens at 6:15 a.m.