The town of Westcliffe normally has a lively 4th of July parade every year and is described as the busiest day for businesses. This year, however, citizens were afraid of what will happen with as many as 300 people marching with guns slung on their shoulders.
The Southern Colorado Patriots’ Club sent a out a flier advertising the parade and instructing members to bring unloaded rifles, “especially the evil black ones.”
The Custer County Chamber of Commerce, the event’s sponsor, cancelled the parade after fearful citizens circulated a petition to stop the club. Donna Hood, president of the chamber, abstained from the vote to cancel the parade but told the Denver Post that the controversy has “polarized this community in a week.”
According to the Post, members have carried concealed weapons in the past, but this year want to be more dramatic after two gun control laws passed the legislature that will take effect on Monday. The Colorado magazine bill, which limits gun magazines to 15 rounds, and the background-check bill, which requires background checks for all transfers and sales of firearms.
In May, a group of protesters signed up to march in Washington, D.C. with loaded rifles, even though it was against the law. The leader of the march compared himself to Gandhi for his efforts, but later abandoned the march to create a “secessionist army.”