Pro- Gun Rally Defies City Ordinance
Protesters went against the city on Saturday, to have their guns out in the open during a rally at Perry Square.
They say it's in the name of freedom.
"We are American patriots, and we are a force to be reckoned with," Pastor George Cook of North Bangor, PA yelled passionately into the microphone in the park gazebo.
He traveled 350 miles from his home to preach a different kind of message, defending gun rights.
"First, our constitution... says that the right of people to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned," said Cook. "The preemption clause in our state law... says that local towns like Erie can't make other laws concerning firearms."
He was just one of many speakers who traveled to support "Open Carry Pennsylvania", as they spoke up in the name of the right to bear arms.
The setting was appropriate for the cause, flanked by police officers who threatened to fine ralliers for carrying guns in Perry Square.
Carrying firearms is not allowed in the park because of a city ordinance from the 1970's.
"They've been going around writing down everyone's license plate number... they said they're going to be querying the JNet (Justice Network) system to basically try and do facial recognition... and then proceed from there in issuing citations," said Attorney Joshua Prince, a lawyer for Justin Dillon, the founder of Open Carry PA.
Some who came out for the protest, like Dylan Brown from Corry, didn't risk the penalties.
"I just have my AK-74 magazines and just a holster, I didn't carry because I'm a law abiding citizen, I like to follow the rules like everybody else."
He still believes in his right to carry guns, though.
"Cops can only be at one place at a certain time, you know... citizens should be able to arm themselves and protect themselves," said Brown.
Prince hopes to defend those who did choose to carry firearms, by taking the case to the next level. "I filed an emergency appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that has now issued an order to the city to file an answer by June 28th, which is next Friday," he said.
Getting the case to the state Supreme Court in less than 48 hours is an accomplishment for Dillon, and Open Carry Pennsylvania.
"There's all types of towns and cities that have actually dismissed their ordinances just for a simple letter from an attorney or the DA saying 'hey we're not gonna enforce it.' Why can't I get that same support here?" Dillon asked. "I'm hoping and I'm sure that the Supreme Court may probably go on our side."
For Dillon and his the supporters the battle that started on the streets of Erie, will continue in the courts of Harrisburg.