Our View: We support the rights of people
Saturday is the much-publicized Open Carry TEA party in Lakefront Park and we expect the event is unlikely to be as exciting as the rants and raves leading up to the party.
There have been plenty of charges and accusations made publically. Open carry, of course, does tug at the emotions of people on both sides of gun issues. On the surface, it does seem a bit odd to have people running around town carrying weapons in holsters.
That said, however, the party is perfectly legal and involves, what we suspect, respectable citizens intent on getting several messages before the public - some political, some educational.
Gun rights activist David E. Olson of Glenwood City has organized the event and said the purpose is for people to exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly and their Second Amendment rights to own and carry firearms. And, yes, laws back his arguments on both counts
On the education side, organizers hope to spread the word about Wisconsin's gun laws.
On a more political side, organizers urge participants to attend the event and "stand against the path to socialism!" This is, of course, a dig at President Barack Obama.
A similar event was held without incident in Glenwood City on Aug. 23.
Whether we agree with guns, gun rights or the use of weapons for any reason - we support the right of people to organize a legal gathering. We would be more outraged if legal events and political opinions were censored because they make us uncomfortable.
We suspect the mayor and chief of police don't have strong feeling one way or another whether a public event is held in Hudson or not. Regardless of their sentiments, it is their duty to uphold the law and treat everyone equally.
The fact is, the Open Carry TEA party could bring a sizeable crowd into the downtown area on Saturday. That's usually a good thing for local businesses and commerce.
Before gun and TEA Party supporters read too much into this editorial of support, remember we would say the same thing for those who oppose your efforts - they also have the right to gather and express opinions in a responsible manner.
As long as laws are being followed and people act responsibly, we welcome citizen participation and expression in all issues of public interest. Agree, or disagree, with the issues presented - we support the rights of people to express their feelings and state opinions in a public setting. After all, that's the cornerstone of democracy.