‘Build Your Own AR-15’ class in Michigan draws a crowd just days after March for Our Lives protest
iStock/Thinkstock(MARSHALL, Mich.) — Just four days after the March for Our Lives protests were held across the country in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, some residents of a Michigan suburb took to the streets again to protest the annual “Build Your Own AR-15” class at a local VFW hall.
The class, run by a local gun dealer, sparked about two dozen protesters to descend on VFW hall 4073 which hosted the event in Marshall, Mich. on Tuesday.
This is the third year that the class is being held in the space, and the recent protests and gun law debates didn’t stop it from moving forward.
“We did consider [canceling], but owing to the great response we were getting, we decided to go ahead with it,” John Delaney, the quartermaster of the lodge, told ABC News.
The class is run by Chris Walden, who owns a gun business in nearby Battle Creek. There are four monthly sessions where enrollees buy the various parts and build their own AR-15s.
“This is an opportunity for Americans to exercise their Second Amendment right to help those who are protesting this voice their First Amendment right,” Walden told local CBS station WWMT.
ABC News was not able to reach Walden for comment.
Delaney said that he was present for the class on Tuesday but wasn’t planning to attend the rest of the sessions this year, having already participated twice before. He said that there were about 60 people who attended the class on Tuesday, which he said was “a little bigger” than past classes, and there were 24 people who protested peacefully outside.
“I knew several of the people over on the other side of the fence there and we had a couple ladies from the protest come in and talk to us and ask questions,” he said. “It was kind of, I’d say, productive.”
One of the protesters, Pam Daume, told WWMT that the timing of the event was disrespectful to the victims of school shootings.
“The event is disgusting,” Daume told WWMT. “It’s a slap in the face to all of the children who have died.”
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