Conservative Groups Plan Chick-fil-A Style 'Gun Appreciation Day' for Jan. 19

Groups are asking supporters to 'bring family and friends with pistols' to gun stores, gun ranges, and gun shows.

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If all goes according to plan, gun lovers will come out in droves on January 19 to support gun stores, gun ranges, and gun shows.

The national "Gun Appreciation Day," which is being launched by a coalition of conservative and gun rights groups, will take place the day before California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is expected to introduce legislation for an assault weapon ban, and two days before President Barack Obama is inaugurated for his second term.

"We felt that there needed to be a swift, strong statement, Chick-fil-A style, to show that we're not only here but we're vocal," Gun Appreciation Day chairman and president of Republican new media consulting firm Political Media, Inc., Larry Ward tells Whispers.

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Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day held in August after the restaurant's president made controversial comments on gay marriage drew record sales and customers.

Gun rights opponents hold up signs upon hearing news from the Supreme Court on June 26, 2008 that Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms, ending a ban on owning handguns in Washington, D.C.
Gun rights opponents hold up signs upon hearing news from the Supreme Court on June 26, 2008 that Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms, ending a ban on owning handguns in Washington, D.C.

Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the gun control group the Coalition To Stop Gun Violence, says he supports the event because he sees it is part of a healthy and long overdue conversation in the country on gun rights and gun control. That conversation was begun after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, which left 26 students and teachers dead in December.

Everitt says he also sees the event as similar to the Chick-fil-A appreciation day, but for a different reason.

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"I think for the Chick-fil-A day, there was a sense that people saw we were turning the corner on gay rights, because when those comments became national, people were offended. It's a sense that the old way is now going the way of the highway," he says. "I don't recall seeing a national gun appreciation day [in the past]. So now there's a sense that the political dynamic on [the gun] issue is changing rapidly."

Fourteen groups are currently participating in the Gun Appreciation Day, including the Conservative Action Fund, a Republican super PAC, the Second Amendment Foundation, a prominent gun rights group, andSpecial Operations Speaks, a PAC made up of former service members who oppose Obama.

And Ward says he is working to get 20 more groups on board in the coming days. He calls the response so far "incredible."

"People have said: I'm going to bring all my friends and family, and my pistols," he says.

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or reach her at eflock@usnews.com.