Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

A man holds a sign at a gun rights rally at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn. , Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (Photo: AP)

(TheBlaze/AP) — Concerned citizens gathered in state capitals nationwide Saturday to rally against stricter gun control measures, days after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of federal gun control proposals.

Roughly 800 people turned out in Austin, Texas, many carrying signs with messages like “An Armed Society is a Polite Society” and “The Second Amendment Comes from God.”  Police in Connecticut said about 1,000 people showed up on the capitol grounds in Hartford, about 50 miles from the site of last month’s mass shooting at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Roughly 2,000 turned out in New York.

The event’s primary Facebook page lists more than 20,000 people as planning to attend.

Texas pilot Eric Reed, who organized the event, explained his motivation: “…I realized I’m part of the problem. It takes somebody to stand up and say, ‘Hey, we’re not going to accept this. We’re against it.”

He continued: “We want Americans who feel the same way to come out. We want to stand up, be united and get our point across.”

First-term Texas state Rep. Steve Toth is among attendees in Austin. He’s one of several state officials nationwide who’ve proposed trying to curb federal gun restrictions in states.

“The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them,” Toth said at the rally.

Texas resident William Lawson drove more than four hours to attend the rally with his family.  Once there, they held a sign reading “Modern Musket” over the image of an assault rifle and the words, “An American Tradition since 1776.”

“I’m not some wild-eyed person who wants to fight in the streets,” Lawson said. “This is a country of laws. But I want to protect our Constitution.”

Authorities reported no problems at early rallies, which remained peaceful Saturday afternoon.

Here are some images from rallies across the country:

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Hundreds of gun supporters rally at the Statehouse, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 in Concord, N.H. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Gun rights supporters rally at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn. , Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Naphtali Rothrock, left, and her sister Naomi Rothrock, both of Sprakers, N.Y. , join a rally outside the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. , on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 to assert their right to own firearms and to denounce recent gun-control efforts. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Hundreds of gun supporters rally at the Statehouse, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 in Concord, N.H. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Gun rights supporters rally at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn. , Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Michael Rugh, left, carries his AR15 rifle while listening to speakers next to Luchie Wooten during a Guns Across America rally on the Georgia State Capitol steps, Saturday Jan. 19, 2013 in Atlanta. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Demonstrators rally outside the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. , on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 to assert their right to own firearms and to denounce recent gun-control efforts. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Norman Prather of Clanton, Ala. , joins several hundred people at the Alabama Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. , for a rally against gun control on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Gun rights supporters stand outside the Capitol Sat, Jan. 19, 2013 in Phoenix during a Guns Across America rally. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Gun-rights advocate Anna Riding, of Lehi, Utah, holds a sign outside the Utah Capitol during the national Gun Appreciation Day Rally Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Gun rights supporters stand outside the Capitol Sat, Jan. 19, 2013 in Phoenix during a Guns Across America rally. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Chance Novak, 18, left, and his father Chet Novak, both of Boise, stand outside the Idaho Statehouse after a pro-gun rally on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 in Boise. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Gun rights supporters gather in Boston. (Photo submitted by reader)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Larry Barnett, right, listens to a speaker at a rally by gun rights advocates on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Nine-year-old Summer Stayton got wrapped up in a United States flag while sitting on her father Jason’s shoulders during a Guns Across America rally on the Georgia State Capitol steps, Saturday Jan. 19, 2013 in Atlanta. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

NRA supporter Kenny Deal of Stafford, Conn., hugs his son Daniel at rally at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

Bob Hunt stands for a portrait during a pro-gun rally on January 19, 2013 in Olympia, Washington. (Photo: Getty Images)

Massive Crowds Turn Out for Rallies Against Gun Control Nationwide

An attendee of the Guns Across America rally holds his hat over his chest at the state capitol, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Austin, Texas. (Photo: AP)

This post will be updated.