Open-carry marchers expected at O’Rourke’s Kent State appearance

A Kent State alumnus plans to walk in an open carry demonstration during presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s speech on Risman Plaza Wednesday Sept. 25.

After the Record Courier posted a story announcing O’Rourke’s scheduled appearance at Kent State, Brett Pucillo, the founder and former member of Ohio Carry, posted a comment announcing his intent to open carry during O’Rourke’s speech. 

Kent State’s College Democrats announced O’Rourke’s visit to campus on Sept. 17.

During the third Democratic presidential debate, O’Rourke gained attention after presenting a proposal for a mandatory gun-buyback program. The proposal would involve implementing a national gun registry, a gun licensing system and requiring a buyback program of assault-style rifles.

Pucillo said he wants “to provide a little education to those who may not know much about guns or gun rights, in general.”

“We do think it’s important to show the people that do show up to hear (Beto) that the kind of people that he’s talking about taking guns from are typically very average people who are very peaceful in general,” Pucillo said. 

While Pucillo said the walk is not an official rally or protest, he would welcome anyone who wants to join him for the open carry. It is unclear how many people may attend. 

Pucillo said his brother, Eric Pucillo, will start the walk near the Student Center around 6:15 p.m.

O’Rourke is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m.

While O’Rourke continues to support gun control reform, Pucillo stressed the importance of having an open dialogue. 

“The most important thing when talking to the opposition is just to hear their point of view,” Pucillo said.

“I would ask them what problems they have with it, or what questions they have about it, and try to go from there and answer them as a lot of people believe things that aren’t necessarily true about laws in general, or what it means or what the guns even do.” 

O’Rourke is scheduled to host town halls in the Midwest this week with stops in Gary, Indiana, on Monday, Dayton and Ohio State on Tuesday, Pittsburgh and Kent State on Wednesday and Erie, Pennsylvania on Thursday. 

According to O’Rourke’s website, the town halls will be an opportunity to “to introduce (himself) and hear from people like you about the ways we can move this country forward.”

Contact Lauren Sasala at [email protected].