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LANSING, Mich. (LSJ.com) - Standing steps away from the state Legislature, Kenetha Gibson kept a .45-caliber pistol holstered at her hip Tuesday to send a message.

Guns should not be feared.

"It's an important right," the Lansing woman said. "You don't have to be afraid of it. It's not going to jump off my hip. It's a tool."

Gibson, 41, was among several dozen gun advocates who openly carried their pistols and semi-automatic rifles during a gun rights rally this morning outside the Capitol.

A few hundred people attended the rally, which was designed to push for gun rights legislation and educate the public about the Second Amendment.

The event, which drew participants from throughout Michigan, was coordinated by the Second Amendment March group.

Several people attending the event said they normally carry pistols openly or in concealed fashions throughout the year for protection against criminals.

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"Law-abiding citizens should have the right to defend themselves," said Joe Droelle, 35, of Redford, who had an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle strapped across his shoulder. "I live near Detroit. There's a lot of carjackings and home invasions."

Droelle, an electrician, said he normally carries a concealed pistol for protection.

The rally began at 9:45 a.m.

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