A New Yorker toting a massive, military-grade sniper rifle may have been the biggest star of Monday’s pro-gun rally in Richmond, Va.
The enthusiast — identified by The Washington Post as Brandon Lewis, the owner of a shooting range in upstate Bergen, NY — drew stares and compliments with his .50-caliber Barrett M82A1 rifle, a semiautomatic piece that saw use by the American military beginning in the Gulf War.
“This sends a strong visual message,” Lewis told the paper, cradling the firearm and decked out in a helmet and bulletproof vest. “The government is not above us. They are us.”
Lewis said he made the drive down to The Old Dominion from the Empire State with his wife to show their support for the rights of gun owners.
“It’s a reminder to our politicians that the government is by the people and for the people,” he said, referring to the weapon, estimated to be about 5 feet in length. “It’s to draw attention.”
And draw attention it did, with many rally attendees and journalists tweeting out photos of Lewis and his long-gun.
“This range owner brought a whole ass Barrett 50. cal, amazing,” wrote user @alec_sears.
Added Sebastian Murdock, a reporter for The Huffington Post, “This gentleman who told me he’s a gun seller in NY is currently the bell [sic] of the ball as he shows off his Barrett.
“Seems unnecessary but ok.”
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