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Rallies have been held across America to defend the right to own firearms in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.

The protests come after New York state, which already has among the strictest gun laws in the US, widened its ban on assault weapons last week.

Across the country, there has been a fierce response by pro-gun activists towards plans that would reintroduce a nationwide ban.

Tom Mabelitini, who joined a protest in Medina, Ohio said: “You can tell the left-wing liberal idiots there in Washington and all of them, leave our guns alone, we are not hurting anything. It is the criminals, deal with the criminals”.

US President Barack Obama has also called for ban on high-capacity magazines – which dramatically increase a weapons firing power – and more stringent background checks on anyone who buys a gun.

But pro-gun activist Craig Bevil, from Texas, is adamant that the second amendment right to bear arms should be upheld.

“We had the unfortunate thing that happened in Newtown. We had the horrible thing that happened in Aurora, and instead of coming up with logical solutions, you know, mental health, criminal background checks, making them a little more strict or more enforceable maybe, instead he’s (President Obama) using it as a way to make a gun grab.”

The mass shooting at a primary school in Connecticut in December, which killed 20 children and six adults, was the deadliest in a string of US shooting rampages last year.

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