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Guitar Rally Celebrates Civil Liberties; Protests Open Carry Movement

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Armed with guitars instead of guns, this Independence Day, hundreds of musicians – and music fans – used satire and songs to protest the Open Carry Gun movement.

The demonstration that took place on the Continental Bridge just south of Downtown Dallas was full of music.

A few hundred people came out for the first Open Carry Guitar Rally.

The event, organized by Oak Cliff musician Barry Kooda, began as a joke, poking fun at the activists openly carrying long guns in public.

Kooda's friends took him seriously, and word spread through Facebook. Soon, more than 1,000 people RSVP'd for the rally on the bridge on the 4th of July.

"Music has always been a weapon in the march for freedom and peace, more than anything else," said Kooda.

People made t-shirts, with the slogan "Don't Shred on Me".

Instruments of all kinds arrived on the bridge at 6 p.m., carried by veterans, musicians, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children.

"We all love guitars. We all love music and just hanging out with each other. This gave us a reason," Kooda said.

Oboes, clarinets, drums, ukuleles, even a keyboard were part of the mix; but the majority of people came bearing guitars.

Jam sessions broke out, instruments were admired, and lessons were shared. Many expressed hope that it would become an annual event.

Very few people spoke out in opposition to open gun carrying; though the message was clear.

"I think it's a good thing. People are coming together. Some people may be pro-gun, some people may be anti-gun. We're here for the guitar," said Leonard Coe, who brought two guitars, and his son, with him from the town of West Columbia in South Texas.

Lila Cooper, also a veteran, used art as expression. She decorated a guitar with news clippings on mass shootings, and faces of people killed by guns.

""It tells a story," Cooper said. "I believe in weapons, but you just don't need to carry it out in public," Cooper said.

Members of the Open Carry Gun movement told CBS 11, they are not against the guitar protest.

"They can bear their guitars. I'll bear my guns. My opinion would be, what they're doing is great. It's freedom of speech. They're doing what's within their rights, and I support that," said Kory Watkins, with Open Carry Tarrant County.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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