Rev. Bruce Rivers heard 35 gunshots when his son was killed by gang members right in their front yard.
"I've learned I'm the first line of defense in my house, not police," says Rivers, now a gun control opponent.
Now he stands in defense of Second Amendment rights with a coalition opposed to gun control.
"The cure is freedom and personal responsibility. It's not a welfare state, not more laws," says Star Parker, executive director of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.
Exercising the freedom to carry guns openly are Second Amendment activists who want to get rid of gun-free zones.
"Every time there's a shooting, I think it would stop if more people carried guns," says Ed Levine, founder of Virginia Open Carry. "Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, all those happen in gun-free zones.
Friday Levine invited more than 6,000 gun owners to spend $2 bills.
"We pay in twos tip in twos, to represent the Second Amendment."
And they hold sit-ins at a Virginia Starbucks.
Crystal Fox, a gun rights activist, faced down criticism from a few customers.
"I usually just smile and keep walking," Fox says. "You can't convince everyone."
A driver shouts "Shame" at the group.
"It made me uncomfortable to see all those guns," says Aliya Jamil. "I was like, what's going on."
What's going on is an effort to persuade the public that "loaded and legal" is nothing to fear.
At the same time today, just down the road at NRA headquarters a regular bi-monthly protest against gun violence was being held by a local group that formed in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook.