GILBERTON — Long before the Gilberton Borough council meeting began Wednesday night, there was a crowd outside the municipal building.
Most of those gathered were supporters of Police Chief Mark Kessler.
Many carried firearms, some carried signs.
“We were expecting more anti-gun groups to be here, which didn’t happen, so strength are in numbers and today we have them so that’s a good thing,” said Matthew Reidinger of Shamokin.
Kessler, who arrived at the meeting in a suit with his attorney, said he believes the Second Amendment right to bear arms is being eroded in this country.
Kessler said that is part of the reason he made and posted a controversial video to the internet, where he is seen yelling profanity and firing several weapons.
“I think it’s a shame. If he’s a good man and he will protect people with his life is what matters,” said Gilberton resident Kathlen Weikel.
Because of the crowds, state police waited just down the road from the municipal building, in case they were needed.
Not everyone gathered in Gilberton was there in support of the chief, however.
Gene Stilp, a political watchdog, came with a right to know request.
He said Gilberton officials should explain how Kessler was hired and what the borough code of conduct is.
“I think this police chief is an embarrassment to responsible gun owners, I think he is an embarrassment for citizens from this area. It gives a bad impression of what Pennsylvania is really like,” he said.
After the meeting, supporters cheered for Kessler.