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Thread: Man carrying assault weapon attends Obama protest

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    Default Man carrying assault weapon attends Obama protest

    Holy shit.

    Man carrying assault weapon attends Obama protest - Yahoo! News

    PHOENIX About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday the latest incident in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.

    Gun-rights advocates say they're exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protest, while those who argue for more gun control say it could be a disaster waiting to happen.

    Phoenix police said the gun-toters at Monday's event, including the man carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder, didn't need permits. No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested.

    The man with the rifle declined to be identified but told The Arizona Republic that he was carrying the assault weapon because he could. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms," he said.

    Phoenix police Detective J. Oliver, who monitored the man at the downtown protest, said police also wanted to make sure no one decided to harm him.

    "Just by his presence and people seeing the rifle and people knowing the president was in town, it sparked a lot of emotions," Oliver said. "We were keeping peace on both ends."

    Last week, during Obama's health care town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., a man carrying a sign reading "It is time to water the tree of liberty" stood outside with a pistol strapped to his leg.

    "It's a political statement," he told The Boston Globe. "If you don't use your rights, then you lose your rights."

    Police asked the man to move away from school property, but he was not arrested.

    Fred Solop, a Northern Arizona University political scientist, said the incidents in New Hampshire and Arizona could signal the beginning of a disturbing trend.

    "When you start to bring guns to political rallies, it does layer on another level of concern and significance," Solop said. "It actually becomes quite scary for many people. It creates a chilling effect in the ability of our society to carry on honest communication."

    He said he's never heard of someone bringing an assault weapon near a presidential event. "The larger the gun, the more menacing the situation," he said.

    Phoenix was Obama's last stop on a four-day tour of western states, including Montana and Colorado.

    Authorities in Montana said they received no reports of anyone carrying firearms during Obama's health care town hall near Bozeman on Friday. About 1,000 people both for and against Obama converged at a protest area near the Gallatin Field Airport hangar where the event took place. One person accused of disorderly conduct was detained and released, according to the Gallatin Airport Authority.

    Heather Benjamin of Denver's Mesa County sheriff's department, the lead agency during Obama's visit there, said no one was arrested.

    Arizona is an "open-carry" state, which means anyone legally allowed to have a firearm can carry it in public as long as it's visible. Only someone carrying a concealed weapon is required to have a permit.

    Paul Helmke, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said people should not be allowed to bring guns to events where Obama is.

    "To me, this is craziness," he said. "When you bring a loaded gun, particularly a loaded assault rifle, to any political event, but particularly to one where the president is appearing, you're just making the situation dangerous for everyone."

    He said people who bring guns to presidential events are distracting the Secret Service and law enforcement from protecting the president. "The more guns we see at more events like this, there's more potential for something tragic happening," he said.

    Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said armed demonstrators in open-carry states such as Arizona and New Hampshire have little impact on security plans for the president.

    "In both cases, the subject was not entering our site or otherwise attempting to," Donovan said. "They were in a designated public viewing area. The main thing to know is that they would not have been allowed inside with a weapon."

    Representatives of the National Rifle Association did not return calls for comment.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Wiseguy's Avatar
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    The crazies are coming out of the woodwork.

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Both men should have been arrested for having a gun near the President. I think they have let their guard down.
    Baltimore O's ​Fan!

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Polical statements ass. Dangerous jerk.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Last edited by MissFit; August 18th, 2009 at 11:25 AM.

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Shouldn't he at least secure it to his person somehow? Let's assume the guy holding the gun isn't actually going to use it (um, ok), but a crazed protester could grab that thing right off his shoulder, the gun is hanging off of him like a purse waiting to get snatched.

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    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    Allowing people with assault rifles where the President is! It's almost lol worthy.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Rachel Maddow had a former Secret Servive agent on her show the other night and he was talking about the gun situation. He said that if the Secret Service wanted to they could bar anyone from being within a mile of the president with a gun. That looks like a good idea.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Aren't these "activists" great!
    Activist Who Staged Gun Interview At Obama Event Was Prominent Defender Of '90s Militia

    By Justin Elliott - August 18, 2009, 6:47PM

    Ernest Hancock, the online radio host who staged an interview with an assault rifle-wielding cohort at the Obama event in Arizona yesterday -- and was himself armed with a 9 millimeter pistol -- was a vocal supporter and friend of right-wing anti-government militia members who were convicted of conspiracy and weapons charges in the 90s. And in an interview today with TPMmuckraker, Hancock said he still believes the Viper Militia case was "manufactured" by the same government that manufactured Waco and lied to its people about 9/11.

    The federal government initially accused the Arizona Viper Militia of plotting to blow up federal buildings, which the twelve-member group cased on videotape.

    In July 1996, after a grand jury indicted the suspects, federal agents "seized about 90 high-powered rifles and hundreds of pounds of a bomb-making compound from the shabby bungalow of a man whom officials identified as the ordnance specialist of a local paramilitary group," the New York Times reported at the time.

    Hancock, who in recent years designed the famous "Ron Paul rEVOLution" graphic, was an oft-quoted defender of the militia members. The tapes of the government buildings, he said at the time, were purely "educational."

    "They don't have criminal records," another press account quoted Hancock, who knew all twelve militia members, as saying. "They just like their guns. And in Arizona, gosh darn it, that's normal."

    Reached by TPMmuckraker at his home in Arizona today, Hancock said he continued to believe the Viper Militia case was a fraud.

    "I was good friends with Dean Pleasant, one of the guys that did five and half years," Hancock said, who added the entire case was "made up."

    "I've been feeling this coming again," he continued. "It's the same people. It's Rahm Emanuel, it's Janet Napolitano. It's Hillary Clinton. All these were the same people that were doing it back then."

    Napolitano, who later became Arizona governor and is now secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was the prosecutor in the Viper Militia case.

    "This militia scare is what got them their crime ban. It was all manufactured," said Hancock, scoffing at the term "White Al Qaeda," which he said he's been seeing in the local press.
    Activist Who Staged Gun Interview At Obama Event Was Prominent Defender Of '90s Militia | TPMMuckraker

    As other people noted:
    From TPM Reader ZC ...
    It's a truism that people in the west are accustomed to seeing firearms carried around. Having spent all of my life in the west and the majority in rural Arizona, I can say that yes, it's a common site to see trucks and ATVs with gun racks. However, the fact that most of the people I knew growing up owned and used hunting rifles is a very different thing to walking around the downtown area of a major city carrying a sidearm or an assault rifle. An AR-15 is a symbol, for gun advocates as well as opponents. I remember during the 2006 election there were people in Tucson hanging out at polling places in hispanic communities carrying visible sidearms and asking voters about their immigration status. Make no mistake, this isn't about "gun culture" or being comfortable with firearms. This is about intimidation - visibly carrying a firearm - especially one designed specifically for killing human beings is a not-at-all veiled threat, and is meant to silence opposition. Yes, Arizona's outdated laws technically allow them to do it, but laws on the books also prohibit unmarried couples from cohabiting and define a group of women living together as a brothel.
    It's important point. There's a big difference between gun enthusiasts who use them for hunting, target practice or just self-defense and these kooks who think it's a good idea to show up at political rallies or protests with firearms.
    We're getting a lot of follow up messages like this one from TPM Reader DS ...
    Have to agree with ZC. I spent the first 35 years in Oklahoma and the last ten in Montana and I have *NEVER* seen anyone walking down the street in town with either a handgun or a rifle prominently displayed on their person (in gun racks in trucks, yes) and I am 57. When I was in college in Oklahoma, it was legal in most places to carry a handgun in the city as long as it was not concealed. This is entirely about intent to intimidate the opposition.
    An Important Distinction | TPM

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    Elite Member L1049's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Rachel Maddow had a former Secret Servive agent on her show the other night and he was talking about the gun situation. He said that if the Secret Service wanted to they could bar anyone from being within a mile of the president with a gun. That looks like a good idea.
    This would probably be the best bet, I'm actually surprised something like that isn't already in place. After Reagan got shot, you'd think they'd be a little more vigilant about douchebags with guns near the president.
    I have no problems with guns or gun owners (minus the complete assclowns), but it should be common sense that if you bring a gun near any president, let alone a non-concealed one, you're gonna have the secret service party van watching you for a very long time.

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    Silver Member oltifreakinbaby's Avatar
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    Umm, seriously? No protection what so ever? He's PRESIDENT.

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    Embarrassed for my country.
    Posted from my fucking iPhone

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    Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    RONALD REAGAN, NOT A FAN OF GUNS AT RALLIES.

    In light of the health-care town halls turned gun parties I feel obligated to remind everyone that founding father former President Ronald Reagan signed a law banning public carrying of loaded firearms in California. The Black Panther Party used to carry around loaded firearms all the time, but after a shootout between the Black Panthers and the police in which an officer was killed, the Mulford Act, which prohibited the carrying of loaded firearms in public, was proposed. The BPP responded with an armed march in front of the state capitol building in 1967, and Reagan subsequently signed the bill.

    Laws are laws, but generally I think bringing firearms to a heated argument is a bad idea. The BPP saw themselves as resisting tyranny and exercising self-defense too, and unlike "death panels," police brutality was not an imaginary problem in California in the 1960s. Incidentally, extreme right individuals attacking law enforcement in the name of "freedom" isn't either.

    -- A. Serwer


    Posted by Adam Serwer on August 18, 2009 1:10 PM
    TAPPED Archive | The American Prospect

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    I really thought it was illegal to come to a rally close to the president with loaded weapons. When Bush was here in San Diego for a republican event, they had protests a mile away from the event. Plus you can't even get close to his ranch in Texas to protest. So what is deal with letting some guy be at a protest with a loaded gun!!
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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