Three Incidents of Protesters With Guns at Obama Events

by on August 18, 2009 · 19 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Election, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Peace Movement, Veterans, War and Peace, World News

A man is shown legally carrying a rifle at a protest against President Obama on Monday in Phoenix, Arizona.

by Jeff Bliss / / August 18, 2009

Armed protesters asserting their right to bear arms, including a man with a rifle slung over his shoulder, gathered yesterday near a Phoenix convention hall where President Barack Obama spoke, a police spokesman said.

The protesters were taking advantage of an Arizona law that allows people to carry unconcealed guns, Phoenix Police Department spokesman Andy Hill said. Police made no arrests.

“Plainclothes police officers continually monitored the situation and no threats, either physical or verbal, were made,” Hill said in an e-mail.

The incident marked the third occasion in a week when guns have been linked to an Obama event. On Aug. 11, police arrested a man for having a loaded, unlicensed gun in his car near a New Hampshire school where Obama later held a health-care forum, USA Today reported. In a separate incident, another man outside that event displayed a gun in a holster on his leg, the paper said.

For the remainder of this article, go here.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

OB Joe August 18, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Gee, are we in a time warp? Wasn’t it just months ago when anti-war protesters were detained or removed for wearing T-shirts against the war near GW Bush? Okay, probably over a year ago.

And now a dozen gun-totin’ righties are allowed to hang out with the anti-Obama protesters. The guy with the AK-47 even had a bullhorn.

Can you even imagine what would have happened if the roles had been reversed? A dozen anti-war people with guns near Bush? They would have been sent to Gitmo.


annagrace August 18, 2009 at 9:50 pm

See the guy carrying the rifle in the picture above? His presence was staged (as if this is what we need). A radio stunt. Conservative radio stunt. Read about it here

More gasoline fanning the flames of ignorance and fear, brought to us by the usual gas bags.


steveG August 21, 2009 at 9:00 am

Regardless if it was staged or not, it is legal in Arizona to open carry firearms.


annagrace August 21, 2009 at 10:56 am

Yes it is legal to carry open firearms in Arizona. That’s not the end or point of the story.

Openly displayed firearms have been clearly used for “effect” in the context of the town hall debates on health care reform. The effect? Intimidation and the threat of potential violence. Neither intimidation nor the threat of violence further public discourse and debate on a topic that affects all of us.

It is hard to imagine that standing next to someone with an AR-15 would make you feel that you and your country are somehow “safer” for that presence. But to stage this in advance as a “publicity stunt” is one piece of tawdry, seriously twisted psycho-drama. Emphasis on psycho.


CJ August 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm

It’s beginning to look a lot like Iraq around here. Would it be okay to fire the guns in the air if the President happened to say something that excited the crowd?

Let’s push freedom over the edge and have complete anarchy.


steveG August 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Funny that no one had a problem with a large contingent of people carrying openly at the NRA convention earlier in the year.


lane tobias August 21, 2009 at 2:22 pm

steveg – Maybe thats because if gun fanatics want to take the chance of accidently shooting each other at an event that promotes gun ownership, those of us who believe in gun control would call that a lesson learned.

You obviously missed the point.


Frank Gormlie August 21, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Nicely said, Lane.


annagrace August 21, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Not to put too fine of a point on it…an NRA convention seems a significantly different event than a town hall meeting on health care reform. You bet I see a difference.

SteveG- please tell me why you don’t make a distinction between the two. What do you see when a guy has a gun strapped to his leg and is holding a sign referring to the need to water the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants and patriots. Would you want your mom and kids to stand next to him?????


steveG August 21, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Yes .. I’ll keep all that you say in mind next time I see conservatives with nooses around their necks or being called Hitler at the next liberal protest.

The bottom line it was a protest and a political point about someone exercising their right to bear arms.


steveG August 21, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Mr. Kettle .. I’m pleased to introduce Mr. Black.


steveG August 21, 2009 at 8:37 pm

annagrace – I support the 2nd amendment (and the 14th amendment) like I support the 1st amendment.


annagrace August 21, 2009 at 11:27 pm

SteveG- by all means bring it to our attention when there are conservative effigies with nooses around their necks and “Hitler” being used to describe someone. The news at the moment certainly reflects those things- but leveled at Democrats. My inference is that you shrug ALL of this off as “free speech.” Correct me if I’m wrong.

But free speech isn’t the point of the article nor of my comment. I don’t believe it’s even about the right to bear arms, and to do so openly in certain states. If this were the case, a whole lot of other people wouldn’t have left home without them, don’t you think?

Bringing a gun ratchets up the whole tenor of the situation. For those of us without guns, if we feel that our rights are under siege, we do things like contact our elected representatives, maybe stage a protest, write articles. To say that an individual with a gun in the context of those town hall meetings is not explicitly threatening– as in “I’ve got a gun and by god I’ll use it (if push comes to my definition of shove)” — strikes me as oblivious to the facts.

So- where would you put Mom and kids? Or is this only an abstract/academic conversation?


PSD August 22, 2009 at 1:01 am

Someone exercising their right to bear arms? Okay.

Someone bringing a gun to a presidential appearance and waving a sign stating a desire to spill the blood of “tyrants and patriots” alike? Yikes. Am I getting my facts wrong here? Someone please (please) tell me I am. I think the fact that this even happened begs a comparison to the ‘free speech zones’ erected well outside the perimeter of presidential appearances (and well outside the scope of most of the lazy mainstream journalists not looking for a full scope of an event) during the last administration. Mr. Obama’s got balls of steel if this went down as I understand it, IMHO.

I can’t bring an air horn to a football game but anyone in Arizona can bring a gun to see the President? Really?


PSD August 22, 2009 at 1:04 am

BTW for full disclosure of my position on guns – I’m all for the right to possess them, with minimal restrictions. I don’t own one because there are too many simpleminded skullf#$%s I’d be tempted to relieve myself from the presence of.


annagrace August 22, 2009 at 10:20 am

PSD- I’m pretty worked up about those “free speech zones,” too. How did freedom of assembly and speech get reduced to what was all too often a crowded bull pen surrounded by armed police? I was not only enraged but paranoid. Were those zones ever contested by the ACLU here in San Diego or nationally? I’d appreciate knowing the legal argument in justifying them.

“Free Speech Zones?” Never again.


Danny Morales August 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm

annagrace-I’m no legal scholar but the Reichwing practice of putting people in cages without charge will be adjudicated one way or another after a VERY…Long…time…with no compensation, relief, or solution for the aggrieved parties. Same with the “well regulated militia” clause.
If there was any group of people who BY RIGHT should be caged up…but could imagine if that was done? Same as it ever was~////>


annagrace August 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm

“Make public political events firearm-free zones, just like schools and stadiums,” Salon contributor David Sirota recently wrote. He points out that “The First Amendment guarantees people–whatever their politics– a fundamental right to participate in their democracy without concern for physical retribution. It is the primary amendment because America was first and foremost created not as a gun-owner’s haven, but as a place to shelter citizens from oppression.”

Anti-government activists bringing firearms to public political meetings are threatening other people’s rights as described in the First Amendment. He cautions against a future in which “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

Read the complete article here.


andy June 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm

OB Joe its an AR-15 not an AK47. And according to Arizona Law he had every right to carry it.


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