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  #1  
Old August 18th, 2009, 09:42 AM
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Post Man carrying assault weapon attends Obama protest

By AMANDA LEE MYERS and TERRY TANG, Associated Press Writers Amanda Lee Myers And Terry Tang, Associated Press Writers – Mon Aug 17, 6:22 pm ET

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.

Matt

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Old August 18th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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hopefully someone may pull a John Wilks Booth


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Old August 18th, 2009, 11:55 AM
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This happened recently in Pittsburgh too - a guy was actually arrested for carrying a pistol on his hip with Obama giving a town hall speech or something across the street. He was charged with disrupting a public meeting. charges were dropped.

Beaver man who brought gun to Obama rally acquitted
Saturday, July 18, 2009
By Jerome L. Sherman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Beaver County judge yesterday said the actions of a man who brought a gun to an Obama rally last year were "foolish." But they weren't criminal.

Both a jury and Common Pleas Judge Harry E. Knafelc decided that John Noble, 51, of Industry, broke no law when he strapped on a holster carrying a Glock pistol and went to an Aug. 29 campaign event in a park across from the Beaver County Courthouse.

The jury, after deliberating over parts of two days, said Mr. Noble was innocent of the charge of disrupting a public gathering. Judge Knafelc separately found Mr. Noble not guilty of a summary charge of disorderly conduct in the same incident.

"In my lifetime, there have been a number of assassinations of presidents and presidential candidates. A number of presidents were shot at. I'm very cognizant of that," the judge said in a phone interview after yesterday's decision. "The defendant's actions were very foolish. But not all foolish actions are criminal acts."

It is legal to carry an unconcealed weapon in Pennsylvania, but a state trooper at the rally charged Mr. Noble after someone alerted authorities about the pistol.

"We're talking about heightened security," Judge Knafelc said. "The police did nothing wrong."

Mr. Noble testified that had gone to the rally to hand out pro-gun pamphlets as a "very quiet protest" against President Barack Obama's comments in San Francisco during the presidential campaign that Pennsylvanians "cling to guns or religion."

After his acquittal yesterday, Mr. Noble told KDKA that he didn't take offense at Judge Knafelc's description of his actions as foolish.

"That's the judge's opinion," he said. "I think he ruled on the law and that's the way it should have been."

"God is good," said his wife, Janet Noble. "Our constitution stands."

Mr. Noble's trial attracted others who support gun rights -- several of them checked their arms at the door of the Beaver County Courthouse before entering to watch the proceeding.

"The action by the Pennsylvania State Police and Beaver County prosecutor to bring criminal prosecution ... can only be described as an abortion of justice," the group OpenCarry.org said in a statement yesterday.

Some postings on the organization's Web site called for advocates to demonstrate solidarity with Mr. Noble by openly carrying guns in Downtown Pittsburgh during September's G-20 summit of world leaders.

Jerome L. Sherman can be reached at jsherman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1183.
First published on July 18, 2009 at 12:00 am


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09199...#ixzz0OYCH46Dv
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Old August 18th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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the fact that some people consider this a disturbing trend is in itself a disturbing trend! 233 years ago, when this country was in its infancy, most everybody was packing wherever they went. It was a part of everyday life. I, for one, think it's a sad state of affairs that it's no longer the case. If everyone were armed, no one would be a victim, the crime rate would plummet and the world, or at least our part of it, would be a safer place!


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Old August 18th, 2009, 12:02 PM
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totally agree T

Matt

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Old August 18th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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look up the facts on wika encyclopedia
Kennesaw, Georgia
every household required to have a gun


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