August 17th, 2009
09:03 PM ET
13 years ago

Men tote assault rifles at Obama event

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="At least two men were spotted carrying assault rifles outside Obama's speech."](CNN) - At least two Arizona men brought assault rifles to President Obama’s speech Monday to the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Phoenix.

CNN’s Ed Henry reported that one of the men was carrying an AR-15 assault rifle and shouted anti-Obama slogans. The men remained outside the convention center where the president was speaking. Henry said U.S. Secret Service and local police were "very much aware" of the situation and were paying close attention to the men.

However, Arizona is an open-carry state, meaning it's legal to carry firearms in public as long as they are visible.

Filed under: Arizona • Extra • President Obama
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Deb Hart

    Looking for their 15 minutes of fame...and online CNN obliges with this entry.

    August 17, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Jack M Lowe

    This country gets nuttier by the minute. Sometimes I pack too, but don't feel like (in this instance) it pays to advertise.
    I like these idiots with NRA or "Protected by Smith & Wesson" on their bumpers. Talk about a target for gun theft! Usually they have a big dog in their yard that is easy to disable with hamburger laced with warfarin, or a sponge soaked in bacon fat.
    All in the name of macho posturing. Shouldn't they be proud for scaring all the little old ladies!

    August 17, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. Sam I Am

    Yeah..... That's real smart. Carry an assault weapon near where the president is speaking. Care to guess what would happen if you started to bring that toy up to firing position? I'm sure the sniper who had you in his crosshairs would discourage your friends from doing the same. Care to guess if you're now in a database of known nutcases? Care to guess if your phones are now tapped, your emails read?

    August 17, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. HR230NO

    Amazing, people excercising their rights to bear arms and free speech and all in one place.

    August 17, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Biased

    If it is legal in the state, then the man is doing nothing wrong. If people worry about the safety of the President then perhaps they should not arrange forums in places such as these, or announce beforehand something to the effect that even though we know it is legal, we would prefer that if you wish to be part of the event, your guns must stay home due to the safety of protecting the President.

    August 17, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. susie

    Obama's gang probably put that guy in the crowd, as a plant.

    August 17, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. Jim

    Get your gun and lets go "healthcare reformin" . Congress put on your "two faces" as the healthcare and gun industries are not pulling any punches. As the recipients of milions and millions of campaign funds your nothing more than "paid lobbiests". The "sleeze" is ozzing all over the place. If the rich and the corporate will only take care of themselves its just a matter of time.

    August 17, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. Andrew R from Canada

    Wow...I will never understand why Americans so strongly defend your right to own weapons like this... An assault rifle has no useful purpose other than mowing down crowds of people at the hands of deranged madmen. Clearly, bringing a weapon like this to a demonstration is symbolic of an acceptance of violence as a legitimate way to solve differences, regardless of whether the weapon is ever actually fired.

    August 17, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. Barry in Maryland

    God Bless the NRA. Assault weapons in the vicinity of the president. What more could NRA ask for?

    August 17, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Shelly

    Much ado about nothing.

    August 17, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  11. kay

    Wow, Americans are not just scary people; they are also scared out of their wits and minds. Guns and bibles......that is what you are known for in the rest of the world, guns and Jesus fanatics.

    August 17, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    I wonder if God told them to carry those assault weapons to the "anti christ" Obama's rally.

    Wrap em in an American flag, gun in one hand and a Bible in the other while chanting God Bless America!

    By the way... these "Churches" in America should lose their profitable, non profit status. They are becoming nothing but a propaganda ministry for the repugnant Republican domestic terrorist party.

    August 17, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. Madison, WI

    Sounds like a couple of domestic terrorists in the making. Typical right-wing nuts.

    August 17, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Mark

    Squeaky Fromme just got out of prison for threatening President Ford with an unloaded gun. She spent years behind bars.

    That's where these guys belong. How low have we sunk that average citizens can carry assault weapons and threaten the President just because his views may differ from theirs. If these guys were vets, they should be ashamed. Have they forgotten the values that they were pledged to defend?

    What on earth has President Obama done to warrant this level of hostility? Surely, we can take advantage of our democratic system to sort out what a majority of our people want for our country without descending into anarchy and bloodshed. If not, our founding father's noble experiment has failed.

    August 17, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. Joe in Austin


    August 17, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. SS

    What's wrong with these people?

    August 17, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. JR

    Yeah, Arizona, the sorry state of John McCain, you sure must be proud of your fellow morons John. Now you know why Californians refer to people for Arizona as "Zonies", they're not from civilized lands.

    August 17, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. Gary, Indiana

    Funny how this article does not mention that one of the rifle-toting men were African American.

    August 17, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Pete

    Good to see people exercise their right.
    A visible firearm should be as common as a hat.

    Good on them.

    August 17, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Wynter

    Its moronic to allow a person to carry any firearm into an angry protest situation. It has nothing to do with the state's firearms laws or even the right of the Secret Service to maintain a safe environment around the president at all times. It's a simple fact that angry people tend to use everything at their disposal to get their points across. And if confronted in anger could fire their weapons. This is common sense which is apparently lacking with these specific people.

    A weapon is meant for personal protection in this case. Not to be taken into an honest debate. Get a life!

    August 17, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Kyle

    Yes, let them exercise their freedom of speech!

    August 17, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Bill in Scottsdale

    The police were actually "monitoring" 12 protestors who were open carrying firearms.(
    Rumors abound that these clowns were egged on by the local radio stations that carry Beck and Limbaugh.
    The Obama supporters numbered almost 2000 and about 150 were "Antis" (local ABC affiliate) of which about 10% of the right wing protestors carried weapons to this Presidential event.
    Another black eye for Arizona. Still want to retire here?
    Someone, anyone, someone, Bueller.........

    August 17, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. Hank

    It is insane that it is legal to strap on an Assault Rifle and go wherever you please.

    August 17, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. Cindy

    Only in America – the land of the Brave.

    August 17, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. ray

    lets face right wingers,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,you dont want a black president and you never did want a black man in the white house. had this been a white president with all the things going on in the last few weeks , lots of people would have been arrested. had the republicans had there ways this country would have been all white.............i hope the police is watching you red necks because again you white people wants something happens to this president

    August 17, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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