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

Men tote assault rifles at Obama event

[cnn-photo-caption image=
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/17/art.gunobamarally.knxv.jpg 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. Maria in Florida

    This is absolutely insane!!! And don't give me that 2nd Amendment crap-as a former member of the NRA, I know all about the inflammatory rhetoric and extremist views-–the primary reason I dropped my membership years ago. When citizens attend an event where the President of the United States of America is speaking armed with rifles, the extreme right wing declares victory. This negative right wing ideology is going to get someone hurt.. SNAP OUT OF IT AMERICA!

    CNN Please print these comments

    August 17, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. bob

    probably not the smartest thing to do, but totally legal, so good for them. our forefathers realized the importance of individual states' rights, and these citizens were probably making a statement regarding that fundamental, but often forgotten right in an era of huge and expanding federal government.

    health care reform, not government health care.

    birth certificate reform first.

    August 17, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. Mike in NYC

    The dude with his back to the camera is black.

    Something's "funny" here.

    August 17, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  4. Paul in Louisville

    Welcome to the crazy world of the right-wingers. Sad, pitiful and scary all at the same time. I'm a gun owner, too. No excuse for this display at all.

    August 17, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  5. Happy Paul

    More loony tune, violent Republican extremists. That is the Republican way: never debate, never offer solutions, just use violent intimidation and shouting to stop progress.

    August 17, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. Bob McMaster

    I'm so glad that in Canada we don't have to deal with your kind of crazy. If that makes me sound smug, well too bad. Canadians have had to listen about how the United States is "the best country in the world" for years. To be frank, that claim sounds ridiculous. Millons of Americans without health insurance, crackpots at political speeches with assault rifles, and back-to-back George Bush administrations – this hardly gives you the slot as the best country in the world.

    August 17, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. Amanda

    This is UNBELIEVABLE ! Are we living in the Far West now ? What do these lunatics try to prove? Who need assault weapons ? This country is going absolutely mad and when I hear stories like these I want to LEAVE.

    August 17, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  8. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    every state should be the same, instead of letting the democrates control your life. Next the democrates will be carving 666 in your forehead.

    August 17, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Tim

    I highly doubt they were carrying assault rifles. They look like semi-auto AR-15s to me, not assault rifles.

    August 17, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. Mike in Colorado

    Seriously? When did people think it was a smart idea to bring a gun to a presidential event? I'm not opposed to gun rights or any carry laws. But there is a time and a place to make your point and it shouldn't be at a presidential event with a gun.

    If reform opponents don't want to be viewed as fringe crackpots then they should stop toting their guns during protests. One loose cannon is all it takes.

    August 17, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. Tony from Michigan

    Yep....need to have my gun at a debate on health care reform.

    August 17, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  12. Brad

    I think that this law is very unwise as a matter of public policy. This kind of law just makes it harder for the police and Secret Service to protect the President from a would-be assassin...or what about employers trying to protect their work places from disgruntled employees?...or banks trying to tell the difference between customers and bank robbers?

    Or what about the innocent bystanders just being intimidated by these gun-toters? I remember how people and the police went absolutely crazy when the Black Panthers tried this in the 1960s and 1970s.

    Nowdays, when people get angry, the first thing that they want to do is to reach for a gun and settle things.

    What about the innocent bystanders? It seems like their rights to be secure in their persons has been left out of this so-called Second Amendment issue.

    August 17, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Ralph

    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.
    –Cesare, Marquis of Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishment"

    You never know when the UAW from Government Motors might show up.

    August 17, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. hm,florida

    i was really afraid this stuff was going to happen. and now, here we are. now it is getting scary.

    August 17, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. RA

    Is this what Arizona law Makers had in mind? What a shame

    August 17, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. randall

    Trying to intimidate fellow citizens by bringing guns to an event only underlines the ignorance of these people. This is no longer the 1960's, and true Americans will have disdain for these type actions. These people wish to escalate the tensions in order to sideline progress for our great country.

    True Americans realize the value of respect during a debate... they know they will be heard more clearly with calm words, respectful debate, and non-violent dissent. True Americans understand civil debate and compromise!

    August 17, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. T'SAH from Virginia

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

    Okay – what about LOADED? Were the guns LOADED??? Why is it allowed to bring any firearms within hundreds of feet where the President of the United States is attending????

    They shout anti-Obama slogans and maybe they felt their voice will be heard MORE while carrying their GUNS!!! Come to think of it – it worked!!!

    At one point you want the media to NOT SHOW these low-life fear mongers and then on the other hand – I WANT TO SEE THE IGNORANCE OF THE FAR RIGHT MANIACS AND HOW THEY "TRULY BELIEVE" THEY ARE IN CONTROL.... Watch your backs MANIACS!! Oops, never mind – I BETTER WATCH MY BACK!!!

    August 17, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. Dave

    This is so stupid just to make a point. I guess the gun really makes this guy feel like a real man. He is just simple minded. It's sad that he does this thinking he is impressing anyone except his fellow believers. I bet he tells his friends ' You won't believe how much respect I get when I carry my assault rifle in Walmart'.

    August 18, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  19. AssieMcGee

    Eventually, one of these gun-licking dingle berries are going to end up firing into a crowd. Then, legislation will be passed to curb gun rights. These idiots are their own worse enemy. They were the bullies that spent most of their school years hurting others.

    August 18, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  20. John

    This will continue to be accepted until someone gets hurt. Then what?

    August 18, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  21. nolansgirl

    I find it funny that CNN states "U.S. Secret Service and local police were 'very much aware' of the situation and were paying close attention to the men." but neglects to mention this was because the men had alerted the police in advance of their intentions to make a peaceful protest. Thank you CNN for showing how liberal you are!!! If you want to write about a story, be sure to do your fact checking! No wonder a story that, if it was a sinister as you try to make it sound, only got a less than 100 word blurb! Ed Henry you should be ashamed of yourself!

    August 18, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  22. Dennis

    Secret Service should have shot these guys on sight. They would have either eliminated a threat or cleaned up the gene pool, or both.

    August 18, 2009 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  23. Maria - Proud Democrat

    One gun carrying guy was ANTI-Obama
    One guy carrying guy was PRO-Obama

    Two crazies

    One from the Extreme Right and one from the Extreme Left...both promoting their party and NOT whats best for America.

    August 18, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  24. Elise

    I understand the law states they can carry weapons as long as they are visable. Though, I have serious issue with the message they sent while protesting with such weapons? I too live in Arizona but don't need to display an assault weapon to let someone know how I feel about something I might disagree with.
    Thank God I'm armed with a brain and common sense.

    August 18, 2009 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
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