Some members of the media have their knickers all in a bunch over the presence of armed protesters outside the Phoenix venue where President Obama spoke on Monday. CNN’s Rick Sanchez and Ed Henry spent a few minutes Tuesday discussing the potentially dire implications of citizens simultaneously exercising both their First and Second Amendment rights. Henry waded into the crowd outside the president’s appearance and was startled by the sight of a man carrying what he described as an AR-15 rifle. “It’s kind of jarring,” said Henry, “to see an assault weapon in the middle of the street.” And indeed it would be for many people, but not, apparently, for residents of Arizona. Perhaps as a vestige of its Old West traditions, Arizona has no law on the books prohibiting the open carrying of weapons. One might argue about the wisdom of carrying guns in such circumstances, but not about the legality.
Henry reported that the man he saw with the AR-15 was being monitored but not challenged by police officers and Secret Service agents who remained close by. And if my own experience working alongside the Secret Service on dignitary protection details has taught me anything, I’m guessing the man was also being watched through the scope of at least one sniper rifle from some nearby rooftop, and if he had shouldered the weapon or otherwise demonstrated a threat to the president or anyone else, the problem would have been taken care of quickly and very much to the man’s detriment.
As an interesting aside, Patterico.com (with links to Newsbusters and Hot Air), shows how far MSNBC went to portray the gun-toting protesters at the Phoenix event as racist kooks, deliberately concealing, through the careful editing of videotape, the fact that one of the armed men was himself black.
— Jack Dunphy is an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. “Jack Dunphy” is the author’s nom de cyber. The opinions expressed are his own and almost certainly do not reflect those of the LAPD management.