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Obama, assault rifles, and threats

Are the growing numbers of armed protesters at Obama events abusing their right to bear arms?

Am I missing something here? said Rich Lieberman in the San Francisco Chronicle. A dozen gun-wielding protesters, including one with an AR-15 assault rifle, can wander outside the Phoenix convention hall where President Obama is addressing the VFW, and it’s all fine and legal? I thought “the Secret Service would haul your behind straight to jail” for even verbally threatening the president—and Obama gets way more threats than most. “Scary stuff.”

Assuming these are “militant gun-rights activists,” and not government plants, said Glenn Reynolds in Instapundit, I’d urge them to avoid presidential events. But I’m not convinced that there are “crazy armed mobs everywhere!!!!” There’s been minimal violence at the town halls and Obama events, and none from the occasional armed protesters.

Their point isn’t to use violence, said Jay Bookman in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, but rather the “spectre of violence” to “terrorize” people who disagree on health care, or other issues on Obama’s agenda. This tactic shows a “fundamental childishness”—I’ll make you listen to me!—by people “lacking the intellectual firepower” to win a battle of words.

Who says the gun toters are all “on the anti-Obama side”? said Allahpundit in Hot Air. One of the two AR-15 carriers seen by CNN was “standing among those waving ‘Reform Now’ signs.” But no matter your side, this is a pointless “security risk.” Sure, the protesters have the right to bear arms, but that’s “no more of a justification than bringing porn to a meeting with the president.”

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