August 18th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

People legally carrying guns permitted near president?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In the Situation Room yesterday, we showed you video of a man in Phoenix, Arizona carrying an assault rifle to a protest outside President Obama's speech. Police say he was just one of about a dozen demonstrators carrying weapons.

A man is shown legally carrying a rifle at a protest against President Obama on Monday in Phoenix, Arizona.

In Arizona, anyone allowed to have a gun can carry it in public as long as it's visible. And the man - who had the semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder - said he was doing so because it's legal and he thinks others should do it more often. Just what we need… people wandering around with assault rifles slung over their shoulders at events where the President of the United States is present.

This is the second time in as many weeks that weapons have been seen near presidential events. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire last week, a protester had a gun strapped to his thigh.

Gun rights advocates say they're exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protest - but critics say this is a disaster waiting to happen.

They insist people shouldn't be allowed to bring guns to an event where the president is - that it only distracts Secret Service and law enforcement who should be focused on protecting the president.

Secret Service has acknowledged the events in Arizona and New Hampshire... but says it's not aware of any others.

When asked if these individuals carrying weapons jeopardized the president's safety, they say "of course not," adding these people would have never gotten close enough to the president.

Here’s my question to you: Should people who are allowed to carry guns be permitted near the president?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Al from Syracuse, New York writes:
On one hand, I love these guys. I'm no gun nut, but I absolutely love the "because I can" defense of a gesture. And I think it's a cool way to make a point. On the other hand, their point is pretty dumb. No one is trying to take away their guns. An Obama administration isn't going to be rolling back any second amendment rights and to think otherwise exposes these people as the nuts they really are.

Rich from McKinney, Texas writes:
Umm, Jack, the Secret Service isn't worried about it and neither should you be. You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. It's the guns they can't see that worry them.

Tim writes:
The presence of the president should not create a "Constitution-free" zone. It is legal to carry a weapon openly in Arizona. The presence of the president shouldn't restrict this, just like it shouldn't restrict our ability of free speech, freedom of assembly, etc. Restricting our rights is something I would have expected from the last administration, not this one.

Jay from Toronto writes:
What kind of collective insanity does your country suffer from? You have gun-totin' yahoos parading around the president, proclaiming their "constitutional rights" yet you can't bring so much as a pair of nail clippers on an airplane. There's some kind of disconnect going on.

Jay writes:
Of course not. What a stupid thing to ask. I wonder what President Kennedy or Lincoln would have to say about this.

Ed from California writes:
Do you know what's scarier than that? These people are allowed to vote.

Gordon from New Jersey writes:
Jack, Anyone who feels the need to strut around in public showing off a gun obviously has inadequacy issues, and should not be allowed anywhere near the president. Can't the Secret Service just be empowered to disarm these nut jobs and send them home with an electronic ankle bracelet and dose of Viagra?

Filed under: President Barack Obama
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. kelcee


    What is secret service doing allowing that? Seriously!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  2. Paula McPhail

    Absolutely NOT
    I am 62 years old and have never seen the Secret Service allow any in the vacinity of our President with guns. By allowing these people to exercise their right to bear arms around the President, we are just putting our country in a holding pattern until one of them, being disgruntled, finds his or her way there and kills him. Has this country lost all sence of reason and any even a small amount of intelligence?

    Paula In Elkridge, MD

    August 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  3. Dale Portland, ME.

    It say something about a peaceful protest that allows me to carry an assault weapon near the president but not a joint! The funny part of that is that Obama has never fired an assault weapon but he has smoked a joint!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  4. rckeene

    i think that is asking for trouble

    August 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  5. Jane (Minnesota)

    Absolutely not! I don't think the writers of the Second Amendment had this in mind. I can't help but wonder what would have happened to these goofy people if they had carried guns near President Bush's location.......carted away to a detention camp in an undiclosed location as an enemy combatant no doubt!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  6. Paula McPhail

    Absolutely NOT
    I am 62 years old and have never seen the Secret Service allow anyone in the vacinity of our President with guns. By allowing these people to exercise their right to bear arms around the President, we are just putting our country in a holding pattern until one of them, being disgruntled, finds his or her way there and kills him. Has this country lost all sense of reason and any even a small amount of intelligence?

    Paula In Elkridge, MD

    August 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  7. Jason, Koloa, HI

    That is one of the worst ideas in the history of bad ideas. Other's on the list , hey let's take a swim with the polar bears. Let's elect another guy named Bush. Let's ride in a convertable through Dallas.....Let's let people with guns near the president. Bad Ideas

    August 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  8. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    Considering that many gun rights advocates believe in the right to revolt (although that was specifically rejected by the Supreme Court) the answer is no. Of course, the Secret Service will never let it happen, so the question is moot. None of them will get closer than the Secret Service allows unless they have a death wish.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  9. Tom

    People who are allowed to carry guns are people who are acting in compliance with the law. Therefore the question asks if law-abiding people should be permitted near the president. Perhaps such people might be interested in hearing why more debt must be placed upon the shoulders of the tax-paupers in order to pay for bailouts and bonuses for huge banks as well as finance underground tunnels for turtles in Florida.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  10. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Since it is illegal to carry a loaded gun on a commercial airliner, into a courtroom, or into a school, it is total insanity to legally allow people with loaded guns to get anywhere near the President of the United States. The answer to this one should be as obvious as the ass on a goat.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  11. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida

    The second amendment allows for the right to bear arms and organize millitia for the security of all. Congress passed the Militia Act on May 8 1792 . It requires all men ages 18 -45 to purchase at their expense a musket with bayonet ,24 bullets ,knapsack and powder.
    This was passed no doubt to prevent crazed men wih guns from killing inocent people. Ever notice when there is the abscense of fire arms such as Airplanes ,Schools, Universties, Public Buildings these areas become prime targets for crazy people with concealed weapons. These crazy people never attack military bases or police stations. because they are cowards with not an ounce of conviction. I also noticed that people in the crowds at the Presidents town hall did'nt seem threatend by armed individuals standing next to them. Firearms, I believe keep everyone on their very best behavior

    August 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  12. Ruie - Brownstown, MI

    Dear Jack: When our college choir got to sing for the President; the Secret Service confiscated all of our Chloroseptic throat spray bottles, nail files, even our ink pens! So needless to say, I was really shocked to see the two gentlemen with guns so very close to where the President was going to be and where he surely was going to drive by. (There's no doubt the NRA is encouraging this as a political statement, and probably in hopes that these individuals will be arrested and they can cause another bruhaha. Under the guise of the Second Ammendment - which I whole-heartedly believe IS our right, the NRA has just become a tool of the Republican Party). Personally, I'm getting rather tired of the Republican Party hijacking OUR rights and OUR historical figures for THEIR own political gain!

    Oh, by the way, the President we sang for was President Ford way back in 1976 in Southern Illinois.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  13. Rory Murray

    I cringe when people even compare President Obama to JFK. I'm a fan of the 2nd Ammendment, but ..Hell No!! Keep the "Elmer Fudds" as far away from the President as possible. We have enough trouble without Pelosi moving up the food chain.
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    August 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  14. Phil in Vancouver

    The real question is, should people be allowed to carry guns, and the answer is no. Carrying a gun is an uncivilized thing to do, and carrying one because other people are uncivilized is a contradiction. And the claim that it makes people safer is ridiculous. It might make an individual safer relative to others, but it makes society more dangerous as a whole. To understand this, all it takes is a little thought experiment: imagine everyone one else packing while you aren't. In that scenario, I have to wonder how much would even the most rabid supporter of the right to bear arms would prefer being the lone person without a gun to living in an unarmed society.

    In any case, Jack, to answer your question, while allowing people to carry guns in public, especially ones like assault rifles, is bad, the idea that's it's okay to do it near a vitally important person who has a high potential of being a target for assassination is completely idiotic.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  15. Andrea Brinkley


    When I saw this story, I was shocked! It is so unnecessary to bring a gun to a town hall meeting, not to mention an assault rifle! Most people are aware of their second amendment right, but don't feel the need to tote their firearm all over the place–especially when it could endanger the president! To me, the gun-toting town hall goers aren't there for healthy debate or to ask questions; they are just trying to start some commotion and instill fear in those who might want to participate in the debate.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  16. Andy

    Well, this is incredible. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of the presidency...why now? Republicans and NRA members like this man must feel threatened very badly to restort to this tactic...Yes, this is a disaster waiting to happen...but it also says that Obama's opponents are running out of ideas other than to try and gain attention like this!!! These meetings aren't even about gun control...

    August 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  17. Leo in NC

    Unless you're hunting, a firearm should never leave your property. Otherwise, you infinge on the job of the police.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  18. Kathryn

    In a word, NO!!!!! There's nothing to discuss!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  19. Nikki V

    I will love to see these gun in hand fools, make their time more useful by joining the United States military, they are always looking for good hearted people that can hold a gun. These people need to make their time more useful other than standing in crowds intimidating other people. Join the marines.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  20. deon

    There's only one answer to this question.......... NO!!!!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  21. mike

    No way jose.. never, nada.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  22. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Umm Jack. the secret service isn't woried about it and neither should you be. Your making a mountain out of a mole hill. It's the guns they can't see that worry them.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  23. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Absolutely! And when they take aim, let it be up their own personal behind. And let the person they kill be someone they love, not someone I love.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  24. Tino

    Haven't heard anybody in the media mention that they were NOT allowed at Bush meetings. But that was ok because...? This is a slap in the current administration's face and Obama's in particular.
    Tino, NYC

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  25. Matthew from Orange,CA

    Should people with Banana-Cream Pies be allowed to be near the President? No, and if you are a Congressman and say it's their Constitutional right, you are a moron.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  26. Fred from Los Angeles, California


    I support the right to bare arms, the 2nd amendment and the NRA, i'm a democrat and i voted for Obama.

    The states of Texas and Arizona allow guns on your person. In California, it's not legal unless a special permit is granted.


    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  27. Leo in NC

    If you're not a law enforcement officer you are disturbing the peace by brandishing a weapon in public.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  28. Bob Watts

    These idiots are making a case for banning assault weapons! I think we should give everyone in the town hall meetings one see how the 2nd amendment holds up when idiots are involved.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  29. Nan, Atlanta, GA

    No. Anyone who feels the need to walk around with an assault weapon is obviously mentally unbalanced to begin with, so the idea that those people should be allowed anywhere near the President is flat out insane.

    My personal fear is that some of the extreme right-wing white supremacist militia types are using this overt display of weaponry as a way to test just how close they can get - and one of these days they will start shooting.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  30. Amber

    Having an assault rifle at a presidential event is completely absurd. What has America come to? Flaunting deadly weapons to make some sort of twisted symbolic statement is not practicing one's constitutional rights. C'mon people...do you even think anymore?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  31. Peter M

    Noooo! They want to exercise their right to bear arms, do it away from public as well as Presidential events. We all have a right to free speech but how often do you see yelling Fire in crowded theatres? This insanity needs to be stopped before a crazed bigot, Right Wing Loonie or Birther goes off the deeper end.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  32. S.J. Phred

    Its been suggested, the people being drawn to these events, are the types who joined the militias years back–disinfranchised white Americans feeling they were being left behind, left out of touch as the culture advanced.

    And what was another characteristic of the militias? Showing off their right to own military weaponry. So, maybe the theory isn't that far off...and suggests why these people are so against a government-run program, as they always were.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  33. James In Idaho

    Jack, these people need to get a grip. The president never said he was going to take their guns away, but that's what they're implying, and their implication is two-fold. First that the president has attempted to tell them they can't do that, and two, that his healthcare reform ideas are a slippery slope towardds that.

    All this in an attempt to distract voters and concerned citizens from dealing with the issue at hand; much needed healthcare reform. I can't remember if that's classified as a strawman or a red herrings, but I'm certain it's one of them.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  34. Annie, Atlanta

    NO! I’m wondering where I would be today had I shown up at a Bush event with a loaded weapon. This is absurd. This is a potential threat to our President and should be treated as such. Have we lost our collective minds?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  35. eric sanford

    NO, NO, a thousand times, NO! doesnt matter who the President is, or what party he represents. whether liberal or conservative, no one should EVER be allowed to carry a weapon to a presidential event, no matter what local law allows.
    lexington, NC

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  36. Phil Prosper Tx.

    NO Nothing else needs to be said

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  37. Russ in PA

    If the man has a permit to carry, let him carry. What is the big deal? If the media wants to make a big deal out of this, then I think more people ought to start carrying – assuming they have the permit to do so.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  38. tj

    Mr. Cafferty, I respect the right everyone has to bear arms. But what is the point of bringing a loaded weapon to an event where the President is present. Not only is it unsafe, it's flat out stupid! What are they trying to prove?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  39. Abdul

    I think that the answer should be simple, NO!!!! Would I like someone standing next to me with a gun, not in a million years buddy. The western itmes are over.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  40. Ken in NC

    If open carry is permitted in a state then the person is within the law carrying a weapon, however, in close proximity to the POTUS should be determined by the Secret Service as they are the ones to decide the “Exclusion Area” around the President. Now having said that, what valid reason would a person have for the possession of a weapon in the general proximity of the President. This not only presents a danger to the President but to all in the general vicinity of the person holding the weapon.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  41. Mark in NY

    There is a difference between what you are ALLOWED to do and what common sense says you SHOULD do. It's pure irresponsibility. It's like asking if me, as a teacher, should be allowed to teach my class with an AK-47 slung over my shoulder. Everyone is screaming so loudly about their RIGHTS, they give no thought to their RESPONSIBILITIES. We are truly a country of ME, not a country of WE.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  42. Daniel, HI

    Yes. The Constitution guarantees this right. It doesn't mention any exceptions. If you don't like it then amend the Constitution. Banning guns does not prevent criminals from getting them; only law abiding citizens can't.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  43. Stephen

    I'm sorry, but if you are carrying a weapon near the president there should be only 3 possibilities. Your working to protect him, your getting arrested, or your getting shot. Weapons like the AR-15 only have one function, to kill people, and they shouldn't be carried anywhere near the president unless they are being used to protect him.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  44. Alex

    I'm not worried about the people who have the legal right to carry guns and they carry them in the open. It's the guy that hides it ILLEGALLY (without CC permit) that the Secret Service needs to worry about. You don't bend someone's rights to carry a gun in public, just because someone important is in the area. Rights don't have stipulations.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  45. Jason

    The right to bear arms is an antiquated concept from a far more barbarous time. I think people who want to carry guns around are compensating for something, and whether they plan to use them or not, it makes everyone uncomfortable and eventually will stop people from even venturing outside. Let's see what THAT does for the economy. But to see guns this close to our first black president? It's ridiculous and smacks of conspiracy.

    Schenectady, NY

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  46. Kathy

    I believe in the right for people to own guns for protection and hunting, but I do not believe that anyone needs an assault rifle for these purposes. I also remind viewers than NO group protesting President Bush could get within two miles of the man while he was at an event anywhere in the country.

    Allowing gun-totting protestors to any public forum or event is a very dangerous precedent.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  47. Ray

    I believe our founders placed this in our constitution. I wonder what the publics thoughts would be if a cilivian with a semi-automatic rifle saved the presidents life with it.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  48. gabriela

    What is this, the Wild Wild West? People have to get serious and start sorting fact from myths in this whole deal to come up with what's best for the country. Stop the bull.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  49. Madeline (Syracuse, NY)

    Absolutely not. It's a disaster waiting to happen

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  50. Rick

    Americans hate government and loves guns – um, let me see...No! Gun toting civilians have no business near your commander in chief. Have you forgotten how many of your presidents have been shot?


    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  51. Sadanie

    Absolutely not! If one person can do it, then why not ten? And if ten can do it, why not 100, or 1,000??? And with 1,000 people carrying guns around in a crowd surrounding the President. . .how many secret service agents do we need to assure the president's safety?
    Does this sound ridiculous??? Well, it did start with "one" person carrying a firearm last week. . .and this week we are at "ten."
    What about next week? And next month?
    What is ridiculous is to allow this to happen!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  52. Chika

    Darn No! Next thing, you will hear CNN talking heads wondering how on earth such tragedy happened before our very eyes.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  53. Kay

    NO only hte weird and those not playing with a full deck would even want to do such a stupid thing.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  54. Michael in SD


    You are exactly right that this is a disaster waiting to happen, whether or not they ever get a visual on the President. Their only goal is intimidation, not exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. By the way, what "well regulated militia" do these nuts belong to??

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  55. Chuck

    Despite being a strong proponent of the 2nd amendment,
    and owning many guns myself, I am appalled at these people's lack
    of good judgment. I feel that these people are doing this merely for the
    purpose of being menacing. I suspect that if anyone did this during the
    Bush administration they would be in a detention camp somewhere,
    irrespective of habeas corpus. While what they are doing may not be
    technically illegal, it certainly violates every law of common sense and

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  56. Patty

    Jack, it's clear that the Secret Service is not protecting President Obama in the same fashion they protected Bush. If anyone had gotten within a mile of George, they would still be in jail at some undisclosed location. What is the real agenda here?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  57. Gordon White

    Jack, Let the guntotters have thier rights to carry the guns in public and let the President's staff exercise their right to not visit those states that allow public carry. Any President's safety should come first.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  58. shirley curtis

    This is insane. A man was arrested at a Bush event because he had a Kerry pin on his shirt. What's to stop people from starting a shoot out right outside the events? This is not going to help those who oppose health care reform and may in fact show just how crazy these Obama haters are.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  59. Stefan


    Of course there should be people with guns around the president. It happens everyday, probably right now. They are called the secret service.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  60. Jon from Tempe, Az

    Jack, Arizona is crazy with their open gun laws. Trust me, I live there. Sometimes I think the heat down here has effected some people's sanity. Why anyone would bring a gun, let alone a semi automatic assault weapon, to an event with the president is beyond me. It is not like they are in danger there, look how many law enforcement officials are there when the president is around. If their danger was in question, there would be plenty of police and secret service agents to help out.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  61. Tracey from MO

    I will say that I am a strong believer in the right to bear arms. I think every law abiding citizen should at the very least go target shooting once in their life. But there is a time and a place for carrying a weapon and doing so around the President of the United States is not only wrong it should be criminal.

    I have been to an election rally where they searched people for any objects that can be used as a weapon. Without such vigilance by the Secret Service more presidents, or seekers of the office would be assassinated I am sure. Just the knowledge they are there watching is a deterrent. If we eased such vigilance and allowed weaponry near the President some fanatic would kill him, I have no doubt.

    It amazes me that anyone would even think that such an act is ok. I have to wonder if they would have thought so if Barrack Obama's name was Barry and he were white. I don't remember anyone using this particular form of protest before out first black president.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  62. Larry Kramer

    I'm a hunter and have a license to "carry". When are we going to get gun control to protect us from the idiots??

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  63. jaid

    The minute one of these gun toting fiends get shot by the police or the secret service while confusing them with a gun slinging culprit, then the problem will be fixed. I notice that all of these freaks somehow feel naked without a gun - they must be a bully or feel very insecure!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  64. chi

    It is absolutely stupid to me see people hanging guns like that even though it is not a threat to the president. Those idiots want some attention and they got it. Am so sorry for all those idiots that think that is the best way to show the 2nd amendment. These guys need to really grow up...

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  65. Mike Armstrong TX.

    I think the president needs to start packing a gun so he can shoot back because this is stupid just ask Abraham Lincoln or president Kenedy guns around the president is nothing but being careless with our president's life .

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  66. Anne Blair

    It is a sad commentary on where things stand today that people are allowed, and encouraged by some, to carry and display weapons where the president is appearing. It wasn't so very long ago that people were arrested for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts to his gatherings.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  67. F Guerr

    No guns of any kind should be allowed at any presidential event, ever.
    It endangers the president and innocent people.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  68. Juliet

    Absolutely not! You choose! You carry a gun then you get nowhere near the President!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  69. Bailey

    Why not? Bad things can happen anywhere, at anytime – even if the secret service and increased law-enforcement are present. In fact, its these "gun safe zones" that things go very wrong. Virgina Tech, Columbine... Come on! How many more "safe zones" do we need?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  70. Kyle

    Ok, South Korea, Japan and England have no gun law and they have a really low crime rate. We can use our own fists, bats, and other replacements than firearms. Country would be more safer without gun like Japan and South Korea, if you want to hold a firearm, join the military...

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  71. Steven from California

    People who carry guns and assault weapons should not be allowed anywhere near the President.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  72. Tim

    Jack, fully automatic weapons are and will continue to be illegal, please get your facts straight. These people are exercising their legal rights protected by the constitution. I don't necessarilly think carrying an asssault weapon in public is necessary, but let them state their msg and move on with the more important news. Regarding the proximity to the President, the Secret Service would never allow anybody with a firearm within shooting distance of a protectee, ever. I'm sure they'll confirm that.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  73. Boyd

    Yes, by all means.
    The 2nd amendment says that we have the right to bear arms. It's doesn't say "except when the President is around".
    Which right do you want tampered with next?
    I'm a yellow dog democrat, just so you know.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  74. Joe T

    Uh, yes Jack.
    Get out of your New York state of mind. People carry guns legally all over the country all the time, extremely rarely with incident. Considering the tens of millions of gun owners, you can count on one hand all the presidents who have been shot, even before the secret service existed. Our founding fathers knew what they were doing when they wrote the 2nd Ammendment, and unless you and the rest of the country with irrational fear of firearms think you are wiser than they, I'd say drop it.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  75. janey

    it's rediculious that people are allowed to carry guns out in public just because they feel like it.we dont live in "COWBOY" days.they especialy dont need to be in crowds or any where near the president.there just asking for trouble.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  76. Kimberly Krautter, Atlanta, GA

    You know what they say, Jack, the bigger the gun, the smaller the ... brain. I'm all for the right to bear arms, but just as 1st Amendment doesn't give you a right to yell "Fire" in a crowded theatre, the 2nd Amendment doesn't give you the right to strap a loaded weapon to your hip in highly volatile crowded setting. And who in their right mind "needs" an AR-15 like that yahoo pictured? Only the most dangerous kind of zealot.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  77. David

    Jack, what do you expect from a nation that was founded on violence? There is a RIGHT to bear arms, if some people have an issue with this, go complain to the founding fathers of the US.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  78. bruce schnell

    The real question Jack, is whether we should allow Republicans near the President. Last time I checked they were way more dangerous to our country, than a man legallly carrying his assault rifle.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  79. sally in alameda

    Of course not! And shame on all those politicians who hide behind "they're exercising their constitutional rights" and refuse to comdemn this behavior for what it is–threatening, disrespectful, and dangerous.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  80. Samantha

    Jack, as long as the constitution says they are allowed to own the weapons and the state says they can carry them in public, then it is perfectly ok that this happens. Do I feel comfortable that people are strapped at an event like this? No. Would I bring my children or loved ones? For that matter, would I go myself? No. But is it wrong? Again, sadly, no. Perhaps Obama should have tackled the 2nd Amendment before tackling health care if he did not want armed men to appear in the crowds.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  81. Adam W.

    This is simply not an issue of "exercising your constitutional right", rather, it is a matter of of being practical. The president is effectively the most important person in the nation. There is simply no reason we should tolerate an action which would make him considerably less safe.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  82. Kim Fuller

    Hell no! What is wrong with the Secret Service! This is a National Security issue. I don't want my president put in a dangerous position because the state of Arizona has not addressed its archaic gun laws. No one in this modern world needs to walk around with a gun particularly at a public event that includes the President of the United States.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  83. rjw

    Absolutely, they should be allowed to bear their arms.

    The Constitution permits everyone to demonstrate a complete lack of common sense.

    And these dangerous types who clutch to extreme positions are doing nothing to enhance the reputation of the all or nothing literalist "gun rights". folks

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  84. satish

    First of all guns shouldnot be allowed for public events, which rules out the possibility of allowing "People legally carrying guns permitted near president". There are bunch of wierdos who might snatch the gun and can create a potential mess in and around the event.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  85. R.D. Garcia

    No, weapons aren't neccessary when a president is holding a meeting,rally or whatever. I feel that if the president were not a minority then more would be done by the Secret Service and anyone else that handles his care and secruity. We don't need another disaster to happen that would cause us, as Americans, to regress to times of the past when we didn't get proper respect.

    R.D. Garcia

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  86. Blake Green

    I don't remember any "liberals" bringing guns to rallies against Bush. This is proof positive that many of those who are so vehemently against Obama are right wing crazies. Many share the opinion that he is not an American. Right wing radio and news has succeeded in frightening the nation. And frightened people do scary things. No, guns should not be aloud near the president.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  87. Alan Hidalgo, Louisiana

    This ridiculous!! It is very wrong to carry a gun in public especially by the president, just because you have the right. What are they trying to do? Strike fear in to people's lives and threathen people. It should be illegal to do that. This is something they would do in Afghanistan, not the US!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  88. Roberta (Princeton, NJ)

    Absolutely not. It's outrageous that people need to be carrying weapons AT ALL whether or not they're around the president or not. We have armed forces and a national guard that protect us, we don't need to be carrying semi-automatics. This behavior sets precedents that just cause more and more problems in the future. The secret service has enough to worry about, they don't need to be distracted by lunatics.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  89. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    Why are they carrying a gun in the first place? If the President is in a room no one in that room should be carrying a gun but the president or Secret Service

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  90. Rowena

    NO............It might their right as a citizen but its unsafe for the Commander In Chief but also for the people who are there. Its not only what if some lunatic gets the riffle........what if the person carrying it just snaps and starts shooting?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  91. Mark (Newburgh, NY)

    There is a difference between what you are ALLOWED to do and what common sense says you SHOULD do. It’s pure irresponsibility. It’s like asking if I, as a teacher, should be allowed to teach my class with an AK-47 slung over my shoulder. Everyone is screaming so loudly about their RIGHTS, they give no thought to their RESPONSIBILITIES. We are truly a country of ME, not a country of WE.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  92. Sandra Smith Hawaii

    No NEVER! With everything that is going on in our country emotions are high and NO one other then secret service should be allowed any where near our President with a gun. It has nothing to do with our right but everything to do with keeping our President safe!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  93. Ken

    Logically, of course not. Most dire would be the case in which both pro AND anti "Obamaites" turn up with guns and get into it with eachother.

    On the other hand, I'm curious about how the conservative pro gun folks in Arizona felt when they saw that it was a black man who was sporting the assault rifle. Even some of them might be inclined to review their own thinking on the subject.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  94. judith mihlenbecck

    Definitely NOT!! I think that is absurd and potentially extremely dangerous for our President.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  95. zack olsen

    This should not be alowed!! I think that it is good that people are alowed to carry guns in arizona...i live in arizona, but I think that if any of the leaders of our country are present. There should be a ban on weapons near the site! I know he was trying to get his point across but you can also have concealed weapons permits so you don't know how many were there with concealed weapons. think about that!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  96. Cassandra Stribling

    NO, I agree it is a disaster waitng to happen. Nothing good ever comes from someone walking a round with a gun. Wearing a tie doesn't make a person a non lunatic.

    Thanks Jack

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  97. Peter Popp

    Hi Jack I'm a gun man but I wouldm't even think of taking it to see the president. Are those people NUTS or is it us. Peter

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  98. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    They can have them but not loaded! I just hope a sniper is on each one of the people carrying a weapon to the town meetings!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  99. Katie

    Just because something is legal, doesn't make it a good idea. Can you imagine if everyone in Dallas in '63 were allowed to carry shotguns? The President might want to consider riding around in a Pope mobile, but that is probably giving in to the scare tactics.

    If he is assassinated, it will be the most significant political event since the Archduke. Maybe not WW3, but probably CW2.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  100. Tom Graham

    Of course they should be allowed to !!!!..It is their legal right and besides tey are no where near the president ...and you say what if someone took his gun ??..I guarantee that person wouldn't get very fair, he had a pistol on his side along with probalt 25-40% of the people within 50 feet !!!!....Legal carrying gun owners are the most law-abiding people around..I know ...Me and most of my friends carry !!!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  101. Military Member

    I believe if the state allows it, they should be able to. Do you have a problem when the president visit's the troops and the all have loaded assault weapons? There are civilians that are deployed with the troops that could be considered what you call "Looney Toons" that could grab there weapon and due the same thing. So what is the difference? Most people that are going to carry a weapon of that nature to an event like that know how to properly use it and are not a risk.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  102. Arianne, Gary, IN

    It seems to me that, while bearing arms is a right, you still need to be responsible. It does not strike me as particularly responsible to bring a weapon, such as an assault rifle or anything, to a public event that is aimed at discourse and discussion. Guns, in general, seem to be the answer many people reach for when their words have failed them, whether they ever tried to talk or not. I just don't see it being a particularly helpful action to engaging in debate.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  103. Dave F

    Taking a gun to a health insurance forum is like showing my breast at a church service a saying " This is how God made me"

    David F

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  104. Carol

    This is nuts! No, they should not be allowed to carry guns when in a crowd of people. Anything might happen.

    I would hope the secret service can see to it that they are no where near our President. I worry about him all the time.

    We are not in Bagdad. Who needs guns like this?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  105. Howard from Chicago



    You are not allowed to carry bottles into a Sporting Event for fear they could be used as a weapons. Guns are weapons.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  106. Mary Reiff

    Guns near the President? No! Guns near the general public? No! If one is secure in his rights as an American, he does not need to flaunt them!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  107. Tim M

    The presence of the President should not create a "Constitution-Free" zone. It is legal to carry a weapon openly in Arizona, the presence of the President shouldn't restrict this; just like it shouldn't restrict our ability to free speech, freedom of assembly, etc near the President. Restricting our rights is something I would have expected from the last Administration not this one.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  108. Glen

    Yes. Police, Military, and Secret Service. ONLY

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  109. Audrey Glover West Point Ga.

    Absolutely not Jack. You failed to report this was a planned and staged photo opt by two people who knew each other, the interviewer and the nut carrying the gun.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  110. Larry So Cali

    I don't think so . But here is an idea, they should put all the gun toters together in a separate area away from others and serve them all whiskey....and whoever comes out alive gets a cookie..haha

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  111. Brian Rosney

    Absolutely not. All it would take is one second for a madman to pull out a handgun and shoot the president, who is no more than 25 feet away. You have a lot of people scared to death about Obama's policies (no thanks to certain news stations) and may resort to desperate acts to do what they think is the best, no matter how misguided they are.

    -Laguna Beach, CA

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  112. Lori Mash

    "...a well regulated militia being necessary..." per the Constitution. Make the knuckleheads join the National Guard–that should slow 'em down a triffle. Lori, Vancouver, WA

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  113. Melinda

    There is only one solution to this problem. It requires common sense. Unfortunately, this is something those who are carrying these guns to an event where the President is in attendance, are lacking. The solution seems simple, leave the gun at home. Like moms everywhere say; Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  114. Darius Holiday, Bronx, NY USA

    NO..(Shouting) How can we allow this to happen? In all my 45 Years, I have not heard about anyone within several hundred feet, yards etc coming close to the President of the United States. I understand that we have the right to bear arms, but this is really pushing it.

    It makes you wonder if President Barack Obama were of another Race, would this be allowed? I think not.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  115. EILEEN.. Austintown, OHIO

    The President? How about me? Goes back to what I professed many moons ago, allow people to carry guns and sooner or later they will be used. Rush Limbaugh would never be the recipient of such a mishap....; cause in my 70 years +, I've learned....NOBODY SAID THE WORLD WAS FAIR, and guess what....it's true!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  116. Joe DesRochers

    Here we go again ....the far right is excersing there rights to bear arms. Also the NRA is pushing this to the limit. They will soon ask to carry assualt rifles when president is there.
    Wake up America...this is ludicrous.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  117. Jason

    Jack, just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD. If you want your fifteen minutes of fame or a chance to be on t.v. there are other ways to do it other than putting the lives of the President of the United Stated and many others in danger.Of course everyone should be able to express there rights, but doing it in the fashion is just plain stupid.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  118. Ann Brooke

    What is happening to the USA. As a Canadian watching this farce on health care was bad enough – now people with assault weapons are showing up at demonstrations!!! Wake up America!!! you are behaving like the fundamentalists in Afganistan, Somalia and Pakistan.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  119. Howard

    I have no problem with people exercising their rights, and I trust the Secret Service to do their job effectively. None of these people were in any position to actually endanger the President.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  120. mesh

    Jack, oh no! the people should not be allowed just because life is precious and with the town hall meeting heating up anything is possible and life can be easily be destroyed

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  121. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack you just try taking one of those guns away from one of them besides how the hell do YOU even know they are loaded?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  122. Grant

    I am a card-carrying member of the NRA and I say no! Carry a gun in close proximity to the President? Are you kidding? Are you kidding? That has nothing to do with the right to bear arms. He's the President of the United States of America for crying out loud!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  123. cedricA

    Hell! , I wouldn't want a person next to me carrying a loaded gun. Netherless the President of the United States

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  124. Joe

    Jack: Just as the state of Pennsylvania allows me to carry a gun, I can also be denied access to places for having said gun on my person. I think anyone going into a presidential event should pass through a metal detector and check your gun at the door or be denied access to the event.

    Harleysville, PA

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  125. Ollie Rivers

    San Antonio TX

    NO! NO! NO! Stunts like this are might result in some terrible event - and when it happens all the enablers, such as cable news and talk, right-wing radio talk, and irresponsible elected officials who are afraid to speak up because they want to keep their jobs at any cost, will deny all responsiblity. Shame on the people participating in these stunts and shame on those who fail to condem the stunts.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  126. Steve, Tx

    That gun is why I stay home. I'm sure it was another of Obama pranks to stymie protests against his health care reform.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  127. chi

    It is absolutely stupid to me see people hanging guns like that even though it is not a threat to the president. Those idiots want some attention and they got it. Am so sorry for all those idiots that think that is the best way to show the 2nd amendment. These guys need to really grow up...

    Chinedu Nzerem
    Bakersfield California

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  128. Aaron

    Absolutely. The police and the military can't be everywhere at once, and I believe it's the responsibility of those who are properly educated and trained to be vigilant Americans, whether on duty or exercising their rights as U.S. citizens while not at work, be it the right to assemble, the right to bear arms, or the right to pursue happiness granted it doesn't impede that of others; isn't that the point of the Second Amendment?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  129. Kadri

    sure jack, they can take their weapons near the president, im sure the secret service wont hesitate to protect mr obama...those nut-jobs really sends a message that the gun laws needs to be reviewed

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  130. dennis

    hell no! if that guy in arizona was near me where i could see it, i would be outa there pronto.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  131. mark from Caglary

    There have long been limitations to Freedom of Speech, the FIRST Amendment. These include everything from "7 words you can't use on television", yelling "Fire" in a crowded movie theatre, as well as laws againstslander and libel. Why do the blokes carrying guns (as well as the NRA) assume their Second Amendment rights should be without limit. Tthe carrying of weapons in public view is an act of intimidation and has no place where there ispublic discourse of opinions, whether at a town hall meeting, and election event, or a visit from the President.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  132. Air

    There is nothing wrong with these guys carrying weapons in public. Its only the anti gun liberals that have a problem with this. And remember the first thing Hitler did was take guns away from every citizen in Germany. The founding fathers got it right.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  133. Ozzira - 23 - NYC

    why is this even up for discussion? absolutely insane. you cant bring a gun to a crowded stadium so why would a protest be any different? when will this nation admit that the second amendment has been brutally distorted from its constitutional intent. the nation, not the individual has a right to bear arms.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  134. Kati Woodward

    We lost one president to guns in my lifetime (JFK) and two other attempts (Ford and Reagan) – one Democrat and two Republicans. Get real! No guns near the president! Why do we have the Secret Service protecting him? Why do we have metal detectors when going into federal buildings, courthouses, airports, etc., etc. And you're going to allow guns near the president? Why are they even allowed in crowds?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  135. Kenn

    People should not be allowed to endanger anyone!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  136. Joan Brault

    Definitely not. I was shocked to see photos of protestors with guns standing outside of the President's news conferences. Why would the Secret Service allow this?
    Handguns are not needed for personal safety in this day and age.
    Cell phones that dial 911 are the way we protect ourselves.
    Handguns are obsolete and should not be allowed in any public places unless they are in the possession of law enforcement officers.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  137. Mark Winter

    The insanity is the the selfishness (aka stupidity) of these people not to see the risks to others is greater then their exhibiting their rights. Particularly where there is no necessity to carrying one in those situations. Let"s remame the 2nd ammendment as people right to stupidity.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  138. Mike Cohen


    Nobody carrying a gun, especially an assault weapon, should be allowed near the President of the United States.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  139. George in California

    The scenario that scares me most about people openly carrying guns in inappropriate places is that any one of them might be a true nut who starts the shooting, then the rest will kill innocents by becoming trigger happy themselves.

    I would not blame a policeman or a Secret Service agent who shot every gun carrier in sight if one man (or woman?) starts the shooting.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  140. Robby

    I am a believer in the 2nd amendment, but I do NOT feel it should be legal, or is a right to carry a gun near the President. You lose that right when you walk into a court room and I don't think this should be any different.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  141. Janet

    Absolutely not. And since they are carrying weapons I do not want to go to any meetings. It is such a shame that they are infringing on my rights as a citizen to go to public meetings. I do not know what the rest of the world thinks as this lunatic fringe parades around with assault weapons and guns strapped to their leg. I am really afraid that this will result in a disaster. Let them stay home, not me.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  142. marcus

    i do not think people with guns should not be allowed near the president because anybody could see that a person plus machine gun plus a president equals bad news and im only 13 years old

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  143. george

    no...........not unless they are secret service.i understand that my responce to your qustion is simple at best but it just seems prudent considering the past and the nature and respncibilities of protecting the commander and chief.
    the worl is chuck full of nuts,

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  144. Charlie-Chicago

    By all means, let's just have the psycho's carry weapons near the president that are concealed, instead of legal licensed citizens carrying out in the open. That'll make the Secret Service's job SO much more easier to spot.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  145. Sam in California

    I'm in favor of our constitutional right to bear arms, and so is President Obama – surprise! So why are these armed citizens suddenly appearing at Obama's events? Could they be egged on by radio & TV attention? The gentleman with the assault rifle who would not give his name strikes me as a hired gun, pardon the expression.
    Since you don't have to pass an intelligence exam to own a gun, my fear is some ignoramus will take a shot at the President. My hope is that Americans come to their senses and stop throwing tantrums.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  146. Terry Ackley

    Nobody is allowed near the President with a weapon now! Who was allowed near the President with a gun?! NOBODY WAS!! Every time you libs see a gun you get your panties in a bunch! Relax!!

    Terry Ackley, Maine, NY

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  147. Karl Pershing

    I love guns and the second amendment. I also believe in carrying guns. However, this does not need to be practiced near or close to the President of the United States. He is only one man and at one location at a time. We can afford that. Our rights will not be crushed by it.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  148. Joe M

    If it is legal, then they should be allowed-however-it is also legal for Secret Service to surround them with guns drawn and pointed if they sense any danger to the President.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  149. M. O. YONIS

    why should they be? it is not that they are putting the president's life at risk, but it is unnecessary and stupid behavior. just because one is legally allowed or not prohibited to do something, doesn't meat they he or she could do it.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  150. Leota

    Not only NO, but HELL, NO. This just demonstrates the shaky line between what Obama haters call freedom and what is clearly insanity. Sooner or later there will be an attempt on the President's life.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  151. Dave from WV

    I'm glad you brought up this subject Jack, it shows just how much you liberals are against the 2nd Amendment. Oh and by the way while you were dropping your shorts and showing you behind, I might remind you automatic weapons have been outlawed for decades Jack. Get your facts straight before you spit out lies and inuendos.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  152. Clarence amarillo tx

    No one should be allowed near a president with a gun,Do the nuts think they should be allowed near schools also? They were probabley in the scopes of secret service sharpshooters. If nnot they should have been.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  153. Madelynn Potts

    If I am not mistaken, we can all get a permit to carry guns, unless we are criminals, so yes, people who are allowed to carry guns should be permitted be near the president. There is no law against that yet.

    Cedar Lake, Indiana

    August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  154. Escobar

    Do you have a problem with the 2nd amendment?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  155. Bill Fliris

    Yes, they should be allowed near the President, just long enough to arrest them properly and throw them in jail, where they belong.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  156. Richard

    There is not one rational reason anyone other than law enforcement should be armed near the Pres., but I'm sure the 2nd Amendement radicals who think we should go back to the wild wild west and arm everyone as a means to curtail crime would disagee... there are enought "chicken littles" at these events that think Obama is the Anti-Crist that access to weapons there is just kinda ....STUPID....

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  157. Nick

    Would white supremacists be welcome at a million man march just because the first ammendment says it's okay? A gun like racism. Is interpreted as a threat or sign of hatred. No one needs a semi automatic gun to protect themselves. There's some things that just aren't socially acceptable. And our personal liberties should not be infringing on others personal safety and comfort

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  158. JB

    I own several gun and also have a permit to carry. Part on the responsiblity to carry a weapon is knowing when and where. I understand what this gentleman to trying to say, but i wouldn't have any of my weapon on were the president is to do a trigger happy LEO


    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  159. frank stratford,ct.

    No! One assainated President in my lifetime is one too many.May I remind everyone Lee Harvey Oswald got his rifle legally through mailorder.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  160. Tara from Forest City, NC

    The right to civil protest is Constitutionally protected, and the right to bear arms is as well. But is the right to bear arms while protesting likewise protected? I wouldn't think so since coming armed to a "civil" protest seems to be a complete contradiction to the whole CIVIL part of that protection. I just hope it won't take an innocent person being gunned down for common sense to prevail. After all, just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  161. Dr. Elizabeth Jacobs

    Please remember that the "gunman" mentioned that he was from another state and came to Phoenix because it has the "open carry" law. I don't want the world to think Phoenix is full of folks wielding automatic rifles on their shoulders. I've lived here over 40 years and have never seen an automatic weapon in public.

    Elizabeth Jacobs, Phoenix, Arizona.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  162. margie

    Simple answer NO. You think this Country is devided now? Can you just imagine what it would be like if our first black president were to be assinated.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  163. Kimberly Krautter, Atlanta, GA

    If memory serves, during the Bush administration, anti-war protesters were quarantined a 1/4 to 1/2 mile away from the President in so-called "Free Speech Zones." Why can't we similarly quarantine those gun-toting zealots? When a 1st Amendment protester pops off it doesn't have nearly the bloody consequences as when a 2nd Amendment protester does. Which one frightens you more?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  164. ronnie

    no I do not believe people should be allowed to bear arms at any public event

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  165. Gregory

    My mom used to say to me that the older I get the dumber I get. That's starting to be true with this country. Why is it legal to carry guns in public in Arizona and New Hampshire, near the president, but you get screened for weapons in courtrooms and airplanes in both states? I bet that dummy wouldn't walk into a courtroom with that gun strapped on his back. Also why are people suddenly carrying guns during this presidents term and not during the previous term? Things to make you go hmmmmmm?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  166. Vince

    Your kidding right? 2nd amendments rights are one thing, the safety of a man despised by any right wingers is another

    Los Banos, California

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  167. Young Knowledge

    Of course I believe that every American citizen should be able to exercise their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, given that they have a proper license and the firearm is not concealed. Mr. Cafferty, your argument of some "loon" randomly wrestling that rifle from someone and going postal holds no water: following that logic, police officers and secret service agents should not be allowed to carry weapons either, lest the same thing happens. I don't agree with the man's choice to bear arms near the president, but I will defend his RIGHT do do so with my life.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  168. Scott Segner


    Do any of the "gun morons" believe that the secret service guarding Bush 43, Bush 41, Reagan etc. would have allowed assault weapons or any other weapon at their gathering? No, I didn't think so. The Obama administration should not allow it either

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  169. newt

    Jack, how many of those protectors of the President and police officers were drunk or high on Marijuana yesterday? Without the right to bear arms I might run into one of those egomaniacs with a gun who might put my life in danger.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  170. Ken, Long Beach, CA

    Absolutely not. I believe in the 2nd amendment, but bringing firearms to a political event or otherwise is a massacre waiting to happen. People already scream and shout over each other in these protests, just imagine some nut trying to get his point across by opening fire on a crowd. My father taught me to respect a weapon, not use it to show off and force a point. The excuse I have heard is "we're being forced into socialism". No we are not! Showing guns at a public event is a sign of facism. Remember the guy that signed a law in the middle of the night called the patriot act? No one on the right protested that, and it violates 4 sections of our bill of rights and violates the geneva convention. Thats what these people should be worried about, not a healthcare plan.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  171. Pat @ Bradenton, Fla

    Only the Secret Service should be allowed to carry guns near the President; this is after all what they get paid for.. The fact that these individuals are attending these healthcare event carrying guns, rifles etc is there way of showing power and intimidation.. I personally am not impressed by their stupidity.. There are many crazy people out there and people wearing guns at these healthcare events could incite them.. And what is the purpose of wearing guns at healthcare events anyway ? As I recall guns have nothing to do with healthcare plans unless of course you shoot someone and pray that the person you hit has a healthcare plan that will cover him..

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  172. Susan Haig

    No. Guns of any kind are not allowed in any federal building, etc. in any state. Guns are not allowed anywhere near the White House. Cars were not even allowed near anywhere that Obama was speaking even before he was President.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  173. Michael, Arlington VA

    Anyone ever heard of Lee Harvey Oswald? He was pretty far away from the president and look what happened there. Has the Secret Service honestly forgotten that incident in the interest of being constitutionally correct? What is the real intent of bring a powerful weapon like that to a town hall meeting. Has everyone gone nuts?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  174. Kathleen Myers

    of course not–these NRA nuts should be kept unarmed and away from the President (and all of us). It would make me extremely nervous to have such unstable individuals being armed in the crowd I'm in. It would only take a couple of these "mine's bigger than yours" egomaniacs to begin a shooting frenzy that could only end badly. I can't imagine what would have happened if any of these nut jobs had toted weapons to any of Bush events–makes you wonder what they could REALLY be thinking!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  175. Mike - NB Canada

    What's with your country's obsession with guns? Guns kills people, plain and simple. The right to bear arms is so ridiculous. Why would anyone need or want a semi automatic assault weapon? To hunt? C'mon! If you can answer that question, I think you're onto something.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  176. Marsha B

    Because it is currently legal, I can see this continuing. It wont be until a big tragedy happens that this will change. I don't think it is a good idea for people to have guns any where near the president, especially automatic asault rifles. I am very surprised that this was ok with secret service. There should have been a radius around the president that guns are not allowed except those that are protecting the president.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  177. Scott Gliem

    I was just watching your show and the question was should people carry weapons around the president? YES they can. Secret Service carries them even they are required and it is in the Constitution that says we have the right to bear arms. If someone has the permit and is sane then they should be carrying. Any guns could go off with the Secret Service and hit the president too. What is the difference?
    Your comment about bullets being fired off a long distance you would need one helluva big gun to do that. Like a 50 caliber rifle you. Think about it if you can.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  178. kristin Caldwell

    This is dumb its an accident waiting to happen in my opinion this guy and others like him are just trying to get attention and well were talking about it..but its obvious to me there needs to be a law made that prohibits this. I mean its fairly obvious why this isnt a good idea but some people just have to push the 2nd amendment. Im pretty sure our founding fathers didnt have this in mind when they wrote the Constitution come on people. It reallly takes the focus on what we need to be doing and that would be playing nice and working out an agreement. Its going to take dems and repub. to act like grown ups and change our current health care system its ridiculous we all have something to bring to the table.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  179. Dawn Baggett

    The short answer – NO! We shouldn't allow anyone to carry semi-automatic weapons in public; concealed or otherwise.
    I do find it perplexing that during the "W' administration, protestors weren't allowed within sight of a Bush event, yet people now seem to think its acceptable to appear near Obama events with handguns and semi-automatic weapons.
    Apparently, Americans will never learn. How many tragic shootings must we witness before we give up the fascination with true "weapons of mass destruction"?
    Dawn, St Louis

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  180. Jason A

    I understand the rights that some states have to have the right to bare arms in public that’s there rights and there laws but brining any type of weapon to a Presidential even is just plan stupid, These Secret Service Agents are trained in observing crowds and watching peoples hands while they move and anything they take out of there pocket. If your there with a weapon be sure that one little move you make by coughing or swatting a fly away from your face you will have a target right on your back from these trained professionals why do you want to take that risk?

    Jason A
    San Diego, CA

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  181. Gayle Lwanga Crumbley

    This is an easy one, for all you people in Congress who have not authored a piece of legislation, "The Presidential Protection Act of 2009." This would be federal legislation that prohibits the carrying of fire arms at any event in which any person in the Presidential succession would be present.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  182. George

    Although it may seem to be rogue and unsafe, it is a basic Constitutional right to bear arms. Therefore, people that are allowed to carry guns should be allowed to carry them to all events, provided it is legally displayed, etc.
    This is a slippery slope issue. Whenever Constitutional rights are concerned, we should side with the people, not with the government. At what point do we begin to define and expand the radius in which guns are allowed to be legally carried?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  183. David from Spofford NH

    Silly question, Jack. They aren't allowed now! All the fuss has been about guns some distance from the president. Also, it is not the visible guns the Secret Service is concerned about, it is the concealed weapons. In Vermont and several other states conceal carry is allowed without a permit. I was covering Vice President Hubert Humphrey in Vermont years ago as a radio reporter when a TV cameraman showed me his concealed weapon! DAMN! I moved away from that guy.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  184. Adriano

    NO they shouldn't. However beyond the potential warnings that people carrying guns are offering, I believe that the purpose of these men with big guns is an act of intimidation. They want to persuade the president and the public opinion that they are ready to use force, particularly against "socialist" health reform.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  185. emmanuel

    I believe in the second amendment however there should be a law against carrying guns around the president. There are different laws at border check points to protect our national security and these same laws should be enacted around high profile government officials.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  186. Lee in MN

    While it may be legal to carry a visable weapon in AZ, i would consider the people a public nuisance given the surroundings. What do you hunt with an AK47? Do they carry them to church to talk to God? Grow up children.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  187. Andrew of Lincoln NE

    Its a simple answer, NO!

    Assault rifles like the M16 can shoot rounds up to 550 meters, and the secret service would see the gun when it may have no ammo in it when another guy slips pasted them with a loaded handgun and shoots the president.

    I don't think the founding fathers thought that guns could shoot that far and so fast when they wrote that 2nd ammendment.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  188. Archie from Arkansas

    The same situation at a Bush or Cheney event would have caused a Secret Service and local law enforcement frenzy! I'm an ex-infantryman and I love my weapons, but there's just some things that you JUST DON"T DO around the President. ANY of our Presidents! We are Americans . . . the President is OUR PRESIDENT no matter what!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  189. jeff haverstock


    I'm sure that your going to get it on this one. I wouldn't stop anyone from owning a gun unless of course their a felon of some sort, however come on people what the hell's the matter with you carrying a gun in public is a house of a different color and these people are nuts that's all I can say there nuts.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  190. Chobufo, Michigan

    I consider this an abuse of the right to own arms. In as much as people are authorized to own them, they should not jeopardize others health be it physically, mentally or socially.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  191. Jerry Ravelo

    The guys carrying guns to presidential appearances are idiots.

    This kind of stupid behavior plays right into the hands of the anti gun crowd. Just because the guy with the AR15 rifle in AZ has the rightit doesn't mean he should exercise that right without using common sense about what sort of reactions it might provoke.

    Sure, he "has a right" he also has a right to poop his pants and walk around all day like that too...doesn't mean it's a smart or good thing to do.

    Jerry Ravelo

    North Bergen NJ USA

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  192. joe e. lewis

    I totally agree that to allow anyone with any type of weapon near a sitting US President is Ludicrous. I was never a fan of George W. Bush but I would not want to see armed goons near where he was to speak. We may have way too many laws, however sensible people should understand how this is wrong, very wrong.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  193. mike-sey

    You never know when an escaped lion, a herd of rampaging elephants, or a horde of bloodthirsty El Quaida operatives on camels will come racing down main street. Then you'll be grateful to the guy with the assault rifle – assuming he's not off having a beer.

    By the way where was he when an elderly couple was killed by a pack of dogs in rural Georgia?

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  194. Adam Fyles, Vermont

    What kind of question is this? People should absolutely not be allowed to have guns anywhere remotely near the president for obvious safety reasons. If they want to carry them at these events then fine, but only if they maintain a very, very safe distance from the president.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  195. john Poder

    It seems the only one concerned with legally carrying firearms
    at presidential appearances is the liberal media. If the Secret
    Service and local law enforcement are not concerned why should
    you be.

    John P.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  196. Andy Fabri, Tennessee

    Dear Jack,
    Seeing these guntoters at Preisdential events proves to me that they are not screened for their responsible decision making when being issued a permit to carry a gun. Everyone should be able to act in a sane way, especially those trusted to carry a weapon.
    Thanks, Andy

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  197. Ryan M

    It depends on how you define the word near. These gentlemen open-carrying were not close enough to the President to pose as a danger. If they had been the Secret Service would have removed them to a different location. They were simply exercising their rights near enough of Obama to cause a stir but not near enough to be a real threat. Remember that every Presidential assassin or would-be assassin has concealed carry.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  198. Gloria

    Absolutely not!!!!! Amen!!!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  199. Valerie, NYC

    Funny how this never came up when GWBush was president. This is by no means a compliment to the guy, but rather a reflection on how afraid people were of Cheney ascending to the highest office should anything happen to Bush. Also, Bush's administration would have made their own rules and arrested folks on site.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  200. Marc in Dallas

    I think if it is legally permissible then sure no problem. One might consider though it is also legal for me to stand across the street from his childs school when they are being picked up by their parents. Be careful what you wish for those of you that "do it because it's your right to do so." Sometimes just because you can doesn't mean you should! It won't be as fun when the shoe is on the other foot. Thanks Jack, excellent question!-Marc in Dallas

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  201. Emma, San Luis Obispo, CA

    Jack, I cannot believe my eyes seeing people walking around with guns at ANY presidential event. Why is this legal in any state. The answer is NO.

    In the future President Obama should avoid making any appearances in any state that allows such a foolish law to exist. It is a powder keg waiting to explode...........it is ridiculous. I don't understand how such a stupid and dangerous law is possible in any state. This is not the wild, wild west for heavens sake!

    August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  202. Don Mussman

    I'm all for gun rights, but permitted near the president that's a NO-NO-NO. period........

    August 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm |