About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday—the latest incidents in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.
Gun-rights advocates say they're exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protest, while those who argue for more gun control say it could be a disaster waiting to happen.
Phoenix police said the gun-toters at Monday's event, including the man carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder, didn't need permits. No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested.
The man with the rifle declined to be identified but told The Arizona Republic that he was carrying the assault weapon because he could. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms," he said. ...
Article here. Kudos to these openly armed protesters. One advantage of these protesters, including the open carrier in New Hampshire last week, peacefully open carrying, is that they help publicize the fact that open carry is legal in these states. Of course, given that this was in Arizona, I'm sure there were lots of discreetly armed protesters there as well.
Acclimating the general public that open carry is something that peaceable free citizens do is an important reason to open carry, and to support same. In addition, as Thomas Jefferson once noted, "... what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." Open carry is a potent form of political expression, and a way to both warn our elected servants and public officials that the "people preserve the spirit of resistance" and that they work for us, not the other way round.
Update 8/19/2009: Here's a photo of the armed man with the rifle, via the Arizona Republic (article here.) From the Arizona Republic article:
"What he is doing is perfectly legal," Det. J. Oliver, of the Phoenix Police Department said. "We are here to keep the peace. If we need to intervene, we will intervene at that time."
Note the spare mag in his left back pocket. Looks like a free citizen, not a subject, doesn't he?