It seems that “freedom loving” Americans can’t get enough of carrying their firearms with them when they protest an appearance by President Obama. It happened in Vermont New Hampshire last week and again today in Arizona where at least a dozen men appeared carrying either semi-automatic pistols or semiautomatic carbines (sometimes referred to as assault rifles) or both. They claim, of course, that they are merely exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. Enjoying their god given freedoms, in other words. However, it’s funny, but I don’t remember anyone, liberal, conservative or otherwise carrying weapons to protest any appearance President Bush made. I do recall people being expelled from Bush events for wearing t-shirts with the “wrong” political message written on them (freedom of speech being one of the lesser liberties to which we are entitled under the Constitution, I guess).

Still, it seems rather disconcerting to find that conservatives feel the need to pack heat when protesting. Guns are dangerous enough without bringing them to a crowded political event and forcing security to spend extra time and resources watching these citizens enjoy their rights. Certainly there is little need to do so. There is nothing to hunt at such events (unless you consider hunting liberals to be a valid use of a weapon) and with all the security there is little danger to the people who attend these events either in support of the President or in opposition to him. Well, little danger to those in attendance unless some of them bring that danger with them in the form of loaded firearms.

Which brings me to my quote of the day by the Brady Campaign’s President Paul Helmke:

Bringing loaded firearms to any Presidential event endangers all in attendance. Even though our weak national and state gun laws may allow this dangerous behavior, we should use a little common sense. Individuals carrying loaded weapons at these events require constant attention from police and Secret Service officers, thus stretching their protective efforts even thinner. The possibility that these weapons might be grabbed or stolen or accidently mishandled increases the risks of serious injury or death to all in attendance.

The National Rifle Association and other ‘gun rights’ groups need to send a message about ‘gun responsibilities’ to their members and all gun owners. Loaded weapons at political forums endanger all involved, distract law enforcement, and end up stifling debate. Presidential protesters need to leave their firearms at home — no exceptions.”

I couldn’t agree more. There is no need for to bring weapons to a political event unless your goal is to intimidate those with whom you disagree into silence, or unless you intend to use those weapons to assassinate a political figure. Neither of those is a legitimate exercise of one’s right to bear arms. As good old boy Fred Thompson once said (while giving a performances as an actor in a movie):

“This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”

Indeed. And if any of you on the right think otherwise, just ask yourself this question: What would you have said about liberals bringing guns to protest an event at which President Bush had made an appearance? And please, don’t make me laugh by claiming you would have had no problem with such behavior by “leftist” gun enthusiasts. We all know you would be lying through your teeth.

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