Dozen Gun-Toters Spotted at Obama Event
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 8:24 AM CDT
Curtis Irwin holds a .50 caliber rifle to show at a gun shop in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 6, 2008. Following the election, the Cheaper Than Dirt gun shop swiftly sold out of assault weapons.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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(Newser) – The man who brought an assault rifle to Barack Obama’s speech yesterday wasn’t alone. Roughly a dozen protesters were seen carrying guns, the AP reports. Phoenix police say the men didn’t need permits, and didn’t commit any crime. In fact, they say they were worried someone would try to harm the man carrying the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. “It sparked a lot of emotions,” said one detective. “We were keeping peace on both ends.”

One political scientist tells the AP he’s never heard of anyone openly carrying an assault rifle near the president before. An anti-gun activist worries that gun-toting protesters add to the Secret Service's headaches. But the Secret Service says the armed citizens didn’t change their security plans. “The subject was not entering our site,” said a spokesman. “The main thing to know is that they would not have been allowed inside with a weapon.”