A dozen armed people gathered outside Phoenix’s convention center on Monday at President Obama’s town hall meeting. And, last week in New Hampshire a man with a pistol strapped to his leg stood outside the meeting. The presence of guns at town hall meetings is outright scary. It feels as though one wrong move with one temper flaring and the tinderbox will light up.
Whether those carrying guns are only exercising their constitutional rights or putting the government on notice, guns should be banned that close to the president and in town hall meetings. Safety of the president and the public is the foremost concern.
However, the Secret Service seems to have a workable plan to keep people as safe as they can under the law. Those carrying guns are to be in plain sight in designated public viewing areas.
Still while that plan is good, it is not calming enough. Big concerns are the growing militia movement in the U.S. and lone gunmen with their conspiracy theories and distrust of the government. Public policy forums are ripe for their assaults.
Republicans and others are right to make an uproar at meetings to put the brakes on Obama’s speeding train of health care reform, but guns cross the line. Rules and laws like those governing guns at airports and on airplanes seem in order.
Back in the early days of the Wild, Wild West, gunmen were told to leave their guns at the dance hall door. Decorum ruled, not legal rights. With new rules and laws, maybe we’d get closer to that ideal.