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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Norton Calls for Ban on Guns Near Obama

The Hill newspaper reported late yesterday afternoon that Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) called on the Homeland Security Department and the U.S. Secret Service to provide tighter restrictions on citizens carrying weapons, openly or concealed, while in the vicinity of President Barack Obama.

It is clear that if the Secret Service can temporarily clear all aircraft from air space when the president is in the vicinity, the agency has the authority to clear guns on the ground that are even closer to the President.

For their part, the Secret Service has maintained that the President was never in danger at anytime during the various events where protesters showed up carrying firearms. Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley respond to Norton’s request:

In both instances, those guys were outside of the outer-most perimeter of security, so what would apply is state law. They never had any proximity to the president at any time. They weren’t trying to gain access to the event and they weren’t in a position outside the event where they could have affected the president.

That isn't stopping the anti-rights crowd from trying to use these events to push their agenda.

Brady Campaign, a gun control group, said that these increasing instances of brandishing firearms in public could lead to escalated scenarios in the future that put the president at risk because it stretches law enforcement thin.

Just more fuel on the fire as to why overt public displays may end up causing us to expend energy that could be directed in more productive activities.

Comments by Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel posted by Sebastian earlier today says as much:

“This is really a form of expressive speech, and I think the fact that the Secret Service … hasn’t gotten particularly upset shows good judgement on their part,” he says.

Still, the man didn’t necessarily do the Second Amendment cause any favors, Kopel says.

“While I think it’s really paranoid for some of the media to falsely characterize this as people trying to threaten the president, I think it shows bad judgement to carry [guns] near a presidential speech,” he says. Protesters are “trying to make a statement about Second Amendment rights, but they’re doing it in a way that probably sets back that cause.”

Hat tip to Sebastian.

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