Washington, Aug.18 (ANI): A dozen people carrying guns, including at least two with assault rifles, were spotted mingling among protesters outside a convention centre in Arizona where President Barack Obama was speaking. he Telegraph quoted Phoenix police as saying that the men who were carrying guns at Monday's event did not need permits, as the state of Arizona has an "open carry" law.
One of the men carrying a 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.
The presence of armed men among protesters has raised fears that the heated debate over Obama's reform agenda could lead to deadly violence.
Obama was speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars about improving benefits for veterans, and thanking the armed services for their sacrifice.
It was the latest incident where gun-carriers have been spotted outside events where the president has appeared, usually to tout his health care reform plans on an increasingly dubious public.
Last week, during a town hall meeting on health care in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a man carrying a sign reading "It is time to water the tree of liberty" stood outside with a pistol strapped to his leg. (ANI)