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Ernest Hancock publicity stunt backfires!

Great publicity stunt - Guns at Obama event! Backfires when Ernie Hancock takes credit for it!

  I thought it was a great publicity stunt! Have a Black man bring an AR-15 rifle to the Obama Presidential Event in Phoenix.

The Black guy not only had an AR-15 assault rifle but a Glock gun on his side and an ammo magazine in his back pocket. And he was dressed up in some real nice clothing with a tie.

And just for fun bring 12 more people with hand guns at their sides to the Obama Presidential event.

If it was me I would have just left it at that. 13 unknown people showed up armed at an Obama event. But publicity hound Ernie Hancock had to take credit for the event and told the media about it. That’s when the media started painting us as Libertarians and John Birch Society crackpots and nuts.

When it comes to politics I agree with Ernie Hancock about 99.99% of the time. But often I think Ernie Hancock makes us look bad with his publicity stunts.

If Ernest Hancock had not told the world about it, all the media would have said is that 13 armed people showed up at the Obama event in Phoenix armed.


Gun-toter was publicity stunt, not threat to president

August 19th, 2009, 4:25 pm · 12 Comments ·

posted by Le Templar

CNN’s Rick Sanchez landed a lengthy interview yesterday with the man behind the man carrying a AR-15 rifle outside of the Phoenix Convention Center before President Barack Obama’s appearance Monday. Ernie Hancock – Valley radio talk show host, Ron Paul supporter and publisher of a libertarian news Web site — admitted he invited “Chris B.” to join those rallying outside the convention center with the rifle specifically to make a point about gun rights. This should have put an end to a bunch of silly talk about whether Obama somehow was in danger, even through “Chris B.” never was in visual range of the president. Instead, Hancock’s involvement is ratcheting up the conspiracy theories.

First, take a look at the Sanchez video:

Now, pop over to Talking Points Memo and you’ll get a good summary of what the liberal blogosphere is saying about Hancock and the gun incident.

Look, I’m not going to defend some of Hancock’s wilder theories about politics and news events. But I’ve known the man for at least six years. He used to be the producer on a local radio talk show I guest-hosted one day for three hours. Hancock is passionate about defending American liberties as outlined in the U.S. Constitution, and that includes the Second Amendment. He wants to engage the public in debating these issues, and finds unusual ways to do so. He’s not out to hurt anyone.

A reminder, “Chris B.” was acting well within Arizona law and never was stopped or questioned by law enforcement.

This is not the first time Hancock has tested public response to gun rights. In the past, Hancock has gone to government buildings carrying a gun to demand they comply with Arizona law which requires such places to provide a locker for securing weapons, or allow the person to keep the firearm at his side. Once Hancock had made his point, he has walked away, even when it’s clear the government agency is violating the law.

Hancock has gotten what he wanted from Monday’s ploy, even if a lot of the attention has been negative. Now, don’t we have better things to discuss, like the leaked episode of Mad Men?

UPDATE: Travel guide author Arthur Frommer is so frightened by “Chris B.” and others who exercised their Second Amendment rights Monday that he’s now refusing to travel to Arizona, and he’s suggesting others do the same. Does that imply Frommer eventually will have to leave the United States entirely as the Supreme Court continues to expand on its recent ruling that Second Amendment means what it says?


Arthur Frommer's Correct To Be Disturbed by Arizona: Ernie Hancock and "Chris B." (aka, Christopher Broughton) Are Two Reasons Why (w/Update)

By Stephen Lemons in Feathered Bastard

Friday, Aug. 21 2009 @ 6:02AM

According to local news reports, Arizona's office of tourism is all worked up about Arthur Frommer's blog comments regarding Arizona wackos carrying AR-15s outside events where the President of the United States is speaking.

This is part of what Frommer had to say:

"For myself, without yet suggesting that others follow me in an open boycott, I will not personally travel in a state where civilians carry loaded weapons onto the sidewalks and as a means of political protest. I not only believe such practices are a threat to the future of our democracy, but I am firmly convinced that they would also endanger my own personal safety there. And therefore I will cancel any plans to vacation or otherwise visit in Arizona until I learn more. And I will begin thinking about whether tourists should safeguard themselves by avoiding stays in Arizona."

The tourism kingpin went on to make a very interesting point about the pack of heavily armed libertarian oafs making a spectacle of themselves near where the President was addressing the VFW convention Monday.

In case you missed it, Ernie Hancock's "interview" with gun-toter Chris B.

"Is there any responsible citizen of the United States who believes that people should carry guns to a public debate or speech?" asked Frommer. "If Ronald Reagan were delivering a political talk in Phoenix, Arizona, would they have felt it was proper for protestors with guns to mill about outside the hall from which he would leave?"

Thing is, Frommer's writing about a rather benighted patch of sand that happens to be full of heavily armed crazies with guns. Recently, I reported how the pistol-packin' nativists of United for a Sovereign America menaced a group of little children during U.S.A.'s counter-protest of an anti-Arpaio walk. In any civilized part of the country, this would be a source of outrage. Here, what you get are slavish firearm-worshippers sucking their Glocks like pacifiers and whining, "But it's our legal right under the laws of Arizona and the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution!"

C'est vrai, conservacreeps. But just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do something. And the fact that so many people in Arizona think it's cool to take AR-15s to political events should give outsiders an indication of what sort of two-legged varmints we're dealing with here in Sand Land.

Of course, we now know this whole incident Monday was a stunt perpetrated by loony libertarian Ernie Hancock and some dude named Chris B. This Chris is such a badass that he'll take an assault rifle down to where President Barack Obama is, but he's too much of a pantywaist to give out his full name.

I remember seeing Chris at Congressman John Shadegg's town hall on August 8, but golly-gee-whiz, he wasn't wearing his AR-15. Why not, Chris? Do you only wear your assault rifle when Dems are speaking? Or is it President Obama you're fixated on? After all, you told your palsy-walsy Ernie that you always wear the AR-15, 'cept when you're showering. Maybe you meant to say, "Except when I'm showering with a Republican"?

I think we know the real reason ol' Chris donned that AR-15 that day: So that his buddy, perennial libertarian loser Ernie Hancock could score some hits for his Freedom's Phoenix Web site. Not that I don't give 'em some kudos for getting the attention from the mainstream media. Hey, everyone loves a good stunt, right? This, coming from the man who's written many spoof in his day.

And of course, Ernie made sure that his fellow stuntster was a black guy. Because that immunizes Ernie from the charge of racism. And it allows Freedom's Phoenix to run offensive illos of Obama like the one pictured above, which depicts Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose. I should note that FP didn't come up with this piece of racist trash on its own. Rather, it was cadged from Obama-hating forums where it's been floating around lately.

(Psst, Ernie, even if you take it down, I have screenshots and printouts of it from FP. So you can't deny it, mon. Ever. So wear it proudly like an albatross, because I'll always be here to remind others of it.)

Yet, they're not just lame-o clowns over at Freedom's Phoenix. These are your classic, moonhowlin' Alex Jones pant leg-sniffers. Or in other words, insane-in-the-membrane, Bilderberger-obsessed, 9/11-was-an-inside job, Obama-was-born-in-Kenya conspiranutty kooks. Yep, that part of their shtick is no joke. They really believe such falderol.

Don't get me wrong. I love crazy people. Without them, what else would I write about? And like a broken watch, these libertarian Ayn Rand-y, Ronulan (as in Ron Paul) nerds are occasionally right, like with photo radar and pot smoking. (Though they should do more of the latter, instead of just talking about it.)

They're not quite as bad as the nativists. How can you hate an outfit hell-bent on drumming up business for Ernie's wife Donna's real estate biz while preaching that the end of America is nigh and hawking sci-fi sites? Hancock himself once famously ran for Secretary of State, while encouraging people not to vote.

So why should Frommer care about Ernie and his fellow libertarian goofs? Because Chris B. does reflect a certain reality of Arizona, a state full of tinfoil hat-wearing, far-right, gun-wielding moonbats. This was made clear in Hancock's pseudo-interview of the craven Chris B., who, by the way, looks a lot like comedian David Cross, with one major difference.

"Even though people are frightened by it a little bit," Chris told Ernie about his big gun, "a lot of people realize this is Arizona, this is like the wild, wild, west."

About that, both Ernie and Chris are right. Ours is a state where, as I described in a recent column,someone like Harold Fish could shoot another man running at him with only his fists showing and call it self-defense. It's a state where guns are the first line of protection for yellowbellied poltroons, and where the next thing you know, lily-livered wannabe Bernie Goetz's will be packing surface to air launchers, because they want to make a point about the 2nd Amendment, and about how there should be another revolution if the U.S. Congress passes healthcare reform.

So, Mr. Frommer, you have every right to be concerned about traveling in Arizona. Our state is psycho, and often racist. We've got more guns here than the Chinese army, and daggnabbit, we may be the next Dallas, circa 1963, if you get my drift. Here's hoping Chris B. isn't employed by a local book depository. At least no one can accuse him of being racist if he pulls an Oswald.

UPDATE 8/21/09 6:02 PM: According to the Arizona Republic, 28-year-old Christopher Broughton has confirmed that he is "Chris B.," and that he's part of the same nutbar group to which William Kostric belongs. Kostric is the idiot who brought a handgun to an Obama rally in New Hampshire recently. Guess Broughton one-upped Kostric. What's next, dood? Taking pot-shots at the Prez? Whoa...

Apparently Broughton's an even bigger loser than his dopey bro, libertarian Ernie Hancock, as Broughton was until recently working at a Tempe plastic mold company. He only reluctantly confirmed his identity to reporters, further proving that even if Broughton's unemployed, he's still a full-time wuss.

"I don't want to be Joe-the-Plumber," he told the Rep. "I don't want to be famous. I'm hoping my 15 minutes are over."

Pardon my Francais, but what a bunch of hooey. Broughton's been lovin' the spotlight. He even recently went on moonhowler extraordinaire Alex Jones' radio show. He's just chagrined his real name is out there not, and for all eternity he will be known as the geek carrying an AR-15 at an Obama event.

Isn't there a war on in Afghanistan? Can't we drop this gun-molesting dillweed over there and see how long he lasts against some real badasses? Broughton is the best argument for bringing back the draft I've seen in a looooong time.


V for Vendetta

By Stephen Lemons in Feathered Bastard


Nov. 1 2006 @ 2:02PM

Ernie Hancock is one wacky mofo. He's currently running for Secretary of State, but he won't be voting in the November 7 election. Why? Because he believes the whole thing is rigged through electronic voting machines, which have been proven hackable by none other than Princeton U.

The guy's got a point, and he's got way cool signs, inspired by the V for Vendetta flick. I tried calling him, but the fella's so pugnacious from jump that it was near impossible to have a civil confab. I certainly can't get with him on his acceptance of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists. (Whatever happened to believing in UFOs?) And he's got all the personality of a cornered warthog. But his Freedom's Phoenix website does make for intriguing reading, like a cross between Lyndon LaRouche's website and the Weekly World News.

It was legal, but was it right?

Alan Korwin debates gun grabber Dave Cieslac in the Republic about the guns at the Obama event


Guns, pitchforks: Government on verge of tyranny?

By Alan Korwin

Why are people showing up at political rallies armed? When Chris Broughton appeared at a rally during President Barack Obama's Aug. 17 visit to Phoenix, Broughton's holstered sidearm and shouldered rifle made international news.

What's happening? More and more Americans fear their government is racing out of control, and they're speaking up peacefully but in no uncertain terms.

For instance, when the health-care bill was introduced, President Barack Obama pressed for immediate passage. Before we could read it, he urged enactment. Is that proper? Should we the people tolerate that?

Fortunately, sign-before-reading didn't happen. Then, when the contents emerged, even Obama's own party revolted. We faced wholesale takeover of medicine, inflexible doctor controls, massive bureaucracies, monopolies without redress — and no money for it!

Supporters of health-care reform said that it wouldn't increase costs but that it would cover 47.million uninsured while creating bunches of federal medical departments. That's flat-out impossible — and it left many shaken.

The people showing up armed at rallies aren't extremists or right wing. They are centrists — people attached to the American Way. They favor limited government, delegated powers only, low taxation, free-market capitalism, right to arms, freedom to assemble.

They are literally up in arms over this administration abandoning our inspired guidelines. This movement terrifies “progressive” leftists, but the central core of America understands completely... and it's cheering.

Let me put this metaphorically. When government gets this far out of control, the farmers show up with pitchforks. That's what's happening.

When government can take your money and simply give it to anyone (like floundering firms without enough bonus cash) or spend on anything regardless of constitutional limits, that's tyrannical — a government of unlimited powers. It is totally proper for common folk to rise up and object.

The Framers put the Second Amendment in the Constitution for exactly this reason — as a last recourse if government abandons its limits.

Ernest Hancock, the libertarian from who helped organize the community demonstration, said, “We're up against a tyrannical government that will rob the next generation as long as they can get away with it.”

His billboards with babies weeping, “It's not my debt,” say it all.

In the aftermath of the protests at Obama's speech, I did the usual interviews. An NBC-TV affiliate confessed (off-air) that including the armed man's race (Chris Broughton is Black) would undermine “the whole redneck right-wing extremist thing.”

An AP reporter kept asking, “Why wasn't he arrested? He had a gun!” I kept replying, “Because he didn't do anything wrong.” She didn't get it. WGN-AM Chicago asked, “Do you have shootouts on the streets?” They are so lost.

We relish banquets with “Tasteful open-carry appreciated.” It's incomprehensible to news-challenged masses.

Obama's forces thrust deep socialist hooks into the insurance business, home mortgages, automobile-making, banking; and now, they're after our doctors and medicine. They have zero constitutional authority. This must be stopped. The only surprise is pitchforks didn't appear sooner.

Two good things have ensued. Reprehensible “news” coverage attempted to vilify the protesters, hide the Black guy, and failed — revealing those reporters' true colors. And morbid hoplophobic (gun-hatred) fears permeating America's innards were exposed.

This fine country has guns, uses guns, buys and sells guns inside communities, understands that guns are good, guns save lives, guns protect you, and guns are why America is still free.

New York City and Washington, D.C. are where most national media fester. Their gun rights are so violently repressed the mere sight of guns makes them shake. Visit a shooting range? Puhleeze.

Pity them. It's sad. They're so far removed from these vital exemplars of freedom that they blindly spew self-righteous anti-rights bigotry at the public. That's the message of the Black gentleman with the black gun who harmed no one.

Alan Korwin of Phoenix is a nationally recognized expert on gun law. He has written eight books on the subject and can be reached at


Protesters brought guns, left common sense at home

by Dave Cieslak - Aug. 29, 2009 08:27 PM

"Does that guy have a gun?"

Now that's something I didn't expect to hear during an otherwise peaceful march in downtown Phoenix. It was Aug. 17, the morning President Barack Obama visited the Valley to address the VFW convention. As the Arizona communications director for Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, I went to support my old friends and talk with folks about health-care reform.

People began leaving the rally, and some of us decided to check out the counterprotest. Amid an onslaught that included a Confederate flag and giant swastikas, my friend spotted a man with a sidearm - one of at least 12 people carrying guns in downtown Phoenix that day.

Others had the unique pleasure of seeing 28-year-old Christopher Broughton, the guy who looked like a commando on patrol with a loaded rifle strapped to his back. You might remember Broughton from the non-stop coverage he received on national television and Internet news outlets. What a tourism boon for Phoenix.

"He was demonstrating his Second Amendment rights," Ruben Gallego, an Iraq war veteran and chief of staff to Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski, told The Arizona Republic. "But he was clearly there to intimidate people who were there exercising their First Amendment rights." Well said and very true.

I'm not going to argue that Broughton and his comrades-in-arms didn't have the right to carry their guns in public. Modern interpretations of the Second Amendment and current state laws allow this type of behavior.

Whether they're acting within the spirit of the law is another story. We don't live in the Gaza Strip, and most Americans aren't dodging bullets when they head to the supermarket. There's no reason to have a military arsenal at your disposal, and there certainly is no justification for carrying automatic weapons through a peaceful march with our president standing a few hundred feet away.

It's easy to forget the staggering number of kids murdered in gun-related incidents. In 2005, an especially heinous year for gun violence, 3,006 American children were shot to death - including 69 preschoolers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At this very moment, I'm sure the card-carrying NRA folks are muttering, "Guns don't kill people - people kill people." I'm glad your convictions are strong; I just hope you have the guts to approach one of those 3,006 grieving mothers and tell her the same thing.

It's pointless to expect Arizona's Republican-controlled Legislature and Republican governor to rein in the state's gun laws. These are the same lawmakers who cleared a path for drunkards to carry handguns into bars and made sure our children attend some of the worst public schools in America.

That's why it's time for Congress to intervene. We finally elected a president who puts people before politics, and there might be enough lawmakers who aren't on the gun lobby's payroll to join him.

I'm hopeful that we've reached a breaking point in this country, one that Broughton helped ignite with his little charade. I'm hopeful our lawmakers will realize enough blood has been shed defending a skewed interpretation of the Second Amendment. And I'm hopeful our president, a father of two, has seen enough kids gunned down to take action.

As we said throughout last year, it's time for change. And that's change I can believe in.

Dave Cieslak is a Phoenix public-relations executive who served as communications director for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. He can be reached at

Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski - "We're going to lose a lot of conventions because of one knucklehead." - Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski sounds like a dangerous gun grabbing tryant! Michael Nowakowski claims to be a gun owner, but Hitler, Stalin and Mao were also gun owners who were tyrants!

I am sure the Arizona Republic's solution to their problem is flush the Second Amendment down the toilet in Arizona like it has been flushed down the toilet in 43 other states and the District of Columbia!


Does Arizona have an image problem?

by Scott Wong - Aug. 31, 2009 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

Just as local and state tourism officials tried to shed Phoenix's unbecoming title as the "kidnapping capital of America," another national moniker has emerged: gun-crazy.

A man carrying a pistol and semiautomatic rifle outside the Phoenix hall where President Barack Obama spoke this month ignited a media firestorm, reinforcing the stereotype of the Grand Canyon State as a gun-loving vestige of the Wild West.

The firearms display, later revealed to be a publicity stunt, was legal under an Arizona law that allows most citizens to openly carry guns in public without a permit. But the spotlight cast by cable-news pundits, newspaper editorials and blogs - including censure from a world-renowned travel writer - raised questions about whether Arizona's lax gun laws make it safe to travel and do business in the state.

"We're an urban city, and there are individuals trying to hold on to the old ways of the Wild West," said Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski, himself a gun owner. "We're going to lose a lot of conventions because of one knucklehead."

Before the gun stunt, tales of Mexican drug cartels abducting rival smugglers and immigrants and holding them for ransom in Valley homes had already painted Phoenix as a city under siege.

But as Arizona's image took another beating, more than a dozen civic leaders, tourism officials and media strategists huddled in Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's office last week to discuss how to stanch the flow of bad publicity.

While this was just the first of many meetings, officials said they plan to invite journalists and event planners to visit the state, share information about falling crime rates, and utilize social media like Twitter and YouTube to help market Arizona as a safe and friendly place to visit.

They have good reason to be on edge. The tourism and convention industry pumped $18.5 billion into the Arizona economy last year, generating $2.6 billion in local, state and federal taxes and supporting 170,000 jobs, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism.

"The perception is exactly what we're concerned about because tourism is a huge component of the local economy here," said Patty Johnson, a marketing and media specialist who has been tapped to chair Gordon's ad hoc tourism and marketing committee.

Stunt draws spotlight

On Aug. 17, as Obama addressed veterans inside the Phoenix Convention Center, police monitored a dozen armed protesters milling outside the building at a health-care-reform rally.

The most visible was Phoenix resident Christopher Broughton, who verbally sparred with Obama supporters and gave media interviews with an AR-15 rifle strapped to his back and a pistol holstered at his side. A libertarian radio host, also sporting a pistol, said later that he and others cooked up the media stunt to draw attention to Second Amendment rights and Arizona's open-carry law.

National news outlets, however, portrayed it as a disturbing trend, given America's history of presidential assassinations. Just a week earlier, a former Scottsdale resident stood outside Obama's health-care town-hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., carrying a sign recalling the words of Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

For days, CNN and other cable-news channels played and replayed video clips of Broughton posted on YouTube. Liberal comedian Jon Stewart spoofed the incident on "The Daily Show" in a segment called "The Gun Show: Barrel Fever."

And editorial writers and columnists with newspapers across the country - from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times to the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star - condemned the armed protest- ers.

"It is hard to know what is more shocking: the sight of a dozen Americans showing up to flaunt guns outside the venue for President Obama's speech in Phoenix on Monday, or the fact that the swaggering display was completely legal," the New York Times wrote Aug. 20.

But a blog entry by travel icon Arthur Frommer has done the most damage to Arizona's reputation, officials said.

Founder of the Frommer's series of travel guidebooks, Frommer wrote that he would no longer visit Arizona, fearing for his personal safety after reading accounts of protesters carrying loaded weapons on the streets of Phoenix.

Frommer, who sold his company decades ago, was unavailable for comment. But he told NPR last weekend he was disturbed police officers stood around "like scared rabbits" while armed protesters tried to "threaten" and "intimidate" Obama supporters.

"Open-carry laws have to take second place to public order and to life," said Frommer, a New York Democrat and Obama campaign contributor. When NPR host Guy Raz suggested Frommer was making Arizona sound like war-torn Mogadishu, Frommer responded: "Well, it's getting that way. . . . The number of guns that are now being carried by citizens in Arizona is becoming frightening."

Expanding gun rights

Mayor Gordon has pointed out that Arizona is just one of 11 states where citizens don't need a license to carry a firearm in public as long as it is visible. In fact, there are only seven states where openly carrying guns is unlawful. [Hmmm... So the Second Amendment has been flushed down the toilet in 43 states? ]

But this year, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law three major bills that expanded gun rights, a step proponents said makes the state a safer place. Beginning Sept. 30, one of those laws will allow people with a concealed-weapons permit to carry guns into restaurants and bars, though they can't pack heat while consuming alcohol.

Another new law will restrict property and business owners from banning guns from parking areas so long as the weapons are kept out of sight in locked vehicles. A third allows gun owners to display their weapon when they feel threatened by unlawful force.

"Every time we loosen gun laws to make it easier for citizens to carry guns in Arizona, we see a drop in the crime rate," said Tucson resident Todd Rathner, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. "These people have to get over the emotional, ignorant and insane reaction to law-abiding citizens with firearms."

Tourism officials said crime has already been on the wane.

The number of violent crimes across the Valley fell in 2008 to 16,832, a 6 percent drop over the previous two years, according to FBI statistics.

And this year excluded Phoenix from a list of America's 15 most dangerous metropolitan areas. Detroit topped the list with 1,220 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Travel hot spots Miami and Las Vegas were third and fourth.

More recent information shows that the number of violent crimes in Phoenix, including murders, rapes and robberies, stood at 4,569 in the first six months of 2009, a 14 percent decline compared with the same period a year earlier.

"We have a great, positive story to tell," said Arizona Tourism Office Director Sherry Henry, who took part in last week's meeting. "We just need to reassure the general public that loves Arizona and is interested in Arizona that it is safe to be here, that it is beautiful."


Firearms are welcome at peaceful protests

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, Cagle Cartoons

August 31, 2009 - 10:44AM

Leftist elites are up in arms about Americans up in arms. At two recent Obama town hall meetings, men exercising their Second Amendment rights were spotted carrying firearms. While we do not condone threatening the president or anyone else for that matter, these citizens are well within their rights. It is legal to carry a firearm while demonstrating to protect your liberties.

In New Hampshire, William Kostric showed up near a town hall meeting carrying a pistol, and a placard proclaiming, "It is time to water the tree of liberty!" in reference to the famous Thomas Jefferson quotation, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots."

Kostric had no intention of hurting the president; he was exercising his rights and making a political statement using the pistol as a visual reminder. When interviewed by Chris Matthews of MSNBC, Kostric said he went to the town hall because he "wanted people to remember the rights that we have, and how quickly we are losing them." After making this statement, Chris Matthews verbally accosted him and compared him to John Wilkes Booth and other fanatics. Kostric clearly explained he was not advocating violence, but was practicing his constitutional right to bear arms.

The second incident prompted the media to erroneously pronounce the opponents of Obamacare as racist rednecks. A young man named Chris wore an AR-15 slung over his shoulder with a 9 mm pistol strapped on his hip. Roughly a dozen others were also carrying firearms with Chris outside an Obama appearance in Arizona. Earlier, these individuals coordinated their right to openly carry firearms with the Phoenix Police Department. They deliberately did this to show the country that the Phoenix police are supportive of their rights to keep and bear arms. The elitist media missed the whole point and went ballistic.

Chris Matthews fretted about assassination attempts, while Contessa Brewer stammered, "there are questions about whether this has racial overtones... I mean here you have a man of color in the presidency and white people showing up with guns." MSNBC's pop culture analyst Touré anxiously said, "I'm not going to be surprised if we see somebody get a chance and take a chance and really try to hurt him." However, these talking heads glossed over a crucial detail: the man carrying the AR-15 was black. They were dishonestly trying to portray the group of gun toting citizens in Arizona as racists. MSNBC cleverly edited the video footage to show only the semi-automatic rifle, hiding the face of its bearer, Chris, an African American.

The liberal media conveniently ignore that in 2000 at one of George W. Bush's events, Black Panthers demonstrated while carrying firearms. The Black Panthers actually have a history of murder and violence in contrast to the Phoenix demonstrators. The Panthers, just as newsworthy, generated no buzz at the time. They should have been referenced in light of recent events by these talking heads.

These liberal media elites outraged by gun-bearing citizens showing up at Obama events have probably never used a gun in real life. Chris Matthews, Rick Sanchez, Contessa Brewer and the rest who assume guns represent violence don't likely own a firearm. Most Americans don't see firearms as a symbol of violence. Like our founding fathers, they see them as a tool for personal protection.

The founders recognized the significance and importance of firearms. "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself," George Washington movingly said. "They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference -- they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."

William Kostric and Chris have it right, if we don't stand and demonstrate peacefully for all of our freedoms, they will quickly slip away and vanish. Remember, it's much easier to hold onto something, than try and get it back after you've lost it.

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown are bestselling authors and speakers. Together they write a national weekly column distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. To contact them, send an email to


Obama protester's rifle part of 'publicity stunt'

by Scott Wong - Aug. 19, 2009 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

The protester carrying an AR-15 rifle outside President Barack Obama's speech in Phoenix on Monday staged the "publicity stunt" with the help of two local Libertarian groups that have worked with the man on Ron Paul's presidential campaign.

Before attending a pro-Obama health-care reform rally outside the Phoenix Convention Center, the man who identified himself as "Chris" met with members of RP4409 and Freedom's Phoenix. That's according to Freedom's Phoenix Publisher Ernest Hancock, who is credited with coining and designing the logo for the "Ron Paul r3VOLution."

In a YouTube video, Chris displays his semi-automatic rifle which he says "aids me in my resistance efforts." "We will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority with a vote," Chris later tells an Obama supporter in the video. "Just because you sic the government on people doesn't make it morally OK to steal money from people. Taxation is theft."

Chris declined to reveal information about himself. Hancock said he is a Valley resident, an independent conservative and a John Birch Society member.

Chris, who also had a 9mm pistol, was one of a dozen demonstrators openly carrying firearms to the rally, a display that drew national media attention. Under Arizona law, openly carrying firearms in public is legal.

Hancock told CNN's Rick Sanchez on Tuesday that the gun display was planned well in advance. Hancock met with a Phoenix police officer last week, informing him that he and others in his group planned to bring firearms.

When Sanchez suggested many people would see it as a "publicity stunt," Hancock responded: "Absolutely."

Reach the reporter at


Our view on firearms and crowds: Guns at political events stir up a volatile brew There’s something happening here — and nothing good can come of it.

When a man with a gun strapped to his leg showed up outside a presidential town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., this month, and a dozen protesters — including one man with an AR-15 rifle slung over his shoulder — repeated the performance in Phoenix, shrill and overly simplistic rhetoric ricocheted around the nation for days.

Those on the left decried the incidents, many suggesting that anyone who would carry a gun to a presidential event must be nuts, potentially violent or both. Conservatives parried that this was nothing more than Second Amendment advocates asserting their rights to self-protection.

But a funny thing happened amid the all-too-predictable din. A couple of advocates — polar opposites in the gun debate — found a kernel of common ground that holds a ton of common sense. Their bottom line: Carrying guns openly outside presidential events may be legal in many states, but it sure isn't smart.

Press both advocates and their reasoning gets very different, very fast. Alan Gottlieb, of the Second Amendment Foundation, argues that openly carrying a gun in this situation is politically foolish. It intimidates people and turns them off to the gun-rights cause. Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, argues that loaded firearms in such situations stifle debate and endanger everyone involved.

The fact is, all are solid reasons to leave guns at home when going to presidential venues, or political events of any kind. And on websites and Internet discussion groups, many gun owners made that point.

For starters, the mood at some of this summer's health care town hall meetings has been disturbing enough without the addition of weapons. Some have degenerated into furious shouting matches. Opponents of reform have whipped up anger. A few protesters outside have carried signs likening President Obama to Hitler. No good can come from adding weapons to the mix.

For every reason that gun advocates proffer for why they want to carry firearms, there's a wiser alternative.

Want to protest? Carry a sign or get a bumper sticker. Your cause is a lot more likely to win adherents.

Worried that violence might break out? That's unlikely, given that police and Secret Service are all over the place. If it did, would shooting a gun in a crowd really be the best remedy? Or is some innocent person more likely to get killed that way?

And there's this. In the week that Sen. Edward Kennedy was laid to rest — the only Kennedy brother to die of natural causes — it's tough to argue that bringing a gun to political events is just a benign act of protest. It's playing with fire in a nation where so many political figures have been killed or maimed by bullets.

The Secret Service says none of the incidents endangered Obama. If necessary, the Secret Service can expand the safety perimeter around the president, regardless of state law. But why tempt fate?

The surest way to curb this dangerous trend is for gun owners to do it themselves. For years, they and their advocacy groups have argued that gun owners are responsible with their weapons, that they're owned for sport and self-defense.

Neither is reason to bring guns to a political protest. The best way for gun owners to make their case is to leave the heat at home.

Open carry

These 11 states have the nation's most expansive "open-carry" laws, allowing anyone who can legally own a gun to openly carry it virtually anywhere:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

Source: Second Amendment Foundation


Stand up to unchecked federal power

Ernest Hancock, Commentary

August 25, 2009 - 12:39PM

Editor's note

Libertarian activist and radio host Ernest Hancock fired up concern about right-wing extremism around the country last week after he revealed to CNN's Rick Sanchez that he had planned the interview with someone who carried an AR-15 rifle to the protests outside of President Barack Obama's Aug. 17 appearance at the Phoenix Convention Center. At the Tribune's request, Hancock explains his motivations.

Ernest Hancock

In 1994, I learned that holding a sign, "Legalize Freedom ... Register Libertarian," at a Janet Reno speaking event would get you arrested by Phoenix police. I was quickly released with no charges and returned to the event, but it was clear to me as a young man that we were on a very dark path.

One tool to illuminate this dark path was the filing of ballot initiatives that would inject into the political discourse some concepts, such as Second Amendment rights, otherwise ignored during election cycles. One of those 1994 initiatives was "unrestricted concealed carry of firearms," which evolved into Arizona's permit system. SAFE (Second Amendment is For Everyone) was the political action committee that was created in support of this initiative.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio called to inform me that SAFE and I were at the top of a state-by-state listing of militias created by the Southern Poverty Law Center that had been sent to every local law enforcement agency in the nation. Fortunately, Arpaio knew me well enough to know I was not a danger. Ironically, it was after this that I bought my first gun.

Then, I saw a very close friend incarcerated for more than five years in the infamous "Arizona Viper Militia" case of 1996. Those of us who knew the defendants knew they were an easy target because their views were considered too far out of the mainstream. But it would take lies and a willing media to accomplish the demonizing, and conviction, of a friend we knew to be peaceful.

The "Viper Reserve" was created to document the case and to archive it on the Internet. This included a $5 million lawsuit in 1998 against Janet Napolitano for her role as prosecutor in the case. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed by a federal judge.

William Kostric's decision to bring a firearm to a protest outside of President Barack Obama's Aug. 11 health care town hall in New Hampshire was enough of an opportunity for the same people surrounding the "Viper" case in Washington, D.C., to repeat the rhetoric of "threats" from the Arizona militia. Rahm Emanuel was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton at the White House from 1993 to 1998, and Napolitano (now head of Homeland Security) was the "Viper" prosecutor. The Southern Law Poverty Center made a Phoenix visit recently, and I was getting a very strong feeling of deja vu.

When making my plans for Obama's Phoenix visit, these recent events prompted a call from me to the Phoenix police's "Confrontation Prevention Squad." People I respect in the Phoenix Police Department understand why I would be concerned about the same rhetoric we all experienced 13 years ago - with the same people, in even more powerful positions of government, with new unchecked powers. Our respect for each other has improved over the years, and we have come to understand each other's concerns.

I would bring my personal firearm to the planned protest outside of the Phoenix Convention Center, broadcast my radio show live, and the Phoenix police would protect my right to do so. This inspired others to do the same, including a peaceful young black man with an AR-15 who wanted to make it clear that the increasing financial enslavement of his generation would eventually be resisted.

As expected, the "Viper Militia" case was resurrected, and for all of our protection it needed to be. And the perception that local law enforcement and individual rights are now on the same side makes us all more secure.

Ernest Hancock of Phoenix is publisher of and hosts a syndicated radio talk show.


Western Libertarian Alliance