Phoenix Mayor Opposes Protesters Having Guns: 'It's Unfortunate but Arizona Is an Open-Carry State'

August 22, 2017

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D.) expressed regret that some Arizonans were exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms in the area near where President Donald Trump would speak later Tuesday night.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow asked Stanton about the people carrying rifles near the Phoenix Convention Center, and he said that it was "unfortunate." Maddow noted that both pro- and anti-Trump elements were bearing arms and asked Stanton if that increased his concern.

"Yes, it does," Stanton said. "I wish that people who were coming downtown to express their First Amendment rights, either opposing the president and his policies and unfortunately his failure of moral leadership after Charlottesville just a few days ago, or those supporting the president would leave their weapons at home."

He did not mention the Second Amendment but did regret that Arizona allows open carry, which Maddow had mentioned.

"It's unfortunate but Arizona is an open-carry state," Stanton added. "And thus far there have been no arrests for any kind of weapons violations in Phoenix tonight."

Stanton equated the legal carrying of firearms with antagonism and expressed concern about the size of the weapons.

"They don't need to try to antagonize others in the audience by bringing those very large weapons," Stanton said.

Some "antifa" groups have been reported to have carried weapons, and the New Black Panther Party regularly demonstrates while armed. Trump supporters of various stripes are known to carry firearms as well, and Trump received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

CNN reported people from the "John Brown Society" carrying guns, although the network may have been referring to the John Brown Gun Club that has demonstrated before.