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Is it justifiable to bring a gun to the president’s town hall meeting?

Protester with gunWilliam Kostnic wore a 9mm pistol as he stood outside a town hall meeting on healthcare held by president Barack Obama.

Held was a sign that read "it is time to water the tree of liberty!" Next to his sign, strapped to his thigh, was a 9mm pistol. It turns out that carrying a gun in plain sight in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is perfectly legal.

But what would justify bringing a gun to a protest? To a town hall meeting? And more importantly, why would someone go to the lengths of bringing their gun to a town hall meeting where president Obama was set to speak?

As a medical student, I have seen the consequences of what guns can do.  In the Emergency Department, many men, women, and children are brought in as a consequence of gun shot wounds. In Salinas, a young woman was shot in the chest by her estranged boyfriend. She was brought into the Emergency Department where she was pronounced dead in a matter of minutes. Her large family was left to mourn. In San Francisco, a young man at home was shot in his backyard. He was shot in the chest and abdomen. He came into the Emergency room unresponsive. Despite everything we tried in to ED, and then despite everything we did in the operating room, the man died. He had bled to death. That night we told his wife, who fell onto the floor in tears. She managed to get enough energy to see her husband’s dead body before he was sent to the coroners for autopsy. In Oakland, a 65 year old woman was robbed, and then shot in the back as she laid on the floor after being pushed to the ground by robbers. Luckily she survived that incident.  This is a small example of what guns are capable of doing.

So my question is…. why would someone bring a gun to a town hall meeting, especially to one where the president will speak?


Photograph: Joel Page/AP



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