Asked why he brought the .38 revolver to the event, Josh, noting he was within his rights under Arizona's open carry law, asked, "Why not?"
"I carry a firearm with me on a regular basis, so it wasn't completely out of the norm to have it. But part of it was in response to" the recent shows of arms-bearing by anti-reform protesters outside Obama events.
Josh informed some nearby police officers that he intended to be armed at the anti-reform protest, opposing the tea partiers. The officers' responded, "'It's your goddamn right, go ahead.' Which was fairly emphatic," Josh says.
Despite bringing his revolver to the event outside Rep. Mitchell's office, Josh tells TPMmuckraker he believes fellow one-named gun-toter Chris, who came to the Obama rally in Arizona with an AR-15, "made a poor choice," but "was within his legal rights." Also, he says, Rep. Mitchell was not at the office during the protest.
Josh believes the Dems' health reform proposal is not perfect, but "the cost of doing nothing is going to be far worse."
He and his friends are discussing going to other events in the future. Will he bring his .38?
"I might not," he says. "The thing that is actually kind of discouraging is the fact that I had firearm, as opposed to why we were there" -- which was to have a discussion -- is getting the attention.