Then you have licensed ones, where some states allow you to open carry, but just, you need a license. Some are anomalous, where the state legislature right now and the current state law are currently at odds, and so it's kind of hazy in terms of that. And then there are the non-permissive states, which say that you may not openly carry a firearm.
And so, you know, this gets back to the whole gun debate in terms of, you know, you're seeing people carrying AR-15s to public rallies. You know, are you going to see, you know, a guy with a rocket-launcher at a Chuck E. Cheese, you know, next Wednesday? Or, you know, with an Uzi at an IKEA. Or, you know, imagine a Glock 9 at a parent-teacher conference.
Mr. IZRAEL: Well, Ruben, help me out here. Even more than that, you know, of course, you know, it's an intimidation tactic, of course. But more than that, it also feeds into this fear that a lot of people, especially people of color, had early on that Obama, if elected, would not be safe in this country. You know, thatâ€¦
MARTIN: Can I just - I just want to add - I'm sorry, forgive me, Jimi. I just want to add one thing, though, that I totally see your point. I want to hear what Ruben has to say. But there was one image that was widely played earlier this week of an African-American man named Chris -didn't give his last name to the reporter - with an AR-15 who was outside of President Obama's town hall meeting in Phoenix on Monday. And, you know, I'm not saying he's representative of anybody but himself, but I do think it's fair to hear what he has to say. So if you don't mind, I'd like to play a short clip.
CHRIS: A lot of people think we live in a democracy so that we can just - we can vote how the minority is going to live. And if we want health care, as long as we get enough people, we'll just take money from you, and we'll buy whatever we want, pay for whatever we want. And I just think that in America, people have the ability to fight back and to resist, and that's, you know, that's another reason why I'm here.
MARTIN: The only reason I'm mentioning the race piece is that, you know, you will note that some of the conservative blogs kept saying, well, what about this guy? What about this guy? So, okay, what about this guy, and you hear what he has to say. What this has to do with health care, I'm not really sure, and why people feel the need to openly display weapons, that's - I'm interested in what you all have to say about it.
Mr. IZRAEL: Well, Michel, you know, CNN reported that a lot of these meatball - I mean, gun owners - were sent to these town hall meetings by supporters of Ron Paul. So I don't even know how many of these gun owners are even legit, you know.
MARTIN: Well, if you're registered, they're legit, but - go ahead, Ruben.
Mr. NAVARRETTE: Jimi, this is Ruben. A couple things here. I'm glad that the African-American guy with the AR-15 had a say because this is progress. This is about, you know, like the move with feminism. You have the freedom to think, the freedom to choose different sides of a debate. You wouldn't have had this conversation 20, 30 years ago. So that's a good thing. The other thingâ€¦
MARTIN: Yeah, because of all the racist laws keeping guns out of the hands of black people. So I'll just point that out. (unintelligible)
Mr. NAVARRETTE: He's not a caricature. He's not sort of like this racist white guy that wants to kill Obama.
MARTIN: But that doesn't mean that the former doesn't exist because the latter also exists. I mean, I think those two realities can exist in the same world, is my point.
Mr. NAVARRETTE: It just means that complexity is important, nuance is important. Sometimes, the media misses the nuance. But beyond that, this whole discussion about carrying guns is a distraction. The reason the president's in incredible difficulty with health care is not because of gun-toting opponents at town hall meetings. It's because he cannot corral his own Democratic Party.