In light of the health-care town halls turned gun parties I feel obligated to remind everyone that
founding father former President Ronald Reagan signed a law banning public carrying of loaded firearms in California. The Black Panther Party used to carry around loaded firearms all the time, but after a shootout between the Black Panthers and the police in which an officer was killed, the Mulford Act, which prohibited the carrying of loaded firearms in public, was proposed. The BPP responded with an armed march in front of the state capitol building in 1967, and Reagan subsequently signed the bill.
Laws are laws, but generally I think bringing firearms to a heated argument is a bad idea. The BPP saw themselves as resisting tyranny and exercising self-defense too, and unlike "death panels," police brutality was not an imaginary problem in California in the 1960s. Incidentally, extreme right individuals attacking law enforcement in the name of "freedom" isn't either.
-- A. Serwer