Following the recent unrest in Ferguson, MO, four civilians in bullet proof vests, and carrying rifles and sidearms patrolled a street in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday saying they were there to protect a journalist from the media organization known as “” The men are part of an organization called Oath Keepers, which describes itself as “an association of current and former U.S. soldiers and police who aim to protect the U.S. Constitution.”  The group’s self-proclaimed leader, identified only as John, stated that Missouri state laws generally permit the open carry of firearms by members of his group.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar condemned their appearance in Ferguson, and called their presence in such an emotionally charged situation “both unnecessary and inflammatory” and is working with state and local prosecutors to determine if any laws were broken.

Is this a good idea considering the circumstances?

Should armed citizens be allowed to patrol the streets of our communities to provide additional protection beyond law enforcement?

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