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Armed Butte protester displays AR-15 on busy street

Posted at 10:11 AM, Feb 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-21 14:58:22-05

BUTTE — An armed person held a one-person protest at a busy intersection in Butte openly carrying an AR-15 rifle and a concealed handgun.

Danielle Meeks received some support from passing motorists, and some jeers as well.

“Just some middle fingers, driving-by talking, you know,” said Meeks.

Meeks stood at the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Cobban Street waving an anti-Joe Biden flag while wearing tactical gear with the rifle in plain view and a concealed .45 caliber handgun.

“People are tired of Joe Biden’s war on guns. It ain’t the gun’s fault, it’s the people,” said Meeks.

Some business owners in the area said they have no problem with people protesting, but found the firearms disturbing.

“It’s President’s Day, he has the right to protest, if he doesn’t like the president, he has the right to do that. He shouldn’t have the gun standing alongside him, whether it’s loaded or unloaded, he shouldn’t have had the gun,” said Mr. Dog’s owner Buck Loomis.

Do you think people could be nervous seeing someone on the corner with this much armament?

“Probably, but their feelings don’t really matter to me. It’s what the law is and it’s my right. They have a right not to like it and I have a right to do what I’m doing,” said Meeks.

Police received some complaints about the armed person, but as of that morning, Meeks said she wasn't threatening anyone with the guns.

“As long as they don’t violate any laws, we’ll allow them to do whatever they’re doing, but we also don’t want them to create a bunch of consternation with people,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.

Montana allows people to open carry and carry concealed firearms. Some say Meeks’ method of protest is alarming in a time of gun violence.

“We can be sensitive to his desire to keep and bear arms, which most people are, he needs to be sensitive to the feelings of people who find that a fearful situation,” said Butte resident Evan Barrett.