The tiny coal town of Gilberton, Pa., has become a spectacle for the nation’s gun debate, marshaling dozens of armed gun-rights activists who come to defend the borough’s suspended police chief, whose profanity-laced YouTube videos sparked the controversy, reports the Los Angeles Times. At four meetings in as many months, backers of Chief Mark Kessler showed their support by packing semiautomatic rifles and handguns. Several slung rifles over their shoulders, others holstered them on their hips or beneath clothing. Some carried three weapons.
When one dropped a pistol at last week’s termination hearing and it landed behind the chief’s attorney, borough officials moved future hearings to a courthouse that bars firearms. “It should have been there to begin with because that [borough hall] is not accommodating for something like this,” said Joseph Nahas, who represents Kessler at disciplinary hearings. He said the room was too small to fit the media and public, and it was just not safe. Kessler has attracted support from across the U.S. and has a group, the Constitutional Security Force, at http://www.chiefkessler.com.