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Does Arizona have an image problem?

Outside the Phoenix Convention Center, where the U.S. President was speaking on Aug. 17, "Chris" sports a semi-automatic rifle and pistol.

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Just as local and state tourism officials tried to shed Phoenix’s unbecoming title as the “kidnapping capital of America,” another national moniker has emerged: gun-crazy.  A man carrying a pistol and semi-automatic rifle outside the Phoenix hall where President Barack Obama spoke this month ignited a media firestorm, reinforcing the stereotype of the Grand Canyon State as a gun-loving vestige of the Wild West.

The firearms display, later revealed to be a publicity stunt, was legal under an Arizona law that allows most citizens to openly carry guns in public without a permit.  But the spotlight cast by cable-news pundits, newspaper editorials and blogs — including censure from a world-renowned travel writer — raised questions about whether Arizona’s lax gun laws make it safe to travel and do business in the state.  “We’re an urban city, and there are individuals trying to hold on to the old ways of the Wild West,” said Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski, himself a gun owner.  “We’re going to lose a lot of conventions because of one knucklehead.”

Before the gun stunt, tales of Mexican drug cartels abducting rival smugglers and immigrants and holding them for ransom in Valley homes had already painted Phoenix as a city under siege. [Note: Read the full article at Does Arizona have an image problem?]

Frommer may boycott Arizona over guns

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Man with a rifle in downtown Phoenix during President Obama's visit (Photo Source: Jack Kurtz, Arizona Republic)

[Source: Robert Mackey, New York Times] — This week, the travel writer Arthur Frommer found himself in the middle of an unusually heated debate on his blog at Frommers.com after he published a post headlined “Do Guns at Political Events Disturb You? Then Consider Skipping Arizona for Now.”

Although Mr. Frommer, the founder of Frommer’s Travel Guides (which is an online content partner of The New York Times), has used his blog to express strong opinions in the past, his post on Wednesday — expressing horror at the spectacle of about a dozen gun-toting protesters on Arizona’s streets during a visit by President Obama — stuck out from other recent entries like “Current Room Rates in Orlando at Non-Disney Properties Are Almost Too Good to Be True” and “Southwest Airlines Announces a Four-Month Airfare Sale — and It’s a Dilly.”

We’re going to go ahead and assume that readers of The Lede can guess which post generated hundreds of times more comments than the others.  [Note: Read the full article at Frommer may boycott Arizona over guns.]