After years of protest over the annual Urban Shield
conference at the Oakland Marriott, this year's event has been moved to the Alameda County fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Urban Shield is a trade show and training exercise for law enforcement agencies and emergency crews.
Far from the prying eyes of pesky activists, dozens of law enforcement agencies will spend today at the conference's vendor show, browsing the guns, ammo, armored vehicles, surveillance technology, and robotics before commencing 48 hours of training exercises and war games tomorrow.
Plus, there are t-shirts.
Chuck Garcia, proprietor and designer for American Spartan Apparel
, says that this year's "top seller" is a new design: "Black Rifles Matter."
Garcia has been selling his wares at cop shows, gun shows, and fairs since 2008.
"You know what that means, right?" he asks. "Black rifles — that's like M16s or M4s. That kind of gun is black. Myself, I have a collection. California is always trying to ban them. So, you know, black rifles matter, that's what that means."
The "black rifles matter" t-shirts are indeed a big seller and are garnering more than a few chuckles from the crowd as word spreads.
One uniformed law enforcement agent walked by the stand and pointed out the shirt to his friend. "You know, that's going to make the news."