Skip to comments.Gun-rights group distances itself from open-carry incident
Posted on 12/26/2012 11:04:53 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
The president of a Maine gun owners group said he and his peers were troubled by a gun-rights activist's decision to walk with an assault rifle in Portland Monday, an incident that drew a police response but did not result in any citations or arrests.
Monday at approximately 11:03 a.m., the Portland Police Department began receiving calls about a white male in his twenties walking in the West End of the city carrying a rifle.
"He was an open carry activist and just wanted to do it because he could," explained Portland Police Commander Gary Rogers in an interview.
The man was found to be carrying an AR15 style assault rifle with a high capacity magazine, Rogers stated in a press release. "The individual identified himself as an open carry activist who was exercising his Second Amendment rights to openly carry a firearm," Rogers stated in the press release.
The department received approximately 65 calls about the man, and officers ultimately encountered him on Cumberland Avenue at Mellen Street. "The individual was not in violation of any laws or ordinances and was not detained," Rogers stated in the press release. But officers gave the area "heavy special attention" until approximately 2:30 p.m. when the man left the area, Rogers said.
On Wednesday, Jeff Weinstein, president of Maine Gun Owners Association Inc. based in Yarmouth, issued a statement about the incident.
"Openly carrying an AR-15 or equivalent rifle, or any long-gun for that matter, in a heavily populated municipal area is inherently threatening to most everyone, whether they themselves are gun owners or not," Weinstein stated. "While I fundamentally support the right to openly carry firearms, that right is accompanied with the responsibility to employ sensible behavior during the exercise of the open-carry right. Alarming people unnecessarily is not the intended purpose of open-carry. The recent open-carry incident in Portland does not reflect the typical behavior of a huge percentage of Maine gun owners. Virtually all responsible gun owners with whom I've spoken since the incident are disturbed by it and wish it hadn't happened."
Weinstein noted that the incident occurred less than two weeks after a mass-shooting tragedy at an elementary school in Connecticut.
"The public display of an AR-15 rifle, while walking randomly throughout the City of Portland, is not conducive to building trust between gun owners and those without guns," Weinstein stated. "This is especially true in light of the Newtown, CT murders of 20 children and 6 adults. Timing, social sensitivity, and human compassion should have trumped the urge to assert the right to open-carry."
Rogers said police have encountered "open carry" advocates in the past, but noted, "(Someone) with an assault rifle is a new take on it."
In order to carry a concealed weapon, a person needs a permit, but to "open carry" does not require a permit, Rogers explained.
"There was no crime committed, people called because they saw it and were concerned about it. Most people seemed to be surprised that it isn't prohibited by law," he said.
On Dec. 20, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan joined other mayors from across the country in calling on President Barack Obama and members of the U.S. Congress "to pursue sensible gun laws." In an open letter to the President and Congress, Mayor Brennan along with mayors from New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento and dozens of other communities "called for reasonable changes to gun laws and regulations including enacting a ban on assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines, and the strengthening of the national background check system and penalties for straw purchase of guns," according to a city press release.
City Councilor Ed Suslovic, on the Portland Police Department's Facebook page, where Monday's incident was recounted, wrote, "Thank You to our Portland Police Officers for keeping us safe even when there are armed idiots walking the streets!"
Man with assault rifle prompts flurry of police calls in Portland - "The guy is walking around in broad daylight on Christmas Eve. I think what he did was irrational and irresponsible," Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said Monday night. "It was not the right time to send that type of message."
"He didn't violate any laws, but it also doesn't make it right," Sauschuck said.
The rifle that the man was carrying is equipped with a "high capacity magazine," capable of holding as many as 30 rounds, Sauschuck said.
Since the officers could not legally inspect the weapon, they had no way of knowing whether it was loaded, he said.
Sauschuck said the man never mentioned Newtown in his conversation with the officers, but, "I don't think the timing of this was an accident."
The shootings in Connecticut have renewed the nationwide debate over gun control and gun owners' rights.
Sauschuck said the man -- described as being in his 20s -- is believed to have recorded his encounter with officers.
Open-carry gun advocates have been known to post videos of their encounters with police on YouTube.
Even the president of the Maine Open Carry Association said the man's stroll through Portland was misguided.
Shane Belanger, a college student who said he is disbanding the association, said, "We do not agree with the open carry of rifles or shotguns or long guns of any type. ...
"How are you going to be able to help anyone if you have a rifle slung over your shoulder?"
Belanger, whose group organized an event in 2010 that led to a gathering of open-carry advocates on Back Cove, said he believes that a trained open-carry handgun owner is the best defense against someone who tries to commit violence.
"Yes, it's your right to carry, but you are not accomplishing anything (with a rifle) as opposed to carrying a properly holstered handgun," he said Monday night from Arizona, where he moved recently.
Belanger said he has no idea who the man with the assault rifle is.
"If I had known, I would have told him not to do it," Belanger said.
Tom Franklin, president of Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, said Monday's spectacle was an attempt by gun advocates to "normalize" the use of guns in society.
In addition to "scaring the daylights out of people," the incident reflects poorly on Maine, Franklin said.
"It's confrontational and nothing more than an attempt to elevate the status of guns in our society," Franklin said. "If I were a gun owner, I'd be embarrassed by an event like this."
Sauschuck said he was puzzled by the incident.
"This gentleman was trying to send a message that guns are not scary," the chief said.
"But if that's the message, then it's obviously the wrong kind of message to be sending at this time."
There’s this thing called common sense that the majority of gun owners possess. It should tell most people that carrying an assault rifle out in the open like that will most likely result in the laws being changed so it’s not the smartest thing to do. It might be a liberal trying to push the limits to draw attention from the press to do exactly that. Need more info on the guy and his background before drawing conclusions.
I agree. I don’t really ever care to get in people’s faces this way and especially not at this time. People are already scared and it makes no sense to exacerbate their fears. We need to stand strong, not stand stupid.
..thought the same, since he wasn't identified....as Odungo and Holder have proven (F&F), wouldn't put it pass them..(libs)
***The man was found to be carrying an AR15 style assault rifle with a high capacity magazine,****
has always been about handguns. Assault rifles was just a decoy to try and get their anti-gun foot in the door.
Once they get a ban on AWs then they will use the same reasons to go after handguns.
John Kennedy killed with a 5 shot bolt action rifle.
Bobby Kennedy killed with a .22 Iver Johnson Cadet revolver.
George Wallace wounded with a 5 shot Charter Arms .38spl.
Gerald Ford attacked with a 7 shot 1911 semi auto.
Edmond OK post office with two National Guard 7 shot 1911 pistols.
Ronald Reagan and Jim Brady shot with an RG-14 .22 pistol.
Ronald Gene Simmons killed his family and neighbors...H&R .22 revolver and a Ruger .22 revolver. Aslo used a strangling cord and two hammers.
What do they all have in common? NONE over 9 rounds, yet after each one came a cry of panic to ban them.
In 1966 as a teenager, I walked through the town to my friend’s home on a farm located on the edge of the town. I carried a World War Two era German infnatry rifle taken by a relativee from a Germna POW during the Battle of the Bulge. We were cleaning our rifles and shotguns, before doing a little target shooting and preparing for some later rabbit hunting. I wasn’t old enough to drive a car yet, so I had to walk through town withthe rifle slung on the shoulder. There was no way of putting the rifle in a case, beccause there no money for such luxuries. The sidewalk paralleled a U.S. Highway on the last few blocks, and an Illinois State Police car drove by. I waved hello to the trooper, and he smiled and waved back to me. He didn’t turn around to investigate either. He already knew who I was, and he wasn’t concerned about a youngster with a rifle doing what youngsters in those parts typically did with rifles.
A friend who is now in his ninties described how they handled firearms around schools in Western Pennsylvania in the late 1920s to early 1930s. Their school was a one room schoolhouse with one teacher for all of the grades. Because this was a widespread school district in the rural mountains, they had one of the early style schoolbus. This schoolbus stopped at the various farms to pickup students. The boys and girls of all ages trooped onboardd the schoolbus, and they often carried firearms. They were typically the older boys and girls ranging in age from about 11 to 17 years old. Some of the girls carried a small pistol of their mother’s small guage shotgun for fowl.
When the schollbus delivered the children to the school, the children put their firearms safeely away along with their coats and hats. During recess, the teacher would sometimes lead a party of the children down to the creek to fish, or into the woods to hunt for fowl, rabbit, or deer. On occasion a wild pheasant would make the mistake of perching atop the fence rail outside the shool. The teaccher recessed the class long enough for a couple of the boys and girls to compete fro the best shot in the class by shooting the pheasant off of the fence rail. They were carefully taught how to shoot the pheasant and avoid ruing the meat.
When school ended for the day and the schoolbus was made ready to take everyone home to their farms, the children helped each other to take their game aboard for the trip home. A deer carcass was tied won across the front hood of the schoolbus. When the bus stopped at the farm, the boys helped to untie and carry the deer to the farmhouse. In the hard times everyone appreciated the opportunity hunt fresh game where there might otherwise be no meat in the diet, The children learnedd to do their part in keeping the family in food, even when they were in school. Firearms were not for arguments or mischief for these children, they were meant to harvest food. Such commonsense values and morlas are too rare today.
I am, for the most part, in agreement with the stated concerns regarding inflaming the debate by the commission of acts lacking what has been described as common sense. Given that, when do you gentlemen believe walking armed with a rifle may become acceptable to ‘liberals’ or the general population at large? Are we so removed from our past that men displaying rifles in public are to be considered lacking common sense and a threat to their neighbors? By what authority does anyone choose my weapon of choice for defense and at what time I may do so? If I choose a long arm to accompany me on a walk is not that my right? Although I am a common sense man to my way of thinking, am I to be judged against anyone else’s measure of that trait?
Questions that need to be asked and answered. Just what restrictions are you willing to accept for you to be within the realm of exercising ‘common sense’? You may find yourself in King Bloomberg’s realm. Then what? He certainly believes he possesses no end of common sense.
I stumbled across this today and for the life of me I am unable to recall where. Within that document is contained the following quote: “... the right of the chase and of arms ...”, page 22. It is only 54 pages in length but well worth the read. I read it and believe me when I say I have a newfound appreciation for the common sense of the day. So much so my future behavior in my exercise of common sense will be modified backward in time a bit. http://www.davekopel.com/2A/LawRev/hk-coxe.htm#FN;F79
You would be correct in assuming so. Using the military definition.
I once had a college professor tell me that “liberals talking about assault weapons just means any gun that they think looks scary”
Yes, that is a good resource.
One of thee facts lost to most people is how it was once the law for every ablebodied male of militia age to won and maintain a firearm and/or other arms. You could not be a citizen with full voting rights until and unless you owned and maintained your personal weapons for militia duty. Perhaps we need to remind everyone of these laws andd end voting rights for anyone unwilling to keep and bear arms for the defense of the Republic. That might eliminate a good chunk of Liberal-Progreessive-Democrat-Communist votes not already coming from a graveyardd, seniors home, or thin air.
Picture a collee professor being ordered out of the classroom or department offices to fall-in on the quad for militia inspection and drill with his own purchased and maintained military assault rifle.
>> ... [open carry] ... is accompanied with the responsibility to employ sensible behavior ...
Duh! Not a lot of common sense displayed by this “Lookie me; I gotta gun” exhibitionist. Personally, I believe the better approach is “Sorry, Mr. Slimeball, that’s not gonna happen today.” accompanied with a well practiced draw from concealed.
“While I fundamentally support the right to openly carry firearms, that right is accompanied with the responsibility to employ sensible behavior during the exercise of the open-carry right.”
Who defines “sensible”? Our government of course.
Better for this guy to carry his gun openly with a sign that reads: “Gay and armed!”
Then, no one would balk at it for being “in your face.”
Yes its much better to get them black evil guns in the closet where no one can see them. Then make sure they ride in back of the bus.
The carrier of the rifle was not breaking any laws the nannies need to get use to seeing people with guns 65 calls what bunch wimps live in mine.
Class of ‘59, High School Rifle Team. If you had a place to practice, you could carry your rifle and ammunition home even if you rode the school busses. Try that today in Ithaca, NY and see what happens.
On the other hand, the other day at lunch there was a group of 16 guys and each one was packing a 1911 on the hip. No one called the police or otherwise acted stupidly. Yea, Arizona.
With that post....you Sir just made my FF (Favorite FReepers) list! :). (I’ll add you when I get home from dialysis as cutting and pasting is tedious at best on my mobile device. Cheers!
> The carrier of the rifle was not breaking any laws the nannies need to get use to seeing people with guns 65 calls what bunch wimps live in mine.
You and I know that but the young brainwashed voters don’t seem to. We also live in an age where the media oversensaionalizes everything, everyone is online wherever they go and news travels a lot faster. Add to that the immediate liberal knee-jerk reactions and the politician looking for any opportunity to get in thew news and get noticed or further an agenda and you have mayhem whenever a shooting occurs. The liberals play right into the politicians hands like putty and get them to vote however they want them to. So I stand by comment earlier; it’s probably nor the best idea to walk around in the public with a loaded rifle unless you are hunting or on your way to hunt.
Isn’t it funny how being liberal used to mean standing up and opposing the government instead of mindlessly agreeing to everything they want and not even questioning it’s motives? My how things have changed!...lol