Admittedly, there is a bit missing from the story. Based on what we know, a 27-year-old man was walking down an Edmonds, Washington sidewalk on a Saturday morning near a school while open-carrying his rifle. His “behavior” prompted two 911 phone calls from residents, which led to police showing up on the scene and trying to find out what he was doing walking around with a rifle. The Seattle Times reports that following a “verbal confrontation,” police decided to shoot the man. Thankfully, he’s still alive, but he is in serious condition at the hospital.
Some are defending the police’s actions, because whatever this guy was doing must have been suspicious enough for people to call the police. Maybe he was on drugs, or he was drunk. And he was near an elementary school.
But it was a Saturday morning as early as 7:30. No one was in the school. And the police admit that he wasn’t aiming or shooting the weapon. He was just carrying it around.
What exactly was he doing that was alarming residents? He didn’t have to be doing anything. Open carrying a firearm, yes even of the “assault” variety, is perfectly legal in the state of Washington. But people are paranoid of guns everywhere. All he had to be doing in order to alarm residents was carry a gun.
The article doesn’t mention what kind of rifle it was. It could have been a shotgun. Or, it could have been an AR-15. He didn’t need to be engaged in any kind of real suspicious behavior in order for people to notify the police.
There are hundreds of videos on YouTube of people doing exactly this, walking around their town with a rifle on their shoulder. In almost every case, someone calls the police, and the open carrier records his encounter with them. The police usually justify their stop by saying that “people are concerned” or “your gun is making people nervous and scared.” Are these people doing anything illegal?
Of course not. But by the time the police show up, they make it illegal by claiming the open carrier is “disturbing the peace,” engaging in “disorderly conduct,” “resisting arrest,” or “obstructing a police officer” if he doesn’t comply with an interrogation.
I imagine that something like this happened in Edmonds, Washington. They may have showed up on the scene and tried questioning the guy about his gun. Maybe they instructed him to drop his weapon, and he didn’t comply, so they shot him.
So what if people are alarmed by a “civilian” with a gun? Police are civilians too. It’s just that they have uniforms and badges. People have been brainwashed into being scared of civilians carrying guns and feeling safe and secure around uniformed and badged civilians carrying guns.
When police get calls from “concerned citizens” about some guy with a gun, they shouldn’t feel obligated to check it out if that’s all it is. They should feel obligated to tell that person that there’s nothing illegal about carrying a gun around. Police do that all the time.
If someone has committed a crime, obviously that’s different. But there’s nothing criminal about exercising 2nd Amendment rights.