On July 20, 2012, James Holmes turned a screening of The Dark Knight Rises into a real-life horror film. Dressed in tactical gear, Holmes set off tear gas grenades and opened fire. Holmes was equipped with an open carrier’s dream assortment: two semiautomatic pistols, an assault rifle with a 100-round magazine (something the GOP considers ‘a good thing‘), and a shotgun. Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others in his shooting spree.
Needless to say, the residents of Aurora, Colorado are a bit nervous when it comes to firearms. Recent history does not matter to 18-year-old Steve Lohner, an open carrier who feels it is entirely appropriate to march down the street with a loaded 12-gauge shotgun strapped to his back–an action that caused concerned residents to dial 911 to report his actions to police.
The teen gave officers a hard time when they attempted to check if he was even old enough to carry a weapon, as he appears much younger than 18, and refused to provide identification when requested. He told officers that he was carrying the dangerous, loaded weapon “for the defense of myself and those around me.”
“Can I see your license?” an officer asked Lohner. “Uh, no,” responded the teen. “Have I committed a crime?”
The officer explained that it is not a crime to walk around displaying his penile extension, but “you’re causing alarm to people.”
“Uh, that’s not intentional,” said the teenager.
“That doesn’t matter,” responded the officer. “So, can I have the shotgun for a minute?”
“No,” responded Lohner.
Lohner refused to allow the officer to look at his weapon and continued to give him difficulty about identification, continuing to refuse to provide it “because I don’t need to.”
Officers repeated that they only needed his name and date of birth, and he may go on his way. However, Lohner continued to hassle the police.
Lohner was warned that if he did not provide the requested information he would be cited for obstruction. “Cite me for obstruction,” the teenager responded.
Colorado law back up the police, who are able to ask for identification while investigating a possible crime, as they were doing here. “He may be within his rights and legal, within the law to carry this gun but if we’re investigating it and he refuses to cooperate that may violate other municipal laws,” said Aurora Police spokesman Frank Fania. In this case, police could not determine if he was even old enough to carry his shotgun.
Lohner told officers that he was not attempting to make a political statement, but told FOX 13 differently. “I feel like a lot of people now they see a weapon like that and they think, you know, James Holmes or Sandy Hook,” he said. Lohner explained that “If enough people were to lawfully open carry in those areas and do it in a safe and lawful manner then these people would end up feeling comfortable around it.”
Watch a report on the latest case of open carry panic, below:
We need to stop letting these kids read My Parents Open Carry.