A man has been walking around Abington Township, Pennsylvania, carrying his AR-15 openly strapped to his back. Police say that while they understand that residents are concerned about it, the man is not breaking any laws and simply intends to promote his right to bear arms, KYW-TV reported.
"While this individual's intentions are unknown, it appears that he is attempting to draw our police officers into a debate or an encounter over his Second Amendment right to carry this weapon in public," Abington Township Chief of Police Patrick Molloy wrote in a letter to residents.
What's the story?
People first began seeing the man walking around with his gun Friday, and again on Monday near a local Target and walking past a bus stop.
Some residents, alarmed by a man they didn't know carrying an AR-15, called police to report the man. Authorities were already aware of him, however, and said there was nothing they could do. Molloy implied some frustration with the man's actions that, while legal, he views as unnecessary.
"All of our officers are well aware of this passive-aggressive tactic, as they have been videotaped during at least one encounter with him," Molloy wrote. "While no laws have been broken, this individual's actions have caused unnecessary alarm to the public, thus diverting valuable police resources from our core mission."
"As your chief, I assure you that the department's primary concern is for the safety and well-being of our residents, and this man's actions, while lawful, appear to serve no legitimate purpose," Molloy continued. "Our department will continue to balance our duty to protect the Second Amendment rights of this individual with our duty to provide public safety to all of our residents."
In his letter, Molloy told residents not to speak to the man or take action if they see him.
What are Pennsylvania gun laws?
Pennsylvania is an open carry state, and the man did not break any laws because he never went on any private property, according to police, so his actions were fully legal.
"He told the officer that the reason he is doing this is to educate the community about his Second Amendment right to carry this weapon," Molloy told KYW.