The 20-year old man who scared the daylights out of people by walking through a Walmart in Missouri wearing body armor, a bullet-proof vest, and carrying a loaded rifle and extra ammunition, all mimicking the shooter in El Paso has been arrested for ‘making terrorist threats’.
The man Dmitriy Andreychenko said that he did this to see if “Walmart honored the second amendment” and did not expect people to freak out.
He told police he did not expect the reaction his walk generated.
“This is Missouri, I understand if we were somewhere else like New York or California, people would freak out,” he said, according to police filings.
The store manager “believed Andreychenko came to the store to shoot people”, the police statement said, and triggered the fire alarm to evacuate customers.
Mr Andreychenko was held at gunpoint by an off-duty fire fighter, who was legally carrying his own weapon, until police arrested him.
Prosecutor Dan Patterson said that while residents of Springfield, Missouri, were allowed to carry weapons, “that right does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner endangering other citizens.”
Prosecutors have charged him with making a terrorist threat.
If found guilty, the charge could result in a four-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000 (£8,300), Greene County prosecutor Dan Patterson said in a statement.
Will that charge stick? If people are allowed to wear such items and carry such weapons, they may well argue that it is not their fault if people freak out when they see them.
Andreychenko would have been well advised to listen to the women in his life, such as his wife who thought it was a bad idea given the recent shooting in El Paso and told him that “he was just an immature boy”, and his sister who also said it was a bad idea.
Josh Marshall looked at what the law says.
Many states now allow open carry of long guns. You can carry ammunition and I don’t think there are laws against appearing in public in body armor. Indeed, there is a whole subculture of gun activists who go into big box stores and diners and other public places openly carrying long guns as a sort of pro-gun performance art.
In open carry states you can’t point the gun at someone, without provocation, or brandish it. But simply carrying it around is fine.
Texas for instance allows open carry in most circumstances. You can carry a long gun basically anywhere. According to this summary at the Giffords website Texas law prohibits doing so in a “manner calculated to alarm.” The same site says that no statutes prohibit open carrying firearms in Missouri. But it also says: “No person may exhibit any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner in the presence of one or more persons.”
In other words, you’re free to carry your AR-15 basically anywhere. It only becomes illegal when you become “angry or threatening.” Needless to say it doesn’t take long to go from having it in a sling or a shoulder strap and becoming “threatening” or for that matter going full feral dweeb at whatever location you have chosen for your killing spree..
The Giffords website linked above gives the laws for each state concerning openly carrying guns.
The US has allowed the NRA and the gun lobby such license that pretty much anything short of actually shooting someone is now legal, and even then some states that have ‘stand your ground’ laws enable people to get away even with that.