Men armed with rifles walk through Oregon neighborhood to raise awareness
Last Updated: 330 days ago
PORTLAND, Ore. - Two men carrying rifles on their backs strolled through a Portland neighborhood last week, prompting several frightened calls to police.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, officers stopped the two but did not cite them, saying that they did not commit a crime, because both had concealed handgun licenses.
The open carrying of firearms is legal in Oregon and carrying a concealed firearm is legal with a valid CHL, but officers told the two men they were making people nervous and causing alarm.
The armed men told police they were exercising their Second Amendment rights and hoped to educate the public.
The men, who identified themselves as Steven Boyce and Warren Drouin of Medford, both 22, said they had no specific plan, except to open up lines of communication on gun rights.
Many neighbors in the Sellwood area were disturbed by the display last Wednesday.
The men were carrying AR-15 rifles, the same gun used in the Newtown, Oregon Town Center and Aurora theater shootings.
"We're educating, letting people know that they could come up and talk to us. We are very friendly. We say 'Hi!' to people and we let people know that guns are not bad things," said Boyce. "I don't think that anybody should be able to ban a specific type of rifle or handgun. I'm not hurting anybody, I'm out there educating and communicating with people."
Some neighbors disagreed.
"I don't think it's appropriate that people run around and tout the fact that they can carry guns when people are getting killed without cause or justification," said Phillip Krain.
"This is a very family-friendly neighborhood. So, to know that there are men walking around, exercising their Second Amendment rights as licensed gun owners, that's fine, but not the way I would choose to exercise my right and to protest or make a statement seems really inappropriate and potentially dangerous," said Jen Schoonard
"If I don't use my right, I'm going to lose it," counted Boyce. "And if bills do get passed saying I can't protect myself, I can't arm myself in a way I see fit, then I'll have at least got to do it today."
Portland police asked anyone who sees someone armed with guns to immediately call 911.
"That's not the purpose of the Second Amendment -- to frighten citizens, to frighten women and children," said Susan Anglada Bartley, a mother of a 9-month-old girl. "And I don't think there's anyone who can argue, especially after the tragedy where so many children were killed -- nobody can argue that it's not scary to have people marauding around Sellwood with guns."
Drouin has a YouTube channel chronicling his encounters with police while carrying weapons.
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