Man walked into grocery carrying assault rifle. Not illegal.


On Sunday, a man walked into a Kroger grocery store in Charlottesville, Virginia with a loaded AR-15 assault rifle on his back. Why? Because he could. From NBC29:

Charlottesville police drew their guns on the man after witnesses reported he brought a gun into the store. They restrained the man to ask him questions, but released him after they confirmed he is not a convicted felon, owned the gun legally and it was not concealed.

Police say he was cooperative and did nothing illegal. Officers did find a note in his pocket spelling out his intent to express his 2nd Amendment rights.

"Kroger Gun Stunt Sparks 2nd Amendment Debate" (Thanks, David Steinberg!)


  1. Look at that gun.  You can just feel the evil radiating out of the screen at you.  That deadly bipod.  That assault-style pistol grip.  That wicked, deadness-increasing flash suppressor.  I’m surprised the picture alone hasn’t killed anyone.

    1. To be fair, you’re not entirely wrong. The seductiveness of instruments of violence is disturbing, and speaks of nasty goings on in our psyches.

      1. It’s not about violence, it’s about power.  Guns are the great equalizer in a society where many feel powerless. Yes, this desire to feel powerful is buried deep within our psyche.

    2.  Thank god that, for Huey and Bobby and Stokley, this wasn’t illegal in ’67.  Thank god, for the children of Richmond, routinely killed by police before Panther intervention, that this was not illegal.

      Who wanted gun control?  The Klan, Regan and…  THE NRA!

      The Panthers ran police patrols, and shamed the cops in Richmond and Oakland by better protecting the communities while terminating racially-motivated police violence.

      Y’all’s got to get hip, before your good intentions get you outta the frying pan, into the fire.

      1. Yes, and the modern movement is by white men who aren’t threatened in any meaningful way, or at worst would be threatening the rest of us.

    3. Don’t know about all that, but it definitely is transmitting, “This will make you the powerful man you know you are but nobody else sees. It will prove you’re a serious, all-business, A-1 badass. That you’re a real American. And most importantly, it will enlarge that little worm between your legs.”

  2. Just because you can legally carry a weapon like that doesn’t mean the the proprietor of the establishment has to permit you entry. I’m surprised he wasn’t asked to leave, at which point he could have been charged with criminal trespassing if he failed to comply. It’s the same with shop-lifters…

    1.  I was thinking the same thing.  WTF, Kroger?  Why don’t you prohibit weapons in your stores?  No shoes, no shirt, no service but assault rifle, come on in?

      1.  Unlike the guy carrying an AK, the shoeless hippy isn’t going to shoot you when you ask him to leave. Or at least I’m assuming the thought process is.

      2. Seriously. It’s legal to drive too, but not into Kroger. It would be interesting to see a “No Guns” sign policy start popping up. 

      3.  Most stores do not prohibit firearms.  Since this happened in Virginia (where legal concealed carry of firearms is common) it is likely that this man was not the only customer that came in armed.  He was just the one with the visible firearm.

      4. Because they wouldn’t want to alienate the “I’m ready to kill someone at all times” demographic

    2. True for private businesses in most cases, but not for some government buildings or public spaces.

      Also some states have specifically granted employees the right to have guns in their cars on their employer’s private property.

    1. I was just thinking the same thing. What if another law-abiding citizen happened to be exercising their 2nd amendment rights at the same time, and felt threatened? 

      1. Most people who carry guns are not freaked out when you see someone else with a rifle slung over his shoulder (or a pistol in a holster).  Now if he came in with it drawn, that would be concerning (and stupid).

        1. Yes, but I’m open to the possibility that a minority of gun owners may freak out when they see someone else with a rifle slung over his shoulder.  It’s not that unusual for a cop to shoot an undercover cop, when they see he’s armed, but don’t realize who it is.  Sometimes people think good guys look like bad guys.  When they get a gun that can automatically make that distinction, it’ll likely be more relaxing for all of us. 

    2. The fact that the guy had that note in his pocket indicates that this occurred to him as well.  Makes me wonder if this was a suicidal urge thinly veiled by his supposed political statement.

      1.  No no, it’s just good policy to keep a note like that in your pocket. You never know when you might die in a bloody gun battle and you wouldn’t want the world to get the wrong impression.

        oh, and to this brave 2nd Amendment advocate: fuck you.

  3. So what about the rights of everyone else in the store to not have the crap scared out of them?
    Could any one of these a-holes look the Newtown victims parents in the eye and say, “My right to carry this is more important than your dead child?”

    1. There is a false dichotomy being portrayed in the media, and in your comment.  It’s not an either/or situation.  We can protect children.  We can protect the right to bear arms.  We can be sensible about it, and accomplish both things.  

      Or, we can continue to shout at each other, and nothing will change.  

      In short, I’m in favor of 100% background checks.  I’m in favor of expanded information about who may own a firearm being available at all levels of law enforcement.  I’m even in favor of a federal firearms possession license, provided I don’t have to register my actual firearms.  I’m in favor of expanding mental health services.  I’m in favor of open, honest dialog between friends, neighbors, and acquaintances about mental health, guns, violence, etc.  

      I’m not in favor of banning specific firearms, or magazines of a certain capacity, etc.  Those things are illusory and do nothing to prevent deaths.  It will take lifetimes for these proposed banned items to deteriorate to the point they can no longer be used, and in the meantime, we’ve wasted a lot of energy and effort fighting about something which a) isn’t very effective at saving lives, and b) will be rendered moot with the advent of at-home 3D printing and fabrication technologies. 

      1. I agree on everything except magazines.  They should be small.  We’ve successfully used law to reduce, generally, the availability of high-capacity mags.  Of course you can still get them, etc., etc., but they are rare now.  So we know that kind of law works.

        The smaller magazines mean a criminal usually has to reload, at which point, a brave, living bystander is supposed to tackle him and kick him in the face a few times then take his gun away and point it at him until the police arrive.

        Which is another layer of fallacy, of course.  The psycho with the gun should not have the gun in the first place.  As a proxy to that, we should at least run with what works, which is to reduce the number of shots a psycho can have before having to reload.  We know that works, so I say it shouldn’t even be 10 rounds.  It should be three.  Or two.  Or one.  Or even zero.  I don’t care.  We know that mag laws work, so let’s do it.

        1. Magazine size limits expired with the AWB in 2004.  They are readily available.  And, even if we do ban them again, they will continue to exist for decades.  

          I haven’t seen any evidence that a mag ban reduced deaths.  I would like to read your sources, before I comment further on your claim.

          1. They should tax ammo and guns heavily like they do with tobacco and booze.  Gun owners should also be required to carry insurance for each firearm.  You’d pay more for assault rifles, kids in household, etc.

          2. “They should tax ammo and guns heavily like they do with tobacco and booze.” I’m all for banning guns through a democratic process I think circumventing amendments is a bad idea.

          1. Yes, you have to kick him, and preferably apply some knuckle-jitsu on him and throw out a few macho insults, too.

      2. I think the problem of “either/or” is on both sides. I am sure this guy believes that either the government will let him have whatever weapon he so pleases and do whatever he pleases with it, OR they are coming to take away ALL his guns…

      3. So you’d still let people wander around with sub machine guns like they did in the 20’s?  They managed to ban those and yes it did help with reducing gang violence.

        1. In no way did I suggest we should allow people to have whatever weapons they wish.  

          There are two extremes on this topic.  Ban everything, confiscate, house-to-house searches, etc. Or free and open access to full-auto, grenades, rocket launchers, land mines, etc.  Those are the extremist positions.  We’re at sort of a middle ground right now, and I’m not convinced that further reductions in ownership rights will help, especially with the numbers of guns which will remain available after a ban.  

          I should also note that carrying a rifle to Kroger is ridiculous.  I do not like the confrontational attitude some supporters of the 2nd amendment take.

      4. “We can be sensible about it, and accomplish both things.  ”

        Prove it, because I don’t see much of this at all from the NRA or those on the “guns side” that matter. 

    2. I’m pretty sure they’ve crossed the mental line to caring about their guns more than human life a long time ago

    3.  I’m pro-gun.  I am glad that this guy can legally carry a rifle in his state.  It’s his 2A right (D.C. v. Heller, though this needs some narrowing by the courts). 

      I’d prefer he carry a concealed pistol like most normal gun-toters (and as several shoppers in the store most likely did that day).  There’s no need to scare people, especially with everyone still freaked out over the latest shooting.

      1. “the latest shooting”

        on average, 30 people are killed by firearms, every day in the US.

        that doesn’t count the 50 people who kill themselves, every day, with a gun, in the US.

        nor does it count the 230 people who will be non-fatally injured by a gun, every day, in the US.

        roughly 100,000 people, every year are killed or injured thanks to a gun.

        so, your “latest shooting” ? it happened roughly 6 minutes ago.

  4. Don’t care if he has the right to, or not. You ever come like that in a store that I’m in and I’m going to be coming up behind you and trying to hit you over the head with something.

      1. I will, it’ll be much better than being this week’s gun rampage victim. I’m also sure I’ll have legions of people supporting me.

      2. unprovoked ? That seems pretty provocative to me.
        It seems only prudent to disable someone walking into a store with a rifle like that,  based on what often happens when someone shows up at a mall or movie theater or church or school or wherever with one of those.

        The whole point of “ugly guns” is to look bad-ass (correct me if I’m wrong and there is some civilian utility beyond looking like they are made by the lowest bidder on a government contract) .  If someone preemptively decides that he’s the “bad guy with a gun” and they want to be the “good guy with a gun”  or just the good guy with a canned ham, it should come as no surprise.

  5. Behavior like this does nothing to further the discussion between constitutional rights and reason. It actually makes gun advocates look really unreasonable, kind of crazy and scares the shit out of people. I know if I saw someone with a rifle in my local grocery store I would grab my kids and run for fear that they are the next psychopath determined to get to make a name for themselves. Stupid and irresponsible.  BTW, I don’t own guns but really like shooting them in safe and controlled environments. Blowing inanimate objects into tiny bits is frickin awesome.

    1.  So if a hunter, wearing an orange vest and carrying a rifle walked into your local store, you’d be scared that he was gonna shoot you? Come on now, admit that you’re just afraid of that actual weapon rather than make a blanket statement like that. Just because there have been SOME shootings such as the one up in Newtown doesn’t mean that every person carrying a firearm is gonna shoot up the place.

      1. You confused? I’m more frightened of a guy carrying around a machete in the produce section, than a hunter with a sheathed knife. And, hell no! I don’t want a hunter carrying a rifle around a grocery store either for that matter. Keep your gun safely locked in your truck.  There’s absolutely no reason to be doing that.

      2. Ehm.. like the Aurora shooter didn’t raise eyebrows because he was wearing the gear that went with his gun, right? The only place where I wouldn’t freak out about somebody running around with a gun is maybe a shooting range. And that’s where I’m not, so there…

      3. Unless the hunter was going into a gun store wouldn’t it make more sense and be safer to keep the gun unloaded and locked up in the trunk of the car?

        The chances of this guy foiling a robbery at a Krogers is slim to none, the chances that a cop or someone with a concealed weapon thinking he’s a threat and shoots him is real.

  6. First off, I want to say that I am fine with people owning guns for protection in their homes. I think they should be better regulated, and that training should be a requirement for purchase, but I think they should be allowed. This, however, is stupid. I understand that this person thinks he’s just exercising his 2nd amendment rights, but this is NOT normal behavior. I don’t want to live in a world where this IS normal behavior.

    How am I supposed to be able to tell a regular person just carrying their gun around from some wacko who is going to shoot up the place? One lady behaved rationally by running out of the store and called the cops. The rest of the people were apparently just dumbfounded and would probably be dead if this guy had that intention. We shouldn’t have to wait until the guy starts shooting people to be able to tell if we should call the cops or not. It’s already too late at that point. Walking around with a gun in public (other than places where they are expected, such as a shooting range or hunting area) should not be an accepted practice. All this does is make it harder to spot those who would mean you harm. You won’t know until he’s pulling the trigger.

    1. All this does is make it harder to spot those who would mean you harm.

      Yes. All 62 of them in 30 years. Or, perhaps you could realize that your fear is completely irrational – forced upon you by a media seeking desperately to get us to forget about the 3+ ground wars we are waging around the world for 11 years and counting.

      Do you feel a similar fear when flying an airplane, that quick drop in your stomach during turbulence when you think “Maybe this could be it”, even though you fearlessly hop into your car every day….blissfully unaware that it is the leading, unnatural cause of death and 40 times more likely to kill you than the airplane? And that’s if you flew the exact same amount as you drove. Figuring for disparity, it would be tens of thousands of times more likely that you would die in an automobile.

      Do you shrivel in fear when you see an armed police officer, gun clipped to the hip, even though he is 10+ times more likely to shoot and kill you?

      Do you perhaps forget that these “nutcases” are thousands of times, if not more, more likely to kill themselves in the depths of an ignored mental condition than take out their darkness on others?

      Perhaps it is time to reevaluate our fear.

      1. Acknowledging the fact that these occurrences is rare does not mean that you need to sit back and do nothing.
        I am not for an all out ban, but something like the 1994 law did not seem to create a slippery slope of eroded rights. Why not update it and add in a few more common common-sensical regulations? Come on we are regulating the food in that store more than we are guns.

          1. Interesting article, but I don’t think it argues against gun control per se, just that the answer is not so simple. I would agree. I also agree with most of your links. We are often driven by irrational fears. 

            Will more gun restrictions reduce gun violence? Maybe, maybe not. I am sure we could both point to studies one way or the other. To me the important question is whether these regulations would create an unreasonable restriction upon the rights granted by the 2nd Amendment. Since we are not arguing about the right of civilians to own RPGs, I assume you accept some limitations, it is just a matter of where to draw that line. I tend to think reasonable people can debate this without turning it into a simplistic either/or proposition.As to the food analogy, yes I was being deliberately inflammatory, but again since it is comparing apples to oranges I think depending on the parameters we set we could each come up with contrasting views of the comparative regulations involved.

      2. While I agree that we need to be reevaluating our fear, we shouldn’t do so by making slippery-slope arguments and saturating every public place with guns. Also, we should include guns at the top of the conversation along with all the other problems being blamed. People like this who bring weapons meant to efficiently murder other people into a public place really do not need to be defended by logic, because they obviously have none. If they’re doing stuff like this to make a point, they’re severely disturbed.

        Skirting a point such as “All this does is make it harder to spot those who would mean you harm” by making irrelevant statements like comparing a psycho with a gun to an airplane ride negates your ideas, because they have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

        1. Who is making a slippery slope argument? In regards to your “we should include guns at the top of the conversation”, please see the first link in my comment. 

          I am not defending anyone, especially not the dude at the store – the law defended him quite nicely, and showed he was completely innocent. I’m referring to the absurd claims like “this makes it harder to spot those who would mean you harm”. 

          I’m not sure how you don’t see the comparison I’m drawing, or why you believe it irrelevant, so let me break it down a little more. The media inflates the fear and importance associated with these events to unrealistic levels. Again, how much coverage have we had about events that have been perpetrated by 62 individuals in 30 years, claiming around 300 people’s lives? Versus the 130,000+ (recorded) civilian deaths due to the Iraq/Afghan wars, perpetrated by the 100,000+ troops and their leaders in just the last 10 years?

          It is the same with plane accidents versus vehicular death. Here’s an article on Freakonomics.

          One MIT study found that airplane crash coverage on the front page of The New York Times was 60 times greater than reporting on HIV/AIDS per 1,000 deaths; 1,500 times greater than reporting on auto hazards; and 6,000 times greater than cancer.

          NPR did a great writeup a while ago about parental fears versus reality. See also: Our fears of terrorist attack vs. reality. It’s pretty much the same thing. The fear we have over events like this doesn’t match the reality of the situation.

          I will address the quote directly, if that would make you feel more comfortable. It’s ridiculous to claim that this is watering down our ability to spot the “real” dangers…because, in reality, the people most likely to harm you are the ones closest to you or the ones your trust the most. Suicide, domestic harm, law-enforcement gone wild – these are all realistic fears.

          1.  “Again, how much coverage have we had about events that have been perpetrated by 62 individuals in 30 years”

            statistically, the last gun murder in the US happened less than an hour ago.

            mass killings are sensational and horrible, but, statistically, they are insignificant when compared to the every day gun-related slaughter of Americans.

      3. “Yes. All 62 of them in 30 years. Or, perhaps you could realize that your fear is completely irrational – forced upon you by a media seeking desperately to get us to forget about the 3+ ground wars we are waging around the world for 11 years and counting.”

        I…um…someone’s walking around with a “man card” rifle on his back, and apprehension is…uh…irrational???

        I watched the news clip, and though it’s hard to tell, I see the magazine.  Is it loaded?  

        Why did the guy have a note in his pocket?  Sounds like he was trying to commit suicide by police.  Still willing to go with that “irrational” nonsense?

        Like the NRA instructor interviewed said, this reflects badly on gun owners, and responsible gun owners should know that walking around with a military-looking rifle slung on your back is going to make people uneasy.

        I know “reasonable” and “responsible” are taboo subjects here in ‘Murica these days, though.

  7. This took place in my hometown, so it hit my facebook feed pretty quickly. Here’s what I said there:

    Virginia defines “brandishing” as: “It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense. Persons violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.”

    So all it would take for this guy to go to trial (and possibly jail for up to a year) is someone claiming that they were afraid for their life that a guy walked into a store with a loaded weapon. With the current climate surrounding AR-15 rifles, finding a jury that would agree that was a reasonable fear shouldn’t be hard.

    Also, someone above wondered if the proprietor could ask him to leave. Kroger has banned him from their premises, armed or not.

    1.  So basically, as long as the guy kept the weapon slung over his shoulder, he’d be safe from prosecution. The way that reads, he’d have to be carrying it in a position where it could actually be fired. If he were to go to trial based on someone just saying they were scared, he’d walk.

    2.  It was on his back.  They’ll have a hard time explaining that having the thing on his back was “brandishing” as in HOLDING and POINTING.

  8. In most states (maybe all) even if a gun is legal a store can disallow bringing firearms into its store. This would probably be a good idea for Kroger and other grocery stores to implement. They could make an exception for licensed peace officers, active duty soldiers, and licensed security guards.

    1. You’ve got to admit it’s kind of strange that we live in a society where the onus is on business owners to put up signs explaining that they’d rather you DIDN’T walk into their stores carrying assault weapons.

  9.  In before “not an assault rifle”.

    This idiot is demonstrative of the reasons why people like me do not trust gun zealots with guns.  You want to turn off all your potential allies?  Pull stunts like this.

  10. That AR-15 is not an assault rifle. It is a semiautomatic rifle that falls under the extremely nebulous “assault weapon” tag, but that doesn’t make it an assault rifle. An M4 or AK-47 is an assault rifle.

    An assault rifle is a selective fire (selective between fully automatic, semi-automatic, and burst fire) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and adetachable magazine. It should be distinguished from the US legal term assault weapons. –

    /not a Righty
    //if we’re going to have a debate about this issue in this country, we need to be honest on both sides

    1. That AR-15 is not an assault rifle. It is a semiautomatic rifle that falls under the extremely nebulous “assault weapon” tag…

      Silly gun control advocates, assuming that any “rifle” classified as an “assault weapon” is some kind of “assault rifle.” What a bunch of noobs.

      1. That said, this guy is a douchebag who wanted to start some shit. My guess is that he was hoping to be arrested or something in order to prove whatever bullshit point he was trying to make.

        1. And what bullshit point were you trying to make?  That an AR-15 isn’t an assault rifle?  bahaha, people only make that argument because they don’t realize that the words “semi-automatic” and “assault” are synonymous.

          1. It seems most people confuse “semi-automatic” with “automatic.”  If you want to define “semi-automatic” as “assault,” you are welcome to.  But, in the minds of people who know and use guns, you’re only watering down your “scary” term.  

          2.  It seems most people confuse “semi-automatic” with “automatic.”

            No, really they don’t.

    2. id like to see the media replace the term ‘assault riffle’ with ‘black and scary looking like something i saw in the matrix’ because thats what they really mean

      1. Exactly.  All arguments to the contrary are spurious.  These things are dangerous human-killing machines.  ALL OF THEM, doesn’t matter what we call them.

        1.  Somewhat agree, but there’s a reason that the military use more militarized weapons, and not deer rifles.

          1. even the US Army and Marines don’t give everyone a fully-automatic weapon. the standard M16 variant has a semi-auto mode and a three-round burst mode, but not a fully-auto mode because they don’t want people under stress just holding the trigger back and blowing through a full clip all at once. special force units can get fully-autos.

            so, a ruggedized semi-auto is very very close to being a military-grade weapon.

        2.  @awjt, I think the point @boingboing-c6e68f388567974936f536bf4353f6c6:disqus  is making is that AR-15’s are really “scary looking semi-automatic rifles” and not “assault weapons”.   To say otherwise is a bias and a scam and to propose banning them because they look scary is like saying I want to ban red Corvettes because I’ve labeled them “high velocity killing machines”.  A similar analogy would be limiting all cars from driving over 30mph because we all know that driving over 55mph causes more deaths.  No common sense.

          1. Who gives a shit what they’re called?  They kill people.  THAT’S the common sense that so many gun nuts are lacking.  Never lose sight of the purpose of these objects: to kill efficiently.  They could be called poo poo guns, doesn’t matter.  The arguments you people continually make are hair-splitting.

          2.  Trying to reply to about the numbers below, bb won’t let me.

            “They are not designed to kill people.” Now you’re arguing that assault weapons are not designed to kill people? Wow, again. You gun nuts, because that is what you are, apparently, are truly amazing.

          3. @AboutTheNumbers

            They are not designed to kill people.

            Give me a break. Even if you don’t intend to use a semiautomatic rifle like the AR-15 to kill people, its utility as a tool for self-defense rests soley on its ability to do so.

    3. It’s a fair point – If you’re going to debate about firearms, you should know something about firearms, and you should use your terms correctly.

      I mean, if it was a debate about, say, GMOs or Stem Cell research, or global warming, or the merits of one engine over another, or any other topic with a technical component, would you take seriously someone who tried to debate with you, if they didn’t know what they were talking about, and couldn’t use basic nomenclature correctly? Why should the firearms debate be any different?

      I’m not saying you have to be a gunsmith, that’s just silly – but come on, at least learn the basics, people.

      /while we’re declaring allegiances, this is just a topic I have interest in. not left or right, not even American, just hoping to become an immigrant. May or May not tek all ur jerbs.

      //On the topic – 100% for reasonable and effective regulation and restriction, along with a better licensing system, but also in support of firearm ownership. So, basically, I’m just hated by both sides.


      “Your use of the Courtier’s Reply in a debate on Gun Control just cemented in my mind the fact that gun enthusiasts are about as sane as religious believers.”

      Your misuse of the term “Courtier’s Reply” has convinced me that you’re not nearly as clever as you think you are. The Courtier’s reply would be “You are wrong, because you do not know enough, you have not read enough.” I am saying “You should not enter a debate without the basic knowledge necessary to competently debate the topic.” Two very different things. I make no argument that knowledge means you’ll take a particular side, I only make the argument that knowledge is required to debate the topic competently on either side.

      Also, to save time, I’m going to simply quote Wikipedia’s page on the Courtier’s Reply:

      “This particular fallacy, however, is quite easy to misuse. For example, some attempt to use it to attack people who validly complain that their ideological opponent is willfully ignorant, and is making no effort to educate him or herself.”

      Maybe you should have familiarized yourself with the term, before attempting to use it? I don’t know about you, but I find these silly mistakes quite embarrassing.

      1. Really, this is just a minor point of semantics.

        1. It’s a rifle
        2. …that’s classified as an assault weapon.
        3. …and is designed to perform a function that’s better suited for shooting a bunch of people than for hunting or home defense.

        The argument over whether or not the term “assault rifle” is appropriate is really a distraction from the central debate over whether that kind of weapon should be legal and/or regulated.

        1.  @Brainspore:twitter,it’s not a semantic when one uses it to bias an argument.  See my post to awjt above.  Statistically speaking (using publicly available FBI data) ALL rifles used to murder someone in the US is about .1 in 100,000.  You have almost 3 times more of a chance to be murdered by someone punching, kicking, or shoving you than by someone using these rifles. So to say they are built to kill people because they are scary looking is an error in correlation and causation and one used by gun control lobbyist and advocates to sway those who know no better.  Otherwise I can ban anyone with scary looking hands or feet.

          @google-f3972b64d5e0a72ce419743a670a71d1:disqus , if you’d like to become an American citizen be sure you study the Bill of Rights and it’s history.  I know the anti-gun lobby likes to frame this as a right to self defense in your home only, but the reason our 2nd Amendment is in place is also to defend ourselves from tyrants.  Benjamin Franklin, one of the founders of our country said “This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.” 

          Oh, and the freedom to speak openly as in the forum is guaranteed by this 2nd Amendment.  Good luck in becoming a U.S. citizen. 

          1. You have almost 3 times more of a chance to be murdered by someone punching, kicking, or shoving you than by someone using these rifles.

            I see ordinary citizens use hands and feet for productive purposes every day. Assault weapons? Not so much.

            And when was the last time someone murdered a couple of dozen people in one go with their bare fists, again?

          2. @mcgski:disqus 

            How will banning and limiting prevent what happened in Newtown?

            Because countries that don’t have easy access to these kinds of weapons also tend not to have those kinds of mass murders.

            In Newton specifically, the crazy dude only got his hands on those guns because his mother had legally acquired them. There is no reason to assume that shooter would have gone to a black market source or 3D-printed his own weapons if he didn’t already have those guns readily available.

          3. @mcgski:disqus  I know it better than a surprisingly large number of Americans I bump into, from either side of the debate. I’m quite familiar with the various interpretations of the Second amendment, amongst others – I won’t argue my knowledge is perfect, but I’m certainly not ignorant on the topic.

            Thank you for the advice – Naturally, study of the country, it’s history, it’s laws, and it’s culture is beneficial, and you always find out interesting things – and thank you for your will-wishes. I do appreciate the sentiment.

      2. Your use of the Courtier’s Reply in a debate on Gun Control just cemented in my mind the fact that gun enthusiasts are about as sane as religious believers.

    4. Came here to say this. There’s something very wrong going on when someone thinks it is perfectly normal to walk into a grocery store with a loaded firearm of any type.

      But an AR-15 is not an assault rifle. Assault rifles are weapons used by our military forces and support burst and full auto fire modes. An AR-15 is a semi-auto, functionally no different than any other semi-auto rifle, but guilty of looking mean, being styled after the M-16.

      An unfortunate fascination with “military style” weapons.

      /Not from the NRA

      1. If I remember correctly, and considering the fact that I was an armorer for ten years in the Army, the AR-15 isn’t styled on the M016, it’s actually styled on the precursor, the XM-15 which evolved into the M-16.

        1. You may well be correct. Let’s just say it looks M-16ish. The public, including me obviously, wouldn’t know the difference. There’s something on the wikipedias about it being derived from the AR-10 but I only had a quick glance.

    5.  From what I understand it’s essentially trivial to make the AR-15 fully automatic by replacing a small part.

      In other words, it’s an assault rifle.

      1. You are incorrect.  You have to replace the entire fire control group as well as the bolt and bolt carrier.  95% of Modern ARs would also have to have machining done inside the lower receiver well to accommodate the extra parts.

      2. Not true.

        You must replace the bolt/carrier group with an M-16 style setup.  And you must drill a precisely placed hole through both sides of the receiver housing, and insert a sear pin in that hole.  It can be done in a home workshop, but it’s really something a trained gunsmith should do.  I wouldn’t call it “trivial.”  It’s also illegal, and anyone caught doing it, or possessing a gun which has been converted will become a felon, and lose all gun ownership rights.  As they should.

        I know dozens of guys who own AR-15s.  Not a single one of them has even expressed interest in converting.  Shooting is fun, but sending large numbers of bullets down-range in a short period of time is a) expensive, and b) pointless in terms of practicing any particular skill.

        1. Not a single one of them has even expressed interest in converting. Shooting is fun, but sending large numbers of bullets down-range in a short period of time is a) expensive, and b) pointless in terms of practicing any particular skill.

          Not really the point.

          Can you convert a bolt-action hunting rifle to full auto?  How about a semi auto pistol?

          No?  Then I guess there’s a significant difference between the AR-15 and guns that are actually useful for something.

          1. A bolt-action rifle cannot be converted without changing the way the rifle works.  By that point, it wouldn’t be the same rifle. 

            But a semi-auto pistol can be converted almost as easily as the AR-15.  The Glock 17, for instance, is also made as a select-fire model, known as the Glock 18.  The conversion process is somewhat different, but can still be done in a home workshop.  Still illegal.  Still not being done in droves.  

          2. A bolt-action rifle cannot be converted without changing the way the rifle works. By that point, it wouldn’t be the same rifle.

            Yup. That was the point.

            I guess I could get behind banning semi auto weapons in general.

            Or put it this way: what can you get out of owning an AR-15 that you can’t get from owning some other weapon?

        2.  In addition, simply owning a full auto fire control group (sear, disconnector, etc)  and an M16 bolt carrier while simultaneously owning an AR-15.  Regardless of whether or not it is modified.or the parts are installed counts as having an unregistered fully automatic weapon in violation of NFA 1934 according to BATFEIEIO.

      3.  Wow, that would be illegal in the U.S. as assault weapons have been banned since at least as early as 1939.  The point is they are no different than any other semi-automatic rifle.  It’s just scary looking and a biased moniker used by the gun control lobby to get people fired up.

        Also agree that it wasn’t a very smart thing to do.

        /Not a member of the NRA

        1.  Yes, of course it would be illegal.  But you may have noticed how murder is illegal and yet people still commit murder.

          This isn’t terribly complicated stuff.

          Now, what is the purpose of an AR-15?  Is it really a variety of hunting rifle?

          Or was it originally designed as a type of assault rifle with full auto disabled, so to speak?

        2. ” Wow, that would be illegal in the U.S. as assault weapons have been banned since at least as early as 1939. ”

          Good thing criminals obey the law!

  11. Free speech is a constitutional right, but yelling fire in a theatre is not ok? Under the same principles bearing arms is a constitutional right, but can’t assault rifles be not deemed ok?

    1. I don’t think it would be at all unreasonable to make it a crime to walk into a public place like that with a weapon like that. Equivalent of yelling “fire”, if you ask me.

    2. Why should they not be OK to own without restriction?  Semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 are no more dangerous than say a shotgun or a 22 rifle that a Boy Scout uses to learn to shoot at scout camp.  I think you’re mixing your logic here.

      Think of it this way – if we’re banning certain types of arms because of how they look, then let’s ban certain types of free speak because the party in power doesn’t like what it implies.  You see the slippery slope?

      They do use shotguns and semi-automatic rifles in the U.S. armed forces. The standard rifleman is issued an automatic weapon that has selective fire of burst or auto. This is VERY different from the semi-automatic rifles that you propose to ban other than various cosmetic features.

      1.  “They (assault weapons) are no more dangerous than say a shotgun or a 22 rifle..”

        Wow. You live in some other world than me. In yours, does the US Army use shotguns and 22’s in Iraq and Afghanistan?

        But keep talking. You’re not helping your cause.

      2. Is there really a slippery slope when some 20-something dude openly carries an assault rifle into a business?  Is there, really?

        How long would I live if I pointed a realistic-looking toy gun at the President? It’s not real! Not right to kill a man for pointing a toy at someone! Nothing in the Constitution against pointing a toy at anyone!

      3. You see the slippery slope?

        The Second Amendment doesn’t say “guns,” it says “arms.” The slippery slope began when we banned private ownership of nuclear warheads.

        What’s that, you say? You oppose private ownership of nuclear warheads? Well then welcome aboard the “we need to have reasonable regulations for weapons in the name of public safety” train.

  12. It would have been highly amusing if the store owner felt threatened and exercised HIS 2nd Amendment rights and plugged this moron.

    1. 2nd amendment is not a license to shoot anybody you don’t like. That is still illegal. Always has been, always will be.

      1. If a black teenager pulled a similar stunt in a jewelry store, the business owner who gunned him down with a concealed revolver would currently be making headlines as a heroic example of why we need the Second Amendment to protect ourselves.

      2.  No, but many states have “stand your ground” laws which do justify shooting people who you believe to be an immediate threat to your safety.  Because carrying around guns and shooting people makes us all safer.

  13. Pretty much. Zero chance this guy was not just expecting to be hassled, but hoping to be hassled by either Kroger or law enforcement. Dude is just an asshole, and the entire debate would be better without these sorts of cockamamie stunts.

    Edit – This was a reply to Ricky Partridge’s comment further up the thread, which I’ll copy below for convenience:

    “That said, this guy is a douchebag who wanted to start some shit. My guess is that he was hoping to be arrested or something in order to prove whatever bullshit point he was trying to make.”

  14. As an avid 2nd amendment (In it’s entirety, not in the sanctity of my home with a single shot shotgun and a 7 shot revolver) advocate, I have to say stunts like this don’t help anyone. I’d prefer guys like this stick to the internet for their debates.

    1. My first thought was “I bet this guy doesn’t like any kind of gun control,” followed quickly by “I bet this guy isn’t helping his position any.”

    2.  Agreed. I can’t say this guy was entirely wrong but he went about it in an asinine way. I could understand a hunter carrying his weapon into a store during hunting season but just doing it like it’s an every day thing? Unless this guy carries his rifle every single time he leaves his house, there’s no point to it.

      Now if he DID carry it everywhere, he’d get more media attention in his struggle against Obama or whatever the hell he thought he was doing. I think that all these morons that believe Obama is gonna take away their guns are idiots. Never gonna happen. Even if they were outlawed, there’s no way that the government could take them all away from their owners.

      Hell, every guy I’m still in contact that I served in the Army with owns weapons and they are NOT gonna let anyone take them away. They’re all law abiding productive citizens but they really believe in their second amendment rights.

      1. Hell, every guy I’m still in contact that I served in the Army with owns weapons and they are NOT gonna let anyone take them away. They’re all law abiding productive citizens but they really believe in their second amendment rights.

        My next-door neighbor was a law-abiding retired Army veteran with a bunch of guns and no intention of letting anyone take them away, but someone did anyway. It wasn’t the government who took them. It was the guy who broke into his house when he was out and stole his weapon collection. Which is now presumably in the hands of who-knows-how-many bad guys.

        Unfortunately you can’t make weapons easy for law-abiding folks to get if you want to make them hard for criminals to get, because criminals get their guns from law-abiding people.

      2. I could understand a hunter carrying his weapon into a store during hunting season but just doing it like it’s an every day thing

        I can’t. I don’t know any of my hunting family/friends who would ever do that either.

      3. Hell, every guy I’m still in contact that I served in the Army with owns weapons and they are NOT gonna let anyone take them away. They’re all law abiding productive citizens…

        Let me be sure: they’re law-abiding citizens who are NOT gonna let an elected legislative assembly take certain measures, based on a personal reading of the constitution.

        I assume this implies they would stop them by writing congressmen, attending local council meetings, and so on. Knowing their deep respect for democratic laws, what else could you mean?

  15. But when we walk into an airport and the 18-year old National Guards are there with their m16’s with much bigger magazines, we aren’t equally scared?  Because they look official?  Look, all I’m saying is that this charade goes both ways.  Perception is EVERYTHING.

    What if the National Guards stood around in their hoodies and flip-flops?  They’re still national guards, but we believe their camo and funny hats are the assertion of rightful authority?  What???  A costume?

    What if the next freak with an AR-15 dresses up in his fake FBI uniform and walks into a store?

    Think about it.

    1. But when we walk into an airport and the 18-year old National Guards are there with their m16’s with much bigger magazines, we aren’t equally scared?

      Well, I also feel marginally safer knowing that high-level military officials have access to nuclear weapons than I’d feel knowing that some kids in my neighborhood had access to nuclear weapons.


    2. This sounds completely psychotic.  Are you insinuating that we should second guess every armed man/woman of uniform and suspect them to be a potential freak playing dress up that want to harm us?  I get your point about perception being everything and totally agree but it’s ridiculous to undermine the identifying value a government law uniform provides.

      1. It’s psychotic to put so much stock in something so easily subverted.  Skeptcism is what I am advocating.

    3. An interesting difference between some European countries and the U.S. that I noticed was the greater number of very visible heavy weaponry on the police and military in public places.
      Not that it is not around in some areas of the U.S. But I would say you are not too likely to run across uniformed men carrying machine guns too often in your day to day travels.

  16. In Switzerland there is nothing unusual about walking into a store with an assault rifle. At least not if you’re wearing military uniform. 

  17. We can’t yell fire in a crowded theater, even though we have the 1st amendment. Why are people allowed to use the 2nd amendment to protect their right to terrify everyone around them while they prance around with their assault rifles? If I saw this guy walk into the grocery store while I was shopping, I’d take cover. Does the 2nd amendment really allow people to wander around armed to the teeth causing a panic? What the hell.

    1. They don’t. It’s a completely ahistorical, rereading of things. The old (non-industry lobby based) NRA used to even admit that they didn’t see any “utility” in arguing for gun rights based on the 2nd amendment. This is a case of: “If you spend enough money, and enough shitheads screech about it, then it suddenly becomes true”.

  18. Since the 2nd Amendment SPECIFICALLY states that the right to bear arms was so that we had trained militias (which was all we had for defense before the US had a standing army) I think it should be mandatory for anyone who wants to carry these kinds of guns to enlist in the US military first.  For one thing, their love affair with/lust for “the gun” might dim slightly when they feel in real life the terror of being shot to death (sort of like those jerks you used to see playing Army Man in HumVees — except it’s more put your body where your money (and big mouth) is.)   My son enlisted (meaning two tours of terror for me while he was in Iraq) and he (who was a passionate fan of WWII history, military movies and shows (like Band of Brothers) and military-based video games) is FAR less interested in all those things now.  People need to get their head out of the glamour, seductiveness, and power trip that movies, shows and games wrap them in. 

    1. Since the 2nd Amendment SPECIFICALLY states that the right to bear arms was so that we had trained militias (which was all we had for defense before the US had a standing army) I think it should be mandatory for anyone who wants to carry these kinds of guns to enlist in the US military first.

      Not quite… the idea was actually that a community (such as a state or township) could defend itself in the event of a runaway Federal government. (Massacres at the hands of redcoat armies were still fresh in the memories of many colonists at the time). That’s also why the next Amendment down the list specifically states that citizens can’t be forced to quarter troops.

      I’m on board with your larger point, though. Gun ownership wasn’t originally envisioned as an individual right so much as a means of collective defense within a well-regulated and disciplined organization.

      1. Not quite, Brainspore.  I have been researching American History for decades now and the Second Amendment was clearly based on the military precepts that had been created and laid down by the REAL founders of this country (and not the 18th century politicians who simply put a lawyer-ly gloss on the foundations and policies that had been built more than a century before.) 

        The state militias (made up of local or town militias) were in place from the earliest colonial times (they were called train bands at first.)  These were first under the direction and control of the leaders of the “Plantations” which were essentially proto-states in that they ruled a large number of towns and counties.  These militias acted as a pool of militarily-trained men who could be pulled/drafted per a quota system for each town or county and sent wherever/whenever they were ordered to go (even if their going would leave their local area exposed to danger.)  This system was in place at least up to the Civil War. 

        This is why the country cared about a well-ordered militia — because it was vital to the defense of the country.  No matter what the posturing of the politicians (which was, of course, all the much-revered Founding Fathers were — and they BTW were just as despised then for their blow-hard ways as ours are now)…NO government in its right mind REALLY, officially, puts in place a military mechanism designed to overturn it.  (Hint: that was the sop it was throwing to the men who were required to be in the militia (i.e., all of them — well, all of them too poor to pay for a replacement.) It gave the poor saps an illusion of power and control.  Nothing really changes…plus sa change…plus ca meme chose.

        1. This is why the country cared about a well-ordered militia — because it was vital to the defense of the country.

          I didn’t mean to imply that the only purpose of state militias was to defend citizens from their own Federal government, but clearly that was one of the major concerns as well. Otherwise, why would the founders feel there was any threat that the Federal government might try to disarm those militias?

          This article sums up my view of the historical context pretty well. Feel free to disagree.

  19. Bah!  I meant to add that once they HAVE to carry around a heavy gun (and all that goes along with it) while they’re putting in 18 hour days in the most disgusting of conditions, the glamour wears off fast — and you’d be far less likely to want to/feel the need to lug that thing to the grocery store.

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