The expected demonization of Dr. Peter Steinmetz has sprung full blown in the old media, in spite of everyone recognizing that the Doctor was engaging in protected strong political speech by carrying his AR-15 into the non-secured part of an airport. From phoenixnewtimes.com:
It seems Steinmetz, a Tempe resident, was doing nothing wrong up until the moment he pointed the weapon inadvertently at two women in the "B"-gate waiting area. Police tell New Times that, in general, it's not illegal to carry a semiautomatic rifle into an airport terminal. In this case, the problem was "the way he was carrying it," says Phoenix police Sergeant Steve Martos.It seems unlikely that Dr. Steinmetz will be convicted of anything. The police acknowledge that he did nothing wrong up until he allegedly allowed the muzzle of his rifle to briefly point in the direction of two women in the coffee shop.
The allegation is that the muzzle of his rifle briefly was pointed at two women at the airport, who later told police they were fearful of the gun. Steinmetz claimed he was just there to get a cup of coffee.
Here is the Arizona law that the police used to arrest the doctor. The arrest resulted in national publicity and his suspension from his job. The only applicable part of the code seems to be number 6. ARS 13-2904:
A. A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so, such person:There are two elements to this law that must be met. First, the person has to have either the intent or knowledge that they are disturbing the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family, or person. Then the law lists a number of ways in which it is impermissible to intentionally or knowingly do this. The last one listed, 6., involves weapons, and is a felony.
6. Recklessly handles, displays or discharges a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
The problem for the prosecutor in this case will be to prove intent or knowledge. The police have already said that the muzzle sweep was accidental and momentary. They already acknowledge that the doctor was not doing anything illegal up to that point.
So how does a prosecutor show intent and/or knowledge for an accidental and momentary event? I do not think they can.
What this shows is suppression of protected political speech by police who did not like what was being communicated. Dr. Steinmetz is a known second amendment activist. He was at the unsecured part of the airport in a previous event in November, demonstrating against TSA search techniques.
You see the two pictures of Dr. Steinmetz shown above. I doubt that you have any difficulty determining which one is being shown on national media. The old media is all in favor of police repression of political rights that they do not approve of.
Alan Korwin sums up the case:
While reluctant to say too much about the case, given the lack of information or stated motive by Steinmetz, Korwin believes the "bottom line is if you have a right and you can't exercise it, do you have that right?"Long after these images are shown, I suspect that Dr. Steinmetz will be found not guilty. His arrest will have been just another attempt by the establishment to suppress the first and second amendments.
"He's putting his life, his fortune and his sacred honor on the line for his beliefs -- it sounds like that's what he's doing," Korwin adds.
The good doctor did not have to wait so very long after all. He was represented by Marc Victor. From Alan Korwin just minutes ago, quoting Dr. Steinmetz:
"No charges have been filed and my two hearings have been vacated."
Update2 This information is from an unnamed source, but it is claimed that there is video confirmation. I have not seen the video:
According to the security video (it's an airport, you can't escape big brother's surveillance cameras) the muzzle 'dipped slightly' - possibly in their direction but well over their heads. Apparently and LEO friendly with one of our members was on-site, and reported that at no time was anyone swept.
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