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July 4, 2015

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Man carries AR-15 rifle into J.C. Penney store to make point


Cindy Yorgason / AP

This cell phone photo provided by Cindy Yorgason shows a J.C. Penney shopper with an assault rifle over his shoulder in Riverdale, Utah, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. Yorgason said she was trying to exchange an item at the store when she spotted the man and took his photo. The man, identified as 22-year-old Joseph Kelley, says he wanted to demonstrate that the weapons aren’t dangerous when handled by law-abiding citizens. Kelley told The Salt Lake Tribune the rifle was an unloaded AR-15, and he was also carrying a loaded Glock 19c on his hip.

Hours after President Barack Obama called on Congress to ban military-style assault weapons, one man's protest raised some eyebrows at a Utah store.

An Odgen woman took some photos of a man inside a J.C. Penney on Wednesday with an assault weapon slung over his shoulder.

Cindy Yorgason says that even for a firearm-friendly state like Utah, it was out of the ordinary.

Yorgason took two photos of the man and posted them on Facebook, where they received hundreds of comments and have been shared more than a thousand times.

The Salt Lake Tribune identified the man as 22-year-old Joseph Kelley, who says he was trying to demonstrate that the weapons aren't dangerous when handled by law-abiding people.

Kelley says the AR-15 he was carrying was unloaded, which is legal.

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  1. A lawful citizen not breaking the law photographed surreptitiously by a sneaky citizen. Guess which one *I* would not trust?

  2. By definition, an AR-15 cannot be an assault weapon, a term misused by the ignorant, agenda driven and lazy. The man in the photo is correct, human behavior is the problem, not the tools used to carry it out.

  3. I don't see anything wrong with what this guy did. I applaud him. I hope more people do the same thing.

  4. I get what he wanted, to show an unloaded weapon is a tool, not dangerous in itself. unfortunately he probably scared the hell out of everyone close to him. Sorry, this is over the top, legal or not. All this does is reinforce the opinion of some that gun owners have no regard for others and are out of control. I carry concealed off the job, but if a business has a sign, I honor it. Simple, I remove the weapon, lock mit in the safe in my car and continue on. I chose to go to the establishment, I will honor their wishes. I could carry my weapon and no one would know, I take the concealed part seriously. I have been in stores and seen concealed weapons holders with a clearly visible weapon. which violates the law. When I have politely taken some aside to point out that others havee seen their weapon and may be startled, I get the mind your own business routine. This person was legal but in doing what he did, he made others uncomfortable and probaly had some fearing what his intentions were. Open carry is legal in Nevada, but I know some people are not copmfortable around armed people so I choose to carry concealed, so I don't scare people. Had this happened while I was there, I would have got my family to safety, notified Dispatch of the situation and waited for backup to arrive. I'm soory, I don't read minds and when I see you with a weapon strapped to your back the alarm bells start ringing. He forced his opinion on others and didn't care what happened. Thats no better than someone telling you all guns should be banned. I know some may disagree with me and like I said I get whhat he wanted to prove, but i still say it was over the top and uneccesary. We need rational thought form both sides to create common sense rules and regulations. Nobody will ever feel they got everything they want, but we have to come to some kind of compromise. Senstionalistic acts like this don't help gun owners, they merely reinforce steroetypes already placed upon us. President Obama had no choice but to act and it wouldn't have mattered if Romney won, he would have had to act as well after Sandy Hook. No action would've doomed him. I'm a republican and I feel i'm a responsible gun owner, yet I voted twice for Obama and believe something has to change. I don't belive banning and restricting guns and magazines is a cure all, but we have to attack this problem from multiple levels, from gun safety, training and registration, to mental health and enhancing criminal laws against gun crimes. Maybe mandatory gun locks helps, maybe it doesn't the point is the right to own a weapon and carry it legal should not come at the expense of scaring the beejesus out of others. Sorry don't mean to ruffle feathers but this was just too over the top for me.

  5. I'd like to know if he was returning something (that silk thong underwear he got for Christmas because they were too big) or was he buying....that silk thong underwear?

  6. @Reza:

    LOLOLOL Guess you don't own a cellphone with a camera. The person who snapped the photo is not sneaky. Many cellphone photos have aided law enforcement in solving crimes and....sometimes, cellphone photos are to actually show how stupid people can be, ie this guy.

  7. labman57 makes a good point that I think deserves some further thought. Because this man is white, bald and in a t-shirt, we react in a certain way. Would that reaction be the same if he was a young, African American man in a hoodie? Sadly, I think not. He is seen by some as a hero for gun rights, but if a non-white did the same thing, he would be a poster child for why we need to carry more guns. It's a messed up world we live in....
    I also agree with a lot of the things Phinfan39 mentions as well. I too would have been on speed dial with the local police had I seen this man. As observers, we don't know what his intentions are, we don't know if his weapon is loaded... And even though he is in an open carry state, I'm sure most people aren't used to seeing assault rifles on someone's back as they shuffle through the mall. That has a little bit different of an impact than a handgun on someone's side.
    All this man accomplished was making gun owners look like fools and the stereotype they are often painted to be. Which is unfair to the majority of gun owners out there. (For the record, I do not own a gun and never will). What he does is keep us from having a real discussion... Fellows like this will keep us getting nowhere.