10/23/2014

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Open carry debate: Man arrested after causing panic in Vancouver

Open carry debate: Man arrested after causing panic in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A man accused of causing a panic at a family fun center by carrying a semi-automatic rifle while walking nearby says he’s on a Second Amendment mission to educate the public about gun rights.

Mack Worley was arrested Saturday night in Southeast Vancouver. Police said he crossed the line when he decided to openly carry his gun on private property.

“I was breaking no law and I was arrested for trespassing on a public sidewalk,” said Worley. “Whether or not you agree with open carry of a firearm or not, it’s not illegal.”

Tuesday morning, Worley pleaded not guilty to a charge of trespassing with a weapon capable of producing bodily harm. Police said he first went to a Burgerville restaurant with a rifle slung over his shoulder. An employee called 911.

Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said a security guard told Worley to leave and called police when he didn’t.

By the time police arrived, Kapp said Worley had walked to a fireworks stand in the Big Al’s parking lot. Employees closed the stand because they were worried about what Worley was up to. An employee at Big Al’s called 911 while the business went into lockdown.

Coffee barista Dominick Harris watched as panicked parents grabbed their children and ran into the restaurant while police officers swarmed around Worley.

“I saw this guy underneath this tree over there with hands up,” Harris said.

Officers took Worley's rifle but returned it after they determined it was not stolen. Police said Worley was on private property, and when they stopped him they told him Big Al’s has a no-weapons policy unless the gun owner has a concealed weapons permit.

Worley refused to leave, according to police.

“If the public is afraid, that’s not my fault. I don’t control their point of view,” Worley said. “In fact, I welcome it. I welcome and encourage a debate on the subject. I am not responsible for their fear.”

Legal gun owners in Washington and Oregon can carry a rifle on their shoulder or a pistol in a visible holster without a special permit on public property. If you’re on private property, the owner makes the rules and can ask you to leave.

It is against the law to point the gun at someone or threaten someone in any way.

“People are concerned about weapons right now and people are afraid, and that’s understandable,” Worley said. “I’m trying to show people that it is not illegal and that it’s OK to carry a gun.”

Beaverton open carry case

In a separate incident Monday night, Beaverton police officers detained Ryan Davis along Scholls Ferry Road after they said he was holding a pump-action shotgun.

Beaverton police spokesman Jim Shumway said Davis was wearing full camouflage gear and carrying the gun in the “low ready position.” When police officers arrived at the scene, Davis put a round in the chamber, Shumway said.

As officers detained him, Davis said he was “practicing his second amendment rights.” He was eventually released.

In an email to KATU, Davis said “They placed me in hand cuffs and took my weapon and then took my ID without my consent and threatened to arrest me for disorderly conduct.”

“What are we supposed to do if we see a guy walking down the street with a gun?” Shumway said. “This is an officer-involved shooting waiting to happen.”

In a later email, Davis said after he had time to think the situation over, he concluded the police did the right thing.

"The members of the Beaverton Police Department approached the situation with care and consideration for both my safety as well as the safety of the public," he wrote. "I did not take into account, given recent events across the country, that this could cause public concern and require the Beaverton Police Department to investigate."

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