Obviously, a Rifle in J.C. Penney or any other publicly-used place alarms many people. That’s just what happened on Wednesday when a Utah man openly-carried an AR-15 assault rifle and handgun into the store. However, this story has a good ending: his intentions were not to carry out a mass shooting. Instead, Joseph Kelley was protesting Obama’s gun-control measures, while demonstrating that weapons can be safe by law-abiding citizens.
On Jan. 18, KSL followed up on the story that had many shoppers and readers up in arms, no pun intended, regarding the rifle in J.C. Penney.
Kelley, 22, was snapped by a woman at the Riverdale location going about his business as any other shopper in the popular retailer. The only difference was he was carrying a military-style assault weapon — unloaded by his admission — rounds of ammunition and a Glock 19C semi-automatic handgun.
Cindy Yorgason, instead of putting distance between her and the gun-toting shopper, used her smartphone to take several photos of the man with the assault rifle in J.C. Penney.
“I felt no negative vibes from anyone. I think it went rather surprisingly well,” Kelley admitted.
Ironically, given the recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which is still fresh on the minds of many people, shoppers at the Utah store merely looked on with awe.
On why he brought the weapons into the story, Kelley said that he wanted to show just how safe guns can be in the hands of law-abiding citizens.
Additionally, he said the guns were meant to protect children and others from “criminals, cartels, drug lords” and other “evil men.” The overnight celebrity, thanks to Facebook, has a license to carry the weapons.
Kelley joins company with two other brazen gun-carrying citizens, who are strong advocates of the Second Amendment, which gives Americans the right to bear arms.
The two Oregon men caused a stir like Kelley did when he brought the rifle inside J.C. Penney. However, instead of entering a store, the two men paraded up and down the streets to openly exercise their constitutional rights.
On the Utah incident, the comments were somewhat mixed, but edged on the side of outrage from the public.
While the founding fathers crafted laws that allow citizens the right to bear arms, and some states allow concealed-carry permits, the public is arguably not comfortable with going back to the Wild days of the West.
Was bringing a rifle in J.C. Penney a wise thing to do, or have gun rights advocates gone too far to send messages against stricter laws?