By Dean Weingarten
Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- Unnamed witness: “at no time was anyone swept.” (rifle pointed at them)
Dr. Peter N. Steinmetz is director of the Brain Modeling Laboratory at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. He is a second amendment advocate who comments on firearms issues on his facebook page. From his page, commenting on the Navy Yard Shootings in Washington D.C., where the carry of arms by anyone other than government agents is forbidden:
Sadly, looks like this may be another case of a mass shooting in an area where all the victims are legally disarmed.
He is a passionate supporter of freedom in the United States, who opposes the excesses of the TSA. He protested TSA excesses by legally carrying a slung rifle in the non-secure part of the Phoenix airport in November of 2013. From azcentral.com, concerning the November protest:
“I was going to tell you earlier, but I will now,” Steinmetz is quoted as saying in the November report. “Well, I am really here to protest the TSA and their policy of strip-searching Americans and all their stuff.”
From a post on google+ on November1, two days before the protest, Dr. Steinmetz writes:
They have never demonstrated they have foiled even one plot, and of course, one's chances of being killed in a terrorist attack are minuscule to start with compared to routine daily risks. For the sake of this security theatre, we tolerate a continual invasion of our privacy. Time to get rid of the expensive and wasteful TSA!
On July 25, 2014, Dr. Steinmetz exercised his rights again. He carried a slung rifle into the unsecured area of Sky Harbor Airport. But this time, he was arrested, booked, and taken before a judge. It was reported that he was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct involving a firearm. It was claimed that he had inadvertently and briefly pointed the muzzle of his rifle at two women, who were later said to tell police that they were frightened.
According to a probable cause statement, Steinmetz “proceeded to remove the Stag Arm AR-15 from his right shoulder, thus causing the muzzle to face two victims sitting to the right.
The national and international media picked up the charges and blared them everywhere with headlines such as:
- PD: Phoenix doctor points AR-15 rifle at woman, teen at airport
- Doctor points AR-15 rifle at woman and teen in airport
The facts claimed simply do not support the charges.
Dr. Steinmetz obtained the services of Marc Victor, a prominent local attorney. The choice of his website name is telling: attorneyforfreecom.com. An email from Alan Korwin, gun law guru, quoted Dr. Steinmetz as saying that the hearings had been vacated and that no charges had been filed.
Here is a YouTube video of an interview with Marc Victor about the case. Note that the anchor at 12news, Mark Curtis, takes sides in the issue. He goes so far as to claim that it would be reasonable for Arizonans to “blow away” anyone who would come into a Starbucks with a rifle slung on their shoulder.
In the video, you can see Doctor Steinmetz unsling the rifle. This is where the police claim that the infamous “muzzle sweep” occurred. Notice that the Doctor has a cup in his left hand, which would be consistent with the claim that he pointed the gun when he unslung the rifle after buying coffee at the airport Starbucks, then moving to a place to sit down.
The women seated to the right of the Doctor appear to be the women mentioned in the case. That action is shown in the first seven seconds of the video, then repeated several times throughout the interview. It is noteworthy that in this interview, the Anchor, Mark Curtis, never repeats the previous claim that Dr. Steinmetz “pointed the rifle at two women”.
An unnamed source has come forward and stated that Doctor Steinmetz exhibited good muzzle discipline, and that the rifle was never pointed at anyone. Here is the statement, which is consistent with the video shown:
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.
At the link below the view is clearer, and you can see Dr. Steinmetz unsling the rifle and sit down. About five seconds later, a security person comes up and talks to the woman on his right. About 30 seconds later, Dr. Steinmetz is arrested.
Article with video showing unslinging and arrest.(2:25)
I have always said that there was likely to be video of the event. It was an open question why the authorities would release video of the arrest, but not of the event. Now it appears that it was airport security that contacted the women to bolster their charges, rather than the women contacting airport security to complain.
A small number of police and a large number of media personalities do not approve of second amendment rights and the ability of Americans to exercise them without permission. There are numerous instances where people openly carrying firearms have been arrested on false charges across the nation. Several arrests have been made, only to have charges dropped, and often, settlements paid to those arrested.
Dr. Steinmetz was involved in strong, political speech with his protest, protected by both the first and second amendments. The fact that he was arrested, charged, was suspended from his job, his name smeared across the nation and internationally, with what appear to be false accusations, seems calculated to engender a chilling effect on the exercise of first and second amendment rights.
c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.