By Dean Weingarten
Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- A few months ago, Dr. Steinmetz decided to make a political statement by carrying a slung AR15 type rifle at the Phoenix Airport. Enforcers at the Airport decided that they would punish his statement.
Because of surveillance video, it became clear that Dr. Steinmetz had not broken any law. Instead, it was likely that the police had broken the law with false arrest.
This did not put Dr. Steinmetz in the clear. Prosecutors have extremely strong immunity. They can make your life miserable for months and years, and not face any consequences, especially if they have the backing of the old media. A Phoenix TV Anchor said that it would be justified to shoot rifle carriers. County Attorney Bill Montgomery was in a fairly tight spot. There were no real crimes that he could charge Dr. Steinmetz with, but the powers that be in Phoenix wanted some sort of punishment. It took months to work out a deal. Virtually no punishment for the Dr., but perhaps more importantly, no punishment for the Prosecutor, either, or the police, that they admit to. County Attourney Bill Montgomery is quoted in azcentral.com:
“I watched the videotape,” Montgomery told reporters during a scheduled biweekly news conference. “I watched people grab their children and walk the other way to get away from him, and if his powers of observation are that weak, he should probably lock his weapons up in a gun safe and hide the key and forget where it is.”
I talked to Dr. Steinmetz, and he says that the actions noted by County Attorney Bill Montgomery did not occur until after six police officers started to follow him:
“I think six police officers, walking down, like that, following me, draws a lot of attention. At this point they (visitors) started doing the things that Bill Montgomery describes.”
Shortly later, one of the officers, Dr. Steinmetz says, asked, rather sarcastically,
Do you mind if we hang with you, to protect your rights, and all?
Dr. Steinmetz then found a place to sit down, with plenty of room for the six officers. The officers remained standing and started discussing how they might arrest the Doctor. According to Dr. Steinmetz, one of them said:
“Go and check with those people over there, and see if they’re willing to be a victim.”
Less than a minute after that, Dr. Steinmetz was arrested. The complete statements of the “victims” have not been released to the public.
Dr. Steinmetz does not admit to any wrong doing, but will donate $500 to the Salado Sportsman’s Club. He also agreed not to openly carry in area airports for two years. He may still legally carry a concealed firearm. From courierpostonline.com:
Marc Victor, Steinmetz’s lawyer, said the county attorney’s decision validated his client’s actions and proved that he never broke the law.
“To charge him with a crime when he didn’t commit a crime would be outrageous,” Victor said. “And so it’s a fair and reasonable result because it doesn’t put any kind of requirements that are onerous on my client.”
Victor said airport surveillance video shows that Steinmetz was carrying his gun peacefully and legally.
Here is an article with a link to the video showing that Dr. Steinmetz did not point his rifle at anyone, as was first reported.
It is bad that someone who did no harm and violated no laws, can still be put under pressure by a prosecutor. In this case, the harm is relatively small. I give the good Doctor some credit. He made his point and came away without serious harm. He has a great deal to lose. I am not so impressed with the airport security, who seem intent on showing “who is in charge”. I would have liked to see some serious retraining required.
Dr. Steinmetz says that no civil suits are pending at this time.
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.