CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVR) — In the wake of the attacks the country has dealt with over the past year many people are thinking of taking their safety into their own hands.
In fact, 19-year-old John Schultz has been spending his days patrolling his Charlotte, North Carolina neighborhood with a WWII rifle strapped to his back.
Schultz said his grandfather used the gun in the war and that he is ready to keep his neighborhood safe.
However, the 19-year-old patrolling the subdivision does not sit well with everyone.
Neighbor Vanessa Aidara said the rifle frightens she and her children. She also said the it is a bad image for Walnut Creek.
“He could be good without the rifle,” Aidara said. “I think the rifle is what scares everybody because why do you need a rifle to pick up trash. Get a trash bag. “
On the other hand, Schultz said many other folks in the neighborhood thank him for his service.
“I won’t brandish a firearm or anything, I won’t chase somebody around,” he promised. “I will ask them to stop.”
So far he says he has spotted peeping toms and potential burglars, who he said ran off after seeing him. But for the most part, he’s just been picking up litter.
Police said Schultz is not breaking any laws since he’s not pointing the gun at anyone or threatening anyone with it.
I’ll let you reach your own conclusions about this specific instance. What interests me is that North Carolina is an open carry state, and as I’ve made clear before, I openly carry at certain times. I don’t do it to make a point. If I am openly carryng it is usually because I am doing something where I don’t want the weapon to interfere with my movements, get in the way or get lathered up with sweat (such as IWB carry while walking my dog in the middle of the summer). And as I’ve note before, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police wave and smile as they drive by when they observe me openly carrying a weapon. No problems, no stops, and no women or children running or screaming in fear. In fact, this has led to more amicable discussions with neighbors than I can count.
It isn’t always this way. Sean Sorrentino notes an instance where the 4th Circuit had to reprimand the Charlotte Police for using openly carrying a weapon as a reason to stop an individual, even someone who later turned out to have been guilty of a crime. Even worse, I know individuals who live around the Lake Norman / Huntersville area (North of Charlotte) who openly carry, and one particular individual has been stopped by both local and state police. Both times the law enforcement officer unholstered his weapon and pointed at my friend for doing nothing more than walking on the sidewalk.
Note to law enforcement in North Carolina. The answer above by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (“not breaking any laws …”) is the right one. You cannot lawfully detain or arrest someone for openly carrying a weapon. It is legal in North Carolina, as North Carolina is a traditional open carry state. LEOs need to know and understand the law. If you continue to unholster and point your weapons at someone who is behaving legally, an innocent person will eventually be harmed or killed and you will be responsible for it. Don’t be ignorant. Be thinking men and women.