Steve Lohner is 18 years old, lives in a city that was rocked by a 2012 mass shooting and thinks local residents need to get over their fear of guns.
Lohner, who lives in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed and 58 wounded in a movie theater massacre two years ago, talked to Denver television station KDVR on Friday about some of his recent experiences parading around town carrying a shotgun slung around his back as a type of one-man Second Amendment protest.
He said he’s been stopped at least a dozen times by the police, but he has no plans to quit. He recorded video of one of his recent encounters, which he said took place on July 27, in which police stopped him after getting calls from concerned citizens. He posted the video to YouTube (right).
“I feel like a lot of people now they see a weapon like that and they think, you know, James Holmes or Sandy Hook,” Lohner told the Fox affiliate. “If enough people were to lawfully open carry in those areas and do it in a safe and lawful manner then these people would end up feeling comfortable around it.”
Officers asked Lohner for his ID, which he refused to provide, saying he was 18-years-old and within his legal rights to carry a shotgun.
Lohner told the TV station he carries the gun for one reason: “I simply carry this for the protection of myself and those around me.”
The teen told KDVR he was trying to raise awareness about open carry laws. He said the movie theater massacre probably made police more cautious.
“He may be within his rights and legal, within the law to carry this gun but if we’re investigating it and he refuses to cooperate that may violate other municipal law,” Aurora police spokesperson, Frank Fania, told KDVR.
After debating with police for almost seven minutes, Lohner was cited for obstruction and now faces a misdemeanor charge for refusing to provide identification to the police, according to KDVR.
Watch Lohner’s interview below: