PORTLAND, Ore. - Two men carrying assault rifles on their backs caused a bit of a stir in Southeast Portland on Wednesday.
Calls started coming in just before 2 p.m. about two men spotted with rifles in the area of Southeast 7th Avenue and Spokane Street. And the staff at the Creative Minds Learning Center ordered children to stay away from windows and doors and told their parents they were in lockdown.
When officers arrived, they found two 22-year-old men who were, indeed, carrying rifles openly on their backs. The men did have valid licenses to carry - they are Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders in Oregon - and told police they were exercising their 2nd Amendment rights (the right to bear arms) in an attempt to educate the public.
The open carrying of firearms is legal in Oregon and carrying a concealed firearm is legal with a valid CHL, but officers told the two men they were making people nervous and causing alarm. The men, however, would not back down from their stance.
The two were not arrested but the Portland Police Bureau would like to remind folks that while what the men were doing was legal, actions like that do tend to generate 9-1-1 calls and a police response.
According to police, the men - Warren Drouin and Steven Boyce - have done this type of thing before. Drouin has a YouTube channel chronicling his encounters with police while carrying weapons.
Many neighbors KATU News spoke found the incident inappropriate.
"That's not the purpose of the Second Amendment – to frighten citizens, to frighten women and children," said Susan Anglada Bartley, a mother of a 9-month-old girl. "And I don't think there's anyone who can argue, especially after the tragedy where so many children were killed – nobody can argue that it's not scary to have people marauding around Sellwood with guns."