MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (WTXF) - Police in Abington say they have gotten to the bottom of reports of a man walking around with an AR-15 rifle slung behind his back.
Chief of Police Patrick Molloy released a statement to residents on Monday addressing the reports of a suspicious person walking in the area of North Hills, Ardsley, Glenside, and the Abington Shopping Center.
Chief Molloy says the man has been walking around with a rifle in an attempt to draw police officers ‘into a debate or an encounter over his 2nd Amendment rights to carry the weapon in public.’
Abington officers have been made aware of the tactic, which police have described as ‘passive-aggressive.’ Molloy says the man filmed an encounter with officers on at least one occasion.
The man’s tactic does not break any laws, but police say his actions have caused ‘unnecessary alarm’ to the public and diverted valuable police resources.
Molloy assured residents that the department’s primary concern was the safety and well-being of Abington residents, adding that the man’s actions ‘appear to serve no legitimate purpose.’
“Our Department will continue to balance our duty to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of this individual with our duty to provide public safety to all of our residents,” Molloy wrote.
Police have urged the public not to take any action against the man, or to even speak with him. If residents feel threatened, they are asked to call 911.