Phoenix Man Explains Why He Brought Gun To Airport: ‘I Was Making This Political Statement’
When his AR-15 was pointed toward a woman and her teenage daughter at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in July, it didn’t go over too well. But medical researcher Peter Nathan Steinmetz says he never pointed his gun at anyone and was just making a political statement.
Steinmetz removed the rifle from his shoulder, causing the muzzle to face a mother and her 17-year-old daughter, authorities said. They told police they feared for their lives.
“I am a peaceful political activist and my purpose in walking around the airport with my AR-15 rifle was entirely political in nature,” Steinmetz said at a news conference with his attorney. “I am also an educated and responsible gun owner. … As I was making this political statement, I was careful not to disturb or endanger anyone.
“At all times, I was extremely careful to ensure my firearm was never pointed at anyone. … The safety was engaged at all times,” Steinmetz said.
Phoenix police said guns aren’t restricted in that area of the airport. But “it certainly was concerning to other passengers at the airport, not knowing why this individual was walking around with an assault rifle slung over his arm,” Sgt. Steve Martos said.
Martos also said it wasn’t the first time Steinmetz has brought a weapon to Sky Harbor. Officers questioned him Nov. 13 when he picked up his wife from the airport armed with an assault rifle. Steinmetz told police he was exercising his right to bear arms and he wasn’t arrested in that incident, Martos said.
I’d love to tell Steinmetz his behavior is questionable, his actions are frightening to people, and his need to make a “political statement in this way is insane. And if I do it at the top of my lungs, I’ll claim I’m just exercising my First Amendment rights as a “political statement.”