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Final Word: It may be legal to carry an AR-15, but it's not a good idea

Dr. Peter Nathan Steinmetz. (Tempe PD Photo)

Have we lost all sense of what is "reasonable?"

By we, I mean, not all of us, but apparently SOME of us who think it's OK to take a semi-automatic rifle into the airport.

In case you missed it, last Friday, a man was seen walking though Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor carrying an AR-15. He had it slung over his shoulder at the Starbucks which didn't (oddly) raise concern, but after buying some coffee and heading for the waiting area, he took the gun off his shoulder. As he did so, the muzzle of the gun pointed at two women, a mother and a daughter.

They felt threatened. Can you blame them?

The man was booked into jail. He is being charged with two felony counts of disorderly conduct with a weapon.

Police admitted it's not illegal to carry an AR-15 into the airport terminal, but they say they arrested the man for, "the way he was carrying it."

Before you decide that's overzealous on the part of law enforcement, consider this: The accused is Dr. Peter Steinmetz, a brain scientist at Barrow Neurological, one of the world's foremost neurological hospitals. He is well-regarded in his profession and runs the Brain Modeling Laboratory at Barrow and has done so for six years.

This guy definitely should know better. Not convinced police acted appropriately? Steinmetz has done this before.

Back in November, Steinmetz ALSO carried an AR-15 into the terminal to pick up his wife at the airport. His son, who was with him, was also armed. No charges were filed then, even though you could understand if police were alarmed. It was two days after the fatal shooting at LAX.

Do you think the doctor doesn't understand the gravity of his actions? Of course he does. He is likely one of the most scientifically intelligent men in town, yet he scores low in human behavior, compassion and common sense.

He is trying to prove a point, but he is doing it poorly. Yes, it's legal to carry your AR-15. But no, it's not a good idea.

Why don't you just wear a shirt that says, "My other guns are AR-15s?" That way you don't scare women and children. Or anyone, for that matter.

Carrying such a weapon in public when you don't need it for protection simply contradicts every responsible gun owner's legitimate reason for carrying a weapon.

I hope Phoenix police pursues these charges. The Founding Fathers would have thrown the book at Steinmetz too.

Take responsibility for your guns and your actions. Use your gun when you NEED to. Put it away when you don't.

It's called being reasonable.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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