Two men seen walking down a Portland street armed with assault rifles told police they were exercising their Second Amendment rights and hoping to educate the public on gun rights.
Several calls were made to 911 on Wednesday afternoon, with alarmed residents reporting two men with guns strapped to their backs walking through the area of Southeast Seventh Avenue and Spokane Street in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood.
When police arrived on the scene, they found two 22-year-old men carrying rifles openly on their backs. The two were also holding valid concealed handgun licenses in Oregon, according to Fox affiliate KPTV.
The men reportedly told officers that they were seeking to educate onlookers about their Second Amendment rights.
"Exercising my rights with a rifle to try to decrease the demonizing of peacefully exercising your rights in public," one of the men, who declined to release his full name, told the station.
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Portland authorities later identified the men as Warren Drouin and Steven Boyce. Officers said carrying firearms openly is legal in Oregon and carrying a concealed gun is legal with a valid license, according to the station. But doing one or both may generate 911 calls and possibly tie up resources that are needed for a real emergency.
One of the men told the station that he hoped people would approach him and talk to him, instead of calling police.
"What they really should do is observe the person to determine if the person is aggressive," he said of seeing someone with a gun in public. "We're not doing anything threatening to anyone."
The Portland Police Bureau, however, asks anyone who sees someone armed with guns to immediately call 911.