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The gun control issue came to a head in Maryland after a man began regularly standing at a school bus stop with an AR-15 rifle in his hands.
For the past few weeks, J’Den McAdory, 20, has been walking around his neighborhood in Severn, Maryland with a long gun in what he says is a protest against the recent legislation of the State of gun control.
Police say his actions are legal.
McAdory has not yet responded to NPR’s request for comment, but he told WBAL-TV, which first reported on the controversy, “Guns can be safe if they are controlled by the right person.” He added, “I really wasn’t coming here for the kids. I was coming here to show people it was legal.”
McAdory’s protest has stoked fear among families and amplified concerns about open transportation, especially near children.
McAdory challenged Maryland’s 2023 gun safety law, which was signed into law on Tuesday. It states that a person is no longer permitted to carry a firearm in a school, health care facility, or place licensed to sell alcohol or cannabis such as a stadium, museum, or racetrack.
Gun rights activists have criticized the law. The National Rifle Association called the legislation “unconstitutional” and sued the state.
Governor Wes Moore’s office condemned McAdory’s behavior, adding that it will not change his views on gun control.
“Scaring our children and threatening our communities will not help make Maryland safe. The governor will not allow these tactics to prevent his administration from taking common sense action to protect our communities,” the office said. in a press release.
Local families were disturbed by McAdory displaying his rifle near the children. Not much can be legally done to stop McAdory despite Maryland having some of the strictest gun laws in the country.
“I feel like if we don’t do something now, we’ll talk about it again and it’ll be too late by then,” Jamie Sparrow, a parent of an elementary school student, told WBAL-TV. . “I think lives could be lost (or) people could be injured.”
Anne Arundel County Police said the department has received “numerous” calls about an armed member of the community, but the person in question is a legal firearm owner and licensed to openly carry a rifle.
“Officers are in the area to help ease growing concerns between students and parents,” the department said in a statement.
Similarly, the principal of the nearby elementary school told parents that the local police department and state attorney’s office had made it clear, “The man is not doing anything illegal while carrying a gun. shoulder. He is exercising his constitutional rights, as he is free to do. “
Isaphine Smith, principal of Severn Elementary School, added that McAdory agreed to stop visiting elementary school bus stops after the school’s communications office “kindly requested it.”
Smith also offered recommendations on how to “relieve fear and anxiety” if McAdory returns.
The advice included: ‘Warn your student that he should ask the man to leave him alone’ and ‘walk away from him if he approaches him’.