Why On Earth Did This Man Take His Assault Rifle To JC Penney? (VIDEO)

Man with assault rifle slung over his back, paying for his purchases at a JC Penney in Riverdale, UT.

Is that an Armalite Rifle, or are you just glad to see me? Joseph Kelley pays for his purchases at a JC Penney counter in Riverdale, UT. Photo taken by fellow shopper Cindy Yorgason

HOLY COW! Cindy Yorgason was shopping at a JC Penney in Riverdale, Utah last Wednesday, when she saw this big, buff dude with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder, took a couple of (snap) shots, and posted them on her Facebook page. Yorgason told ABC 4 News that the man also had a handgun in a holster and extra clips on his belt and that customers were pointing and making faces. The Salt Lake City Tribune also reports that one of the cashiers refused to serve him. Yorgason was bolder:

“It was just something you don’t see every day, and I wanted to catch it and be able to share it with other people,” added Yorgason.

The photo quickly went viral, generating over 100 comments. Even though Utah’s a gun-friendly state — it’s legal to openly carry a gun in Utah, though it can’t be loaded and must take at least two actions to fire — ABC 4 News reports that most of the reactions were negative. Apparently, even gun enthusiasts think it’s inappropriate to bring an assault weapon to the mall.

“Wow. This does seem a bit excessive. I grew up around guns and have no problem with people owning them for hunting but what is the point of this?”

“Not necessary in my opinion but I do find it AMAZING that the gun just didn’t go off and create a massacre.”

“given the mass shootings in just the past 6 months, I can say this guy is arrogant and ignorant all in one.” (sic)

Some commenters defended the man:

“The government certainly carries assault rifles at the airports¬†and major train stations, protest rallies, Kent State etc … ?” “this man is obviously making a point. There’s no law against what he is doing. I would have simply approached him and thanked him for standing up for all our second amendment rights.” (sic)

Of course, it turned out to be no coincidence that the incident occurred just a few hours after President Barack Obama signed 23 Executive Orders to reduce gun violence. The next day, 22-year-old Joseph Kelley identified himself as the man in Yorgason’s photos. According to The Salt Lake City Tribune:

“Kelley described himself as a firm believer in Second Amendment rights and said he decided to bring the guns to the store to demonstrate that they are not dangerous in the hands of law-abiding citizens.”

Whew! Now that I know he’s a law abiding Second Amendment psycho instead of just some ordinary run-of-the-mill psycho, I feel perfectly safe! Kelley also told reporters that the rifle was an unloaded AR-15, and the handgun was a loaded Glock 19C; that he has a concealed-carry permit, and that he had informed police of his plans. Oh, and — SURPRISE! — he’s a “former member” of the military. Kelley insists that he was “well within his rights” and that he “felt no negative vibes from anyone.” He then rather creepily added that he carries guns so he can protect children and other people from “criminals, cartels, drug lords” and other “evil men.”

Photograph of two putties with eyes of Steve King (R-IA))

But can Kelley protect the world from Iowa Representative Steve King’s monstrous, glassy-eyed man puppies?¬† Image from The Colbert Report.

Yorgason responded:

“I thought that he was pretty much an idiot. You do not need to do something like this even if you are against any potential bans.”

Here’s a video from ABC News 4 in Utah:

Elisabeth Parker Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, “like” her on facebook, or follow her on Twitter. For more articles by Elisabeth, click here.