Aurora teen walks on busy streets with shotgun, videotapes encounter with police

AURORA, Colo. — A teenager carrying a loaded shotgun on a busy street in Aurora was stopped by police. But he says he should not have been stopped and he videotaped his encounter with officers. Police have a different opinion.

The 18-year-old posted his cell phone video online. He spoke exclusively with reporter Dave Young Friday.

Young also spoke with police as the two sides debated open carry gun laws and public safety.

Steve Lohner claims he was well within Colorado law while he walked in the area of South Buckley Road and East Iliff Avenue while carrying a shotgun.

Police who were called to the scene say they weren’t able to determine if he was doing it legally. Lohner refused to show them an ID to prove he’s 18.

“I simply carry this for the protection of myself and those around me,” Lohner says.

His shotgun is a Stoeger P-350 12 gauge.

“I’ve been stopped close to a dozen times for this and this is actually the first time I’ve been forced to provide ID,” he says.

The teen says he’s on a campaign to call attention to open carry laws. “I feel like a lot of people now they see a weapon like that and they think, you know, James Holmes or Sandy Hook,”

Lohner says that’s why he started walking along major streets with his gun.

“It’s alarming to the citizens — alarming enough to where they call,” says Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania.

Colorado law backs up Aurora police when asking to see an ID while investigating a possible crime.

“He may be within his rights and legal, within the law to carry this gun but if we’re investigating it and he refuses to cooperate that may violate other municipal laws,” Fania says.

In fact, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that police who are investigating a suspected crime can require an ID from people reasonably believed to have information or  were involved with that crime.

In this case police couldn’t even determine if Lohner, who they determined looks younger than 18, was old enough to legally possess the weapon.

Lohner says, “The police treat open carry like you’re a criminal until proven innocent.”

But police say it raises questions of public safety and takes officers off of other calls. “It ties up our resources whether you’re right or wrong,” Fania says.

Lohner, who just turned 18, plans to continue his protest walks. “If enough people were to lawfully open carry in those areas and do it in a safe and lawful manner then these people would end up feeling comfortable around it.”

The teen admits that the Aurora theater shooting makes police in the city cautious.

Police say they have to respond to 911 calls when people call about what Lohner is doing. They reiterate they may be getting pulled away from other real, life-threatening situations.

Lohner faces a misdemeanor obstruction charge for refusing to show his identification.

We spoke to Lohner’s mother and she told us she is concerned about his safety.

 

 

 

 

 

13 comments

  • Gi Joe

    Fox is stupid even in Colorado. “In fact, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that police who are investigating a suspected crime can require an ID from people reasonably believed to have information or were involved with that crime.” I don’t think appearing to look younger than your actual age is a crime. Waste of time. #StupidPOPO

  • 5oh

    If anyone gets the idea to try this in Denver…don’t. There is no ‘open carry’ in the City & County of Denver. Each city is allowed to determine where open carry is permitted. Denver says no where.

    • Colorado Gun Owners (@_COGO)

      This is only partially true. Denver challenged the state on open carry and the vote was split 3-3. So Denver currently has a legal ban on open carry everywhere in the city and county including Denver owned property.

      However, other cities CAN NOT enforce a blanket ban on open carry. Cities can regulate open carry in specific areas and the areas must be marked with signs at EVERY entrance to the area where open carry is prohibited.

      • Aaron

        So what’s not true about what I posted? Your words “Denver currently has a legal ban on open carry everywhere in the city and county including Denver owned property.” My words, “There is no ‘open carry’ in the City & County of Denver” Same same.

        Your words, ” Cities can regulate open carry in specific areas”. My words, “Each city is allowed to determine where open carry is permitted.” Same same.

        No partial truths by either of us. I don’t think we’re arguing.

  • Anonymous

    If he was brown, he wouldn’t be doing an interview talking about being stopped 12 times for carrying shotgun openly. He would be dead. That’s the honest truth about policing in this country.

    • DanH

      You mean like the black guy who was open carrying an AR-15 during President Obama’s tour in CO?
      Oh yeah, nothing happened and it wasn’t an issue for anyone.

  • Shadeed Ameer

    The insurance companies that cover law enforcement are very strict about this issue. You have grounds to sue without them being covered for treating a right as a crime.

Comments are closed.


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