Man seen walking with AR-15 in Abington, police alerted

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Man wondering through Abington with AR15: John Rawlins reports on Action News at 5 p.m., May 1, 2018 (WPVI)

The Abington Township chief of police has sent a letter to residents concerning a man seen walking with an AR-15 rifle.

In his letter, Chief Patrick Molloy says the man has been seen in the area of North Hills, Ardsley, Glenside, and the Abington Shopping Center.

"While this individual's intentions are unknown, it appears that he is attempting to draw our police officers into a debate or an encounter over his 2nd amendment right to carry this weapon in public," Molloy said.

Molloy calls the man's tactics as "passive-aggressive."

The chief says while the man is not breaking any laws, his actions "have caused unnecessary alarm to the public, thus diverting valuable police resources from our core mission."

"As your Chief, I assure you that the Department's primary concern is for the safety and well-being of our residents, and this man's actions, while lawful, appear to serve no legitimate purpose. Our Department will continue to balance our duty to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of this individual with our duty to provide public safety to all of our residents," Molloy said.

The chief says he understands residents concern and frustration over this "very complex issue."

He urges residents to not take action or speak to the man.

The full letter is below:
Dear Abington Residents,

Today we received multiple reports of a suspicious person walking with an AR-15 (rifle) slung behind his back in the area of North Hills, Ardsley, Glenside and the Abington Shopping Center. While this individual's intentions are unknown, it appears that he is attempting to draw our police officers into a debate or an encounter over his 2nd amendment right to carry this weapon in public. All of our officers are well aware of this passive-aggressive tactic, as they have been videotaped during at least one encounter with him. While no laws have been broken, this individual's actions have caused unnecessary alarm to the public, thus diverting valuable police resources from our core mission.

As your Chief, I assure you that the Department's primary concern is for the safety and well-being of our residents, and this man's actions, while lawful, appear to serve no legitimate purpose. Our Department will continue to balance our duty to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of this individual with our duty to provide public safety to all of our residents.
I can understand your concern and frustration with this very complex issue and urge you to take no action or even speak to this individual. As always, if you feel your safety is threatened, please call 911 and an officer will be dispatched immediately.

On behalf of all the men and women of the Abington Township Police Department, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding, as we continue to investigate this matter.

Patrick Molloy
Chief of Police


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