Gun rights activist facing charges for rifle in restaurant
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A gun rights activist accused of illegally taking a rifle into an Oklahoma City restaurant is facing a felony charge.
Timothy A. Harper, 52, was arrested Tuesday after he violated a state law that bars possessing or carrying a rifle in any establishment where alcoholic beverages are consumed, authorities said.
Harper told another activist in an online interview on Monday that he took his rifle into Twin Peaks Nov. 2 in celebration of Oklahoma’s new ‘permitless carry’ gun law, which went into effect Nov. 1, The Oklahoman reported.
Police reported recovering surveillance video from the restaurant that shows Harper, of Choctaw, walking in “with an AR-style rifle slung to the front of his body.” Police noted that he was asked to leave the restaurant, but he initially refused.
“Timothy responded that he was not going anywhere,” a police lieutenant, Aron Sharp, wrote in an affidavit.
The affidavit indicates prosecutors have agreed to charge Harper. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison and a $1,000 fine. He’s being held at the county jail. No bail has been set.
Harper often livestreams himself openly carrying a rifle or AR-15 pistol in public places and being confronted by police. He has said his goal is to educate the police on gun laws and make the public more comfortable with seeing legally armed citizens. His critics contend he just wants the attention and makes money by posting his videos on YouTube.
Earlier this year, he drew widespread criticism for openly carrying an AR-15 pistol in Edmond’s Hafer Park as children played nearby.
On Nov. 6, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association sharply denounced Harper for his “continued antics” after a run-in with authorities outside the Israel United in Christ Church in Oklahoma City. The gun rights group said he has been permanently banned as a member.
In an October interview, Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley complained about “people that like to create drama and want to create a situation that they can put on YouTube.” He did not mention Harper by name.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com