Man carrying AR-15 arrested at gun rights rally near Capitol - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Man carrying AR-15 arrested at gun rights rally near Capitol

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A peaceful gun protest at Legislative Plaza was disrupted Friday because someone showed up holding a type of weapon the protesters were trying to protect.

Organizers often request that people who show up to rallies leave their weapons at home, but one man didn't get that message and now faces a misdemeanor.

Troopers arrested Reggie Robertson of Byrdstown for carrying an AR-15 as about 100 people gathered to express their concern about the proposals in Washington to limit semiautomatic assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

"I just feel as an American citizen if I have the right to life, I have the right to defend my life with the best tools available to me," said protestor James Anderson.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Robertson brought along an AR-15 and also had a magazine clipped onto the rifle and two others on his belt.

While permit holders are allowed to carry handguns on the Plaza, the THP said it's unlawful to carry a loaded rifle in public places.

The man was cited for unlawful carrying and possession of a weapon, which is a misdemeanor.

Folks at the rally watched what happened.

"The state troopers are doing their job, and while it's legal to carry a gun around, it does upset some people so it's best to keep it hid, I think," said protestor Jeff Quinn.

The rally continued through the incident, and some like protestor Ellie Lentz who are relatively new to gun ownership said they feel it's important they are able to protect themselves.

"I realized kind of one night when I thought there was someone in my house - and thankfully there wasn't - but that was the night I realized the scissors by my bed would do no good," Lentz said.

Robertson was issued a citation and must appear for booking on March 4. He was a valid handgun permit holder, and this is his first offense.

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