PHOENIX, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- An Arizona man arrested at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in July claimed he was making a political statement when he entered the airport armed with an AR-15 rifle.
Speaking outside his lawyer's office, Dr. Peter Steinmetz, a director at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, addressed the July 25 incident for the first time since being arrested, saying he did not point the weapon at anyone, as he was accused. Instead, he says he was simply making a political statement by carrying the gun.
"I am a peaceful political activist, and my purpose in walking around the airport with my AR-15 rifle was entirely political in nature," Steinmetz said.
"On one side of a line of the floor, in the shopping area, we are relatively free, and can safely keep and bear arms. On the other side of that line we have the [Transportation Security Administration], a large federal bureaucracy which completely disarms people and subjects them to gross invasions of privacy simply because those people want to travel somewhere."
"That's stupid," countered former police officer Steve Yoder to ABC 15 when he heard Steinmetz's comments.
"I'm pro-gun ... but you can take anything too far."
Steinmetz is on administrative leave from Barrow Neurological Institute.