Sioux Falls, SD
Jesse Rierson is open about his thoughts on carrying a gun.
"The people that go and shoot up schools and malls, those are the ones ruining it for everybody. Not the ones who are exercising their rights and being peaceful," Jesse Rierson, Vice President for South Dakota Open Carry, said.
On Saturday, the group will hold an, "organized peaceful carry walk," in Sioux Falls. Members will walk along Minnesota Avenue, visibly carrying a variety of guns in plain site. South Dakota's Open Carry Law allows members to carry guns out in the open, as long as they are not using them in a threatening manner. In total, 45 states have varying open carry laws. Rierson has done walks like this before.
"I get a lot of thank you's, a lot of handshakes," Rierson said.
According to its Facebook Page, South Dakota Open Carry is a civil and constitutional rights organization supporting the right to openly carry a firearm in public. However, some people have become a little shaken up over these demonstrations.
In a YouTube video Rierson posted, group members are approached by police officers. People who drove by them, apparently called the police. Captain Greg Vandekamp with Sioux Falls Police said, though the group is not breaking any laws, the sight does create some confusion for others.
"I know that some feel, 'it's my right, and nobody should be shocked,' and unfortunately in the society we live in today, people that drive by and see that don't know if they truly are a responsible gun owner or if they're an irresponsible person looking to cause harm," Vandekamp said.
Rierson said it is no different than someone with a concealed weapons permit, who has a gun hidden on his/her person.
"It does frustrate me, but I can kind of understand and that's absolutely not our goal. We're not out there to generate a police response. We're not out there to scare people," Rierson said.
Vandekamp said despite being legal, police officers have to respond to these calls.
"It's a very delicate situation for us as law enforcement. Laws of the land and the concerns of the people," Vandekamp said.
Rierson says that's why he wants to carry this kind of message.
"If you don't do it, people are never going to get used to it. People are never going to learn their rights," Rierson said.