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Armed Civilians Ordered To Leave Recruiting Center After One Accidentally Fires A Shot

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Local law enforcement in Ohio have ordered armed civilians to leave their posts in front of a military center following an incident, in which an armed civilian’s AR-15 rifle accidentally discharged Thursday.

Fortunately, no injuries resulted from the discharge, which simply hit the pavement, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Private citizens have stood guard in front of the recruiting center by River Valley Mall in Lancaster since Monday. Christopher Reed, a 28-year-old, whose AR-15 accidentally went off, was quickly charged by a Lancaster police officer after a bystander at the recruiting office caught the attention of authorities and reported the incident. Reed received a misdemeanor and a court summons to Fairfield County Municipal Court next Tuesday. Police seized the rifle.

“For the safety of tenants, customers and construction personnel working in the immediate vicinity of the Military Recruiting Center, it would be best to request the removal of the armed individuals,” U.S. Properties Group Portfolio Four LLC, the owner of the shopping center, said in a statement. Police then told other civilians that they had to clear the area.

What apparently happened is that a bystander had asked Reed to have a look at his AR-15. As Reed started removing ammunition from the weapon to make it safe for handling, he accidentally fired a shot, leaving a hole in the pavement.

This isn’t the first time Reed has been convicted of a discharge within city limits. In 2013, Reed received a $50 fine for exactly the same misdemeanor.

Following the Chattanooga shooting and subsequent calls to arm military personnel, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno immediately warned that accidental firearm discharge presents a serious risk to servicemember safety. Although new nominees for top service posts have shown a willingness to consider the proposal, some like Lt. Gen. Robert Neller, consider arming personnel an extreme measure. (RELATED: The Russians Don’t Want To See Us Dead, Terrorists Do, Marine Corps Commandant Nominee Says)

On Wednesday, Ohio Governor John Kaisch authorized personnel at National Guard recruiting centers to carry firearms.

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