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Unidentified activist says he is out to prove point about guns

by: COURTESY PHOTOS - The MarkedGuardian is a YouTuber who carries around a semi-automatic rifle and a pistol to record the reactions of law enforcement officers and citizens. In these photos, he was in a Safeway in Cottage Grove; in the video he said no one mentioned the presence of his rifle to him. A man with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle strapped to his back and a pistol in a side holster strolled through Pacific University’s campus July 18. A self-proclaimed activist from Medford, he said he travels across Oregon making videos to bring attention to Oregon’s “open carry” law.

In his videos, he refuses to identify himself, but he introduced himself to several officers as “Warren.” He normally goes by his YouTube channel name, “MarkedGuardian.”

Warren explains that his public displays of firearms are an attempt to normalize the sight of firearms in public, so people realize there are citizens who love their Second Amendment rights and are peaceful. He hands out Oregon Firearms Federation flyers on his armed walks.

“Just out here exercising my rights, determining if my rights are respected here, that’s all,” he explained in his video from Forest Grove.

The MarkedGuardian has 216 videos, the majority of which are confrontations with law enforcement in which he affirms — and argues — about his rights to carry the weapons.

“In Forest Grove, we haven’t had an individual do this before,” said Capt. Mike Herb, public information officer for the Forest Grove Police Department. “These guys are here to try and get a reaction and pester the police. It uses up resources. I wouldn’t advise it.”

In the videos, the man walks on busy streets in a variety of cities and towns with his rifle, counting on citizens to report him to the police. Once the police respond to the calls, the MarkedGuardian records their interaction, and essentially tests the officers on their knowledge of open carry, seizure and detainment laws.

After he walked through the campus, the YouTuber was approached by police officers at the corner of Pacific Avenue and College Way, next to Pacific’s parking lot across from Theater in the Grove.

“Open carry is legal; just want to make sure you aren’t doing anything reckless,” said Forest Grove Police Department Sgt. Dean Foster in the YouTube video.

MarkedGuardian also made a video in Hillsboro, and posted it to YouTube on Aug. 3. The video features a similarly civil interaction with police officers who responded to the scene.

“Just got a call about you, and personally I have no issue with you walking with the guns, you know, open carry and all that,” said Hillsboro Police Department officer Mike Thompson. “But I’ve never met you.”

With hundreds of deaths at the hands of gunmen in the United States over the last decade, many police officers seen in the videos inform the MarkedGuardian that while he isn’t breaking any law, the presence of a large weapon in public makes people uneasy.

“It’s a concern. It causes alarm,” said Herb. “We would want people to call us like they did.”

The Forest Grove Police Department posted on Facebook that “the professionalism and restraint shown by our officers in the video he posted on YouTube is consistent with our core values and training here.”

In the Forest Grove police log for July 18, an entry states: “Officers chatted with the man casually and he went on his way. Other police agencies have been called out regarding this same subject.”

The MarkedGuardian describes himself on his YouTube site as a “classic liberal that believes in the rights of the individual.”

He also writes that he hates all form of corrupt government and gives dictators, socialists and communists as examples. He ends his “about” section with words that some might regard as threatening.

“When we have our rights, be peaceful. When they take our rights, then there is no reason to be peaceful,” he explained.

While officers in Medford seized his weapons, he was not violent with them in the video.

“Hopefully, I’m not the only activist,” the gunslinger said in the Hillsboro video.

“I doubt that’s the case,” said Thompson.

Herb added that while it might be upsetting to some people, there is not much the police can do about someone openly carrying a firearm.

“I want folks to know that whether people like it or not, he was not breaking the law, and our officers treated him as such,” said Herb.

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