A man "exercising his Second Amendment rights" walking with a shotgun and an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle caused a brief lockdown at Kennedy School Friday.
Sheriff Ed Lester said the man was dropped off by a relative near an area west of Montana Tech and near Big Butte frequently used by recreational shooters, and somebody saw him relatively close to the school and called police.
Lester said he understood why someone would call. "He was wearing a camouflage sweatshirt and carrying a shotgun and a rifle," he said. "I can see why someone would be alarmed. We have talked with him frequently — probably 50 times."
Lester declined to identify the man, saying, "He's not breaking any laws.
"A lot of states have laws prohibiting weapons within 1,000 feet of a school, but in Montana we've chosen to exempt our citizens from that requirement," Lester said. "We've asked him not to walk near the school, but it's his right."
Kennedy Elementary School is at 1000 N. Emmet St.
One parent called Saturday to say West Elementary also briefly locked down as a precautionary measure Friday.
Lester added that the man "is proud of his Second Amendment rights and shows it." He said that he has offered to give the man a gun case so that the AR-15 wouldn't concern as many people when he carries it, but that the man declined.
"We'll continue to talk with him when we get calls, but he's never given us any reason to take any action," Lester said.
Lester said, "It wasn't that much of a lockdown, really — they just took the kids inside for awhile." He said police talked with Kennedy principal Ron Ricketts and explained the situation Friday.
"That's it, really," Lester said. "He's within his rights. We just asked him again not to walk near the school if he can help it."