New Orleans police on Saturday arrested a man for bringing a rifle and a handgun too close to the route of the gay-oriented Pride Parade in the French Quarter.
Cody Jackson, 25, faces a count of illegally bringing a firearm within 1,000 feet of a parade route following his arrest at Royal and Barracks streets about 7 p.m., New Orleans Police Department spokesman Andy Cunningham said.
“No shots were fired in this incident, no injuries were reported and no threats of shooting were made,” Cunningham said. “I think it’s a testament to our officers’ vigilance that we identified him and took him into custody.”
In Louisiana, it is generally legal to openly carry guns. People who are properly licensed can also carry guns that are concealed.
But a law meant to promote public safety prohibits people from bringing such weapons near parade routes. Arrests of people accused of breaking that law in New Orleans are not unusual during the Mardi Gras season. Violators can face fines or jail time.
The arrest came not long after a similar incident where a man, believed to be Jackson, attempted to take them with him as he participated in the annual World Naked Bike Ride, according to a report from Nola.com. An organizer said they asked the man about the guns, and deemed they were not a threat, eventually agreeing to stow the vehicles in a car during the ride. The man was described as cooperative, according to the report.
Jackson's arrest was captured in photos circulated online, fueling speculation on social media that his goal was to harm LGBT people or others viewing the Pride Parade. Yet police said Jackson is known to them as an open carrier of firearms and there was no evidence he meant to harm anyone Saturday.
This was Jackson's second encounter with area police in less than a month.
On May 18, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office reported, Jackson went into a convenience store in Marrero carrying a rifle and a holstered pistol. A deputy stopped him, and he said he was exercising his constitutional right to openly carry firearms, according to the Sheriff's Office. He was ultimately allowed to go on his way.