Barrow Neurological Institute Puts Peter Steinmetz, AR-15-Toting Doctor, On Leave

Categories: Guns

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Peter Steinmetz
The Barrow Neurological Institute has put its gun-toting brain scientist, Peter Steinmetz, on leave from his job.

Steinmetz made national headlines after he was arrested on Friday for mishandling a fully loaded AR-15 he'd brought with him to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Apparently, the gun-rights advocate was just trying to make a point about the legality of bringing a gun to the airport. But the incident has led to problems with his job as director of the Barrow's Neuroengineering/Human Neurophysiology Laboratory.

See also:
-Barrow Neurological Institute Purges Website of AR-15-Toting Doctor, Peter Steinmetz
-Peter Nathan Steinmetz, Barrow Brain Scientist, Arrested at Airport With AR-15

As New Times reported on Tuesday, Barrow wiped Steinmetz from its website. On Wednesday, the esteemed institute revealed further action in a new statement:

"Following his arrest at Sky Harbor Airport and after careful analysis and review, Dr. Peter Steinmetz has been placed on administrative leave as a part-time scientist at St. Joseph's Barrow Neurological Institute. St. Joseph's and Barrow will cooperate with the authorities regarding his arrest and we will continue to take very seriously the charges that have been filed against him. Dr. Steinmetz is a part-time basic scientist who works in a research laboratory. He has never treated patients at Barrow or St. Joseph's.

"We are proud to be leader in this community and to be respected by the medical profession around the world. The trust that thousands of patients and their families put in us every day is paramount. We are committed to maintaining that trust and the loyalty of our patients, our doctors and our staff."
That's all the Barrow will say for now -- and as you can see there's no indication of when he might return to work.

Police arrested Steinmetz on suspicion of two counts of disorderly conduct with a weapon. The allegation is that the muzzle of his rifle briefly was pointed at two women at the airport, who later told police they were fearful of the gun. Steinmetz claimed he was just there to get a cup of coffee.

His Facebook and Google Plus sites indicate he's interested in gun-rights advocacy, judging by several news stories he's shared and commentary he's posted about gun issues. For instance, in one post he worries that the 2013 Navy Yard shooting in Washington D.C. was "another case of a mass shooting in an area where all the victims are legally disarmed." He also wrote about sending a letter to U.S. Senator John McCain on April 10, 2013, to urge McCain to "oppose any attempt to debate or pass" a bill that would mandate "universal background checks."

Steinmetz published a short rant about the Transportation Security Administration on November 1, the day a TSA agent was shot and killed at the Los Angeles International Airport: "Why was this guy so angry? Perhaps the american people can wake up and realize that the TSA is routinely virtually strip-searching everyone while achieving absolutely nothing in terms of improved security... Time to get rid of the expensive and wasteful TSA!"

A few days later, Steinmetz and his teenage son showed up at Sky Harbor armed with rifles. Police asked them what they were doing, and Steinmetz told cops they were there to pick up his wife -- and to protest the TSA. No charges were filed because the scientist and his boy were doing nothing illegal that time. The gun-free zones begin at the TSA security checkpoints; any law-abiding citizen can hang out the busy airport armed to the teeth, it turns out.

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Alan Korwin
Local gun-law guru Alan Korwin says Steinmetz has certainly "raised the question" about the legality of guns at the airport. Yet asked whether Steinmetz's actions contributed anything meaningful to the gun-rights issue, (our actual question to Korwin was whether this helped or hurt his cause), Korwin replies, "I don't know."

While reluctant to say too much about the case, given the lack of information or stated motive by Steinmetz, Korwin believes the "bottom line is if you have a right and you can't exercise it, do you have that right?"

"He's putting his life, his fortune and his sacred honor on the line for his beliefs -- it sounds like that's what he's doing," Korwin adds.

Perhaps. But assuming Steinmetz is as smart as his curriculum vitae would suggest, he would have known this stunt could interfere with his employment at the Barrow Neurological Institute. What's his game?

No one answered the phone at Steinmetz's home on Wednesday.

If Steinmetz feels wronged by the Barrow, well, he does have some experience in suing his employers. In 2008, he attempted to sue the state of Arizona and Arizona Board of Regents after he was fired from a job as associate professor of engineering at Arizona State University.


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38 comments
Pete Superior
Pete Superior

This has nothing to do with the GOP or the NRA. This is the action of a man who has lost (or never had) a great deal of common sense...

dumbassmedstudent
dumbassmedstudent

I'm not sure why this is a big deal... is it because he was doing so publicly? Ironically, no one was hurt or even remotely close to being hurt, yet some guy who actually provides some social benefit is the criminal. This country is so backwards.

Honestly, I'd rather people carry weapons publicly than concealed, at least then you'd know who the good guys were. Criminals are shady !@#$s so I hear...

salmo60
salmo60

My question is, was this show now worth it to Mr. Steinmetz? Full disclosure, I have been a gun owner for 50+ years. I have taught pistol shooting courses and gun safety for both handguns and long guns.

When I see someone like Mr. Steinmetz I have to question what his motive(s) are. Is it to protest what? Any person who can read and comprehend what he is reading, knows after the TSA checkpoints, guns are forbidden. Personally I prefer not to see a civilian carrying a weapon in an airport, nor do I care to see people in bars drinking alcohol while carrying a handgun.

If he was trying to "provoke" a legal confrontation with the police to have his case become a test case adjudicated through to court system, he failed miserably. Now he has lost his employment, temporary, perhaps permanently, and made to look like a fool. What ever his point was, we have yet to learn what is is or was.    

Zapata
Zapata

In Congressional District 7, we have a gun toting candidate with a B+ rating from the NRA.  He admits taking his gun to the capitol building. 

His name is Gallego and he's from back east somewhere, by way of South America.  He doesn't know our communities.  He's a carpet bagger.  A sleazy one.

Ryan Portillo
Ryan Portillo

He has every right to carry an AR-15 to get a cup of coffee. Unfortunately for him, Barrows Neurological has every right to distance themselves from him. As polarizing of an issue that gun rights are right now, they would be stupid to keep him on staff.

Mary Shoff
Mary Shoff

Wow, it's time for Arizona to get rid of the GOP! The NRA has paid them off real well! An AR-15 in an airport, are you kidding me?

Heather Feaga
Heather Feaga

New Times reports that he's the director of the Barrow's Neuroengineering/Human Neurophysiology Laboratory when Barrow says he's a basic part time scientist. I think Barrow can't get far enough away. Arizona should deport him back to Minnesota.

Steve McGrath
Steve McGrath

This guys playing with fire. He's lucky he didnt kill anyone "to make a point"

Mike Bowers
Mike Bowers

Act like a nut job, get treated like a nut job. The end.

Seashell55
Seashell55

Who goes to the airport for a cup of coffee? And you're supposed to add milk or sugar, not the stupid of an AR-15.

Aaron Abbott
Aaron Abbott

Good. Vile and irresponsible open-carrier needs to be held responsible for his actions.

Justin Grant
Justin Grant

Is it that he looks creepy, or is it that now we know he has a fetish for carrying around assault weapons and pointing them at children, he looks creepy?

cugagcmu80
cugagcmu80

""He's putting his life, his fortune and his sacred honor on the line for his beliefs -- it sounds like that's what he's doing,"" Korwin adds."

These words are found at the end of the Declaration of Independence, which says absolutely nothing about the right to bear arms. 

Johnny Klinko
Johnny Klinko

He said he was there for a cup of coffee. That was one costly cup of coffee... what a turd.

Donna Schorer
Donna Schorer

The good thing is, if he accidentally shoots himself in the head, he'll be okay!

TommyCollins
TommyCollins topcommenter

Lori Klein, former state legislator, did this same thing by pointing her pink gun at a reporter during an interview. No charges or investigation resulted. Of course the reporter said he did not feel in peril...... I believe Lori Klein lost the following election at least in part because of the pink pistol incident, in concert with other issues showing she clearly is a nut.


This doctor is bent on making a name for himself and making his case known. He's accomplished that very thing. 


It's going to be very costly for him. His suspension is just the start of his troubles. If he is as mentally unbalanced as he seems I think a close watch of his activities would be in order.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

.


  Should Mentally Unbalanced Nuts be allowed to Possess Firearms? 

Pauliejuanakraquer
Pauliejuanakraquer

Common sense wars with this guy's Righteous Anger. Next time, try a protest sign?

rod.quigley
rod.quigley

And you gun control fruits think it is okay to fire a person because of his political views...it appears you do not know where you live.  Here, you are the minority and payback for you personally will be a bitch.

Carol Croft
Carol Croft

We can hope, he's obviously overdue!!

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

@dumbassmedstudent Only those actually present really know for certain whether any bystanders came "even remotely close to being hurt".  All anybody knows is what some unnamed bystanders told the police if that information was accurately recorded. 

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

@Zapata Carrying a firearm while otherwise engaging in peaceful activity is no type of misbehavior in my book.  Why should it matter whether Reuben Gallego originally grew up or moved to Phoenix from Apache Junction, South Carolina or Timbuktu? Galego isn't my favored candidate (Joe Cobb is) but he seems like a voice of reason and a sterling example of probity when compared to his opponent Mary Rose Wilcox.

http://www.thegreenpapers.com/G14/AZ

Zapata
Zapata

We have a candidate in Congressional District 7 that supports NRA legislation and was given a B+ rating by them.  He's even admitted to carrying his gun (s) to the State Capitol.

It's time for District 7 residents to reject this chameleon Republican-Democrat youngster and send him home to wean.    

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

RIght now all anybody has to go on is unnamed bystanders and unnamed police officers as to exactly what his behavior was at Sky Harbor. 

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

He was willing to pay the price to ensure what he thought of as a constitutionally protected right. Did he make the best move? I don't know but I imagine he did what he felt was right. I am sure the court will make a determination in the fullness of time.  http://www.gunlaws.com/hc.htm

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@rod.quigley 

I'm far from being a "gun control fruit".

If he had simply demonstrated by carrying his rifle safely through the airport, I don't think Barrow would have taken any action.  He was put on leave for embarrassing the institution through a very public act of firearm misconduct.

Even at gun-friendly venues such as shooting ranges and gun stores, if you sweep your muzzle across other people, you might get one warning before you're asked to leave.  That's simply not acceptable.


eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@rod.quigley Dontcha suppose there may have been other factors considered in the decision to put him on administrative leave? There is also the possibility that they viewed him as an unstable jerk. Oh, and did you know that the mass killer in Aurora was a budding brain scientist?

dumbassmedstudent
dumbassmedstudent

@Thane.Eichenauer @dumbassmedstudent Except for the fact that there is this recording fool, and the fact no one was actually hurt. Nor was the gun discharged which might put a person in a position of being hurt. There is absolutely nothing to suggest, including the man's prior behavior to indicate in any way anyone was close to being hurt. So if you'd like to continue your moronic line of thinking, please show the evidence of someone being close to harms way.

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

@Zapata  If enough Democrats dog Reuben Gallego it might be that he leaves the party and becomes an independent. Great idea Zapata! Gallego is far too reasonable when compared to extremist gun control advocate Mary Rose Wilcox. 

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