In the wake of countless mass shootings at schools, nationwide retail chains, and countless other public spaces—there’s seriously a website called Mass Shooting Tracker—people are, understandably, a bit jumpy when folks show up with guns, even fake ones. A man dressed like a Stormtrooper from Star Wars recently kicked off something of a panic in Kansas.
KSAL, a radio station in Salinas, KA, reports that a local merchant called 911 when he spotted 27-year-old Chris Burns wandering the streets dressed up like one of the faceless foot soldiers of the Galactic Empire from George Lucas’ beloved space opera. The business owner feared that what he saw wasn’t a dedicated fan indulging in a bit of cosplay, but an armed individual roaming the streets of his hometown with what he thought was an AK-47. What he saw was a masked man toting what appeared to be a very real weapon.
The police told the business owner to lock down his store, and dispatched numerous officers to assess the threat and take any action that might be necessary. When they arrived on the scene, they found that Burns and a camera-toting companion were rather surprised to see them. This is apparently something Burns does on the regular, donning his head-to-toe outfit to make Vine videos under the Internet moniker Stormtrooper Sam.
Burns, manager of a Salina Jimmy Johns, expressed his legitimate shock, “Star Wars is such an iconic image, I was a little bit surprised that someone would see a Stormtrooper and fear when you know it’s been around since the 70’s.”
Kansas is one of the states where openly carrying a firearm on the street is perfectly legal, so even if Burns’ weapon did in fact turn out to be legit, as long as he was in compliance with the laws, there isn’t anything the cops could have done about it. Burns and his friend did, however, get what sounds like a stern talking to by the local constabulary. Police Captain Mike Sweeney said, that though it might be legal, when you walk around with a weapon, real or pretend, “you’re going to draw our attention to find out what you’re doing.”
About his brush with the law, Burns said, “They [the police] were really cool and as soon as I told them what I was doing they were really nice about it.” Stormtrooper Sam is set to release his latest collection of six-second videos throughout the week.