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Orem prosecutors have charged a 51-year-old man with disorderly conduct for walking outside University Mall while carrying an unloaded rifle over his shoulder and a handgun on his waistband.

The defendant maintains he was within his rights.

"Despite what the County Prosecutor has filed, I broke no law," Philip W. Taylor said in an e-mail to The Tribune on Thursday. "The police allowed me to walk home.

"If I had broken the law I would have been arrested on site."

The charge is an infraction. It is punishable by up to $750 in fines and does not carry the possibility of jail or prison.

Police responded about 9:40 a.m. on Jan. 15 to the south side of the mall, near Nordstrom, after several people reported a man carrying guns at 1600 South and 800 East.

An officer found Taylor, 51, with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun, Orem police Sgt. Craig Martinez said. The officer drew his own gun and ordered Taylor to put his weapons down and his hands up, which he did, Martinez said. Taylor told police that Utah was an "open carry" state, which allows people to carry guns in public as long as they are unloaded. Taylor's were not loaded.

Taylor was handcuffed and his guns were temporarily confiscated while the officer searched him for other weapons, Martinez said. Mall security then requested he be escorted off the property for trespassing.

Taylor, who lives in the area, was given his guns back and returned home, Martinez said. Taylor didn't give police a reason for his actions.

"He was just exercising his civil rights, I guess," Martinez said.

Jacob Paulsen, a firearm instructor, agreed Taylor was within his rights to carry the weapons, but that doesn't mean it was a good idea. Paulsen said that kind of display encourages lawmakers who want more gun control.

"The very thing he's trying to fight against is the very thing he's pushing on us," Paulsen said.

Paulsen, however, does not think the Orem city attorney should have charged Taylor.

"It's just the city saying, 'We don't like this and if we let this happen without charging this, it's going to happen again,' " Paulsen said.

This was the third time in a month, Martinez said, that police stopped Taylor for carrying guns in public.

Orem officers had already stopped Taylor on Dec. 17 and 18 for carrying unloaded guns on State Street. He was not cited in either of those cases, Martinez said.

Taylor has been issued a summons to appear at a Feb. 15 hearing in Orem Justice Court.