While advocates fight to take assault rifles off the street, one City of Orlando police officer left his loaded and sitting in a patrol car parked with the window open.
The unnamed officer told WESH.com he had been in court that morning, but declined to say how long he'd left his take-home patrol car on a Baldwin Park street with the window rolled down and his loaded AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in clear view. (Watch video above).
Concerned residents contacted a news crew after noticing the gun in easy reach. One neighbor told WESH that the car had been parked there for hours. "I know accidents happen but that's very dangerous," said another. "There's a lot of kids who come down here every day, so who knows, they could get curious."
The police department was not pleased by the oversight, either, though OPD spokesman James Young said the weapon was locked in place.
"We don't want our officers doing it, we don't want citizens leaving their windows open either. Obviously, mistakes sometimes do happen," Young told the station.
The department isn't the first to suffer embarrassment over a seemingly unsecured high-powered weapon: in 2011, a Seattle police officer left a semi-automatic rifle on the trunk of a patrol car and forgot about it before another officer drove the car through downtown Seattle and left it parked with the weapon sitting in the open.
The AR-15, a "fearsome"-looking semi-automatic rifle popular among gun enthusiasts, was among the weapons used by James Holmes to reportedly fire as many as 50 shots per minute in a mass shooting last year in Aurora, Colorado. It was outlawed under a previous assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.