The man arrested on Thursday at Disneyland Paris for carrying two guns into Hotel New York has told French police he was armed because he feared for his safety.
Initial investigations do not point to terrorism, a police source said.
The man’s bag triggered metal detectors as he entered the hotel.
Disneyland Paris said the weapons had been discovered during a security check. They then contacted police who arrested the man without a struggle.
The male suspect, reportedly a 28-year-old of European origin, was not known to security services.
He co-manages a brasserie in Paris, a source close to the investigation told AFP news agency, where staff were incredulous at news of the arrest.
“For me, it’s a mistake,” said a member of the bar team.
French police appear to be treating the case as criminal rather than terror-related.
However, anti-terror investigators have not been called in so far and the inquiry is being handled by local police in the Meaux region.
“Initial findings appear to point clearly to something other than an intention to attack,” one police source told Reuters.
The man, who is unknown to intelligence services and been previously arrested only once for “driving without a licence”.
Police sources said he told them he bought the hand guns illegally a few years ago “to protect himself” due to “fears for his security”.
Europe 1 radio said that man was in the process of moving out of Paris and had temporarily left his belongings at his mother’s, but not the weapons because she “didn’t want them in her house”.
Stumped as to what to do with the guns, he said he was forced to take them with him for a romantic weekend at Disneyland Paris with this girlfriend.
Arrested on Thursday night, the woman confirmed his version of events.