Ok, so I set out for Tulare to volunteer at the farm show.
When I show up at 10:45, I try to report to gate 6 and I am turned away by law enforcement, they say the area is closed so they send me to another area which gets me sent to gate 16 way on the other side of the grounds. I lug my 12 pound M1A in a soft case and my UZi in another soft case from the parking area to gate 16 where I am told to go to gate 1. So, I lug my guns back to my car and drive over to gate 1, I get parked and once again, lug my cased M1A and Uzi to gate 1. Once I get there they tell me that if I am an exhibitor, I need to report to gate 6 (the original place I went). I then told them that gate 6 was full and closed by leos. She tells me she knows this, but my only option is to walk. Mind you, this is about a mile away. I had already lugged 20 pounds of rifle (m1a and uzi) around the back parking lot and my arms were tired. So, I figured, I have a tactical sling, I might as well use it.
I go back to my car and remove the M1A from the soft case and sling it over my back like a backpack. I then begin the .75-1 mile hike from the parking lot to gate 6. 75% of the way there, I am stopped by an old fat guy in a golf cart and he asks what I'm doing. I tell him I am an exhibitor and am carrying non-functional firearms to security to get them checked. He tells me "firearms are not allowed on the premises." I tell him that this is our third year exhibiting firearms and that there were already firearms in our booth. He says "Ok, go ahead, but I will check to make sure that's ok." Literally 3-4 minutes later I hear a blurp from a siren and I turn around to see two Tulare PD squad cars with their lights going.
The officer does a check to see if the M1A is loaded, and I told him that it didn't even have a bolt in the gun. I explain that in order for me to display the firearm at the show, it must be disabled in some way. He tells me that someone saw me transporting the gun and called 911. By then, the sergeant walks over and tells me that the head honcho of the ag show has said that the M1A should have been carried in a case and that because it wasn't, it was not to be on the property. He further instructs me that I am lucky I'm not getting arrested. I told him that while I understand that it's private property and the AG show can ask me to leave, that it is perfectly legal for me to be in possession of the rifle and that a threat of arrest was an "empty threat", to which he replied "I will not get into a philosophical debate with you; they have asked that you not enter the premises with that firearm." When I inquired about the uzi he said that any other firearm that was in a case was fair game, but that the M1A was specifically refused. I then asked what if I returned to my vehicle and put the M1A in a case, to which he replied, "they don't want that rifle on the premises, had you carried it in a case to begin with like you should have it would have been fine, but now, they don't want it here; if I come by your booth and see it there, we will have a problem,"
I kept it completely professional and did not mention calguns for fear that there would be any backlash on the group. I did not want to make a big deal over it for fear that it would prevent future shows from having firearms. I returned to my vehicle where I secured the M1a, and then returned to the show with my Uzi.
The funny thing about the whole ordeal was the "Western Security" staff that was doing security for the event was completely cool, The only people I had problems with were the fat guy in the golf cart, and the TPD officers that responded.
I showed up clean-shaven, showered (this time), in my nice boots, clean blue jeans, and a nice shirt....at an agricultural show where "liberal" is a dirty word, and someone saw fit to call 911 because they saw a guy with an M14 slung over his back. If anything, this is proof positive that the notion of open-carrying a rifle is preposterous.
If I learned anything from this, it is that the "conservative" populous is not nearly as "conservative" as they used to be.
In re-reading my own post, it seems more cynical than I wanted to be... I want to be clear that I had a good time at the show and appreciate the opportunity to represent calguns and our goals to the public and that I take that responsibility very seriously. The only reason I posted this was to educate those "open carriers" that while open carrying a handgun goes largely unnoticed, the public is VERY mindful of a man carrying a rifle. Just don't do it; it is a very bad idea, even if legal.