This is absolutely ridiculous. I was detained for ONE HOUR tonight by 4 Suffolk police officers, I will give the entire story as accurately as I can:
around 2 AM on 4/8/07 I went into the Suffolk Wal-mart on College Dr. to buy my mom a birthday present (her birthday is today, the 8th and i just got in from Richmond and I'm a huge procrastinator).
After about 13 minutes of browsing (2:13 AM) I was approached by Officer Williams
(black male, about 5'8"), who was the first LEO who I came in contact with.
He asked me if I knew why he was stopping me. I said something along the lines of "because of my sidearm?"
He said yes, then asked why. I said because I can. He then requested that I show him my ID. I asked "what if I don't have any ID?". He then said that I was "resisting". I said "Are you detaining me officer or am I free to go?" He then said that he was detaining me and he made me put my hands against a stack of basketball hoops. He then disarmed me. (if i was resisting arrest, I wouldn't have let him disarm me
It took him about 30 seconds because my fobus holster has amazing retention.
I made it a POINT to be as polite and non-threatening as possible. I had my hands in front of me at ALL times, even when I was disarmed.
I then stated that carrying a handgun in the open in the state of Virginia is legal. He then called in backup. A few minutes later, Officer Salmon
(white male, about 5'9") came. They were discussing what to charge me with (I had relenquished my ID by this time and they ran it, finding nothing. I am a GOOD citizen and was LAWFULLY carrying). Next, Officer Burton
(black male, about 6'0") came. He was told to detain me and make sure I didn't leave or try anything.
The supervisor, Sgt. Earls
(black woman, about 5'7") then came, but she had no direct contact with me. The Code of Virginia appeared somehow (I believe the supervisor brought it in with her, but I'm not sure) and for the next 40 minutes or so, they attempted to find something to book me on.
They told me that since I was 19, I was a minor, and that you have to be 21 to purchase and carry a handgun in the state of Virginia. I told them that I legally bought my handgun in a bona fide private sale, but they did not believe that you could be 18 and purchase/carry one. This was the reason why they were detaining me (I recall them saying that they were aware that open carry was legal- BUT
one of the officers said something along the lines of "If somebody feels threatened when they see your gun, you will be charged with BRANDISHING").
At around 2:50 AM, Officer Williams asked me information (where I worked, where I went to school, my numbers, etc). I felt that if I used my right to remain silent, that he would detain me further (he thought i was just trying to be a smartass and scare people when i took voice memos on my cell phone to record information so i could type it on here).
They then said that there was a "loophole" in the Code of Virginia that doesn't state whether it is legal or not to carry between 18 and 20. Officer Salmon said that they WOULD look into this and contact a state representative to get the "loophole" fixed. I did not argue with them because I would be speaking to deaf ears.
At around 2:58 AM, Williams said that he would escort me to my car. I was not allowed to continue to shop, and he made an "example" of me to the two night managers.
When I brought up the fact that Walmart ALWAYS recognizes the state gun laws and asked for the managers names, they would NOT give them to me. One was a black man and one was a black woman, and I think the man's name was Marty or something.
Williams then escorted me out like I was a prisoner (walked behind me, even when I slowed down some). He walked me to my car, handed me my pistol with the slide back, my magazine, and my snap cap (which Officer Salmon dropped on the dusty ground, then sarcastically apologized for when I complained that he was mishandling my property). I then left and here I am typing this.
I felt EXTREMELY violated and I wish I had the number for Mike or someone authoritative on hand so I could have just called them there at the scene and had them talk some sense into the "uninformed" (I'm calling them uninformed because if I used an insult, I would be no better than them) LEO's.
Here is all the information I got:
Suffolk Police Department:
SPD Central Records:
College Drive Wal-Mart:
6259 College Drive Suffolk, VA 23435 (757) 483-8860
What can myself, and the Open Carry Community do about this? I really don't know what to do and your support would be much appreciated. This could have happened to any of us, and it happened to me. We have to keep our freedom, and this kind of police idiocy can NOT be tolerated.