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Thread: Open Carry in Savannah

  1. #1
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    Wow. What can I say?

    I went to the Savannah Mall, which is right next to Hunter Army Airfield, to go to Bass Pro Shops and pick up some ammo. Now, I normally CC IWB, but I decided to throw the pistol into a cheap Uncle Mike's nylon POS and wear it on my hip.

    I got numerous reactions, varying from "Thank you for keeping us safe" to "Are you a cop/in the military/a crazy person?".

    Bass Pro didn't have a bit of a problem, understandable as they are in the business of selling guns. I had to check in at the front counter and let them know I was carrying and that I had a permit, but I expected that.

    The manager at EB Games asked me if I was a LEO, and when I said no, he asked why I was carrying a pistol. I could tell he was a little uncomfortable but I smiled and said "Well, at least you know that when I'm in the store, you're not going to get robbed."

    However, when I went to Waldenbooks to pick up my monthly reads (Playboy, Guitar World, and Guns and Ammo) I could tell the manager was extremely nervous, as he watched my browse the store like a shoplifter. I was flipping through G&A before I bought it when I felt gentle pressure on my side, above my gun. The manager had called the police and expected me to be arrested.

    The officer (who was young, about my age) asked me for my firearms license and my photo ID, and then asked me to hand him my weapon. I provided the cards he wanted and asked him what the charge was for the weapon.

    "Oh, there's no charges yet, I just don't want you to be armed while we're talking."

    He then asked me why I was breaking the law by carrying openly. I replied that OC is legal in the state of GA with a firearms license, and he said he'd have to call his supervisor. I've still got the pistol on my hip, holstered, at this point.

    The Sgt. shows up with a pocket copy of the GA Code, demands that I give
    him my sidearm, and threatens to arrest me for resisting.

    I slowly unholstered the weapon, popped the mag out, took the safety off, and unchambered the round, then handed him the empty pistol with the slide locked back. He also asked me who I was and what my business was.

    I replied that I was trying to shop and that any more questions would be answered after I knew what charges I was being held on and in the presence of my lawyer.

    He got visibly annoyed at this point, called for backup to "watch" me, and he and the beat cop who initially stopped me went off to confer over what they could charge me on.

    After about 20 minutes or so of this, a plainclothes detective showed up, took my weapon from the sgt. and asked me to come with him. I asked him what charges I was being held on and he replied

    "We're not going to charge you with anything, I'm just here to escort you to your car. I'll give your pistol back to you when we get outside and if you wish to continue shopping you'll need to conceal it before you come back in. You're not allowed to OC in malls in GA (blatant lie) so please don't do it again"

    So we walk out to the car, he hands me the pistol back, I reload it and chamber a round as he watches, put it in the IWB sitting on my front seat, and go back into the mall.

    I went back into Waldenbooks, informed the manager that his behavior was absolutely unacceptable, and that I'm informing his corporate office of his intolerant behavior, and then tell him that I'm going to Barnes and Noble at the other mall.

    Got in the car, put the pistol back in the OC holster, drive three miles to the other (much nicer) mall and walk in while OCing, spend three hours shopping with a pistol in plain view on my hip, and get absolutely NO negative reaction.



    Is it worth my time to file a complaint with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police about the unlawful detention? I have the full details, officer's names, badge numbers, etc. and am really tempted to march into my lawyer's office on Monday and start the proceedings.

    Any thoughts?

    Oh, and don't go to Waldenbooks. Barnes and Noble is much nicer to their law-abiding customers.

  2. #2
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    gsusnake wrote:
    Is it worth my time to file a complaint with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police about the unlawful detention? I have the full details, officer's names, badge numbers, etc. and am really tempted to march into my lawyer's office on Monday and start the proceedings.

    Any thoughts?
    yes - please do follow up with the police leadership with a formal complaint - the license you have IS to open carry (and conceale carry to0). Just keep it simple - violation of your civil rights and your rights pursuant to your license, etc., and you want it stopped riki tic.

  3. #3
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    Well-written summary. I would also send it to Waldenbooks corporate HQ. I read a lot, and generally order from Amazon, but I will be removing Waldenbooks from my favorites list.

  4. #4
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    Yes, make a complaint and get an attorney so he can get a copy of the store security tape as evidence before the info is over written!

  5. #5
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    I went through and redrafted the incident after I posted here, to go into further detail about some of the positive interactions I had before the single negative one.

    All told I've got 9 pages handwritten on a legal pad, and a couple of hand-drawn "maps" detailing my route and approximate times (times beforehand are shady, cuz I didn't know I'd need them) that everything happened.

    I'm gonna contact a lawyer just so my complaint goes farther than "Well, yes sir, we understand you're upset, and we'll be sure to do something about it" and into the shred bin once I turn my back.

    The detective was professional enough once he got there, but I'm still upset that I was treated like a criminal with the "escort" through the mall, especially since he made me walk a step ahead of him... embarrassing.

    My lawyer is a personal friend of mine (my old college roommate, and a regular golf buddy) who's gun-friendly and will most likely take care of this if I buy the beers next time we go out... I called him and he told me to draw up the "informal" report that I have sitting here and we'd talk about it Monday.

    Evidently SCMPD has somewhat of a reputation about being hard on gun owners. I don't quite understand how, with the large military presence in Savannah from Hunter AAF and from Ft. Stewart (25 miles away) but I've heard informally that this isn't the first time something similar has happened.

  6. #6
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    gsusnake wrote:
    I went through and redrafted the incident after I posted here, to go into further detail about some of the positive interactions I had before the single negative one.

    All told I've got 9 pages handwritten on a legal pad, and a couple of hand-drawn "maps" detailing my route and approximate times (times beforehand are shady, cuz I didn't know I'd need them) that everything happened.

    I'm gonna contact a lawyer just so my complaint goes farther than "Well, yes sir, we understand you're upset, and we'll be sure to do something about it" and into the shred bin once I turn my back.

    The detective was professional enough once he got there, but I'm still upset that I was treated like a criminal with the "escort" through the mall, especially since he made me walk a step ahead of him... embarrassing.

    My lawyer is a personal friend of mine (my old college roommate, and a regular golf buddy) who's gun-friendly and will most likely take care of this if I buy the beers next time we go out... I called him and he told me to draw up the "informal" report that I have sitting here and we'd talk about it Monday.

    Evidently SCMPD has somewhat of a reputation about being hard on gun owners. I don't quite understand how, with the large military presence in Savannah from Hunter AAF and from Ft. Stewart (25 miles away) but I've heard informally that this isn't the first time something similar has happened.
    Honestly, I wouldn't stand for this at all! When the Detective lied to you and told you that OCing was illegal in GA malls, I would have stopped dead in my tracks right there and asked him where, exactly in the GA code it specified malls as being illegal to carry unconcealed in! If he attempted an arrest (I don't see what the charge could possibly have been) you could file a formal complaint and a lawsuit for unlawful arrest and detainment against him.

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