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Thread: detained in a TN State Park for 2.5 hours nearly arrested because cops don't know definition pistol

  1. #1
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    I went to the Tennessee State Radnor Lake State Park this afternoon to take in some nature and get some exercise. I dressed in boots, blue jeans, t-shirt, vest, and an old military issue gore-tex woodland camo jacket. I carried my new Romanian Draco AK pistol loaded with 31 123 grain FMJ ammunition from Walmart. I arrived at approximately 3:30 pm and with the pistol slung on my back I started my walk. It was mostly uneventful. I saw no deer and passed maybe 30 hikers. As I reached the end of the trail I made sure no one was close by and shifted the ak-47 pistol to the front of my body. I reached the end of the trail and turned onto the roadway where I saw the first ranger of the day. He asked me if it was an airsoft and I said no it was an AK-47 type pistol. He looked at me strangely and asked to see my permit. I showed my Tennessee handgun carry permit. He asked where I parked and I told him. He said I could keep walking I kept walking as he called someone. By the time I reached my car the ranger was no where in sight as I walk quickly. However, another ranger vehicle pulled in the parking lot and a ranger jumped out with a shotgun pointed at me and yelled at me to stay still and put the weapon on the ground. After I put the weapon down he told me to move away which I did. He then told me to put my face on the ground and my arms on my head. I complied. I think he had a gun trained on me the whole time, but I couldn’t see. He searched me quickly and put my AK into the truck. This particular ranger has seen me before and has asked to see my TN handgun carry permit. He asked to see the permit again and asked for my driver license. I told him I would not give him my license, but he could see the permit.

    Three Nashville metro cop cars showed up pretty quickly. They talked among themselves for about an hour and then a cop pulled out a citation for arrest. It said I was being arrested for 39-17-1311 unlawful possession of a weapon. He asked me to sign and I told him I wanted to speak with his supervisor. He said okay, but that it would take a long time and he just wanted to cite and release me for my convenience (yeah right). I asked what part of 39-17-1311 I violated he said I couldn’t carry a rifle. I told him my firearm was classified as a pistol. It has no stock and never had a stock. I also pointed out that it has an 11.5” barrel with complies with the length of a handgun definition in Tennessee. He said it looks like I had cut the stock off and another said they had never heard of a 7.62x39 handgun. It took about another ½ hour for the sergeant to show up. In the meantime one of the original cops left, another park ranger came and left and two more cops showed up. The sergeant showed and I tried to explain that the firearm was a handgun. I also told him if they were going to arrest me to just take me in front of the magistrate right away. They spent another ½ hour asking me if I had a form 1, that the ATF classifies my pistol as a rifle, and they had never seen an AK pistol before. Finally they told me they had gotten in touch with the manufacturer and the manufacturer said it indeed was a pistol. I highly doubt that, but that is what they told me. They released the handcuffs, and gave me back my magazine, ammo, and pistol.

    I think they handled it as well as could be expected. I felt the cop who was trying to charge me with a violation of 39-17-1311 had no basis for the charge.


    Radnor Lake rules


    Tennessee State Code


    Picture of park sign


    Carrying handguns in State Parks is legal with a handgun carry permit regardless of what the sign says.

    see New Law public Chapter 428

    Because signage prohibiting the possessing of firearms while within or on a public park, natural area, historic park, nature trail, campground, forest, greenway, waterway or other similar public place that is owned or operated by the state, or instrumentality thereof, and posted pursuant to § 39-17-1311, prior to July 1, 2009, remains necessary for visitors who are not authorized to carry a firearm pursuant to subsection (b), the department shall not replace or change any existing signs that prohibit firearms or erect any new signs at existing state areas relative to firearms. However, the department may replace or repair signs that have been damaged or are scheduled for replacement in accordance with the park’s regular replacement schedule.

    Picture of firearm


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    So, it remains illegal to carry long guns in TN state parks?

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    It is legal to carry with a permit, the Legislature decided in their infinite wisdom that the signs do not have to be changed to reflect the change in the law.

    They tried to charge me with 39-17-1311 which prohibits rifles in parks. They couldn't grasp that the AK-47 pistol I carried was a pistol even though it does not meet the definition of a rifle.

    If cops don't know the law how are they going to charge me with a crime? They aren't supposed to guess if people break the law and arrest them based upon a guess are they?

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    kwikrnu wrote:
    It is legal to carry with a permit,
    What do you mean by "it" - the gun ou were carrying, or long guns generally.

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    Mike wrote:
    kwikrnu wrote:
    It is legal to carry with a permit,
    What do you mean by "it" - the gun ou were carrying, or long guns generally.
    The handgun I was carrying. You can't carry a rifle with a permit. You can transport a loaded rifle, but no rounds in the chamber, in your car with a permit.

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    that is definitely one hell of a pistol!

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    kwikrnu, I think you need to get an "adventure buddy". Alone you seem to be an idiot magnet.



    Did you have your recorder with you for this? I'd love to hear the audio if available.

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    The batteries died. I only have a partial of the conversation I had with the first park ranger. I need to get an external mic and double check the batteries before I leave the house next time, although I thought it showed full battery.

    I'm going to file a complain against the metro police and tn state parks. I will open carry the ak again.



    My main concern is they wanted to charge me with a crime so bad. I thought it was illegal for cops to make up charges. Don't they need PC to make an arrest?

    I get them stopping me for reasonable suspicion, but pointing a shotgun? I had already spoken to one ranger and showed him my carry permitand was not a threat. My hands were no were near my handgun and I made no threatening moves before the second pointed a shotgun at me.

    I would think they would of needed PC to arrest me. Wouldn't PC be something like, the gun is a rifle? Clearly it is no rifle because it has no stock.

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    While OCing this weapon may have been technically legal, not sure it was the wisest decision.

    I mean is this the only carry weapon you have?
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Mike, yes it is generally illegal to carry long guns in TN. As the poster stated, the legislature did pass a transportation exception for permit holders, however no rounds can be chambered. (Very idiotic that permit holders can have their handguns chambered but not their long guns. )

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    Fallguy wrote:
    While OCing this weapon may have been technically legal, not sure it was the wisest decision.

    I mean is this the only carry weapon you have?
    It makes no difference how many handguns I own. The AK-47 pistol is a handgun and it is not illegal to carry it.



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    ProguninTN wrote:
    It is illegal to carry long guns period.
    No it isn't. You may carry and unloaded long gun if there are no laws against the carry of that long gun. For example Williamson County and Franklin TN have no laws against the carry of a long gun. I could carry an unloaded one down the street just fine. Of course I would have to avoid off limit places such as parks and I believe I would have to stay 1000' away from schools too.

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    Yes, but what will you do with an unloaded rifle, use it as a club ?

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    You claimed carrying of long guns was illegal, PERIOD. Do whatever you want with an unloaded long gun. It is not illegal to carry it most places, but local ordinaces need to be checked first.

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    Off topic, but why do you have an orange tip?
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

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    Safety. cops don't shoot people with orange tipped handguns. When they do they think twice about it. Since most people assume it is an airsoft toy I will probably generate fewer MWAG calls.

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    kwikrnu wrote:
    You claimed carrying of long guns was illegal, PERIOD. Do whatever you want with an unloaded long gun. It is not illegal to carry it most places, but local ordinaces need to be checked first.
    Yes I did, but then I went back and edited the post after I realized it could be misconstrued. (Notice the bottom where it shows I did so about 3 min. after the original.)

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    Okay, I see you changed the post now. We're good.

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    If the firearm in the photo is yours, I can clearly see the confusion. That looks like a rifle with no shoulder stock to me too.

    If you want to carry a handgun with less hassle, I would certainly go with something that looks more like a handgun and less like a rifle.

    Just because it's legal to carry doesn't mean it's the right thing to carry.

    Just my 2 cents bro.
    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    Him: "I carry my gun concealed"
    Me: "You're not very good at it"
    Him: "What do you mean?"
    Me: "I know you have a gun"
    End of conversation.

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    I called in a complaint to the internal investigations / professional accountability. I spoke with Detective Carter. I complained that being detained for 2.5 hours was excessive. What troubled me most about the phone call was that he thoughtone could only carry concealed (this is going to be an uphill battle). He said he would try and find out who the officers involved were and what the situation was. He said I would be informed of the status of my complaint in writing.

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    turbodog wrote:
    If the firearm in the photo is yours, I can clearly see the confusion. That looks like a rifle with no shoulder stock to me too.

    If you want to carry a handgun with less hassle, I would certainly go with something that looks more like a handgun and less like a rifle.

    Just because it's legal to carry doesn't mean it's the right thing to carry.

    Just my 2 cents bro.
    Just because it is legal to carry a 9mm you shouldn't because it looks dangerous. Everyone should carry a .22lr handgun.:celebrate

    The point is carrying a handgun in a park is okay so why was I detained 2 1/2 hours?

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    kwikrnu wrote:
    The point is carrying a handgun in a park is okay so why was I detained 2 1/2 hours?
    Sounds like because you really pushed the limit as to what a "handgun" is and you appeared to the police to be disguising the gun as a toy with an orange cap, and carried like a rifle slung over your back at that - every judge in the world is going to cut the police a break on this, and give them qualified immunity.

    Next time try a normal looking handgun in a proper holster.

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    kwikrnu wrote:
    turbodog wrote:
    If the firearm in the photo is yours, I can clearly see the confusion. That looks like a rifle with no shoulder stock to me too.

    If you want to carry a handgun with less hassle, I would certainly go with something that looks more like a handgun and less like a rifle.

    Just because it's legal to carry doesn't mean it's the right thing to carry.

    Just my 2 cents bro.
    Just because it is legal to carry a 9mm you shouldn't because it looks dangerous. Everyone should carry a .22lr handgun.:celebrate

    The point is carrying a handgun in a park is okay so why was I detained 2 1/2 hours?
    Most 9mm and .22 cal handguns look like the "common conception" of handguns, so I would expect no or minimal hassle from LEO in their case.But that thing you carried looks to much like an assaultrifle, whether legally a handgun or not. You say you carried it "slung" across your back at one point, yes? Most folks don't sling carry a sidearm on their back. That's a method of carrying a rifle not a pistol. I do understand where they were coming from in detaining you over it.

    Feel free to carry what ya want brother but I'm just sayin don't be gettin pissed or surprised at the reaction to that particular firearm. The AK has a fearsome reputation in the world and that's what you're up against carrying that.

    When you OC you automatically, wether intended or not, and wether you say a word about it or not, become a spokesman for the right to OC. Others will look at what you carry, how you carryit and how you deport yourself while carrying. While you might possibly be a great guy, polite, generous, kind to small children and animalsand all that, it still wouldn't make that firearm the right one for a spokesman to open carry because nobody sees you, all they see is the gun beloved of terrorists and drug thugs. Sorry bro, but that's a painful truth no matter how much YOU love that firearm.

    See what I'm gettin at brother? No offense intended here.
    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    Him: "I carry my gun concealed"
    Me: "You're not very good at it"
    Him: "What do you mean?"
    Me: "I know you have a gun"
    End of conversation.

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    Mike wrote:
    kwikrnu wrote:
    The point is carrying a handgun in a park is okay so why was I detained 2 1/2 hours?
    Sounds like because you really pushed the limit as to what a "handgun" is and you appeared to the police to be disguising the gun as a toy with an orange cap, and carried like a rifle slung over your back at that - every judge in the world is going to cut the police a break on this, and give them qualified immunity.

    Next time try a normal looking handgun in a proper holster.
    I agreealso being detained for 2 1/2 hours is probably better than simply being arrested and explaining it all to the judge.

    I hopeyou get some sense of satisfaction from your complaint, but to be honest I'm not sure I can fault the LEOs in this matter. ...and I among the first to speak out if I feel they have overstepped any bounds.

    But it doessounds like Detective Carter is thinking of carry in National parks in a couple of months on concealed carry only though.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    In Tennessee, it is perfectly Legal to Open Carry a Long Gun, provided; that you are not a Felon, Drug Abuser, etc., and the Long Gun is Unloaded.

    This is codified under 39-17-1307(a)(2)(A), but 39-17-1308(a)(1) and 39-171308(a)(5) both provide Lawful defenses from prosecution under 39-17-1307(a)(2)(A) as long as the Person in question is not a Person outlined under 39-17-1307(b)(1)-i.e. as stated above-Felons, and Drug Felons, in addition to Persons who are trying to committ a non/dangerous offense or who are prohibited under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8) or 18 U.S.C.922(g)(9).

    Furthermore 39-17-1307(e) provides an additonal defense for Persons who are in their own Private Motor Vehicles as long as the LongGun is not Loaded, but may be if they hold a Permit or are acting in Self-Defense.

    Additionally, 39-17-1308(a)(3)(A) through 39-17-1308(a)(3)(C) provide exceptions, whether the same (Firearm/Long Gun) is Loaded or not while the Person in question is in/on/within theirown: 1. Home, 2. Land(Premises),or3. Place of Business, provided further, that the Person is not a Person who is ineligible under 39-17-1307(b)(1)-Felon, Drug Felon, or is otherwise ineligible under 18 U.S.C. 922(b) and 18 U.S.C. 922(g).

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