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Thread: Permit & Gun Returned Today & Full Incident Details

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    Tuesday, May 04th 2010

    Today at approximately 12:00pm I stopped at Golden Corral on Ross Clark Circle in Dothan, Al for lunch. I was openly carrying my Beretta PX4 Storm .40 caliber pistol in a secure Fobus holster on my right hip. The weapon was loaded, however the hammer was in a down position, i.e. “not cocked” and the safety was engaged. I eat at this establishment about once a week and have openly carried there often. A lot, of the staff there know me and I have never been asked to leave or had any issues carrying my pistol there while I ate. I found a table, placed my drink order with the waitress, went to the buffet and fixed my plate and returned to my table. Every table around me was full of people and no one was concerned or acting fearful in any way, they were all eating and talking like you see everyday. I was there for approximately 10-15 minutes , while I was eating 2 Dothan Police officers approached my table. The Sergeant, came over to my right side and leaned over to look down at my hip, the other officer, stood directly in front of me on the opposite side of the table.

    I said hello, how’s it going gentlemen. The Sergeant asked if I was Law Enforcement, I said No Sir. He said you can’t wear that out like that indicating my pistol. I responded, It’s my understanding that Alabama is an Open Carry State, and you can legally open carry. He said No it isn’t, you can only carry concealed. At this point 2 more officers arrived at my table and were forming a semi-circle around me. One of the new arrivals asked me if I was from Florida. I responded No, Sir. He said well, I was just asking because it’s legal in Florida, but not Alabama. I said, Sir, I believe just the opposite is true, Florida doesn’t allow open carry but Alabama does. He said no that’s not right. The Sergeant, asked If I had a Concealed Permit, I replied yes but I didn’t need it to open carry. He asked me where it was and I told him, my wallet. He asked to see it, I told him that I didn’t think I had to show it for open carrying. He said if I didn’t show it to him I would be arrested. So I slowly, carefully reached to my back pocket and pulled out my permit and gave it to him. I then asked if Golden Corral had asked me to leave? I said if they have asked for me to leave I would gladly go place it in my truck, but I may want a refund for my lunch. The Sergeant said, no, WE are telling you your going to put it in your truck or face arrest.

    The Sergeant asked for my ID, I told him I am not providing that as I have done nothing illegal and committed no crime. He then told me to stand up, I did so. He then grabbed my right arm with one hand and with his other hand he began to tug on my gun trying to pull it off my hip. He was really yanking on it to the point I was nervous he might accidently cock it or turn off the safety. The other officers stood around me and everyone in the restaurant was looking at me, I felt embarrassed and intimidated. While he was yanking on it he asked me if it was through a belt loop or just on the waistband? I told him just the waistband and tired to twist my body a little so he could get it off without causing an accident, tearing up my holster or jeans. He finally pulled it off my hip and said lets go.

    I walked with them out the front and they asked where my truck was and I directed them over to where I was parked. I asked if he wanted to put it in my truck, he said as soon as they got done checking everything. I asked for what reason they were running checks. Lt Grey, said cause your out here carrying a gun, in public. I said what about having reasonable suspicion or probable cause? I was just eating lunch. He said, you not gonna tell me the law! I asked The Sergeant if he would tell me what law says the open carry was illegal. He said he could show it to me and walked over to his patrol car. At this point 2 more officers arrived. I now counted 4 officers around me and 2 others nearby. At this time for my protection I started recording with a portable voice recorder I had with me. What follows is a transcription of was captured on the voice recorder:

    Officer – Ya were still standing in the parking lot.
    Me – I thought we were just gonna walk out here and put it in my truck.
    Officer - I thought you wanted to see the law.
    Me – Oh is he getting that?
    Officer – That’s what he told ya!
    Me – You mind if I get your badge number and name?
    Officer – I don’t have a badge number but my name is Shulmerich
    Me – Shulmerich? J. Shulmerich?
    Officer – Ya
    Me- You don’t have a badge number? Dothan don’t do badge numbers?
    Officer – No
    Me – K
    Sergeant – Here ya go, read that on right there.
    Me – Alright…..Right….This code right here ,
    Sergeant- uh hm
    Me - all pertains to carrying concealed. So…
    Sergeant – Carrying period. No person shall carry a pistol, don’t say nothing about concealed. Thats 1150, is carrying concealed. That says carry a pistol, doesn’t say anything about concealed.
    Me – Right, (reading) Except otherwise specified in this code. You gotta read the whole thing
    Lt. Keith Gray – (reading from the concealed permit) This pistol permit does not permit you to carry a gun openly.
    Me – Yes Sir that is absolutely correct, the permit does not permit you to do that, that permit permits you to carry concealed.
    Sergeant – Your really making no sense. What your whole point here today?
    Me – I was just here to have lunch!
    Sergeant – and to get attention apparently.
    Me – No Sir, Not all, I’ve open carried in here before., all the time. I open carry all over, never had any problems. Matter of fact I can tell ya Golden Corrals open carry policy, or weapon policy.
    Sergeant – Golden Corrals open carry policy?
    Me - They have a, whatever the state and local laws are, is what they go by.
    Sergeant – Golden Corral makes their own laws (directed to other officer)
    Me – No Sir I didn’t say that. So am I still being detained? I’m not free to go?
    Sergeant – Not just yet
    Me – K
    Sergeant – When we get through running our checks.
    Me – If I’m not being charged with anything I’d like to be free to go.
    Sergeant – Its still a possibility.
    Me – Ok……..So did someone actually call 911 or did Golden Corral call 911?
    Officer – I don’t know who called 911.
    Me – Oh gotcha….you can get a record of all that correct?
    Officer - I would assume they got it down there.
    Me – Ok

    Somewhere in this time frame Lt. Keith Gray was walking around talking on his cell, as he walked by I asked if I could leave. He said no, you may have more problems, this permit was issued in Coffee County and this is Houston County. I said in utter disbelief, that permit is good for the entire state of Alabama! I walked back to Officer Shulmerich and asked if I was free to leave. He said no, since I didn’t give them my ID they had to track everything down through other channels to check me out. At this point I turned the recorder back on…

    Me – I wouldn’t be doing this if I hadn’t thoroughly investigated it, you know what I mean?
    Officer – I still don’t see the point personally but…
    Me – Well you know, what’s the difference in having it concealed is I mean what difference is this shirt gonna make as far the, how the gun operates or anything?
    Officer – So why not conceal it?
    Me – Well why not use it as a deterrent or a tool like a cell phone?
    Officer – So you can terrify all the women and children in there? Because there’s a man over there in a Alabama hat and black tee shirt with a gun?
    Me – Who was terrified? How was eating lunch terrifying?
    Officer - Not knowing if as soon as you get up from eating lunch your gonna hit the cash register on the way out the door.
    Me – Ya….that’s why I paid going in! (laughing)
    Officer – Hey, don’t tell me people haven’t done dumber things.
    Me – Ya maybe dumb people……I was just having lunch, I don’t know how that would be terrifying someone.
    Officer – Ah well obviously someone was concerned about it, or we wouldn’t all be standing out here.
    Me – Sorry What was your name again Sir?
    Sergeant – Sergeant Gary
    Me - Sergeant Gary?
    Lt. Keith Gray – Sir, I understand uh, an I’m pretty sure your recording,
    Me – yes Sir
    Lt. Keith Gray - and you can go ahead and get this on your recording , I’m already familiar with this.
    Me – Ok
    Lt. Keith Gray – The Sheriff who issued this, told me to just pull it. You no longer have a pistol permit and you cannot have that weapon back. You can come to the police department to pick it up once you get a permit or what have you. Just finished talking to the man, he said to pull this permit.
    Me – Under what statute? Or what…
    Lt. Keith Gray – The Sherriff’s name is on here.
    Me – I understand his name is on there, but why are you pulling my permit?
    Lt. Keith Gray – Cause the Sheriff just told me to
    Me – I mean under what purpose?
    Lt. Keith Gray – That’s it! For now… The way you get your weapon back is you need to make sure that you have a valid permit when you come pick it up. So you can go ahead and take it to your house. Ok, you’re no longer at this moment according to the Sheriff of Coffee County have a permit. I wanna get that on there real quick (motioned to the recorder) I just got off the phone with the Sheriff, and he told me to pull it. I’m Lieutenant Keith Gray with the Dothan Police Department.
    Me –OK
    Lt. Keith Gray – Um He kinda told me some things, he’s heard about you, and know what your trying to do and uh
    Me – What am I trying to do?
    Lt. Keith Gray – he’s just educated me to that fact, so this is the end of it right here. Ya’ll cleared him of warrants and everything like that? (to the other officers)
    Me – Just so I’m clear, you guys have illegally pulled my permit and …
    Lt. Keith Gray – Sir you can play your own words, I just told you everything I need to tell you, that’s it.
    Me – Ok then wait whoa let me ask one question..
    Lt. Keith Gray – that’s it that’s it.
    Me – Well I got a question. How do I get my permit, or my, you said come to the station with a permit to get my weapon
    Lt. Keith Gray – Quit walking up on me, do not walk up on me.
    Me – I’m not walking up on you, I’m asking you and your walking away…
    Lt. Keith Gray – When I direct you to take a step Don’t take a step toward me.
    Me – Yes Sir. Ok, can we talk?
    Lt. Keith Gray – Sir I just told you everything I,....
    Me – How do I get it without a permit?
    Lt. Keith Gray – What’d I just direct you to do?
    Me – And if I want to know exactly where it’ll be?
    Lt. Keith Gray – 210 North Saint Andrews Street Dothan Alabama.
    Lt. Keith Gray – Do you have any other weapons in your vehicle I need to know about?
    Me – I’m not answering that question.
    Lt. Keith Gray – (to officer Shulmerich) Is this the vehicle?
    Shulmerich – He says it is
    Me – You do not have the right to search or permission to search (to Lt. Grey)

    At this time Lt. Keith Gray walked to my passenger window and pulled out a flashlight, I didn’t know if he was planning on smashing the window or what. I pulled out my phone and started recording video. The video shows Lt. Keith Gray looking into my driver side window.

    Me – Am I free to go? Sir am I free to go?
    Sergeant – I’ll tell ya in just a second.
    Me – I’m sorry?
    Sergeant – ok your free to go

    I then returned back into Golden Corral to finish my lunch, upon entering, two of the waitresses and two managers asked me if everything was ok, I told them what happened and I asked if they had called 911. The manager said no, I was as shocked as you were when they came in. He said you come in here all time, I see you all the time. I said ya, I open carry here all the time, never had any problems, I checked your gun policy before I brought it in. He said you weren’t doing anything but sitting there eating lunch. I said I know! All 4 of the staff apologized to me for that happening to me and told me it was ridiculous. The manager even felt so bad he gave me a free meal card. They also indicated I should be able to get the video tapes they had of the incident. Another waitress gave me her card and number and said if I needed her to talk to anyone about what happened she would be glad to do it.
    On the way home I stopped by the Coffee Co. Sheriff Department to find out why my license was revoked. Talked with a Sergeant and was told to come back in the morning to talk to Sheriff Sutton. I have this conversation recorded as well.


    Wednesday, May 05th 2010
    Returned to the Coffee Co. Sheriff Department and was called to the office of Ronnie Witworth we discussed the laws and near the end Sheriff Sutton came in and I talked with him. He basically indicated he would have to see the report from Dothan PD before he would decide when or if I got my permit back. This conversation was recorded as well.

    Wednesday, May 05th 2010 4:50 pm
    Local news outlet Rickey Stokes News runs a story about the incident and post a video interview with Sheriff Hughes of Huston County about Open Carry:
    http://www.rickeystokesnews.com/arti...e-issues-10606
    Note: They imply I frightened many people in the restaurant, this is an outright lie. If the video from Golden Coral can be subpoenaed or if they let me have it, it will show there was nothing unusual. In fact it was an undercover officer that was eating lunch there that called the Dothan PD as I found out this morning from Sheriff Sutton. Also have witnesses to verify this.

    Thursday, May 6th 2010 1:47 pm
    Rickey Stokes News posts a followup article after they and the Houston Co. Sheriff Department begin to get slammed by people who support Open Carry. Suddenly the Sheriff starts to back pedal and declare “I never said open Carry was illegal”
    http://www.rickeystokesnews.com/arti...en-carry-10623

    Monday, May 11th 2010
    Stopped at the Dothan Police Department to obtain a copy of the incident report. I am told since I am listed as the Suspect, I can only get a copy if it’s subpoenaed by my lawyer. I asked her what was I charged with on the report and she said “Suspicious Circumstances”!

    Tuesday, May 12th 2010
    Letter from my attorney was sent to Dothan PD & Coffee Co. Sheriff’s office.

    Tuesday May 17th 2010
    My attorney informs me that Dothan PD called him and they are not charging me with anything and I can pick up my gun with a valid permit. He advises me to call the Sheriff’s office and find out their intentions with my permit. I called and asked Sandy if I could speak to Deputy Whitworth or Sheriff Sutton about when I could get my permit. She said neither was in the office but she would let them know I called and have one of them call me.

    Wednesday, May 18th 2010
    Sheriff Sutton leaves me a voicemail saying I can pickup my permit. I go by the Sheriff’s office speak briefly with Deputy Witworth and my permit is returned. From there I drive to Dothan PD. Speak with Becky, she says she needs my ID, CC Permit, and proof of ownership. I tell her I was not told proof of ownership was required, only my permit. She says the officers should have told me. Luckily, my gun was purchased in Dothan so I ran to the shop and had them print me out a receipt. Back at Dothan PD, gave the required documents and she informed me she’d be right back that she had to make copies and RUN A BACKGROUND CHECK! And it’d be about 5 minutes. She returned with my gun and 2 forms to fill out and returned my gun. I took it to my truck and checked everything. Gun was fine, however 1 bullet was missing. I will call her tomorrow to inform her of this. Around 5:00pm Sheriff Sutton calls again, had a very nice civil discussion, and he invited me to come talk with him anytime.

    I am attaching a copy of the letter my Attorney Sent. My cell only recorded 15 seconds of video each time but you can view them at the bottom of this page: http://www.alabamaopencarry.com/foru...hp?topic=123.0

  2. #2
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    These officers need a lot of training. It sounds as if what you were forced to go through was way over the line. You did not commit any crime, nor were there any reasonalble suspicions.

    Did you have to sign anything to get your gun and permit back?

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    Yes at Dothan PD. one was saying they released the gun to me, they other, I have to verify that I had not mental problems, was a legal citizen, not a felon etc.

    Permit was just handed back to me, no paperwork. I also have the evidence box they put my gun in. I will post pics when I get a chance. On the box where it asked, CHARGE: it was written: NONE

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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    "Happiness is a warm shotgun!!"
    "I am neither a pessimist nor a cynic. I am, rather, a realist."
    "The most dangerous things I've ever encountered were a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass and a Private who was bored and had time on his hands."

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    Exactly, as I stated my waitress and the staff didn't even know what was going on when the cops showed up, they said they were just as surprised as i was.

  6. #6
    Regular Member FedFirefighter's Avatar
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    Wow! I know this has been a huge stress for you, but you handled it well, and I'm sure everyone on here appreciates all the info. I just hope this incident changes the OC climate around the Southeast or at least opens some eyes in high enough places to get the ball rolling in the right direction toward proper training. My offer still stands about anything I can do.

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    " ...An individual cannot justify a tort on a contention that it is for the state, if the state had no such right. If the state had the right, then its officers, acting by its authority, were justified. The officers cannot be justified upon a mistaken notion of state authority. "

    [Quoted from an opinionwriten bythe Supreme Court of Alabama, June 16, 2000, (EX PARTE CRANMAN)]

  8. #8
    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    "Happiness is a warm shotgun!!"
    "I am neither a pessimist nor a cynic. I am, rather, a realist."
    "The most dangerous things I've ever encountered were a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass and a Private who was bored and had time on his hands."

  9. #9
    Regular Member Brimstone Baritone's Avatar
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    49er wrote:
    " ...An individual cannot justify a tort on a contention that it is for the state, if the state had no such right. If the state had the right, then its officers, acting by its authority, were justified. The officers cannot be justified upon a mistaken notion of state authority. "

    [Quoted from an opinionwriten bythe Supreme Court of Alabama, June 16, 2000, (EX PARTE CRANMAN)]
    Since the above isn't confusing enough, I'll point out that that statement is actually from Finnell v. Pitts, 222 Ala. 292-93, 132 So. at 4-5. (It was just quoted as part of the Cranman decision)

    To break it down, An individual- in this case an agent of the state- cannot justify a tort- cannot use as his defense in a civil suit- that it is for the state- that he was acting in his official capacity- if the state had no such right- if the state didn't have the authority do commit those actions. If the state had the right, then its officers, acting by its authority, were justified- if they were allowed to do this, they wouldn't be being sued for it. The officers cannot be justified upon a mistaken notion of state authority- they can't get out of it by saying they didn't know they couldn't do that.

    It was just a fancy way of restating an earlier decision which had since had some exceptions put in place. A key part of these earlier decisions: Elmore, 153 Ala. at 351, 45 So. at 67.
    Thus, because the State can do no wrong, its agents, when committing a tort, are not acting within their authority and, therefore, they do not act on behalf of the State.
    In Cranman, the SC restated the rule governing State-agent immunity to read, in part:
    ...State agent shall not be immune from civil liability in his or her personal capacity ...(2) when the State agent acts willfully, maliciously, fraudulently, in bad faith, beyond his or her authority, or under a mistaken interpretation of the law. (emphasis mine)
    What this means to us:
    Unless someone can point out a differing ALABAMA court opinion, then in the state of Alabama an agent of the state can be held personally liable in civil court for actions taken that are in conflict with the rules and laws of Alabama, even if they "made a mistake". (Say, for instance section 13A-11-52)
    There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away, mildewed and smoldering, strangled by our coveting. I've done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing. Doomed to crumble, unless we grow and strengthen our communication. -Tool, "Schism"

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    Regular Member Thos.Jefferson's Avatar
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    Oh PLEASE tell us you are going to sue these thugs!
    He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent which will reach to himself. -- Thomas Paine (1737--1809), Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 1795

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    I have never ever sued anyone in my life. Even when my first marriage broke up, my ex-wife and I got one lawyer for the paperwork and worked everything out for ourselves.

    If this happened to me, I would sue as hard as I could. I would be incredibly pissed if I were treated the way you were. It was pure ignorance and bullying which are a couple of very horrible traits for any law enforcement to working with.

    Sucks that you had to go through with this and I hope whatever you choose to do, works out the best for you.

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    Although I do not live in Alabama, I would be happy to donate for your lawsuit. Courts have found officers and agencies liable for much less than this. Be aware of Harlow v Fitzgerald 457 U.S. 800. All public officials are required to be personally aware of the law governing their actions. This is a U.S. Supreme Court decision and is binding in all courts. You also seem to have Alabama law on your side. The 10th Circuit ruled in favor of an open carrier in New Mexico for less intrusion.(Matthew St. John v Alamagordo Police Dept. and Six Unnamed officers) Don't have the cite dhandy but I can get it for you. Good luck!

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    For future reference in case of like minded undercover at starbucks....

    Tell them to return your gun so you can take it to a gunsmith, or as you are close
    to the state line pack away for federal transport and go buy a lottery ticket
    in FL/GA.
    You can't go finish your meal, but tack the gas charges onto the civil suite.

    I always need a gunsmith to check my sites after an anti goon messes with it.:shock:
    Either way you now have legal way to transport the gun so you can get it home.
    That way if they don't return it on site they are steeling it.

    IAMAL - hate them to much.

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    Doubles again
    Time to fix mouse button I guess.

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    A disturbance in the force...I sense another Freedom Cycle on the way.

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    Daddyo wrote:
    A disturbance in the force...I sense another Freedom Cycle on the way.
    One could hope.
    It takes a village to raise an idiot.

  17. #17
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    read your story. in complete disgust. sweet home alabama, where the skies are blue, sweet home alabama, open carry and we'll bust you.....alabama.

    glad to hear things worked out for you, and the cops maybe got an education.

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    "Happiness is a warm shotgun!!"
    "I am neither a pessimist nor a cynic. I am, rather, a realist."
    "The most dangerous things I've ever encountered were a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass and a Private who was bored and had time on his hands."

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    Well the 2 initial officers were going to just let me put it in my truck and be done with it, but Lt. Keith Gray showed up and took it to a whole other level. He's the one that escalated everything and called the Sheriff.

    BTW, found an interesting article on him on the web. Looks like he's been passed up for Chief more than once and was crying about it and tried to play the race card. But bare in mind this is the same guy that told Me OC was legal in Florida and not Alabama, and didn't know that a permit was valid for the whole state! One might suggest it wasn't a race issue, but his ignorance of the law.

    http://westchesterblackwatch.wordpre...ice-chief-job/



  20. #20
    Regular Member Brimstone Baritone's Avatar
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    Gray also said he has been ridiculed by Caucasian coworkers who “laughed hysterically” when he told them he was going to be the next chief of police.
    I don't think I'd be laughing. I'd be very afraid if I lived there and he had any chance of making it.
    There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away, mildewed and smoldering, strangled by our coveting. I've done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing. Doomed to crumble, unless we grow and strengthen our communication. -Tool, "Schism"

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    I'm glad you got your gun and permit back, but this story is screwed up on sooooo many levels.

    The thing I don't understand is why you had to produce your permit to get your pistol back! You don't need a CC permit to possess a firearm; merely to conceal it.

    I'm glad that you stood up for your rights. Even though you paid a price, hopefully it will make the cops think twice before trying to enforce what they wish the law could be instead of what it is.
    Total ignorance: an Obama supporter's stock in trade
    Quote Originally Posted by Beretta92FSLady View Post
    All the talk about Overthrowing Big Government, Revolution, etc., it's just another one of those nostalgic ideas that individuals have idealized.
    O RLY?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...and_rebellions
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    Hate to ruin a day of celebration, but you do have a bullet casing out there in the
    hands of lt. lack of grey matter with your fingerprints on it.

    I have now wiped down all my loaded rounds and mags. Added gloves always when
    loading carry mags. You just can't trust anyone anymore.

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    I'm glad to hear you got your firearm back Dianosis.Were you not given areceipt when your property was taken from you? (If you got one I missed it.) I think you would have been within your rights to have ask for one with your guns serial # on it, number of rounds, magazines, etc... You were lucky that you did not have any problem showing proof of ownership in order to get you gun back.I'm not sure I could prove ownership of all of my firearms as easy asyou did as I have owned some of them for years and this could cause a problem.

    and yes I'd sue.

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    Did they fire your pistol while they had it in custody? Is that why one bullet is missing?

  25. #25
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    This is appalling.

    Time to put the "good 'ol boys" back in their place.


    Sir, I highly suggest you sue. I know you did not ask for my suggestion, but these thugs will do this repeatedly until you, or some other upstanding citizen, makes it too utterly painful for them to even think of doing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Beretta92FSLady View Post
    Personal responsibility is a facade created by religious people in particular...
    On "Personal Responsibility just after the previous, in the same exact thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by Beretta92FSLady View Post
    Religion uses is as a tool, they did not create it.
    The wheels on the bus go round and round...round and round.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beretta92FSLady View Post
    You think that I am ill-equipped...hit me with your best shot Einstein, I am calling you out.


    Quote Originally Posted by Beretta92FSLady View Post
    Free will is only slightly a conscious exercise...

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