I think that you did perfectly well. I especially appreciate your stance on alcohol. Georgia is a better place now. Bravo Zulu.
I'm going to keep this short for now as most of this encounter has been recorder by a friend and my girlfriend using my phone and I would like to review my actions before I misquote myself. I know I will not have done everything right in your eyes. But I agree now with those of you who've said situations don't always pan out the way you think they will in your minds.
I'd just gotten off of work and a co-worker had invited me to come to Trivia night at Locos Grill and Pub. I called up the girlfriend and she agreed to the plans. We arrived before all but one person at an eight person table, sat down and had a chat with that person. We'd never met. Talked about work and job prospects. Small talk. The first part you'll not agree with me on is, I ordered a beer. I usually have one. I know myself and that's where I stop.
About ten minutes into conversation I have a tap on my shoulder with a line to the tune of (paraphrasing) "Hey man, what kind of gun is that?" I say it's an XDm. "What kind?" I clarify that it's a .45. This man is wearing a Locos shirt and informs me that he thinks it's illegal for me to be carrying in a bar. I inform him of the recent changes to our state laws, specifically sighting changes through SB308. I go into the more than 50% profit derived from consumption of alcohols and the open on Sundays and he seems receptive. He says he is not aware of the changes and that he will certainly seek education for himself. He is ex-military. He states he is comfortable around guns and seems so around me. This ends our exchange. He excuses himself and goes to speak to a waitress. I stop watching him.
Two more from our party arrive. We get to small talk for maybe ten minutes. Not ten seconds after I begin to mention the exchange with the Locos employee do I feel a tap on my shoulder. "Sir come with me outside" It's an officer. I get up...he starts for the door. Five steps or so he stops...turns to me and says, and remember I am paraphrasing, "I think I'll take this." As he's turning back to me, I immediately raise my arms outward and state, "I absolutely do not consent to your confiscation of my firearm." and immediately mentally slam myself for not adding, "however I am not resisting in the event that you choose to do so" Wouldn't have had time anyway. He gets angry. "Well that's THE FIRST thing you did wrong. I don't need your permission to take this" (Didn't say that. Putting words in my mouth). I realize that I've just successfully gotten on his last nerve with the very first thing out of my mouth.
I'm pointing out the details I think will be pertinent to your opinions. I'm walking directly behind this Officer (J. T.?) Mann on our way out the door. He stops me in front of the door and the tables for the outside guests. Ejects the magazine from my gun and racks the slide dropping a bullet through the wood on the bench and onto the ground.
I honestly will admit that I can't put the events afterward into correct order and I will lie if I say I can quote things word for word. The adrenaline had begun to flow and I fell back on what education I'd gathered from reading the forums. As my weapon was being unloaded I did realize I was being shadowed by a man in plain clothes. I asked if he was the one who called about me. He said he was not. I asked if he was an employee. He was not. He stated that he was an officer just like Officer Mann. I asked first Officer Mann if he was aware of the law. I asked if he was aware specifically of SB308. He said he was not. He mentioned that I was carrying in a bar. I asked the man behind me if he was aware of SB308. He was not. At some point I fell back on some AIBD's and AIFTG's. To which he said I was not being detained. I asked then if I could have my firearm back and he said he would keep it as long as he felt it was necessary.
Somewhere in here I notice my friend and co-worker is taping me with his phone.
Somewhere into this Officer Braun joined the party. He is also not aware of SB308. I asked him the AIBD's and AIFTG's as Officer Mann left the area to, as my friends inside said, "Heckle the manager until the manager agreed not to let me in with the gun." Officer Braun initially is in take charge mode and says that I am not being detained by him but I'm obviously being detained by Officer Mann and that I am not free to go. I'm speaking very loudly and clearly by this point. I want the camera to hear everything. I am stating that the officers have demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the law which they are currently enforcing because I want it on record. Somewhere I mention to Officer Mann that if I am found to be in full compliance with the law that I expect that my weapon be returned to me in the condition that it was taken. He actually agreed. More on this later.
Somewhere in all of this I am being entirely watched by Braun (I may have screwed up his name it's on the tape) while Officer Mann is on his phone. He says he's calling his Sergeant. He asks if I want to speak to him. He's on the phone for what seems like 10+ minutes. Long enough for me to assume that he's become entirely unsure of whether or not he's correct in his actions.
Let me state that I was entirely confident in my rights and my compliance with the law the entire time this encounter took place. But it was not until watching Officer Mann on that phone did I become fully aware that he was not confident in his position. I'm a joking person by nature. I fall back onto a sense of humor that seemed out of place to my supervisor who had just walked into the situation. I look at Officer Braun (i hope thats right) and say, "My officer can I ask you a question?" "What do you think of my shoes?" I'm wearing Vibram Fivefingers Bikilas. Green. He says, "Those are shoes?"
I can tell, and I state, it seems Officer Braun is completely uneasy having walked into this situation. You can see it on him. I feel a little tinge of guilt for having placed him in it. Just a little. I state that I don't expect him to agree with him while he's being taped. He halfheartedly comments when I state that I believe Officer Mann overreacted. I won't quote him until I can watch myself.
Somewhere in this Officer Mann asks if I want to speak to his Sergeant. I ask what his Sergeants decision is. I can't for the life of me remember details right now of what I said. I will say that I ended up agreeing to having the Sergeant come out and that he says it will be at least 15 minutes. It's only after this that Mann makes it clear that I was free to go if I declined to speak to the Sarge. Somewhere in this I ask if he's going to write a report on this. He doesn't seem like he wants to make an official response to that question. At that moment I know it's a point I'll want to press again.
It turns into a lot of waiting. It turns into banter you guys will probably wish I hadn't gotten into. It's interspersed with small talk. I am still simmering with agitation. It only shows in the fact that I can't help but keep eye contact with Officer Mann. I know I shouldn't stare the guy down and I make a concious effort not to. I don't feel wrong when I do though. Somewhere in this an absolutely lady walks up to me and hands me her card. She's a criminal defense lawyer. Bless her for the gesture. I know she made an impression with it. I give her a hug and I thank her.
Somewhere well before this we're joined by another officer. I'm calming down a bit. I immediately shake his hand and introduce myself. Don't need a third wrong impression. I'm a nicer guy than Officer Mann let me show. Third officer speaks to Mann immediately and stays away in the parking lot for the duration.
Sergeant Dent pulls up. Officer Mann sees him. Grabs my gun off the bench and walks away. I note this to the camera. We're actually waved over. Away from the door to the parking lot. I meet officer Dent in front of his lights. My girlfriend is following with the camera phone. He stops her. He says he doesn't want it he has his own recording equipment. I say it's legal and will I have access to his recordings. I can't remember the answer. I'm getting a little exhausted by this point. I don't fight his blocking of my girlfriend. I shake his hand and introduce myself. He's already spoke to Officer Mann.
I'm immediately aware of his position that he needs to understand and bring this situation to a close. I give my version of the story the best I can at the point. I reiterate that the officer displayed a lack of posturing that he viewed me as a threat to his life. That he and the other officers present demonstrated an ignorance of the law. He says he's a 2A supporter. I point out the fact that the one thing I fear above and beyond being in an armed encounter with a BG is an officer who is not aware of the law and tries to enforce it off the top of his head. I go through the, "it's not the legally armed citizens who are likely to draw and shoot someone...." Somewhere in this he says that he needs to know what I need to bring this to an end. I believe I said that I would like him to acknowledge my full compliance with the law. He states carefully that with what he knows at this time, that I am. I state that I want him to explain such to the manager. He says he will but wishes to do it with just the two of them. I tell him that I would also like the opportunity to speak to the manager. He agrees that it's up to the manager. Somewhere in this I stated that the only fault I feel I could have made was that if I were asked to leave and I didn't I'd be trespassing. I state I was not asked to leave at any point. Somewhere I reiterated that Officer Mann had agreed to give me my gun back in the same condition.
We talk back and forth. We segway into ifs, hows and interpretations. I'm adamant that the majority will find my in compliance. He mentions that I had a beer. I acknowledge that it may have made people uneasy but that the law was not there to state what I could do but what I couldn't and that this portion was now non-existant. (Consumption while carrying). We get long winded and go back and forth on taking a weapon for officer safety. I never mentioned a problem with this. He agreed that my non-consent statment was a CYA. If I don't deny consent. Then I consent right? He says it could be construed that way. I say it WOULD BE if it found itself in court.
We eventually get back to how do we need to resolve this. I reiterate. I tell him I would like to walk with him to the restaurant and allow him to speak to the manager. I wait outside. Manager comes out with them. I say hi and shake hands. I tell him I understand that he called for information and instead got an Officer response. Sergeant Dent asks if I wanted to have a dialogue with him. I state that I feel I am in compliance with the law and would appreciate if he would allow me back in to enjoy my dinner but I refused to eat there if he denied me my right to carry. He flatly refused on the grounds that patrons had brought me to his attention. I agreed to leave.
At this point Officer Dent says that if I wanted a full report I would need to speak to Officer Mann and give him my information. I say that I believe the report would be biased in Officer Manns favor but I agree to give info. I follow him back to the collection of police cars in the parking lot. We exchange some more words about the encounter. Somewhere here I mention that Mann said he would return my gun in the original condition in which he confiscated it. Officer Dent realizes what I'm saying and quickly says he will strongly disagree to that. That he would not have me a loaded weapon with them still in the area. That I will be allowed to load it in the manner in which I want as soon as they leave. I point out that they are prepared to leave me alone in a parking lot with a weapon to allow me to load it there...in front of all of the patrons outside. He asks if I would be so kind as to step over to my vehicle and load it there. This isn't satisfactory to me but I agree. Somewhere after this Officer Braun begins to ask me for my info. Name. given. Adress. give. Phone number. well damn but given. Place of employment? ABSOLUTELY NOT it is not pertinent to your investigation. I upset Officer Braun here. Who then informs Sergeant Dent who then becomes annoyed. He announces that he's friendly to a point and we've just reached it. I tell him again that my employer is not pertinent to his investigation and that I refuse to give that info. He asks Braun what he has so far. Braun states what he has. Sergeant Dent says to work with what he's got.
I ask him what I need to get this report. He mentions it. I ask him what I need to do to get his recordings. He tells me. I'll need help from the audience on some of this. Thanks in advance guys.
After this I stop, look at Officer Mann and hold out both my hands immediately as I notice him grab my gun. He stops. Places my gun, +1 and magazine in his right hand and brings his left hand down to grasp my right in an awkward hand shake, "We learn something everyday" I say, "You learned something today" In hindsight I wanted to say so much more. I wanted to say, "You ruined my ******* evening and I don't appreciate it" I wanted to say so many things that I wouldn't have been proud of but he deserved for his forceful use of ignorance before consideration. I wanted to say so much for his lack of professionalism after he became aware that I was right. I know I certainly didn't afford him an opportunity to transition to that...but I didn't have to. He was wrong and he was attempting to save face. I saw it in his eyes. I'm happy I didn't return the smile. I wasn't amused.
Somewhere after this I walked, gun, mag and plus one in hand and stood by my girlfriends vehicle until she let me in. I promptly reloaded and holstered it. I put on my seatbelt and called the co-worker inside to update him.
I mentioned this site and OCDO. I know some of those present will likely read it.
I welcome criticism. Try to be constructive. I know I didn't do everything right but I'm proud of the way I handled and represented myself. I'll grow from this and I will not be deterred from exercising my right to carry and to carry openly. I've grown comfortable to the practice. This one incident is but an hour or so in the many I can consider non-eventful successes.
I can now fully appreciate the work that's done here. The information shared. I can now fully appreciate the work GCO has put in for me and my rights. I'm ashamed that I am not a member. That won't remain a fact.
I swore I meant to keep this short. The details are certainly lacking. I hope I'll find the guts to share the videos with you guys. I won't be patronizing Locos anymore. I only hope people are aware of management decision on this. I intend to contact ownership properly. Help me there too please.
...reading...pressing submit. I know I'll think of something more...but here's the rough draft.
I think that you did perfectly well. I especially appreciate your stance on alcohol. Georgia is a better place now. Bravo Zulu.
I think you handled it just fine. All the same, I hope I will handle it like you did when I return to the mainland (Navy, stationed in Hawaii, Coming to Kings Bay around January), if I find myself in an encounter with LE (no dougt at least once).
I thought about NOT posting this next bit, at first. But IMO it needs to be said.....just something to think about.
The impression I get from reading about things like this is......most of the time when an officer responds to a call like this, if he/she is ignorant of the law, espically of a recent change to the law, it's a judgement call on their part. They make a decision on how they want to handle the situtation and go with it. In their best judgement at that time, they are doing the right thing.
The officer (IMO) made a good call when he called his Sergeant. He could very well have decided he was right and ticketed or arrested you. That would have been worse all the way around. Maybe (hopefully) when he gets a call like this next time, he will remember this one and not be so quick to jump.
Hard to put this into words like I wanted to ( just got off work and its 2:40am here). Like I said though, you handled yourself great, and hopefully the LEO's involved will remember this as well and not be so gung-ho.
"My dedication to my country's flag rests on my ardent belief in this noblest of causes, equality for all. If my future rests under this earth rather than upon it, I fear not."
-Leopold Karpeles, US Civil War Medal of Honor Recipient
About the only thing I see is you went with him at first contact. IABD should start there at the table.
Politely ask him to have a seat if he wants to have a cordial conversation.
Perhaps point out that you don't have to pay your friend for her recording, nor worry about broken equipment.
Otherwise a had a smile reading it. Glad he went after the loose round for you in the weeds.
Good read and you did us all proud.
I just wanted to add. In the beginning of the post he said he would keep it short. LOL
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat....Teddy Roosevelt
I hope you update the story after reviewing the tape and let us know if or how you plan to follow up on this encounter.
VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
- - - -
For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)
Georgia Law only Prohibits the Discharge of Firearms while Under the Influence of Alcohol, per Georgia Code 16-11-134(a)(1), except that, such Discharge Prohibition shall not apply under circumstances amounting to Lawful Self-Defense under Georgia Codes 16-3-21 through 16-3-24.2.
However, Georgia Code 16-11-134(a)(2), regrading a Person with more than .08% BAC, which Prohibits the Discharge outright, seemingly regardless.
This mirrors The DUI Law, Georgia Code 40-6-391(a), by simply interchanging 'Motor Vehicle' with 'Firearm'.
Somewhere out there, a guy is thinking that these damn open carriers are giving us beer drinkers a bad rap.
In reality, the law is the law. He can have a drink and open carry. We're here, we're beer, get over it...
One thing we have to be careful of is 'catering' to perceptions. Ted Nugent, many years ago, had a falling out about "perception issues" with a famous Hunting Magazine Editor.
Ted of course, takes a "loud and proud" hunter, approach. The Magazine Editor really got on Ted about that. He felt that strapping a deer across ones hood and driving through town was out of line and gave a bad "perception". (He was wrong, of course)
Ted pretty much won that little debate handily, by correctly pointing out that buffering 'the general public' from the realities of hunting only re-enforced the prejudices, and in the long run the "low profile' catering to the public's delicate sensibilities would simply lead to more pressure against hunting, as society further distanced itself from what some of us hold dear . . .the right to hunt and eat deer.
The reality is that Surgeons drink beer. Attorneys drink beer. Ambulance drivers drink beer. Cops drink beer. And last but not least, Gun Owners drink beer. Coddling society by catering to some of their delicate sensibilities simply builds the ignorance against us in the long run. Pretty much any time I hear the word "perception" used in any political discussion, my "yellow flag" starts waving I don't give a rats butt about perception, I concern myself with reality.
This is not to say that we need to go out and get sloppy drunk in a bar while toting .50 cal dessert Eagle on our hip, but frankly, most folks I know don't do that anyway.
And if some moron does do that and starts waving a gun around . . . . I'd like to have my 1911 on me, and not in the car in the parking lot anyway. Checks and balances.
Last edited by Woodcutterron; 12-03-2010 at 11:11 AM.