Monday, November 18, 2013

AZ:First Hand Positive Reactions to Open Carry

My thanks to Don Cline, who posted this account on the  AZCDL email list.  From the date on the email, this occurred on 16 November, 2013.  It is clear that Don wants wide distribution.

From Don:

My wife, her mother, and I drove down to Goodyear, west of Phoenix, to my daughter’s home to celebrate our granddaughter’s first birthday today.  We were early and my wife and her mother wanted to do some shopping at Hobby Lobby.  I dropped them off and went to find a Batteries Plus store and ask some questions about the battery I’m using for my solar-powered ham-radio station.  I found one in west Phoenix on Glendale Avenue, drove to it and parked facing the street in a space opposite the store.  I went in.

There were two or three other customers in the store being assisted by employees, and I stepped up to the chest-high counter to wait my turn.  I rested my left elbow on the counter, and kind of propped the heel of my right hand on the rear of the slide of my XD holstered on my right hip.  Other people nearby; it’s a ‘weapon retention’ procedure.  Shortly a clerk came out of the back and we started talking.  My questions were somewhat involved, so we took a few moments.  While talking I noticed another two or three people come into the store and were either looking at merchandise or standing around.  I thought that was a little strange, since the Batteries Plus store I used to visit in Mesa almost never had another customer present when I was there.  But I figured they were waiting to be served, and well, they may have been.

Anyway, as our conversation progressed and began approaching a conclusion, I noticed another customer was standing a couple of feet behind me and to the right.  I glanced back at him and he looked pretty innocuous, so I figured he was waiting to speak to the clerk I was speaking to.  I continued my conversation, preparing to wrap it up, and this fellow behind me said, “Excuse me.”

I turned and said, “Yeah?  Hi.” with a questioning look.  He said, “I just wanted to say to you, ‘thanks for carrying.’”  I blinked, startled, and said, “Well, you’re welcome.  And thank you for saying so.”  He nodded and went out the door.  I turned back to the clerk and we finished our conversation, and I left.  (Aside added later:  I wonder if that guy might be on this list?)

As I exited the door, a Phoenix Police SUV was parked just to my left facing the building, and the officer behind the wheel was perfectly positioned to have eyes on me through the front store window and door while I was inside.  I nodded to him and said “G’day” as I walked past him to my own car.   He said, “Good. Day.” And he didn’t look too happy.  Thinking about it, I’m not sure he was unhappy because I was armed, or simply annoyed at having to be there.  But I went to my car and left as though everything was perfectly normal (and for me it was) but I thought the several possibly curious circumstances were … well, interesting.

Then, totally unrelated:  For the first time since I was a teenaged driver, I got pulled over by a DPS officer on Hwy 87 northbound for doing 80mph in a 65 zone.  He came up to my pasenger-side window and was very pleasant and professional, and I was very pleasant and professional, admitting yeah, I knew I was doing eighty, and he seemed surprised and even more friendly and conversational and said he had me doing 78 on radar.  When he asked for my license I didn’t reach for it, but informed him I was armed, but legal, and the drivers’ license was located immediately below my pistol.  So he informed me wanted to come around to my side of the car to secure the weapon before we did anything else and asked if that was all right, and I said, sure, that’s all right.  He came around the front of the vehicle as I exited the driver’s side door and asked him how did he want to do this?  Keeping my hands above my waist I turned to the right and he carefully removed the weapon from the holster, holding it properly I might add, without actuating the grip safety or getting any where near the trigger.  He asked if I had any other arms and I said no, and he said I could return to the driver’s seat and he would secure the weapon and be back in a moment.  I got into the driver’s seat and watched in the rear view mirror as he did something with the weapon in the front seat of his vehicle.  I couldn’t see because his door was open.  Shortly he returned to the passenger side of my car with the pistol, with the slide locked back and the magazine removed, and sat both very carefully on the hood of my car in front of my wife in the passenger seat, and handed me, through the window, the round from the chamber, saying he didn’t want to accidentally drop it on the ground.  Then he informed us he was going to cut me some slack and give me just a warning for speed, and hoped I would watch my speed more carefully in the future.  I signed the warning, and he gave me a copy – thermal printed from the printer in his car (!) – and handed my pistol and magazine back to me via my wife, who was helping.  We said our thanks for his service and he said to have a good day, and that was that.  We left.

Item of interest:  As a ham radio operator I monitor his frequency at all times, and unless he wrote down the serial number of the pistol, or ran the serial number on his mobile data terminal, he never ran it – and I don’t think he did either, because he wasn’t gone long enough to do more than clear the weapon.  I really appreciate that, since it annoys the heck out of me to have an officer run the serial number of my weapon when he doesn’t have probable cause of wrongdoing.  Other than his initial call advising dispatch of making a traffic stop and where, he never called dispatch and I never heard him provide dispatch with my tag number.

2nd Item of interest:  The warning he gave me was for doing 70mph in a 65 zone.  J

3rd item of interest:  His last name is not a common name, and it is the same as the last name of a regular letter to the editor writer published in the Payson Roundup expressing very much the views of the members of this list and my own national email list, though his first initial is different.  I presume he is a relative.

All in all, a very interesting day.  I appreciate the job he does and obviously he appreciates a citizen who treats him decently.  I firmly believe that if we treat these LEOs decently (so long as they are treating us decently) then when TSHTF, they are going to be a lot more likely to take our side in any conflict.
 I think this is important information to get out.  We often read about peace officers ( a term I much prefer to law enforcement officers) who abuse their authority or simply "follow orders" from anti-freedom higher ups.  It is worth noting that there are many peace officers out there who take their oath of office seriously. 

There is no link to a web site other than Gun Watch, but I have interacted with Don Cline for a number of years, and will vouch for him as to the veracity of his personal account.

Dean Weingarten

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