Friday, August 27, 2010

Be careful little voice what you say (to the police)

Pastor William Duncan of Elizabethton, Tennessee learned a hard lesson July 4th weekend. He was vacationing in our nation's capital, when he was incarcerated for having firearms with him. You can read the story HERE in the Johnson City Press.

Duncan's lesson was that laws vary concerning firearms possession in the US, and Washington, D.C. has some of the most despotic! Although he has a Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit, the District does not honor carry permits from any state.

Here is a video interview from

What can the rest of us learn from Duncan's unfortunate experience?
  • Even with a valid permit, there are certain places you cannot carry.
  • Don't assume that your permit is good in every jurisdiction. 
  • Check before you go. A good resource is HANDGUNLAW.US.
  • We should 'what if'' situations.
  • Innocently answering police questions can bring trouble in spades. So exercise your right to remain silent:
The thing is, we can easily wander into situations that create trouble for us. Duncan, according to the story, innocently - a) entered the boundaries of the District of Columbia, b) entered a parking lot that happened to be a Federal parking lot, and c) had a meeting with an inquisitive officer. We could say, "Tsk, tsk, he should have known better than to go to D.C with a gun, but let's be fair.

Krutch Park in Knoxville is posted, yet there are no signs. Have you ever walked through there while downtown at Market Square? 

National Parks and Forests are generally not posted, but Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) property is. National Park Rangers are trained to ask if you have any weapons in a routine traffic stop. Do you suppose TVA police might ask, also? You could be innocently boating with your chrome plated Mossberg on board to repel river pirates, and if you come ashore for a pit stop at a TVA park, this puts you in violation.

And now, based on Duncan's experience, I suppose it would be advisable to call ahead before making a reservation, and find out if - a) weapons are banned at your planned hotel, and b) if the hotel shares a parking lot with the Feds.

And, what should you do if you are flying nonstop Knoxville to Denver, you have a handgun legally checked in your baggage, and you get grounded overnight in Chicago? For me, its a rental car to Indy as soon as the roads are passable. I will not try to check a gun at O'Hare after spending the night in Chi-Town.

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Disclaimer: The information and ideas presented in this column are provided for informational purposes only. Gun rights, like all other Constitutionally recognized rights, must be exercised responsibly. Firearms, like cars, kitchen knives and life itself all can be dangerous. You should get professional training as part of any plan to use firearms for any purpose. I have made a reasonable, good-faith effort to assure that the content of this column is accurate. I have no control over what you do, and specifically accept no responsibility for anything you do as a result of reading my columns. Any action or lack of action on your part is strictly your responsibility.

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