You can never say that your life as someone who openly carries a firearm isn’t interesting, though honestly, the husband and I have had 99% positive experiences from random people or officers who have approached us. And tonight isn’t even that 1%.
The husband and I decided to frequent one of our favorite eateries, Subway. We have gone to this place carrying our firearms for as long as I can remember. The husband open carries on his lunch breaks, and we visit often on the weekends and the evenings. While ordering our subs, the husband noticed that the lady making our subs seemed sort of nervous, and while we were casually eating our food in the front corner kept glancing in our direction.
Then, just before we were about to leave an officer shows up and stops dead in his tracks once he sees us (I know I shouldn’t have had my feet up on the seat again, Taco Bell must have told them about me). I actually wasn’t expecting him to approach us, and he said, “are you guys almost done eating” to which the husband said, “yes, how can we help you?” He says, “I was called because the workers saw that you were carrying and were concerned, do you guys have any ID on you?” Husband stated, “Yes we do, however we are not providing them because we are not doing anything illegal” (the recommended response). The officer then shared, “then, I’m going to have to ask you to leave” Husband then asked the officer to clarify that the actual Subway workers were asking us to leave, the officer affirmed.
We politely left, but I will not lie. I was loudly venting all the way home in the car. I was like “who in the world would find the blonde indecisive girl with the pink gun offensive??!!” Shortly after returning home, the husband decided that he wanted to visit the police station in order to ask the officer some follow up questions about the incident. So we jumped in the car, at this point I had already posted about the incident on twitter and facebook, and we were watching the responses. One of our friends had even called the location to find out more details and to share their displeasure over our treatment.
Once at the station we were greeted by polite and friendly officers who we struck up fun conversation with while we waited for the other office to return from the field. There was an officer in training at the front desk, but he was still aware that we were completely legal to be carrying inside the lobby, he asked the husband “so what are you carrying” seeing only part of the holster while sitting down. While we waited we discussed crossbreed hoslters, different firearms training events in the area, and our mutual love and appreciate for Glocks.
After a few moments the officer showed up. The husband wanted to ask him some follow-up questions specifically asking about what had occurred. He explained that we left immediately to alleviate the discomfort of the workers, but that we wanted to know, if it were a manager who had asked us to leave, and if we were barred from the property. The officer shared that it was an acting manager who felt uncomfortable due to the lateness of the hour, but that we were not banned, and no intentions of banning firearms. The officer was also extremely polite and shared that he completely understands our legal right to carry and reported that he discussed with the workers that we were doing nothing wrong, and if they wanted to ban carry they needed to have a sign.
On the way home we realized that the specific store was probably open for few more minutes, and we wanted to stop by and discuss with them. We were very careful to say that we did not apologize for carrying our firearms, but that we wanted to know if there was anything specific about our behavior or speech that made them uncomfortable. This worker who was “in charge” for the evening explained that the other worker who had made our subs fled to the back of the store crying, and hyperventilating. (From her description a type of anxiety/panic attack). Therefore, as the lead worker she called another manager who then decided based on the response of the other worker to call the officer to ask us to leave. The worker who was still there was very polite and explained that she felt very comfortable with us, and it was not her intention to call the cops on us. We introduced ourselves on our way out, and she promised that she’d contact her fellow worker to share that we’d stopped by and been friendly. (As a future counselor it broke my heart to hear that she has unresolved issues that were triggered by our everyday actions. It makes me concerned for her, I don’t want to see her have any more emotional attacks like this as the husband and I regularly see several other people open carrying around this town.)
I would say what started out as an interesting situation has turned in a very beneficial encounter!