Here's a little email I just fired off r.e. a Scope employee searching my wife's purse for weapons. Never mind that we were both armed. I tried to not make the letter seem too slanted so I could get his real feelings on the matter.
I recently attended an event at the Norfolk Scope. A certain activity undertaken by one of your employees has left me, as a former law enforcement officer, with some concerns.
As I and my wife, and our two children, approached the ticketing area from the garage, we were stopped, and my wife was asked to open her purse for inspection. She inquired as to the nature of the search, and was told it was "for weapons." Please note that there were no police officers in the immediate area during this encounter.
My wife consented to the search due to the lateness of our arrival, but I must tell you that otherwise there would have been a refusal.
The emloyee used a flashlight to look around inside the purse. The search was quite ineffective, considering he overlooked two items that could have been considered weapons or weapons components. Once the search was completed, we approached a sign indicating that bags, cameras, etc. were not allowed inside Scope, but no mention was made of weapons. I assume the search was in lieu of having to take the purse back to the car?
At no time was the baby stroller or baby bag searched, or for that matter our persons. We were not advised that weapons were prohibited inside Scope, either by your employee or by signage, yet the purse was searched "for weapons." We were never asked if we had weapons, or if we had permits for weapons. Was the search really for weapons, or was that a convenient excuse?
Could you please clarify whether Scope bans the possession of weapons on it's property, and if so, exactly what types of weapons are banned and searched for?
If this employee had discovered a weapon in my wife's purse, what would have been his immediate course of action?
Would I or my wife have been in danger had the employee attempted to handle said weapon?
What training do these employees get in weapons handling?
What if a weapon is discovered and a physical confrontation takes place involving the employee?
I assume that Scope is public property, owned by the City of Norfolk. Is Scope public or private property?
In light of the recent publicity in Norfolk regarding police officers illegally arresting or otherwise harassing citizens that openly carry firearms, and considering that Virginia has state preemption of local firearms ordinances, do you as the Director of the Scope, have the legal authority to ban the possession of firearms?
What is your policy when citizens are found in possession of handguns, who are also in possession of a valid concealed handgun permit?
In light of these concerns, is the search of a woman's purse really an effective tool, or a liability?
I look forward to your reply.