Note to self: The Arch is Federal Property...and don't walk away from the rangers

This is a discussion on Note to self: The Arch is Federal Property...and don't walk away from the rangers within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have had my cc permit in Indiana for about a month now. My buddies and I were on a trip to St. Louis for ...

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Thread: Note to self: The Arch is Federal Property...and don't walk away from the rangers

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    Member Array mrtwice99's Avatar
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    Note to self: The Arch is Federal Property...and don't walk away from the rangers

    I have had my cc permit in Indiana for about a month now. My buddies and I were on a trip to St. Louis for a conference and I took my permit and gun along. I did my research and found out that MO is reciprocal with Indiana, but Illinois is a non-carry state. So when we drove through Illinois I put the gun unloaded in the trunk and when we got to St. Louis I took it back out.

    We stayed in a hotel right across from the Arch for three days and didn't have any problems. As we left today, one of my buddies from Canada wanted to go see the arch so we walked over there. After taking some pictures from outside, we headed toward the entrance. There was an older man pulling security outside and we said hi and proceeded to walk to the doors. On the way in there was a big sign advertising the arch but I noticed on the bottom of the sign, in red, a notice that all weapons were prohibited. Unfortunately, as I read that, my buddies were a bit forward of me and I had to yell at them a little to let them know I had changed my mind and wouldn't be going in after all. They didn't understand initially and were egging me to come on but I insisted and proceeded to walk back out.

    My buddies were still standing down by the security guard and debating whether they were going in and the security guard asked me why I wasn't going in. I wasn't really prepared for the question so I just said "I was prohibited" and was hoping he would leave it at that. He didn't and proceeded to ask me if I was armed, I answered in the affirmative and he asked me what I was carrying in a very friendly and curious voice. I actually thought at that point that he was just being cool and wanted to know what brand I was carrying so I replied that it was an H&K. So the guy adopts a real serious tone, looks at me and says, "You better get out of the park before I report you" and then he proceeds to get on his radio and start reporting me.

    So my friends and I start walking out of the park, which is what he directed us to do, hoping that we might be able to just leave without further incident. The park rangers, however, were on bikes and caught up to us in about 30 seconds. The one ranger rides up to me and asks me if I have ID, so I stop and say I do and show it to him. Then he asks me if I am armed, I say yes, and asks me where I am carrying at. I tell him on my right hip and he says turn around and put your hands behind your back. At that point the guy puts my hands in a loose joint lock (I am thinking he is going to arrest me at this point) and says he is going to remove the weapon, which he does.

    At that point he tries to unload the weapon, but can't figure out how to drop the mag (the H&K has the mag release in kind of a weird spot) and I tell him how to do it. Once the gun is unloaded he tells me to relax and starts talking on the radio. At this point another ranger comes up and starts talking to me and asking me what happened, so I told him exactly what happened, relating my interaction with the security guard. The ranger on the radio then asks to see my concealed carry permit, which I show him and calls in my SSN and the serial number on the gun to dispatch. In the mean time the second ranger and I are talking and he explains to me its federal property and I shouldn't be carrying on federal property. They also tell me that I shouldn't have tried to walk away, to which I explain that I was doing what the security guard told me to do. That helped my cause and they said that the security guard shouldn't have told me to get out of the park and that they were going to go have a talk with them. He then proceeds to tell me that he thinks its great I am carrying, but that its against the law to carry in a federal park (I didn't know it was a federal park) and we talk about guns a little while the first ranger finishes his stuff on the radio with dispatch. The second ranger said in the midst of the conversation at one point, "carrying a gun is a lot lighter than carrying a cop in your pocket," which I thought was pretty funny.

    Finally they finish up and say if I want to come back I just need to leave the gun in the hotel room. The ranger asks me to keep the gun unloaded until I leave the property but the second ranger talks him into letting me put the clip in but just keeping it without a round in it. So the first ranger hands me the gun, the clip, and the round he ejected. I put the clip in and holstered it and head on my way, extremely grateful to Christ that the situation didn't turn out worse. I also extended a lot of gratitude to the rangers for being so cool about the whole thing.

    A third ranger had been talking to my buddies and they said she was also really cool about the whole thing. She told them she thought it was really cool I was carrying and assured them that they just had to check us out.

    So, lessons learned:
    1) You can't carry on federal property
    2) The Arch in St. Louis is federal property
    3) Be more discreet about carrying, especially in earshot of security guards
    4) Learn to think quicker on your feet and give less suspicious and revealing answers
    5) Don't walk away from LEOs, even if that is what a security guard tells you to do.
    6) The park rangers at the Arch are pretty cool
    7) The security guard at the Arch was NOT cool


    Two Questions:
    1) Anything else you think I should learn from this encounter?
    2) What are some other areas where CC is off limits that might not be immediately obvious

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  3. #2
    Member Array svinfinity45's Avatar
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    sounds like another conflict of interest.

    I applied for a security job here awhile ago, and usually the bigger companies are VERY strict in there SOP's. Just applying for the job I had to fill out at least 100 questions pertaining to "what is the best answer" multiple choice, giving different scenarios. He could have just been trying to give you a little way out, but at the same time thought about his family that his job depends on to live, so called it in sooner than you would have liked. They DO have "secret shoppers" to test security personnel so you never know what this guy was thinking. It's great that the rangers were so cool about everything though!!

    Good informative post!

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    Distinguished Member Array Dakotaranger's Avatar
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    Shoot, I would have done the samething you did. I guess call ahead to unfamilar locations so as to know where you can and can't carry would be one thing you could have done.

    I hate lying but that might be one case where lying to your buddies about 'feeling sick' may have been appriperate and then vacate the premises with due dilligence.
    "[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons.
    They are left in full possession of them."

    Zacharia Johnson (speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention,25 June 1778)"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." ~Alexander Hamilton

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    Distinguished Member Array Agave's Avatar
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    "I have nothing to say." is a beautiful thing.
    The preceding post may contain sarcasm; it's just better that way. However, it is still intended with construction and with the Love of my L-rd Y'shua.

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    Member Array dropped_71chevy's Avatar
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    Just tell him you forgot something... to leave your weapon in the room.

    I've been in a similar situation and it's relieving to meet LEOs that are rational and willing to talk rather than act.

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    Senior Member Array MilitaryPower's Avatar
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    Sounds like you did OK. I wouldn't have told the security guard however. He just plain didn't need to know.

    Maybe it's just me, but I don't like it when somebody touches me, especially the way that the ranger did to you. I find it very hostile and my first reaction is to break the lock and prepare to fight. I guess my thinking is, "I'm the good guy here, and you are trying to take my weapon from me and that is not supposed to happen. On guard!". But, they were just doing their job, so it is understandable. It was good that they were reasonable (always could have been more, IMO).

    What else where you supposed to do other than walk away? Hopefully, we'll be able to carry in parks soon. Did your friends know that you carried before this?
    Gun control can be blamed in part for allowing 9/11 to happen.
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    Member Array mrtwice99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryPower View Post
    Sounds like you did OK. I wouldn't have told the security guard however. He just plain didn't need to know.
    I agree and will be much more discreet next time.

    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryPower View Post
    Maybe it's just me, but I don't like it when somebody touches me, especially the way that the ranger did to you. I find it very hostile and my first reaction is to break the lock and prepare to fight. I guess my thinking is, "I'm the good guy here, and you are trying to take my weapon from me and that is not supposed to happen. On guard!". But, they were just doing their job, so it is understandable. It was good that they were reasonable (always could have been more, IMO).
    Well, FWIW, trying to break that joint lock while armed would have probably been one of the worst decisions I could have made at the time. The ranger was actually very respectful the way he did it and the joint lock was very light, in fact, not even really a lock. Just put my hands in the position where if I turned on him, he would have the advantage.

    To be honest, I didn't mind this at all. These guys put there lives on the line every day. Their families live with the fact that daddy might not come home from work today in a much more significant way than the rest of us. I am perfectly content co-operating with them in a way that makes them safer as they do their job. At the time I wasn't sure if I was breaking a law or not and actually thought I might be at fault. I wanted them to have the best opinion possible of me and resisting their authority in anyway is just going to make things worse. If they end up being wrong in the long run, I can take that up in court.

    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryPower View Post
    What else where you supposed to do other than walk away? Hopefully, we'll be able to carry in parks soon. Did your friends know that you carried before this?
    I guess, in hind sight, when the security officer called it in, I should have just stood their and waited for them.

    Yes, my friends knew. They rode with me on the five+ hour drive and one of the guys roomed with me in the hotel so it would have been too much hassle for me to try to hide it. They both like guns though and were pretty cool about it.

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    Member Array Bando's Avatar
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    I guess this is a lesson to all of us not to blow your cover for anyone unless its LEO. Good story, written well, sorry you had such a scare. I'd have been sweating bullets. I already feel weird carrying out of state, even when I know the law, but to actually be detained and questioned about a violation...<whew>
    The Problem: When stupid people do stupid things, smart people end up getting killed.

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    Member Array IfIhaveto's Avatar
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    Thanks Mrtwice99 for sharing... I would have done the same thing... followed all directions given...Happy for your out come...

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    Member Array athos76's Avatar
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    Doesn't that beat all.... you listen to what the security guard tells you to do and seconds later he radios in...

    Note to self...don't carry at the Arch... Shouldn't the park have signs up if it's a fed site? And I thought it was if its a national park...not just federal property...or maybe thats just Florida.

    I'm glad the rangers were nice guys... and I'm using something you said in my sig line...

    Hmm...you mentioned never walk away from a LEO...but if the security guard told you to leave...you weren't actually walking away from them... I just don't understand some security guards

    I had a security guard at the mall get on my case for my tires squealing in the parking lot. He told me to leave the lot or he would report me to the police. I was in my Jeep Wrangler going about 5 mph...but I have 33" mud terrains and there is no way I could lay rubber...but he was to stupid to understand...so I drove to the next part of the lot to park.

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    Senior Member Array preachertim's Avatar
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    I dont like being in closed spaces, I have to throw up , scared of heights, anything that will redirect. anyway glad it turned out ok.
    Why Would A Preacher ever need a Gun? Its Not for the Sheep , its for the Wolves!

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    The Arch is a place that the average person wouldn't know was a Federal Park.
    My daughter went to the Arch on a field trip with her school. There are lots of names scratched on the bottom of it. One of the girls was scratching her name and a Ranger arrested her and slapped her with a felony for de-facing Federal Property.

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    I think the biggest lesson here is research any areas that could potentially be off limits before going there. Especially any where you know your going out of state or could be a potential problem. Sounds like the rangers treated you well enough.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    Member Array mrtwice99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athos76 View Post
    and I'm using something you said in my sig line...
    You are welcome to the quote, but it actually wasn't me that said it. The park ranger said it, so you should give the credit to him. :)

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    Senior Member Array preachertim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    I think the biggest lesson here is research any areas that could potentially be off limits before going there. Especially any where you know your going out of state or could be a potential problem. Sounds like the rangers treated you well enough.
    +1 on know your lawswhen traveling
    Why Would A Preacher ever need a Gun? Its Not for the Sheep , its for the Wolves!

    Springfield Armory Service XD 40
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