Industry man contests arrest outside Obama rally
Saturday, August 30, 2008
By Milan Simonich, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Beaver County man who routinely wears a pistol on his hip says he was illegally arrested by local law officers before a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
"I am a threat to no one. Mr. Obama doesn't trump my constitutional rights. The president of the United States doesn't trump my constitutional rights," said John Noble, who was handcuffed, questioned for about two hours and then told by state police that he would receive two citations for disorderly conduct.
Mr. Noble, 50, of Industry, said he wore a holstered Glock 19 when he entered the park across the street from the Beaver County Courthouse more than an hour before Mr. Obama arrived for a campaign appearance Friday night.
"I had a Bible in one hand and an apple in the other. I was going to pass out my fliers [on the rights of law-abiding Americans to carry guns], but I never got the chance."
State police in Beaver County referred questions about Mr. Noble's arrest to Trooper Shawn Schexnaildre, of New Castle, who was part of the law enforcement detail in the park. The trooper, who was to begin his shift later today, could not be reached immediately for comment.
Jim Gehr, agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service field office in Pittsburgh, said the federal agency did not file any charges against Mr. Noble.
"Our people did talk to him. He never entered the event area," Agent Gehr said.
Mr. Noble said four or five law officers, plus a police dog, descended on him after somebody reported that he was wearing a pistol on his hip. He said they held him for 40 minutes in a Secret Service vehicle, then took him to the Beaver barracks of the state police for questioning. After being cuffed and shackled, he said, police eventually read him his rights. They also confiscated his pistol.
"Didn't even give me a receipt for it. There were lots of violations of my constitutional rights," Mr. Noble said,
After his arrest, his wife, Janet, handed out his fliers on citizens' rights to carry guns.
Mr. Noble said he had not decided whether to support Mr. Obama or Republican John McCain in the presidential election. He said he hoped Mr. Obama would call him to affirm the right of a law-abiding man to carry a pistol while a presidential contender visited.
Mr. Noble, a former body guard, said he used to carry his pistol in his clothing. But, he said, he has openly worn his handgun in a secure holster for the last four or five years. Nobody ever bothered him before, he said. He said he sometimes is asked why he carries a gun, and he explains that it is his constitutional right. In a practical sense, he said, he arms himself for protection.
He said he has a lawyer and may bring a lawsuit over his treatment by police.