About an hour ago, I was asked to leave Barnes & Noble in Alexandria under threat of "something very bad".
After a nice dinner with my girlfriend at Panera, I arrived at B&N at around 9:15pm to do a little reading and to possibly pick up the new Harry Potter book for her. They had a midnight party which I wasn't aware of until I got there, and since I OC at that particular B&N about once a week, I never thought twice about it. As always I nodded to the security guard upon entering, and as a matter of fact, I was seen by no fewer than 5 employees upon entering because they were giving out free Harry Potter glasses and graduation tassles, one older gentleman handing them out who asked me, "Hey, is that your mouse gun on your hip or is that your little friend?" with a smile given, and a of course a smile returned I replied, "It's my little friend..." > )
We walked over to the table where they were handing out wristbands because my girlfriend was still unsure if she wanted a copy but they were only to pre-orders, so that accounts for the 5 or so who saw me right off the bat. No problems.
We strolled some isles, and over by the magazine racks, they were taking pictures with Harry Potter, and some more employees suggested we go take our picture, so we did. (cute pic, if I have time I'll put that up as an aside) Next to the picture stand, there was a booth were you could decorate your polaroid afterwards with about another 2 employees. No problems.
I got a couple gun magazines and took a seat in a big comfy sofa chair and plunked down to start reading. I was sitting, with a stack of 3 magazines in my lap, so it'd be pretty hard to see whether or not I was carrying regardless. No problems... for an hour and a half.
At around 10:45, without warning, a hand waved in front of me because I was in Condition Magazine, and the usual, "Are you a law enforcement officer?" was asked. I replied no.
Sgt. Mucci: "Why do you have a gun then?"
me: "Personal self-defense."
Sgt. Mucci: "Come with us, and I'm going to have to see your concealed permit if you have one as well."
I then noticed that there was another officer behind me, and I replied, "Is there a problem? I'm open carrying so I don't need a concealed carry permit, and I've open carried here many times before, what's the problem?"
Sgt. Mucci: "Come with us, we'll talk about this outside."
I asked, "Am I being arrested officer?"
Sgt. Mucci: "No, you'd be in cuffs by now."
I asked, "Am I being detained officer?"
Sgt. Mucci: "No, but if you don't come with us, there'll be something very bad."
Since there was a crowd forming now, and I was getting HIGHLY embarassed, and not knowing where my girlfriend was, I stood up and said, "If I'm not being detained I'll talk with you guys outside."
Luckily my g/f was right behind them, having seen it as it happened, and I gave her the purse I was holding for her, and the cute Harry Potter pic we had. I asked her to wait here, and I'd be back.
I FELT LIKE A CRIMINAL WALKING OUT OF THE STORE DOUBLESIDED BY LEO'S WITH EVERY EYE ON ME.
Once outside, Sgt. Terri Mucci asked me, "Why do you have a gun?"
me:"Like I said, personal self-defense."
Sgt. Mucci: "Can I have your ID?"
me:"No. I don't see how that's relevant to our discussion."
Sgt. Mucci: "What's your name?"
me:"I'm Chris, what's your name?"
Sgt. Mucci: "What's your last name?"
me:"I don't see how that's relevant to our discussion. I'm Chris."
Sgt. Mucci: "I don't know what your problem is, or what agenda you're pushing, but there are dozens of kids, and this is a playground."
I replied, "I've never had a problem in Barnes & Noble and it was my understanding that company police as well as the law allowed me to carry here. So what's this about? I'm open carrying which is legal, and I'm not breaking any laws."
Sgt. Mucci: "The manager asked us to remove you from the store, and you're not allowed back in unless you disarm."
me: "In fact, if I remember correctly, Captain Hassan addressed a similar incident which just happened a couple weeks ago, and wrote an email to a friend saying it wouldn't happen again." Here's the email in reference.
Sgt. Mucci: "I don't care what was said, I have a problem with you carrying here, tonight."
me: "I've been here MANY times before, about once a week and have never had a problem, in fact the security guard on duty noticed me like he always does and didn't have a problem with it. If there's ever a problem in any place I visit with the management, then I'd be more than happy to leave, may I speak with the manager?"
Sgt. Mucci: "I don't care what you want to do, you're not allowed back in until you disarm, with that." <points at my firearm>
me: "Fine. May I have your business card please?"
Sgt. Mucci: "I don't carry business cards, but my name is Sgt. Mucci."
me: "And what's your name?" <I gesture to the other guy>
Officer Brown: "I'm Brown, here's my card." (badge #1694)
me: "Thank you, may I borrow your pen?"
He gives it to me, and I write down Sgt. Terri Mucci's name & badge # (1331) on the back of Brown's card.
me: "Thank you very much."
My girlfriend came out sometime around that point, and I walked to my car and let her back in, told her I was going back inside to talk to management, and apologized profusely for embarassing her and myself. I secured my firearm in my glove compartment, locked it, then went back. I thought about just leaving there and then, but I wanted to make sure a report wasn't going to be filed against me for anything after the fact, plus I wanted to talk to the manager because I've never ever had a problem in the times I've been there before. Sgt. Mucci was still at the door with Officer Brown.
me: "I've disarmed, may I go back in?"
Sgt. Mucci: "I don't care what you do."
me: "I just want to make sure I won't be arrested for tresspassing upon entering as I've already disarmed."
Sgt. Mucci: "We were told to escort you out and not let you back in unless you disarmed."
I took that to mean I wasn't going to be arrested for tresspassing, but I was scared. I walked in and asked for the manager at the front desk.
While waiting, Sgt. Mucci comes back in and here's what happened (STUPID ME I DIDN'T TURN ON MY CELL PHONE UNTIL NOW and stupider me, it only records 1 minute intervals... GRRR!). I quickly fumble to the recorder and this is all I got of the whole night...
Sgt. Mucci: "Keep it in an adult environment, this right here is a playground. I don't really care because what happens here right now is there's an ethical decision that takes over whatever your legal agenda is. Call your lawyer and you can have that conversation with him all day long. This makes small children's parents uncomfortable. Barnes & noble and management does not want you in this store with a gun."
me: "Well that's why I wanted to talk to the management just to make sure."
Just then, the friendly manager comes over, Stephanie, who offers her business card, and offers to talk to me outside, I say sure because I don't want to cause any scene or detract from her business.
We go outside where I say:
me (to officer Brown): "I'm completely legal, right?"
Officer Brown: "Oh yes, otherwise you'd have been arrested by now."
me (to Stephanie): "Okay, I just wanted to apologize for scaring any patrons inside, but I've open carried here many times before, and I come here about once a week if you remember my face. I've never had a problem with any employees, and I usually say hi to the security guard on duty as soon as I enter just so he knows. Have the store policies changed to prohibit legally carried firearms in the store?"
Stephanie: "Oh no! It's not a store policy, it's just that we had a couple complaints from customers who were concerned tonight."
me: "I understand completely, and I don't want to scare anybody, so there's been no problem with me carrying before, right?"
Stephanie: "No, and in fact, I think I remember that you've been here before, and welcome you back, I just wanted to make sure everything was okay."
me: "Did you ask these officers to remove me from the building?"
Stephanie: "No, I called the officers and asked them to make sure everything was legal and alright and do whatever they had to do."
me: "So you didn't ask them to tell me to leave?"
Stephanie: "No, I just wanted to make sure everything was okay."
me: "I just wanted to get that straightened out, and thank you for being so nice, I'm sorry I caused any trouble, and wanted to talk to you to make sure that store policies haven't changed. If you don't mind I'd like to give you a call later this week to follow up on anything."
Stephanie: "Sure, I'd like that, in the meantime I'll try to call [I forget something about legal]L&P corporate to make sure about our store's policy."
me: "One last thing, if you could please find the people who complained about me and tell them that I was completely safe and legal and I didn't mean to scare them and that I'm very sorry."
Stephanie: "I'll try, and thank you."
I then asked:
me to Sgt. Mucci: "Management didn't ask me to leave, why was I removed?"
Sgt. Mucci: "Mangement had a problem, so we removed you."
Officer Brown: "I was told to escort you out by an employee, so I did.--"
Sgt. Mucci: "--Look, I'm not here to debate with you over your rights or the laws, we asked you to leave because management had a problem so you can get out of here now. I'm done talking with you."
me to Brown: "Fine, then why was I forced to leave if the management said she didn't ask you guys to ask me to leave"
Officer Brown: "I'm done talking with you as well. I have nothing else to say."
I then lit up a cigarette, took the long way to my car so I wasn't followed, only noticing now that there were about 4 cars and one police SUV, and another 4 officers standing about 15 feet out of sight. VERY nervous, I got back into my car, apologized again for embarassing my girlfriend and left. Went to Double D's for a coffee and came back to type this up. More when I calm down. *sigh* I thought this **** was over when Hassan got that email a couple weeks back. I guess not.