June 29, 2009
Welcome to Shreveport: Your rights are now suspended.
According to Cedric Glover, mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, his cops "have a power that [. . .] the President of these Unites States does not have": His cops can take away your rights.
And would you like to guess which rights he has in mind?
Just ask Shreveport resident Robert Baillio, who got pulled over for having two pro-gun bumper stickers on the back of his truck -- and had his gun confiscated.
While the officer who pulled him over says Baillio failed to use his turn signal, the only questions he had for Baillio concerned guns: Whether he had a gun, where the gun was, and if he was a member of the NRA. No requests for a driver's licence, proof of insurance, or vehicle registration -- and no discussion of a turn signal.
Accordingly, Baillio told the officer the truth, which led the police officer to search his car without permission and confiscate his gun.
However, not only does Louisiana law allow resident to drive with loaded weapons in their vehicles, but Mr. Baillio possessed a concealed carry license!
What does such behavior demonstrate, other than transparent political profiling -- going so far as to use the infamous Department of Homeland Security report on "Americans of a rightwing persuasion" as a how-to guidebook, no less?
Mr. Baillio made no secret of his political affiliations: An American flag centers a wide flourish of pro-freedom stickers and decals on his back windshield.
In fact, when Baillio asked the officer if everyone he pulls over gets the same treatment, the officer said no and pointed to the back of his truck.
Baillio phoned Mayor Glover to complain about this "suspension of rights" only to find that his city's morbidly obese "commander in chief" was elated at the story: According to Glover, Baillio got "served well, protected well, and even got a consideration that maybe [he] should not have gotten."
Thankfully, Mr. Baillio recorded a good bit of that phone call. You can watch a video with the transcriptions here. I've reproduced a chunk of the call below:
Baillio: (in the context of being asked about the presence of a gun) Well, I answered that question honestly, and he disarmed me.
Glover: Which would be an appropriate and proper action, sir. The fact that you gave the correct answer -- it simply means that you did what it is you were supposed to have done, and that is to give that weapon to the police officer so he could appropriately place it in a place where it would not be a threat to you, to him, or to anyone in the general public.
[. . .]
Glover: My direction to you is that, had you chosen not to properly identify the fact that you had a weapon and directed that officer to where that weapon was located; had you been taken from the vehicle, and the officer, in the interest of his safety, chose to secure you in a safe position, and then looked, found, and determined that you did, in fact, have a weapon...then, sir, you would have faced additional, [inaudible], and more severe criminal sanctions.
Baillio: So what you're saying is: I give up all my rights to keep and bear arms if I'm stopped by the police: Is that correct?
Glover: Sir, you have no right, when you have been pulled over by a police officer for a potential criminal offense [which would be what?! - DB] to stand there with your weapon at your side in your hand [Baillio's weapon was nowhere near his side or his hand, and Glover knew that. -- DB] because of your second amendment rights, sir. That does not mean at that point your second amendment right has been taken away; it means at that particular point in time, it has been suspended.
Will Grigg from ProLibertate, an excellent freedom blog, has this to say:
According to Glover, a police officer may properly disarm any civilian at any time, and the civilian's duty is to surrender his gun -- willingly, readily, cheerfully, without cavil or question.
From Glover's perspective, it is only when firearms are in the hands of people other than the state's uniformed enforcers/oppressors that they constitute a threat, not only to the public and those in charge of exercising official violence but also to the private gun owner himself.
NAGR spoke with Mr. Baillio, and he told us that he's in the process of securing the official procedures and codes for firearm handling and private property confiscation for the Shreveport police department.
So far, the city has been half-heartedly cooperating with him.
"I felt sick," Baillio told NAGR. "My uncles didn't die for this country so I could surrender my rights like a wimp. I felt terrible. I was just thinking of all that my family has done for freedom in this nation -- including dying -- and here they are disarming me at a traffic stop."
What to do?
Read Luke's commentary here, and participate in the discussion by leaving a comment.
Send this around. This kind of behavior cannot go unchecked.
Call Mayor Glover's office to complain: (318) 673-5050.
I'll leave you with one last consideration. As a licensed firearms instructor in charge of a hundred different students every month, I'm often asked if citizens should voluntarily inform police officers of the presence of a firearm during a routine traffic stop.
While different states have different laws, my answer for Colorado citizens is an emphatic "No": Colorado law doesn't require you to volunteer that kind of information, and this case in Louisiana proves why, if at all possible, you should never invite trouble by doing so.
National Association for Gun Rights