Many of you readers know that I work part-time with the local police department. I’m not bragging. It’s just something I do because I think it’s important for me to be involved in my community.
What the work does is provide me some pretty interesting insight into the way people behave and how they think or, in many cases, fail to think. A recent incident I had to deal with while on patrol really made me scratch my head and got me thinking about gun control — well, my definition of gun control, at least.
Here’s what happened: Night had fallen on a fairly active evening. The town where I work hosts an annual car show that brings some 120,000 people to town. They come from all across the country and gather in this little town to show off their collector cars and swap parts, tell stories and generally renew old friendships. But with 120,000 people, you can bet there will be some “issues.”
As I passed in front of one of the local taverns, I noticed the rear passenger side door on a four-door pickup truck standing open. No one was around. The cynic in me instantly said, “Someone burglarized that truck.” So I stopped about half a block back to see if anyone would “investigate” this open door. Then, after about two minutes, I decided I needed to clear this incident and move on. So I called in my location, told the dispatcher I would be out investigating a possible vehicle burglary and grabbed my notepad to get the information I would need for the report. When I got within 10 feet of the truck, I knew this was not a vehicle break-in.
You must be asking right about now if I have some sort of Super Trooper-style cop skills. How could I tell from 10 feet away this was not a vehicle break-in? Well, if some thief had opened that truck door, he certainly would have taken THE GUN sitting right there in the map pocket!
Yep, there it was, a nice black and boxy Glock 23 inside a Serpa holster stuffed into the map pocket. Right above that was a fancy new iPhone in the drink holder.
Clearly, this was a case of some idiot walking away from an unsecured firearm and a bunch of other unsecured valuables as well. But it was the gun that really concerned me. I was there shaking my head for a minute considering my options. My first thought was to take the gun and log it into evidence as found property and thus make the owner show up at the police station with proof of ownership. But I guess I’m getting soft in my old age.
With the help of the patrol sergeant, I secured the pistol and conducted a search of the local drinking establishments, looking for the owner of the truck. But guess what? He had no idea anyone riding in his truck was carrying a gun. So he had to round up all his buddies and figure out which one owned the gun. None of the people I initially talked to appeared as though they could pass a field sobriety test, so we kept looking. Thank goodness they had a designated driver. The owner of the gun had a concealed carry permit, but it was issued in another state and Wisconsin does not have reciprocity with that state. And he was admittedly drunk anyway.
Now we needed a gun case to make things legal. I finally settled on unloading the gun, removing the slide from the frame and placing the parts into a briefcase, which arguably served as a fully enclosed carrying case. I then asked the gentlemen involved to return to their camper and secure the firearm in some sort of locked case.
The entire situation was basically a mess that could have very easily resulted in that firearm being stolen. The owner was by most measures responsible. He had his concealed carry permit. That means his home state judged him “responsible enough” to carry a gun in public. I felt otherwise and told him so.
He did not appear to appreciate my lecture, but I made sure he knew the awesome responsibility he chose to accept when he decided to carry a gun. He did so many things wrong that it’s a wonder no one was hurt.
He did not control his gun. When we don’t control our own guns, government officials will begin demanding to control them for us.
Never take your rights lightly. Too much is at stake.