After meeting my youngest daughter, Christie, and my adopted daughter, Kelly, along with Kelly’s 2 year old daughter, Isabella, Kelly drove us to Gonzales, La. to visit my oldest daughter, Michelle. Needing to pick up something, I asked Kelly to drive into Tanger Factory Outlet. She dropped me off in front of the store, I ran in and out in less than 2 minutes while Kelly circled the parking lot.
While waiting to check out, I noticed an older guy standing right outside, staring intently at me. I KNEW he was either an off duty cop or he had just CALLED the cops on me. Yes, I WAS openly carrying a gun, which is quite legal in Louisiana. The state constitution CLEARLY states so. It does, however, retain the right by the state to regulate concealed carry, something that doesn’t come into play here.
Sure enough, as I was paying, a Gonzales police car came cruising by slowly. After exiting the store with my purchase, I got into Kelly’s car and within seconds, the cop turned on his lights and blipped his siren. Kelly exited and the cop told her it was ME he wanted to talk to.
Carefully, I approached officer Rome, and he asked why I was wearing a gun. After telling him EVERY citizen had that right, he just stood there, speechless.
I asked if he was aware of that, but STILL there was no answer.
It took THREE further queries before he finally answered, “No, I didn’t know that.”
Seemingly satisfied, he handed my driver’s license back to me, and I heard him tell headquarters to print him out a copy of my driver’s license info. At that point, I knew “they” were about to do “something.” I got back into Kelly’s car, not wanting to alarm them.
Sure enough, as soon as we exited the center’s parking lot, FOUR Gonzales cop cars swooped in and, in true TV cop fashion, with guns drawn and lots of loud shouting.
I slowly exited the car, hands away from my side. Yes, I was roughly handcuffed to the point of having red marks on both wrists 3 hours later. I was transported to Gonzales Police headquarters. There, Officer David Breaux was trying to figure out just what to charge me with. Since he was holding Louisiana revised statutes, title 14 (criminal code) in his hands, I suggested he read 14:95, “Illegal carrying of weapons,” which he did.
I tried, in vain, to explain to him there is nothing in the entire book which prohibits anyone from openly carrying a weapon in Louisiana.
His response: “Tell it to the judge.”
Another “officer,” Billiot, transported me across the Mississippi river to the jail in Donaldsonville. On the ride over, I tried to explain to HIM what the law states and the rights of any citizen.
He said, and I quote, “I don’t care what the laws or the Supreme Court say. WE are NOT going to have people running around, wearing guns, with women and children everywhere.”
I was fingerprinted, photographed and released on a $200.00 bond. Yes, all this for a MISDEMEANOR and a $200.00 bond.
District Attorney, Tony Falterman, obtained a copy of the arrest report and, after reading it, dismissed the charge. According to his assistant, Melissa, "Mr. Falterman has read the report and considers it complete BS."
A local reporter, Steve Ward with the Advocate, contacted chief of police Bill Landy concerning my arrest. According to Steve, the chief stated "We have a policy of arresting anyone carrying a gun without a permit. We don't care what Mr. Falterman says or does."
I attempted to retrieve my gun, only to find out the Gonzales police department has a "policy" of sending all seized weapons to the state police crime lab for ballistics testing.