Monday, February 26, 2018

Unwelcome Defender

I think this might count as a definition of irony: being asked to leave an Active Shooter Seminar by one of the deputies teaching it, right as it gets to the fight portion of "Run, Hide, Fight", because the pearl-clutching pastor saw the bulge of my gun under my clothes.

I shall expound:  A local church was hosting an active shooter (they called it "active killer" because as we've seen, murderers are using more than guns these days) seminar and because I'm a prepper who likes training and learning, I decided to attend.

I am of course carrying, because I always carry when I leave my house. I'm printing through my clothes, but I don't worry about that because 1) Florida law says "Keep it concealed" rather than "Thou shalt not print", which is good because cover garments in 80+ degree weather suck, and 2) churches aren't prohibited places in Florida and there's no posted signage on the doors about guns not being allowed.

It's a 2 hour class, and I'm sitting on an uncomfortable chair, and I've never been able to sit still in my life, so of course I'm fidgeting and trying to get comfortable. I know for a fact that I don't expose the gun, because it's covered by my shorts pulled up and my shirt pulled down, but the bulge on my right hip is probably obvious when I put my weight on my left as I try to keep my butt from falling asleep.

One of the deputies comes up to me and says "Can I talk to you for a moment?" and gestures to the back of the hall. I of course follow him.

The conversion goes roughly like this:
Him: "Are you carrying a weapon?"
Me: "I am a licensed concealed carrier and I have a lawful firearm, yes."
Him: "You can't have it in here."
Me: "Churches aren't prohibited places in Florida."
Him: "You can't have it in here,  in this particular church."
Me: "Sir, I didn't see any posted signage to that effect. If I had I wouldn't have entered."
Him: "Would you mind taking your weapon out to your car?"
Me: "I'll just leave."
Him: "I don't want you to leave. I want you to take this class. You can come back if you leave your weapon in the car."
Me: "I want to take this class as well, but I will not disarm to do it. I'll leave. Thank you."
He was very polite about the whole thing, and I could tell he was enforcing something he didn't want to, so I didn't put up a fight. He walked me to the door, and once outside we had a conversation like this:
Him: "I really don't want you to go."
Me: "I understand that, but I refuse to disarm. Since I'm not welcome here, I'll leave."
Him: "You really feel that strongly about it?"
Me: "I really do."
Him: "I'm really sorry about that."
Me: "I understand. You're just doing your job. I bear you no ill will. I think it's bullshit, because there's no posted signage, but I won't disarm and I won't make a scene, so I'll just leave."
I volunteered to show him my permit, and he looked at it. "Oh, you're local!" "Yes, sir."  He apologized several more times, and I could tell by the look on his face that he knew it was bullshit and that he didn't want me to go. He explained that people were on edge because of the shooting, and the pastor was anti-gun, and she had seen the bulge on my hip.

"I understand that, sir. Please tell her that she asked a lawful carrier to leave, and that she really needs to post signage." He nodded and I left. I sincerely hope that when it was his turn at the podium again, he said something to the effect of "If you have an active killer and you can't run or hide, the best way to fight them is with a lawfully carried concealed handgun," but I rather doubt it.

I swear, I do not understand this mindset. My pistol was concealed, but the deputies were wearing theirs openly, so she clearly wasn't afraid of their guns. And the deputy clearly wasn't afraid of me, because our interaction was conversational rather than confrontational. So she's one of those people who would rather have a quasi-professional caste created to be her absolving wet workers rather than accept personal responsibility for her own safety... which is ironic, since the entire point of the seminar was that in an active shooter situation, you have to take steps to protect your life because the police aren't there.

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