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I was raised by a cop. Well, half-raised. My mother raised me as well, after all.
As a police officer, my father was often armed. He understood that bad things can happen at any moment and the police may want to prevent it, but realistically they can only show up in time to write the report. As such, he would what he could to make sure he and his family weren’t victims. I distinctly remember the Smith & Wesson .38 revolver on his hip.
The great thing for police officers is that they’re often permitted to carry places the rest of us can’t. While I tend to take issue with that from a legal standpoint, it’s not because I begrudge police officers being armed in these places. It’s the fact that I shouldn’t be disarmed.
Unfortunately for one off-duty sheriff’s deputy, an Oklahoma theme park didn’t care that he was an off-duty officer.
An off-duty law-enforcement officer, with a concealed carry firearm, was denied entry to an Oklahoma theme park when he went there to escort his family and others on a school outing.
The off-duty officer, a captain with a county Sheriff department, reacted with shock about having a firearm was the reason he was turned away from a theme park. He had come as a chaperon for his family and a school.
“Turning someone away because they don’t want guns on the premises that’s one thing… but turning police officers away, law enforcement officers away, sheriff’s deputies away because they don’t want them carrying fire arms… in my opinion’ that’s just not smart,” the captain said.
The officer had gone with his firearm concealed and paid for a ticket when he passed through a metal detector.
“They called another security guard over, and he said, ‘No, this is private property and you’re not welcome here’ and I turned around and left as my family and about 11,000 other kids went into Frontier City,” he said. “I was in shock that they didn’t want law enforcement in there watching out for 11,000 of their customers.”
Now, as a general rule, I get the mentality of not wanting someone like me carrying in a theme park. I disagree with it, but I understand that they’re concerned because they don’t know if I’m a safe individual or someone unhinged and likely to shoot up the place.
Yet police officers aren’t the average person. They’re vetted, trained, and like it or not, they’re going to be armed whether the rest of us are or not. As my father told me repeatedly, when you’re a police officer, you’re a police officer 24/7. As such, you need to be ready to respond to problems.
I also find it ironic that the theme park is called Frontier City.
I mean, it’s not like guns weren’t a major part of taming the frontier or anything, now were they?
Look, contrary to the media’s claims, people carrying guns aren’t looking to start trouble unless they’re carrying them illegally anyway. Check for a permit or a badge and let the folks in if you want to keep out the criminals with guns. Not that you will, mind you. They’ll still get them in if they want to.
But to require a deputy to disarm himself to attend a theme park? Especially one from the same state, which the captain was? That’s just dumb.