Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Thumbs down Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    Today I had a very unpleasant experience while attempting to check my firearm at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown. I entered through the Swede Street entrance, made an immediate left, went through the doors, and encountered the checkpoint.

    I stepped to my left in front of the x-ray machine, and stated to the deputy stationed there that I needed to check a firearm. The situation went downhill pretty quick after that. I’ll summarize the encounter below using the following abbreviations to identify the participants.

    ME = ME
    LADY = Female deputy standing watch at the metal detector
    XRD = Deputy operating x-ray machine
    OD= Other deputy on other side of metal detector with lady
    LT = Lieutenant who was called to scene
    VOD = Various other deputies on other side of metal detector making snide comments throughout my encounter.

    ME “I need to check a firearm”

    XRD “See the lady over there, she will help you.” (pointing to table between metal detector and x-ray machine)

    LADY says in a hostile tone, “Are you law enforcement?”

    ME “No”

    LADY says in hostile tone, “Do you have a license to carry?”

    ME “Sure”

    I proceeded to open my wallet and hand her my Utah permit. I was CC at the time. I remember reading on here about carrying OC into the courthouse and that it was left unsettled if they had to check your firearm if you weren’t carrying under the licensing statute.

    The LADY spoke to me in a hostile tone throughout the entire ordeal, so I will omit the hostile tone while referencing her comments from this point forward.

    LADY “Utah, this aint good here, this is PA. You need a PA license to check a firearm
    here.

    ME “A Utah permit is good in PA. PA has reciprocity with multiple states like
    Florida, NH, Utah, and many others.”

    LADY “No, you need a PA license, this isn’t good here. Are you from Utah?

    ME “No”

    LADY ”Where do you live?”

    ME “PA.”

    LADY “You need to have a PA license.”

    XRD “Do you have a PA license?

    ME “Yes.”

    XRD “Where is it, can I see it?”

    ME “I don’t have it with me. It is in my wife’s car, that’s where I keep it.”

    XRD “Do you have a drivers license?”

    ME “Yes.”

    XRD “From what state?”

    ME “PA.”

    XRD “Ok, see, you need a PA license, you live in PA. Can I see your drivers license?”

    ME “No, I don’t need to show you my drivers license, I’m not driving. I wont
    be doing that.”

    XRD to LADY “Call a supervisor.”

    At this point the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up. After about 30 seconds a Lt. With the sheriffs office arrives and the LADY hands him my Utah permit. The Lt. immediately begins shaking his head back and forth while looking at my permit and as the LADY says, “he wants to check a firearm with this Utah license, he doesn’t have a PA one.” Here is where it gets a little scary.

    The Lt. hands me my permit back and says,

    LT “This Utah thing is no good here. Where is the firearm?”

    ME “On my hip.”

    LT “You shouldn’t be carrying right now. You’re not allowed in here with that.
    You’re breaking the law right now. In Pennsylvania it’s a felony to carry without
    a license.”

    ME “No sir, PA has a reciprocity agreement with Utah and many other states. My Utah permit is valid here.”

    LT “You need to leave, you’re not allowed in here with that. I could call the county
    detectives and have them come here and arraign you right now.”

    ME “That wont be happening, but feel free if you like. Are you telling me you’re refusing to check my firearm.”

    LT “Yes.”

    ME “Are you telling me I need to go to my car, leave it there, and return without it?”

    LT “Yes.”

    During this entire encounter with the LT, the LADY, XRD, and VOD’s are all chiming in with various comments in a snide manner. “He needs a PA license, what is a Utah license, is he a cop? He can’t carry in PA if he lives here without a PA license.”

    At this point, one of the VOD’s says to the LT, call _______ (I missed the name), he’s an ex trooper, he will know. The LT says hold on a minute; we’ll get the answer. He picks up a telephone and I overhear him state in a questioning tone, “Utah license?”
    He says “Utah” a couple more times, hangs up the phone, and turns to the other deputies. At this point they were all staring at him in suspense, like watching a waiter who tripped with a tray full of entrees. The LT said, “the Utah permit is valid in PA, check his firearm.”

    You would have thought the principal just said “no recess today” to a bunch of 2nd graders. It really felt like the wind was taken out of their sails. After putting me through what felt like 10 minutes of torment, I was allowed to proceed. This is where the second part of my encounter was even scarier.

    As the LT walked away, the LADY says to empty my pockets, place everything in the container and walk through the detector. I was still CC at the time. I walked through the detector, and of course it went off. Forgetting momentarily that I was CC, as I was still rattled after being harassed for the last 10 minutes, I said my belt buckle must have set it off.

    The LADY said, “no it’s the firearm.” “Oh yeah,” I replied, “that’s right.”

    I proceed about ten feet to the locker and placed my firearm in it. The deputy locked it and handed me a receipt. I signed it and was given my copy. He then said, “you’re good to go.”

    I then asked where the cafeteria was located. After getting directions, I headed towards the elevator. As I was walking down the hall I realized that after securing my firearm, the LADY never asked me to go back through the metal detector nor did she wand me as she had done to others who set off the detector after walking through.

    If I was someone who meant to do harm, I could have had a BUG, knife, or other dangerous weapon and it just went undetected. This is a serious lapse in their security and procedures. I felt like they were so focused on trying to educate me on permits that their focus was lost. Judges, jurors, court personnel, and the public in general are in serious danger if this is how things are done at their checkpoints.

    I want to write a letter or contact the interim Sheriff to address these issues but I feel like my concerns will be dismissed as nonsense. From what I know about the Montco Sheriffs office, they are an arrogant bunch of people.

    Their attitudes at the checkpoint today confirmed my suspicions. I even called while on my way home several hours later, and asked to speak with the person in charge of the firearms/LTCF’s unit. The deputy on the phone responded in an arrogant manner with “What do you want to talk to him about? He isn’t in today.”

    I need to find out who oversees the Sheriff’s office in PA so in the event my issues are ignored, I can proceed up the ladder.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
    (Northampton County)
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    32
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    Default Re: Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    If people don't know about something (anything... doesn't have to be firearm related), why do they pretend that they do? If I did that at my job, I would be fired.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Scranton, Pennsylvania
    (Lackawanna County)
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    Default Re: Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    W...T...F...!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    bristol, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    Default Re: Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    yeah thagt is pretty much a breach in security... everyone should go through the metal detector... the lady was ignorant to the fact that many states' ltcf/ccw are valid in pa... resident or not... there was just an article in the paper about it a week ago... personally, i carry on my pa ltcf except for when i'm in a state without pa reciprocity and has ut reciprocity. working on getting me a nice shiny shield so i can even pack heat in the people's republic of new jersey...
    my goal: to get every good person in the philly region responsibly armed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    bristol, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    Default Re: Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    Quote Originally Posted by uniballin View Post
    If people don't know about something (anything... doesn't have to be firearm related), why do they pretend that they do? If I did that at my job, I would be fired.
    because people are know it alls. people swear to their grave that you can't open carry in philly, that a pa ltcf is valid in new jersey (these are non ltcf holders) and that you need a liscence to keep a gun in your house... my dad was ignorant too... thought my pa ltcf wasn't valid in philly and i needed a seperate licence in philly ... how bout we get rid of all these kennedy laws so the naive can't be confused and we can focus on selling them more useless gadgets (like the slap chop)... ahole ted is dead... and it all started because he had a chip on his shoulder cause some loonies killed his brothers... GOD DAMN BIG BROTHER!

    great now that im worked up, i wan to go to the range... lol
    my goal: to get every good person in the philly region responsibly armed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Upper Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    What breach of security? Are you talking about how they made you give up your security by forcing you to check a handgun? Or are you talking about how they didn't make you go through a metal detector again to make the illusion that the court house is secured? you couldve walked through with all sorts of non metalic dangerous stuff. Ceramic knife anyone? I can't wait until someone finally makes a ceramic firearm then maybe we'll stop thinking metal detectors have magical powers to keep people "safe". the whole process is rediculous. I understand the premis of banning firearms from court rooms so that soon to be convicted criminals don't open fire but it not like they ever give people constitutional bail. who had $10k sitting around to post for simple misdemenours let alone $100k for serious crimes. the complete lack of respect for the law from our judges legistlature and LEOs makes me nausous

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Yuppeville USA, Pennsylvania
    (Chester County)
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    Default Re: Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    I think it is funny how you describe the VOD's reaction to their superior. You know they had that sad puppy look

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Pequea Township, Pennsylvania
    (Lancaster County)
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    Default Re: Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    Out of all the LEO departments the Sheriff"s should know the firearm laws better than any. Cause there the ones that give out the licenses. I have nothing but admiration for LEOs but this place needs to get their shit together.
    I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Tier, Pennsylvania
    (McKean County)
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    Default Re: Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    What a bunch of fuck nuts.
    You should have insisted they arrest you.


    Absolutely file a complaint to the sheriff.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Hueco Mundo, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: Disturbing Encounter While Attempting To Check Firearm At Montco Courthouse

    Quote Originally Posted by duane1 View Post
    Out of all the LEO departments the Sheriff"s should know the firearm laws better than any. Cause there the ones that give out the licenses. I have nothing but admiration for LEOs but this place needs to get their shit together.
    You're forgetting that the recently deceased Montgomery County Sheriff, Durante, was the one who said he would revoke anyone's LTCF who brought their firearm onto the bike trail.

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