On Thursday afternoon, September 12th, 7 of my friends & I stopped at a Walmart in Marshfield, MO to get some food as we were traveling on our way to Saint Louis, MO. My sister, Suriyah & I were open carrying, as well as our friend, Brian. We all went into Walmart and parted ways – the 3 guys went one way and the 5 girls went another way. We all used the restroom and then proceeded to get some food in Walmart and stop for a sandwich & salad in Subway. The videos of this incident are at the bottom of the post.
Unbeknownst to my girlfriends & I, Brian had been asked to leave Walmart due to his unconcealed firearm. They let him check out and he went to the car to put his firearm away. During that amount of time, we saw some managers rush into Subway and they seemed like they were looking for somebody. The gal who was getting us our sandwich asked them, “Are you guys looking for somebody?” But, they did not answer. They also never approached my sister & I to ask us to leave. We had no idea that they were “watching” us because the two of us had firearms on our sides. One of my sisters did say to us, “I wonder if they are freaking out about the guns?” But, we didn’t think much of that.
Within moments though, as we were about to leave Subway, I looked up and saw multiple police officers, one with an Assault Rifle, rushing in the doors. Before we could leave, the officer came up to us in a rather harsh & angry tone and demanded to see identification from all 5 of us. He did not ask us what was going on or anything to find out our side of the story. My sister & I both handed him our handgun licenses at first, because we figured that was the identification he was looking for. But, he proceeded to say he did not want to see those, but rather wanted our driver licenses. He then kept our ID’s and the ID’s of my girlfriends who did not have any firearms on them, and told us to walk outside, thereby, technically detaining us.
After we walked outside, my friend, Brian, was coming back from the car and saw all the police vehicles in front of the store. That certainly alarmed him as he did not know what was going on with his daughter and the rest of us girls who were there. Once Brian walked up, the officer also asked for his ID, even though he had no firearm on him at this time.
My brother & dad came out of Walmart shortly thereafter also to find the police officer detaining us. He immediately asked for their ID’s as well, even though neither of them had a firearm on their side.
He then had us stand there while he ran our ID’s. During this time while we were waiting, we talked to the Sheriff and another one of the officers who had responded and asked them what the 911 call was that they received. The officer did not want to give us the exact details, but basically said it was a ‘panicked’ call and was much different than what they saw when they showed up.
While the first responding officer was running our ID’s, the Police Chief of Marshfield showed up to talk to us. He basically gave us the run-down of the laws of Missouri, how you must leave a business if they ask you to leave, why the police officers respond, etc – all of which we already knew. We had looked up the laws of Missouri before we traveled there, so we were well aware of everything that pertained to carrying a firearm.
Finally, after about 30 minutes, they let us go on our way.
The video we put up on YouTube has generated over 250,000 views in the past few days. We never expected this kind of response. There are a few things people need to learn from this.
The most important lesson we should learn from this is, if you don’t use your rights, you’ll lose them. THE reason that this incident happened and was handled the way it was by the responding officers, is not because some girls we’re trying to cause a scene, but because society has an illogical fear of firearms. And seems to think that any citizen open carrying is a cause for concern or that their firearm is going to jump off their hip and start shooting people out of control. It’s so rare, people freak out. What stupidity.
Criminals, typically, at least are not going to be openly carrying a firearm. They don’t want people to know what they’re up to. So, when you see 5 girls together, only 2 of which have a firearm on their side, peacefully shopping & laughing together in Wal-Mart, there should be no cause for concern.
Some believe open carrying makes you a target for criminals. I could see the potential for that, but have never read stories of that happening. In fact, I’ve read multiple stories where citizens open carrying have DETERRED crime. There’s the precise reason I open carry: Out of love & care for my fellow man. I would never want to be in the situation of that woman in the Luby’s Texas shooting. She lost her parents and many more fellow citizens that day due to a mad man with a gun, who she could’ve taken care of had she not left her firearm in her truck.
We’ve been criticized simply for open carrying, even by pro-2nd Amendment folks. They say we should’ve expected this if we’re open carrying. Well, since this is so normal for my sister & I to open carry almost everywhere we go, and we receive compliments regularly, this was the last thing we were expecting. Especially when Missouri allows those 21 and older to open carry without an infringement card. It’s time to start open carrying everyone, so that people get accustomed to this. Someone has to start doing it, so start educating people just by being a walking example.
Yes, we showed our ID’s and have been criticized for doing so. First off, I obey Romans 13. Due to not wanting to inflict undue harm on ourselves, considering the fact that the officer was very upset, we did hand him our ID’s. And I have no regrets for that. I DO wish I had asked him some questions or talked to him more as I showed ‘my papers,’ in the hopes that it would make him stop and think just how silly it was for them to be acting that way towards us, when they happened upon a peaceful group of citizens. And never once asked us for our side of what was going on.
We’ve been accused of ‘causing havoc’, ‘staging the incident’, ‘not leaving when asked’ and so many more false accusations. Seeing that open carrying is something my sister & I regularly do, this was the last thing we expected to happen. Open carrying is normal for us and we receive compliments regularly – never anything negative until this happened. We knew the laws in Missouri. We knew we could legally open carry. We knew they accepted our state’s permits. We didn’t see any ‘no weapons’ signs posted on Walmart’s doors. We simply used the restroom, got some food, bought a sandwich/salad at Subway and that was it. We were about to leave when we saw the cops coming in the doors, which completely surprised us. We were never asked to leave by Walmart, otherwise we would’ve left. My friend, who was open carrying, was asked to leave and he did so, but he was not with us in the store, so we had no idea that he had been asked to leave.
Finally, thanks to the vast majority of people who have been fully supportive and encouraging through this!