OMG, OMG! He Has Guns! In His Car! OMG!

California? Yeah, I’ll buy that. Massachusetts? New York? Sure. But Utah? As our friends at the Brady Campaign recently verified for us, it’s hard to find a more firearms-friendly locale than the Beehive State. You can understand the local 5-0 stopping someone and asking some questions when they get a call about a man with guns at the local Wally World. But the cops in American Fork certainly appear to have taken this one a little farther than was necessary . . .

This from fox13now.com:

Spencer Bergon is a manager at Walmart. He was getting ready to go target shooting with a friend and, while waiting for his ride, he took his guns out of his car to put them in their carrying cases. At the same time a woman walked by and got scared.

Bergon says the woman came back and circled him in her car at least five times. He says he knew she was calling the police. Bergon says he left the area but was stopped by police in a church parking lot. He was then interrogated for two hours and cited for disorderly conduct – a ticket, he says, that will cost him hundreds of dollars.

Did it really take two hours for the PD to determine that 1) Bergon worked at that particular Wally World, 2) he isn’t a felon and owns the guns legally and 3) did nothing wrong other than inadvertently causing a nearby shopper to wet her panties a little? We’re glad to hear Bergon’s going to fight this one. It would be nice if he’s able to get a hand from the Second Amendment Foundation, too, should he need help covering the costs.

comments

  1. avatar Warren says:

    Too bad Spencer isn’t black or a Muslim. Then he would spotlighted on the news NATIONWIDE. He could claim racism, Islamaphobia or some other ism or phobia. But since he’s just an ordinary white guy this story will, unfortunately, disappear.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      If he were Muslim, he’d probably be in some tiny cell in Cuba right now.

      1. avatar TTACer says:

        Not if he didn’t kill 13 people in a “workplace violence” shooting first.

      2. avatar BeninMA says:

        Sadly, that would be a real possibility, now that we’ve seen passage of the NDAA.

    2. avatar junyo says:

      Will the white man’s tribulations never end?

    3. avatar Totenglocke says:

      Which is funny, since middle class white males are the most discriminated against group in the country.

  2. avatar ready, fire,aim says:

    the woman that called the po po probably added a lot of zest to that call

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      She did. Even though she was circling his car she told the police that he was following her with the guns.

      1. avatar Totenglocke says:

        The woman should be fined for wasting the police officers time.

  3. avatar Montesa_VR says:

    If the 911 call becomes public, it would certainly make this thread more interesting.

  4. avatar Blake says:

    The woman is a complete fool. If the woman really thought the guy was up to no good, why did she, by circling several times, set herself up as a target?

    1. avatar NR says:

      Some people just enjoy telling other people what to do, and making life unpleasant for those who offend their sensibilities.

      Actually, most people do, but most of us keep that particular impulse in check.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    I’m sure he’ll be able to plea bargain the charge down from disturbing the peace to disturbing a moron.

  6. avatar Andrew says:

    Brady campaign hails the woman as a hero in 3…2…

  7. avatar ST says:

    I would speculate the 911 call went something like this:

    *911 dispatch*

    “THERE’S A GUY AT WAlMART WITH A MACHINE GUN!!!!HELP”

    *hold on,were sending every deputy to seal the area.Just stay calm……..*

  8. avatar Michael says:

    A typical definition of disorderly conduct defines the offense in these ways:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disorderly_conduct
    A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally:
    (1) engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct;
    (2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
    (3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons;
    commits disorderly conduct. . .[1]

    Sounds to me like the officer involved just wanted to charge him with something for the trouble of having to come out there. Seems VERY BS to me and if he would fight it I think he could win and maybe get the police to issue an apology. I understand the need for laws sometimes even general ones that give the officer leeway to charge criminals with something. BUT SERIOUSLY lets look at the intent its OBVIOUS that this man was not “Knowingly” or “Intentionally” trying to stalk or cause this woman harm, or anyone else for that matter.

    1. avatar The Stig says:

      Wikipedia is not your friend:
      The Utah Criminal Code defines Disorderly Conduct as:
      76-9-102. Disorderly conduct.
      (1) A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if:
      (a) he refuses to comply with the lawful order of the police to move from a public place, or knowingly creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition, by any act which serves no legitimate purpose; or
      (b) intending to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he:
      (i) engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior;
      (ii) makes unreasonable noises in a public place;
      (iii) makes unreasonable noises in a private place which can be heard in a public place; or
      (iv) obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
      (2) “Public place,” for the purpose of this section, means any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes but is not limited to streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.
      (3) Disorderly conduct is a class C misdemeanor if the offense continues after a request by a person to desist. Otherwise it is an infraction.

      We are likely missing some facts as to why he was charged with this, but I can think of at least one argument based on the facts we have with nothing more. Of course, proof with always be an issue.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Disorderly conduct is a throwaway charge that cops like to use as a preventive strike in case charges are brought against them by a citizen.

      2. avatar HSR47 says:

        I don’t see how this applies; (a) wouldn’t apply if he obeyed the commands of the PO’s on scene, and (b) doesn’t apply as he didn’t have intent to cause any sort of ruckus, and didn’t (if his story is accurate) do anything to run afoul of (i)-(iv).

    2. avatar Van says:

      “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”
      Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s head of the secret police

  9. avatar Graybeard says:

    The cynic in me sees this senario:

    Plain-looking ordinary guy going about his business.
    Good looking young gal calls the cops.
    Cop rides to the rescue of the beautiful damsel in distress to become The Hero in her eyes.

    Just because that’s happened to me twice, when it was me against a female or multiple females who were, as they say, “stacked like a brick outhouse.” Despite the females being the ones who were in the wrong both times.

    Of course, I may just be cynical in my old age.

  10. avatar Silver says:

    The braindead woman should be cited for harassment.

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      (1) A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if:
      (b) intending to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he:

      Seems this applies more to her actions than his to me.

      1. avatar HSR47 says:

        Agreed.

      2. avatar LongPurple says:

        Yep. It sure seems like the one doing the complaining is not as pure as the driven snow. I would certainly consider a counter-suit in these circumstances, possibly with a view to settlement via an apology and explanation for her over-reaction by this hoplophobe.

  11. avatar IdahoPete says:

    So, under Utah law, he commits disorderly conduct if: “he refuses to comply with the lawful order of the police to move from a public place,” he “knowingly creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition”, or “intending to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof…”

    “Refuses to comply” “Knowingly creates … hazardous or physically offensive condition…” “Intending to cause … or recklessly creating a risk thereof…” The DA will love taking this one to a jury. The guy might have recklessly created a PSYCHOLOGICALLY offensive condition for the hoplophobe, but it doesn’t sound like anything a jury would agree with. Seems as if American Fork, UT needs a new chief of police, and maybe a new mayor if the chief isn’t fired. Let’s face it, what the guy is really guilty of is “inconveniencing the police”.

  12. avatar Jim Barrett says:

    Well, the title of this is a bit misleading. Technically, he took the rifles out of his car and leaned them against the car while he was loading the pallet. It could be argued that taking guns out in a busy parking lot is not the smartest thing he could have done. My guess is that the cops felt that he had created a disturbance by doing so and cited him accordingly. Whether the citation holds up in court or not is of course another issue.

    Interestingly enough, here in NH, the AG has specifically stated that if another citizen gets upset if they see me open carrying, that upset is not enough to charge me with anything. Basically, the open carry provisions in this state trump an ignorant jerk’s “discomfort”. Without a clear statement to this point in Utah, there is more latitude provided to the police. Don’t know about you, but he seemed fairly forgiving of the police after they subjected him to a 2 hour interrogation. Me, I’d be a lot more pissed as they should be able to glean all that they needed to know a heck of a lot sooner. Plus, it should not have taken all that long to establish the facts of the case. If the woman did not hang around to be interviewed by the cops, then this should have been dropped quickly. If she had hung around, a decent interrogation should have been able to get to the bottom of things fairly quickly.

    Fact is that the cops apparently were not that busy that evening, so it seems that they had plenty of time to harass this guy. After spending all that time, they needed something to show for it, hence the citation. I doubt that the cops really give a fig one way or another whether the citation sticks. They got “points” from their Sergeant for issuing it and that is all that mattered to them. If they really thought that this guy was a threat, they would have taken him downtown for questioning.

  13. avatar Brian says:

    I very much agree that a ticket is unwarranted, but I’ve got to pin a tiny bit of the fault on the gentleman in question. I would NEVER take my guns sans-case out of the car in a parking lot, especially one as crowded as WalMart. I’ve been taught that guns don’t come out of cases/holsters in public until you’re ready to shoot, period. The story says he took them out of the car to put them in the cases, when he should have done that inside the car or at home.

    Also, WalMart is famously stingy with their cardboard boxes, so I’m sure they’re going to frown on him using their pallets as a target. 🙂

  14. avatar MadDawg J says:

    I could understand the having the rifles in sight argument more if this had not been Walmart. Walmart sells rifles. Some even sell handguns. Freaking out for seeing firearms outside a store that sells firearms is a sign of mental deficiency or disease. It’s about the same as freaking out that someone has a slushie in the parking lot of 7-11.

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      Look you can even buy that evil black rifle from Walmart, although that store is out of stock currently, http://www.walmart.com/ip/Bushmaster-M4A3-.223-REM-16-Patrol-Carbine/19235996

  15. avatar Gerard says:

    Hey. Where are the Mormon jokes? I came for Mormon jokes.

  16. avatar Monty says:

    American Fork is within Utah County just below Provo. The police down there are known for responding to everything and issuing tickets so they can keep their towns “quiet”.

    Also, our state has a hell of a lot of busy-bodies. That woman is no exception down here. I’ve had more than a few morality lectures in the checkout line by random people because I was buying beer. I stopped open carrying my old cz75 and got a smaller gun to conceal not because I was worried about becoming the first target of a shooter, but because I got damn sick of “think of the children” lectures and having police called on me in the state that issues the most CCW permits of any state.

    1. avatar Dex says:

      yeah from my experiences in utah, people generally do not like to mind their own business. They seem to forget that America is not a theocracy and is not run by the church.

      1. avatar Totenglocke says:

        Solution: Open carry (if legal) while wearing a shirt that says “F*** Jesus”.

  17. avatar Ralph says:

    Imagine what would have happened if he took his guns out in the parking lot of Chucky Cheese’s.

  18. avatar Jwhite says:

    The Derp is strong with this one.

    Let me say, there is nothing disorderly about this, and I think the guy was handed a raw deal. That said, if your gonna be a broke ass, dont be such a stupid broke ass and just toss your rifles in the back of your car.

    I dont know about you but where I’m from, your asking to get ripped off if your rifles are in plane sight sitting in trunk of the car. Invest in a very large towel, or forgo the Hollister men’s jacket for a $34 hard case. Doesn’t fit in the trunk? Get a soft case, or better, make one. That would be a fun project.

    Also… If he wasnt following her than she filed a false police report? If she was being followed, why did she circle around the guy several times. If anything she was following/stalking him. I don’t she should get a stern talking to about the gun laws in her state and given a warning for wasting peoples time.

  19. avatar sdog says:

    while i really empathize with this guy, i seriously question his judgement. this is partially because of the fact that i have to be extremely cautious when transporting firearms in “the free state.” i would NEVER, ever, ever, openly display a firearm in MD, in a parking lot. the scenario described in this post could very easily happen in my far more oppressive state regarding firearms. i hope some NRA lawyers go to batt for this.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Ever since The Beltway Sniper, it’s a good idea to keep firearms down in MD.

  20. avatar LeftShooter says:

    Why not have the long guns in cases? Even at my club we require guns in cases until they are carried to the shooting stations, where they can be uncased without being seen by our neighbors. We in the gun community know the sight of guns makes some people nervous, so why risk raising the ire of those people? On this point, go along to get along—I’m of the mind that we don’t need to create any adversaries. Besides, cases protect our expensive guns from being knocked about or scratched, and help keep them clean.

    By the way, are those puka shells around his neck? How 1970’s. Could those be the real reason he got the ticket?

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      “We in the gun community know the sight of guns makes some people nervous, so why risk raising the ire of those people?”

      I’m sorry, but that just makes things worse. Tell them to get the frak over it, as long as you’re not breaking any laws. By keeping guns hidden, you give them more of a reason to cry when they see one. If they were forced to see them every day, they’re stop crying so much – it’s like a dog freaking out over a new item in the house; after a few days, they get used to it and forget that they thought it was scary.

  21. avatar LongPurple says:

    Dare I say it? If he had “shown some tin” to the responding officers, the woman complaining would have gotten the summons, for filing a false report to the police.

    1. avatar Tknight says:

      Can you define “shown some tin”? Just curious what that means…

  22. avatar racer88 says:

    She was “scared” by a guy with a gun, yet she circled him with her car five times???? If I’m “scared” by a MWAG, I’m certainly not going to hang around and circle him!

    She’s an idiot.

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