I was on a mission of mercy. A close friend needed a lady friend and her goods to be transported cross country. I found myself hauling a good-sized trailer on I-40, looking for a gas station with easy in and out. I stopped at Meteor Crater rest stop to give everyone a break. As I came out of the facility, I asked a gentleman who was uniformed as staff where the next truck stop was. He graciously told me that there was one at exit 255, about 20 miles further east. Then he said, “You are not supposed to have that here,” indicating the GLOCK on my hip . . .
“Why not?” I asked. I followed him over to a sign with a long list of rules for the stop. One of them said: Firearms must remain in vehicles.
I recognized it. It was the same bogus rule that we had fought against back in ’98, and had been removed from the Arizona rest stops. This one must have been missed, or perhaps it was a sign that was in storage, and had replaced one that was damaged. I informed the polite gentleman of the situation, gave him my card, and said that he could probably find the details if he looked up Sacaton open carry on Gun Watch. He said he would have to check with the Department of Public Safety, which I said was an excellent idea, as they would have to fix it.
It took activism by Arizona gun owners to have the signs removed. An open carry picnic at the Sacaton rest stop on I-10 near Tucson was organized in 1998. Rick Destephens, who was there, writes about it:
Have you noticed that there are no longer any signs at Arizona rest stops that read, “Keep all weapons in your vehicle”? That was Brassroots and S.A.F.E. combine effort back in 1998. We staged a forty-man protest at the Sacaton rest stop and five TV cameras showed up. We then got three hours of time on Bob Mohan’s show on KFYI. That resulted in Hull’s, ADOT’s and DPS’s phones melting down for two weeks. The signs came down later that month.
In the hustle of getting the show on the road, I didn’t get a picture of the sign. I hope to obtain one later.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.