First, no…this didn’t happen in Austin, which takes a generally relaxed attitude about carried firearms (away from the UT campus, anyway). This little incident happened in The Woodlands, a Houston suburb. That said,
Conroe’s chief of police was asked to leave the Texas Ear Nose and Throat Specialists office in The Woodlands Tuesday afternoon because he was carrying his firearm.
Chief Philip Dupuis told The Courier he was wearing his badge on his belt in plain view next to his handgun, as well as his Conroe PD identification on a lanyard around his neck when he entered the doctor’s office in the 3900 block of Pinecroft Drive around 4 p.m. and started to check in. A receptionist took his driver’s license and insurance card before questioning him about the gun on his hip.
Pointing out that he’s a police officer didn’t seem to sway the receptionist.
Dupuis said she asked him to take his gun out to his car. The 35-year law enforcement veteran, who never has had an accidental discharge, refused to disarm himself, reiterating that he is a police officer.
And that’s when she asked him to leave.
Before the high horse express gets going…private property. Agree with the TENTS docs or not, its their practice, their rules. But this appears to be a case of an inexperienced or overly officious receptionist.
Texas ENT Office Manager Ryan Johnson called Dupuis to apologize. Johnson told The Courier they have the same signage regarding firearms as any other doctor’s office. It was unclear whether that signage prohibits both open and concealed carry.
“Mr. Dupuis identified himself as a police officer,” Johnson said. “This situation simply should not have happened.” …
“This was a mistake,” Johnson said. “All we can do is sincerely apologize for it and will use it to teach our employees how to better handle these situations when they arise.”
As you can imagine, the chief wasn’t pleased. And all feedback is good feedback.
“It’s just bad,” Dupuis said. “My badge is clearly displayed. I have my lanyard on with ‘police’ on my ID card hanging around my neck. I had handcuffs. The lobby was full of people, and they asked me to leave because of who I am.”
It sounds like Chief Dupuis is taking the appropriate course of action in a case like this…he’s finding another doc:
“I will be looking for a new ENT, just asked to leave … because I am wearing my gun, badge, and ID. I have never been so embarrassed … in my 35 years of law enforcement. …”
No reason to patronize a business that treats gun owners — particularly peace officers — this way. Mistake or not. I’m sure there’s no shortage of ENT’s in the Houston area who will be all to happy to have an armed police officer as a patient.