As we tell our members in seminars, police officers don’t always know the laws regarding concealed handgun licenses. In our view, that seems to be the case with the case of Amelia Pickens.
According to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram story, Pickens had called the Arlington Police Department to investigate a car she thought might have hit her 20-year-old daughter — then fled the scene — outside Johns Elementary School the week before.
When APD Officer Phil Hill arrived on the scene, Pickens said she explained to him why she had called police.
When Hill asked her for her driver’s license and insurance, she supplied her CHL identification as well. Pickens said shortly thereafter that Officer Hill grabbed her purse and seized her gun.
In our seminars, Law Shield program lawyers say that police will usually secure a CHL holder’s firearm at the scene of an incident. But Officer Hill did not return Pickens’ firearm after the incident, which is unusual.
Pickens said she understands why the officer secured her gun at the scene for safety reasons, but does not think it should have been confiscated. According to Pickens, she didn’t expose or brandish the gun during the incident — she simply identified herself as a CHL holder.
Pickens said she was able to get her gun back — minus the ammo — after visiting Arlington police headquarters.
Pickens said she spoke to the officer’s supervisor by phone. She said the sergeant told her that it was within the officer’s discretion to secure the gun at the scene, but that the supervisor would have personally opted to then return the gun to the woman. We agree with the supervisor.
Also, Pickens’ experience reinforces a point we constantly make during seminars — there are wide variations in how CHL laws are enforced in Texas, even within departments. The best course of action is for our members to calmly and firmly assert their rights, and call us immediately.