Fort Hood Soldier Illegally Disarmed

No, this post isn’t about me. Hang with me through some boring backstory before I get to the meat of this post.

Brown v. Texas was a landmark case for the 4th Amendment. The amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

sampsonIn this case, Brown is charged with violating Texas Penal Code, Title 8, Section 38.02, to whit, “A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information.”

The key is that in order to comply with this order a person must be lawfully arrested. In order to be lawfully arrested, that person must be suspected of having committed a crime. To be suspected of having committed a crime an officer must either personally witness said crime or have reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime was committed.

The 4th Amendment is a beautiful thing – and one that is slowly being eroded through ignorance by the people and abuse of authority by law enforcement personnel. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not casting a wide net and I fully understand that there are many good police officers dedicated to the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the laws and ordinances of their respective jurisdiction. As an Army Special Agent, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with these professional officers at the state and federal level. So, as I continue, please that in mind that I only refer to those that wear the uniform 9-5 (or whatever shift) and then do nothing during their free time to learn the laws they are called upon to enforce

Slightly more than a year ago, SSG Nate Sampson (I’ll refer to him as Nate from here on out) was illegally arrested and his legally carried firearm confiscated because a Killeen Police Department officer didn’t know the law and refused to listen to Nate when he quoted it to them.
On March 30, 2012, SSG Sampson’s then-girlfriend (now wife) was rushed to the hospital after experiencing adverse reactions to alcohol and a headache medicine she took. Her blood pressure shot up to dangerous levels and she became dizzy and lethargic. They called an ambulance and she was transported to Metroplex Hospital in Killeen. SSG Sampson later went to visit her in the hospital. That’s when the trouble started.

SSG Sampson was his unit’s appointed privately owned weapons liaison for the battalion. He knows Texas firearm laws quite well and is well-versed on the legalities of purchasing, selling, owning, possessing, storing, and carrying firearms. He can practically recite the exact pages on which certain laws are contained, especially concealed handgun laws.

As he always does when he leaves the house, Nate left home with a legally concealed firearm. In Texas, we do not have an open carry law for pistols…yet. We could, if liberal, gun control supporter Speaker of the House Joe Straus and liberal Representative Joseph Pickett would move these bills out of committee (yes, I know they’re both Republicans). Since we don’t have open carry laws for pistols, we are forced either to openly carry rifles everywhere we go (except where prohibited) or request permission from the state to exercise our rights to defend ourselves by applying for a concealed handgun license (CHL).

The process for applying for a CHL in Texas is a somewhat lengthy one. Because of the difficulty in obtaining a TX CHL, most officers recognize that these people are not a threat to anyone. According to the latest statistics, only .18% of CHL holders in Texas are convicted of crimes – any crimes. Much fewer than that are violent crimes or crimes involving firearms. To get a resident CHL, Texans must meet the following eligibility requirements:

– be a citizen of Texas
– be at least 21 years old
– not be convicted of a felony
– not be charged with or a fugitive from justice for a felony or Class A or B misdemeanor
– not be convicted of a class a or b misdemeanor withing the past 5 years
– can’t be dependent on drugs or alcohol
– be otherwise qualified under federal and state firearm laws to possess a firearm
– must not be delinquent in child support payments (why this negates someone from getting a CHL is beyond me and violates the 2nd Amendment in my view)
– must not be delinquent in paying of taxes (again, not sure the constitutionality of this)
– must not have a protective or restraining order against them
– must be of sound mind (in other words, not a mental patient)

Once those pre-requisites are met, applicants must complete an application that includes fingerprints, photo, copy of birth certificate, proof of residency, and pass both a written and shooting proficiency test with a satisfactory score. There is also a mandatory 10-hour training class and $140 fee required to exercise your constitutional right to keep and bear arms. On a side note, isn’t it funny that everyone complains about requiring identification to exercise the right to vote, but to exercise our 2nd amendment rights we must pay our own version of a poll tax?

The CHL “bible” can be found in section 46.035 of the Texas Penal Code. It describes in detail the places that license holders may and may not take their firearms.

(b) A license holder commits an of fense if the license holder
intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the
authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of
whether the handgun is concealed, on or about the license holder’s
person:
(1) on the premises of a business that has a permit or license issued
under Chapter 25, 28, 32, 69, or 74, Alcoholic Beverage Code, if the
business derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale or service
of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, as determined by
the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission under Section 104.06,
Alcoholic Beverage Code;
(2) on the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional
sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, unless the license
holder is a participant in the event and a handgun is used in the event;
(3) on the premises of a correctional facility;
(4) on the premises of a hospital licensed under Chapter 241, Health
and Safety Code, or on the premises of a nursing home licensed under
Chapter 242, Health and Safety Code, unless the license holder has
written authorization of the hospital or nursing home administration, as
appropriate;
(5) in an amusement park; or
(6) on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established
place of religious worship.
(c) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder
intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the
authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless
of whether the handgun is concealed, at any meeting of a governmental entity.

Nate was originally charged with violating 46.035, paragraph (b)(4), which bars a CHL holder from carrying a firearm “on the premises of a hospital.” When the Killeen Police Department Officers approached Nate and asked him to follow them, he asked what he had done wrong while complying with their request. They eventually told him that carrying a concealed handgun into a hospital was against the law and placed him under arrest.

Knowing the exact language of the law and how to cite it, Nate asked the officers to look it up on his smartphone. The officers refused and once they got outside, he was frisked, disarmed, handcuffed and taken to jail. What the officers refused to listen to was that another subparagraph further down Section 46.035 stated he was well within his rights to carry his $2,000 Springfield .45 1911 pistol. Subparagraph (i) states, “Subsections (b)(4), (b)(5), (b)(6), and (c) do not apply if the actor was not given effective notice under Section 30.06.” Section 30.06 of the Texas Penal Code states:

“Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun”; or
(B) a sign posted on the property that:
(i) includes the language described by Paragraph (A) in both English and Spanish;
(ii) appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
(iii) is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.

The hospital had no such notice on any of its doors. And if it had, the sign would have violated paragraph (B)(iii) of Section 30.06. When Nate was released on bond, he went back to the hospital and made sure to take dated photos of the doors where the signs were required to be. There edge none.

Nate was later offered and rightfully rejected a plea offer to a lesser charge that would have required him to pay a $100 fine, court costs and forfeit his weapon.

“That’s a $2,000 gun that was a gift from my wife after my last combat tour,” Nate said. “I’m not giving that up.”

I wouldn’t either. With the trial date looming within days, prosecutor Ken Kalafut decided to throw in another charge of being inotoxicated. Nine months after the March 30, 2012, incident, prosecutors were trying to save face and a doomed case by inventing charges never before mentioned. During his arrest there was never any indication that he was suspected of being intoxicated and no tests or field sobriety procedures were implemented.

In a statement to the Temple Daily Telegram, Kalafut said that the additional charge “strengthens our case.” Potential jurors could choose between either charge to convict Sampson, if, based on evidence, they believe one or the other is true, he said.

This seems to the modus operandi of the legal system in Bell County. Officers run around shoving their badge in people’s faces and arresting them on bogus charges without knowing the law attendant to the stop. It seems clear that the only goal is to disarm law-abiding citizens and then hope they agree to lesser charges that result in confiscation of their privately owned firearms. There is an overt effort, it seems, to steal hard-earned money from a community largely based on the military population without checks or balances on their schemes to defraud its people and continue to finance its oppressive practices. It’s not just the Killeen Police Department guilty of this either.

But, Nate knew his rights and he wasn’t going to be bullied by a system that treats citizens like common street thugs and then attempts to get them to surrender in the face of overwhelming pressure and abuse of authority. The police officers around Fort Hood know that military commanders do not like their troops being in trouble and the common response from the chain of command is to pressure the Soldier to admit he made a mistake without even knowing the facts of the case. It’s a case of guilty until proven innocent by Fort Hood leaders. This provides officers with cover when they screw up.

Case in point, before Nate even made it into a courtroom his command relieved him of his responsibilities as the battalion’s privately owned weapons liaison. He was administratively flagged, which meant he was not authorized promotions, awards, schooling or other positive actions until the case is resolved. His CHL was suspended and turned into DPS officials in Austin. For nearly a year, he was unable to defend himself out in public. He was viewed as a criminal and the very foundation of our legal system that assumes innocence until guilt is proven. He was stuck in jail with druggies, rapists, drunkards, and probably other innocent people and treated like dirt by the jail officials.

Over the course of the year, this man who’s wife had just had a baby would have to pay thousands of dollars to an attorney to get charges dropped for something he never did. None of that money was returned to him or reimbursed by the state. There was no additional training required of the officers that illegally arrested him due to ignorance of the law. And instead of recognizing that Nate didn’t threaten anyone in the hospital and would have actually served as a deterrent to someone walking into the hospital with ill-intent, the hospital instead decided to disarm everyone walking into their building by putting up the required signs. The charges were dropped and everyone was just expected to carry on as if nothing happened. Officers went about their days without so much as a shoulder shrug that they had violated the civil rights of an American Soldier.

There’s this belief that Texas is a gun-friendly state. Legally speaking, that’s not far from the truth. We are allowed to open carry our rifles and shotguns pretty much anywhere as long as we don’t carry them in a harrassing or threatening way. For the most part, CHL is a “shall issue” state provided the requirements are met. There is no bureaucrat with the power to arbitrarily decide whether or not a Texan NEEDS a license to carry a firearm.

However, the reality is that even though Texas as a state is a gun-friendly state, local police departments and government entities have done everything in their power to harass those trying to exercise those rights. Officers are uneducated about the laws they are required to enforce. When advised of the laws, they are unwilling to even entertain whether or not they may be violating a citizen’s civil rights. Nate gave paragraph and line number of the law to the officer and even offered to show the law to him, but the officer was unmoved. He had no interest in having his authority dictated to him by a lowly peasant.

Article 16 of the Texas Constitution reads:

“I, _______________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm),
that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of
___________________ of the State of Texas, and will to the best of
my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws
of the United States and of this State, so help me God.”

Is an officer really “to the best of his ability” preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution and laws of the United States and Texas when he refuses to take a moment to ensure that the information being given to them by a CHL holder is accurate before potentially ruining his career, putting his character into question, stealing his money, and adding extreme stresses to the life of an active duty Soldier? It wouldn’t have taken but a minute or two to confirm that Nate was well within his rights.

Nate is a man that had deployed to Iraq three times to serve his country. He has fought and sacrificed to support and defend that same Constitution the officer was bound to support. And how does a city right outside the largest military base in the free world treat that sacrifice; by tossing him in jail on a bunch of ignorant charges and forgetting about him. Instead of doing the right thing and throwing out the charges immediately, the prosecutors instead continued to harass an honest, hard working, American patriot. In an effort to get him to cop to lesser charges, they invented other charges they thought he’d agreed to. Knowing that in order to possess a CHL in Texas one has to be nearly blemish free and not a threat to anyone, the officer and the prosecutors should have used better judgment.

Unfortunately, Nate Sampson’s case isn’t the only one in Texas. Not only are other Soldiers being illegally arrested, disarmed, and charged with bogus crimes but so is the general populace. There is a general distrust of anyone that exercises his or her right to own firearms by those in positions of authority.

Rights are violated and citizens disarmed under the guise of “officer safety.” With a little research, one would find that only .18% of CHL holders are convicted of any crime in Texas. Of the 800,000 non-federal police officers in America, only .02% of them were killed in the line of duty. Only half of the 163 deaths in 2011 were firearm-related, which makes that percentage even lower. Only 6.8% of officers are assaulted in America, less than a quarter of which resulted in injury.

So, what we have here is a dichotomy between non-threatening gun owners and a statistically safe law enforcement community. However, we always hear about “officer safety” as the reason that Texans are being disarmed during most interactions with police officers. We have been conditioned to think that police work is really dangerous so we should voluntarily surrender our rights to make them feel comfortable. I’m not talking about all police officers. As a matter of fact, I would even venture to say that the problems almost exclusively reside within city police departments. Sheriff Departments seem to be immune. Since Sheriffs are elected officials, they stand to lose more if their deputies treat the citizenry with any kind of disrespect.

The solution is simple: police departments need to do a better job of educating their officers about gun rights. When I was a new Soldier, I always went out of my way to learn Army regulations and field manuals. I took great care to learn as much as I could about what I was expected to do and ensured I knew how and why I was to do it. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that our officers take the initiative to educate themselves if their departments aren’t willing to train them on the laws they’re tasked to enforce. Until they do this, American patriots like Nate Sampson will continue to find themselves in lose/lose situations where they have to defend themselves against bogus charges and pay thousands of dollars or accept plea bargains that leave them with fines and criminal records – which affect their promotion potential.

Listen to our Top Talk Radio interview last week with Nate and his attorney:

Listen to internet radio with Top Talk Radio on Blog Talk Radio

 

 

21 Comments on “Fort Hood Soldier Illegally Disarmed

  1. Now America it is time too inform our Arms Forces that they (The Soldiers At Ft. hood) refused too show his millitary id to the (law inforcement ) Temple Police. What in the hell is wrong with these folks, protesting too carring arms and failure to provide ID when ask by police is two different things. The Fort Hood Commander should have too write a policy when thier is one already done by DA. For this Master Sargent (Grisham) to do refuse to give the police his ID , he was wrong and should be held accountable for his actions. And for the other who followed in Grisham foot steps , Bell county needs to ID them and hold tem accounttable. The Uniform is not the authority not allow you you do what you please and get away with it. Yes they all should be delt with by the UCMJ.

  2. This is definantly a two sided thing there are wrongs on both parts that being said the police was more wrong that him. Yes he could have chosen a better way to answer the question but even with him dying what he did the cop had no right to pull the stunt he did of grabbing the weapon he assentually endangered the like of the solider and his child what if the gun had gone off? Why did the cop not just ask him to remove it while they speak about it? This definany went too far. I live in Killeen which is down the road from where this soldier works and lives and I have been in somewhat the same position but never did my situation to to this extreme I believe he has every right to fight this and he has defiantly done his research about what the law states there are stipulations to everything but in this case it was all an abuse of power by some old tired ass cop who figured it could do it bc he wears a badge in the video he says “I did feel threatened” when no where in that statement does he say the soldier had pointed it at him if he had pointed the gun at him then he would of bad the right to disarm him and feel threatened

  3. Pingback: The Hard Right Over the Easy Wrong | A Soldier's Perspective

  4. this is a direct violation of OUR 2ND. ADMENDMENT RIGHTS. IT IS MARSHAL LAW & POLICE STATE. IT IS ILLEGAL IT IS AGAINST ALL AMERICANS & OUR COUNTRY. WAKE UP AMERICA ….

  5. I am so sorry that this happens. Police inappropriately assume every situation they come across is the worst case scenario. This is wrong. It allows them to assume every person is a criminal. I personally resent being viewed this way. It’s adversarial, instead of friendly and just trying to keep the peace. It creates false positives and ordinary, law abiding citizens like him, pay too high a price for this approach. They assumed, in effect, they created a situation where there was none.

  6. I am a Law Enforcement Officer in the state of Texas I have attended a police academy in the state of Texas and now work for a federal agency. In both the state of Texas,and for the Federal agency I work for you are REQUIRED to know the bill of rights and are tested on knowledge of both, another thing they both stressed is that YOU as an LE Officer can and will be charged with a crime if you commit one. Oh, and by the way its a federal charge as follows:

    18 USC § 241 – CONSPIRACY AGAINST RIGHTS
    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or
    If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—
    They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    18 USC § 242 – DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS UNDER COLOR OF LAW
    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    • Unfortunately for all of us who dream of a better world, there is a huge different between the law you were taught in theory and how it is applied and enforced in the real world, often relying on the whim of a DA, who would all but never enforce what you quoted.

  7. I hope all is well now. I read the article and watched the youtube video. Just a note to say I and my comrades fully support you. Did you get your weapons back? What was the final verdict in the case? Are you planning on filing legal action for unlawful detention/arrest?

    Alex

  8. TAKE YOUR WEAPON THAT WAS A REGISTER GUN ,IS. ( LAWSUIT ) Kileen , Temple GOVERMNT R A OPEN CORPERATION AND Can BE SUED FOR STOLEN PROPERTY , FILIing ON The DA office of thePeople ($500.000)

    YOU WERE FALSELY ARESted and injured
    Property Stolen By the CITY CORPrate Police!
    Violation Of The People of the USA to CARRY OPENLY IN THE STATE OF TX.

    POLICE DEPARTMNT FILING A FALSE REPORT TWICE and. The. DAS OFFICE CONTINUeING with the amendmnt of FALSE REPORT!!!!

    CORPrte Police DePARTmnt NOt Training the people on PROPER LAWS and NOT EDUCATING the NEW HIRES on UNDERSTANDING THE LAW!

    UNLAWFUL INPRISONMNT IN FRNT OF YOUR MINOR. SON ( the police wouldn’t do this in front of thr son or wife or daughter)

    FILe It IN CIVILE SMALL CLAMS COURT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Randy – I am in total agreement with what I believe is the sentiment of your comment. However, you should not have posted that comment with the grammar, spelling, and retarded capitalization you displayed. Seriously, you appear to be some sort of druggie or mental patient. By negative association, that only helps the rabid anti-gun zealots. Hmmm, maybe you are actually one of “them”.

  9. Too many cops choose that career path because 1) they get to be tough guys and intimidate “ordinary” people and/or 2) they really could not cut it elsewhere in a competitive job market. My daughter is a former police officer and undercover cop. She left the force because she had it up to here with the corruption she had to pretend didn’t exist. An incident finally compelled her to report a flagrant violation by a so-called “superior.” I probably don’t have to tell you which one was called a liar and subjected to disciplinary measures. Two other officers with principles were edged out around the same time. They don’t fire you. They just make life a living hell and you can forget about promotions.

    Soon the only cops left will be the sociopaths…

    • I was a police officer for 23 years. We are trained in Constitutional Law and I have a Masters Degree in Administration of Justice. Most reasonable citizens would recognize this as a BS charge….However you seem to have had quite a few run ins with the police. I can tell why you wrote what you did…you are an ass! Have a nice day!

  10. While some of these examples are of uninformed, arrogant, bullying police officers, I believe most of them are
    educated and doing their best to enforce all the laws of the land, complicated as that may be at times. We need to support & commend their dedication & while we do what we can to expose & weed out the others.

  11. There are many decent police officers, but they are almost totally ignorant of constitutional law, nor do they fully understand the law themselves. They know some basics of arrest procedures, such as your “Miranda Rights,” but that is about it. It is natural that their position of authority leads them to an arrogant attitude. Nobody is going to tell them what they can or cannot do. Power corrupts.

  12. My brother is a former Det. After Katrina, he about lost his mind, watching law abiding citizens being disarmed…He will be the FIRST to tell you, the average Cop knows NOTHING about your Constitutional rights! It is NOT part of their training. He has always warned me and my family how to react to a situation when interacting with the police. Answer all questions direct, short and to the point. Do NOT volunteer anything and IF you feel you are being harassed, call for a supervisor and a lawyer! We as citizens have RIGHTS!

    • Police officers receive initial training according to what the state says is minimum. Then their OJT is by fellow officers. That is where the real training comes to play, such as how to break the law and get away with it, and how to cover your ass when caught.

  13. Thanks for a well written account of something that seems to be on the rise…local LEOs getting out of control.

  14. I was harrased by Killeen PD as well. They stopped me for a tag light being out and became overly aggressive when I informed them of the presence of my CCW and firearm. After a lengthly wait (on the asphalt in cuffs) I was released and sent on my way. During the entire stop the officers had my firearm and were dry-firing it by their patrol cars, constantly questioned me on my activities that evening trying to get me to change my story.

  15. This is a really good article, and very factual. The problem hers is the same problem that has always been, that of law enforcement….specifically Police. As mentioned in the article you typically don’t have this problem with Sheriffs dept.’s which I have noticed over the years is very true. But the problem is much bigger that of the CHL. I have had run in’s with Police officers all over this country, whether it is doing 5 mph over the posted speed limit, wearing a seat belt, or coming to a rolling stop at a stop sign, it is very typical for Police officers to treat the public like the biggest drug dealer in the county. And to find one officer in a million that actually knows even a small portion of the law… that it is THEIR JOB to know.,…well that is a whole different story. The biggest problem with city police officers is that most of them have the typical Huge Ego, and Crappy Attitude, which is exactly why most of them became cops to begin with, which here again is a large part of the problem. The other huge part of the problem is that officers are not, and should be REQUIRED, to study and know the law….which they of course are not. And one more large issue with Police is that they are fed this gigantic load of crap from their higher officials and of course the media, that their jobs are SO DANGEROUS, which of course is as far from the truth as it gets.

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