A Keystone resident is stripped of his carry permit and firearm, detained and issued a city citation for possession of cutting weapons on a highway.
“The officer did not have the legal right to confiscate my firearm. He also had no grounds to revoke my license to carry firearms,” said Edward Yealey, a professional audio engineer and production manager.
Yealey said Oct. 8 at or around 11:30 a.m., he was standing outside a diner owned by a friend on Philadelphia’s East York Street, when he was approached by a city police officer concerning the .45 caliber Glock 30 he was open carrying.
“Instantly I turned the camera on, I had my arms crossed, so the phone is up in a good location. I don’t think he noticed it at first,” he said.
“I have my phone more accessible than my firearm sometimes because I feel that the video camera is one of the best weapons you can have to protect yourself, especially against law enforcement and government,” said Yealey.
The engineer said he fully understands the police have a right to request to see a permit, however he said he also has a right to know why the police are asking. “I open carry because that’s the best way to carry for me – I also think it operates as a deterrent.”
Although a permit is not required to open carry a firearm in the Keystone State, it is a crime to open carry within the city of Philadelphia without one, he said. “That day, and whenever I open carry in the city of Philadelphia, I wear my open carry permit around my neck.”
Yealey said even the permit was irrelevant in this instance. “I was invited on the property legally – technically I do not need to carry a permit on private property.”
The police officer asked him whether he was a security guard with a valid “Act 235″ identification card, he said.
“I replied no, but this is after he already sees I have a permit dangling from my neck,” he said.
“He spun me around and took my firearm,” he said. “He was obviously harassing me at this point.”
The citation report describes the offense (in part) as follows:
“While having a brief conversation I asked the white male if he was working as a security guard the male responded what it is to you? I tried to tell the male that I had to ask in case he was going to hurt someone. The male refused to listen. I then removed his firearm and belt.”
Yealey said the video he compiled shows the accusations to be untrue. “He was not able to arrest me for open carry with a lawful permit, so he tried to push me to admit that I was working as a security guard without a permit.” In Pennsylvania a permit is required to be employed as an armed security guard, he said. “The police officer wanted to charge me with something.”
Thirty more minutes would transpire on East York Street before Yealey was taken to the precinct to sit chained to a bench for two hours, he said. “The officer said he was arresting me for being a nitwit. I was never booked or completely searched.”
Yealey was issued a city citation for possession of cutting weapons and summoned to appear in court on Nov. 18.
It is because of asinine gun control laws in states like
Pennsylvania and Delaware that precipitated his open carry that day, he said. “I was on my way to visit my parents in Delaware. Delaware does not reciprocate conceal carry permit laws with Pennsylvania because Delaware has a ‘may issue’ policy instead of a ‘shall issue’ as in Pennsylvania.”
The law gets confusing, said Yealey.
“In order for me to travel in my vehicle in Pennsylvania, I must obtain a separate conceal carry permit for the vehicle and once I cross the border into Delaware I have to open carry by placing my firearm on the passenger seat or on the dashboard in plain view,” he said.
“In Philadelphia, we cannot carry a knife, pepper-spray, mace, stung-gun or a Taser unless one has an armed security guard license,” he said. “With no non-lethal or less than lethal alternatives, the only recourse for personal protection as a Philadelphia resident is to go and buy a gun and carry.”
He said the police do a fairly good job overall but some officers think Second Amendment rights is for them only. “Police have some sort of fallacy that they are the only ones who are there to protect us.”
In its bulletin winter 2011 issue, Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association published: “Regardless of your opinion on open carry, recognize that it is a constitutional citizen right. Law enforcement officers remain permitted to engage in a mere encounter with someone who is open carrying. If they choose not to speak to you, and you have no articulated reasonable suspicion of a crime, you do not have a reason to detain them further. Give them a nod and wish them a good day.”
People ought to be aware of their rights and exercise them, said Yealey. “Pennsylvania is a commonwealth. We have a constitution stronger than the U.S. Constitution.”
The bottom line is that that police officer was wrong, he said.
“The officer did not have a legitimate reason to take my firearm,” he said. “I do not have an issue with renewing my permit if that makes them feel safer, but I prefer that my weapon stay in a very controlled environment – my holster.”
Watch a video of the arrest here:
Edward Yealey was arrested on Oct. 8, while standing outside of his place of employment. Initially the stop was for open carry, but when that did not work, Sergeant Kevin Bernard decided to charge Edward with “Carrying a bladed instrument on the Highway” and confiscate his pistol for “investigation” and try to revoke his carry permit.