AdnanShahab.com

2Jan/106

UOC Meetup in Livermore

I had been looking forward to today for over a week.  A couple of people who I had met briefly at various points over the last few months had decided to organize an unloaded open carry (UOC) meetup in Livermore.  It was to be an informal UOC meetup at the Panama Red Coffee Co. from 11AM to 1PM.  As I have taken a keen interest in UOC over the last month or so, I made it a point to attend the meetup.  This would be my very first UOC.

A few days before the meetup, I was informed that the organizers had been in contact with the Livermore Police Department (LPD).  In order to ensure that everything went smoothly, it was suggested that people who were UOCing could meet with officers from the LPD (prior to the actual Panama Red meetup) at a nearby parking lot in order for officers to conduct a 12031(e) check (to make sure that there was no ammunition actually in the firearm, only in magazines outside of the firearm).  This was a voluntary meeting, not a mandatory one.  It was scheduled to take place between 10:30AM and 10:45AM.  I was informed that it was agreed that no serial numbers would be run by the officers and that they would not check the ID’s of those who showed up.  Of course, those who did not show up for this inspection by the LPD would still be subject to a 12031(e) check by any officer who happened to see them approaching, entering, or exiting Panama Red.

I understand that there are those out there who would be incensed to willingly meet with the Police at a separate location in order to submit to a 12031(e) check.  While I understand their concerns (UOC is not illegal, the 12031(e) checks are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, the checks should be done in front of as many people as possible so that society will see that the Police have no reason to prevent us from UOCing, etc.), I personally had no problem with the agreed upon terms.  While I firmly believe that my right to carry a firearm is guaranteed by the Second Amendment, I also understand that many people in California, including law enforcement officers (LEO), are not accustomed to citizens openly carrying firearms.  As long LEOs do not go too far in violating my rights, I am willing to make an effort to meet them halfway for the sake of making the whole process go smoothly during these early encounters.  I believe that this ambassador-type behavior on my part will help to show law enforcement officers that people who UOC are not dangerous criminals and are, instead, law-abiding citizens who are simply trying to exercise their right to carry a firearm.

Amongst my many options, I decided to UOC my Walther PPK/S for this meetup.  I felt that some of my other firearms were much too bulky to carry for this meetup (e.g. my Desert Eagles).  My matching black Walther PPKs are my favorite handguns, and I was tempted to carry one of them.  But, in the end, I decided to go with my PPK/S because it is stainless steel.  (All of my other handguns are matte black or “blue”.)  I felt that, especially at a meetup with the express intention of displaying one’s rights and educating people, the fact that the PPK/S would be most visible to LEOs and everyday citizens made it the best choice.  And if people wanted to ask me questions about UOC, I was more than willing to tell them what I know about the issue.

I arrived at the parking lot in Livermore a little after 10:30AM.  Four LPD officers and four cruisers were already waiting in the parking lot.  I met up with three other guys who were carrying, as well as some of their family/loved ones.  A little before 10:45AM, we all walked over to the officers, introduced ourselves, and went through the 12031(e) checks.  We brought a ton of cameras and video recorders with us, so the whole process was well-documented.  As soon as the first guy started getting (e)checked, I noticed that the officer decided to read the serial number off the guy’s gun out loud into some sort of recording device.  While they weren’t actually running the serial number of the firearm at that moment, they were recording it and could easily run the serial number at a later time.  It seemed a little shady on their part, but I knew that none of us had anything to hide.  I was the third person to get checked, and I made sure that lots of pictures were taken of my very first (e)check.  What a special moment that I will always remember.  LOL.  After all four of us were checked, the officers thanked us for meeting with them and wished us well for the rest of the day.

Our group of seven (six adults and one precious 9-month-old girl) then walked the half block or so to the coffee shop.  When we got inside, we all ordered and sat down at a group of tables by the large picture windows at the front of the shop.  A couple customers seemed to notice that we were carrying, but nobody seemed panicked at all.  We sat down and started taking about UOC.  People talked about the law as they understood it, our attempts (often in vain) to get clarification on the issue from law enforcement agencies, and people’s past experiences while UOCing.

As we sat there other people began trickling in for the UOC meetup.  At our peak, there were ten of us there who were UOCing, and, including friends and family, there were probably close to 20 people total.  I was extremely pleased with the turnout.  We wound up occupying most of the front of the coffee shop.  A photographer from the Bay Area Newspaper Group (who had been contacted by organizers of the meetup) even showed up and took some pictures of our meetup group.  We made sure to explain to the photographer that I am a candidate for California State Assembly.

It was really interesting to talk with the more experienced UOCers.  I was warned that if I continue to UOC, there is a very good chance that I might wind up on some sort of terrorist watch list.  I find that to be both sad and amusing.  If true, it’s sad that the government would look at a person who is engaging in legal conduct as being some sort of possible terrorist.  A government that is functioning properly should be on the lookout for the bad guys, not the good guys.  It’s amusing because I am probably one of the least likely people in the country to engage in terrorist activities.  I love California, and I love America.  It is that love which prompted me to run for California State Assembly.  I would never engage in terrorist activities.

While we were there, more than a few customers of the coffee shop would stop by and ask us questions about UOC.  Many of the people in the meetup group had brought information pamphlets about UOC, and we were all more than happy to answer people’s questions.  It was also nice to be able to meet face-to-face with people from around the Bay Area who share my concerns about gun rights.  It was eventually decided that we would try to meetup at a different location around the Bay Area each month, hopefully increasing the number of people who turn out for each meetup.

Around 1PM, everyone decided that they were going to go eat at a nearby restaurant.  Even though I had to leave to take care of some other business, I walked over to the restaurant with them.  It was really interesting to see the reactions of people as we walked down the street.  A lot of people didn’t even realize that ten of us were carrying.  And for those who did notice, it didn’t appear that anyone became panicked.  People seemed more interested to figure out who we were more than anything else.  The answer to that is simple: We are law-abiding citizens who are exercising our rights to carry firearms.  I really am looking forward to the next UOC meetup.

I just wanted to end this blog entry with some random thoughts.  While I was getting ready to leave my house, it occurred to me that a whole lot of people who see me with a gun on my hip would probably think that I am some sort of LEO.  I mean, between the way I dress for work and the way I look while out on the campaign trail speaking to groups of people from the community, it really wouldn’t be a stretch for people to think that I am an FBI of Secret Service agent or something like that.  It is not my intention to emulate the look of an LEO; that is simply the way that I dress.  I just wish that I were allowed to wear a suit jacket while I UOC.  Obviously, the jacket would cover the handgun, making it an illegal unloaded concealed carry.  But I am most comfortable when I am fully suited up.

I also know that there are people out there who think that I am occupying law enforcement resources by UOCing.  After all, the LPD had to dedicate four officers to meet with us prior to the meetup, and there were an inordinate number of police cruisers that drove by the coffee shop during the two hours that we were there.  To these people I say this:  I will not apologize for exercising my right to carry.  A right that is not exercised is a right that is easily lost.  If a law-abiding citizen peacefully carrying a firearm is a drain on police resources, then perhaps the police need to adjust their response.  Honestly, I do not know what the LPD expected to happen at the coffee shop for them to feel the need to dedicate so many cruisers to the area.  If anything, I felt safer there in that coffee shop with all of my UOC brethren than I would feel in my hometown of Fremont while not UOCing.  And, ultimately, I maintain that, if the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (and, more broadly, the State of California) were to grant me a concealed weapons permit, I would be able to exercise my right to carry a firearm without most people in society ever even knowing it, thus reducing the chance that law enforcement resources would have to be wasted responding to a law-abiding citizen doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Lastly, I want to thank Panama Red Coffee Co. in Livermore for allowing us to UOC in their wonderful establishment.

Please visit my official campaign website at:

www.Shahab2010.com

Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Adnan,

    It was great to meet you at the Coffee Shop. I was happy glad that I made the effort to get out to the event. My wife had planned to join me but was called into work. I look forward to supporting the next event.

  2. There are some that believe your stand on firearms and your participation in carrying a firearm in public is certain death in securing a seat as District 20 assemblyman. I would be interested to see how you will overcome the bay areas well-known contempt of guns and gunownership.

  3. The comment section of my blog is not really the proper place for me to give a full explanation regarding my thinking on this. A very rough synopsis would go something like this:

    For years, the people in the Bay Area have been blindly electing officials into office simply because they have “Democrat” printed next to their name on the ballot. Many registered voters probably wouldn’t be able to tell you who their elected officials are, much less the positions that those officials take on the issues. There are also many Bay Area voters who will not vote for a candidate simply because he or she has “Republican” printed next to their name on the ballot. But if you were to sit down and question many of those voters about what a certain Republican candidate stands for (or Republicans in general), you will hear a lot of misconceptions. This is a sad state of affairs.

    The only way that we are going to be able to break out of this cycle of ignorance among voters and ineptitude in Bay Area politics is to have a candidate who is willing to cut thorough the bull and speak up loud and proud about what he or she stands for. In a perfect world, voters would choose their candidates based on their individual stances on the issues and the content of their character, not because of party affiliation. Hell, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t even need political parties at all because the electorate would simply choose the best candidate, period.

    So far, my campaign doesn’t have a lot of money, which makes it difficult for me to get my message out to the voters. But I am willing to put in the hard work to try to communicate with as many people as possible. People who have an opportunity to meet me in person understand that I am not your average person. I cannot be stereotyped or pigeonholed. There is nothing inherently special about me that makes me better than any other person, but I am unique in ways that make me superior to other candidates in the region.

    I believe in being forthright with the voters on who I am and what I stand for. I am not trying to play any sort of games by telling people what they want to hear. That is part of the beauty of this blog. It gives people the opportunity to take a more in-depth look at the way that my mind works. I am telling people what I truly believe in and giving them the opportunity to judge me on my position on the issues and on the content of my character. When people vote for me, they will know exactly who they are going to get representing them in Sacramento. I will not be one person on the campaign trail and a quite different person once I am in office.

    I challenge the voters to look at the other candidates for Assembly District 20. They will find politicians who are trying to say as little as possible because they don’t want to ruffle any feathers. They want to be able to solicit campaign contributions from as many people as they possibly can. They want to be able to tailor their positions on the issues to do what is politically expedient for them at any given moment. Basically, they are people who are not willing to take a stand on the tough issues. Whether this is because of a lack of a comprehensive vision on exactly what role government should have in society and how it should interact with citizens or whether it is due to a lack of backbone and personal fortitude on the part of those candidates is up for debate. Either way, it doesn’t speak well for those candidates. Is that really the kind of person who voters want representing them in government? It hasn’t worked for the last few decades.

    I have heard insanity defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, the people of the Bay Area have continued to elect the same type of people into office year after year. These voters have to ask themselves whether their past actions have gotten them a government that resembles the government that they would like in any shape or form whatsoever. If not, it’s time to try something new.

    Many people complain about corruption in government and dishonest politicians. Well, that is not something that people will have to worry about with me. I am going to flat out tell people who I am. I will give them insight into my vision of government and society. If people like what I stand for, they should vote for me. If people want an honest person representing them in government, they should vote for me. If people are unhappy about the status quo, they should vote for me.

    But if the majority of the electorate does not vote for me and I wind up losing the election, those who voted for my opponent will have lost the moral authority to complain about what is going on in government. I am not a person who gets lost in a crowd. I am the candidate who can transcend politics as usual and make a difference. And at the end of the day, even if I lose, I will still be able to look at myself in the mirror, with a clear conscience, knowing that I tried my very best to make the State of California and the United States of America a better place to live for all honest, hard-working, law-abiding citizens.

  4. Adnan, It was great hanging out with you and the other open carriers on Saturday! Let me know what I can do to assist your campaign for State Assembly.

  5. I don’t have a problem with you carrying a gun – you represent the responsible element in our society. What I do have a problem with is gang members, ex-cons, and the mentally incompetent who carry guns. It only takes a few of these to cause great disruption in our society. That is why I disagree with folks like you and your followers trying to make carrying a gun in public “ok”. This is not the wild west where you have a reason to carry a gun to protect yourself from daily danger (I would guess you have never used your weapon to defend yourself against anything other than a paper target). Carrying guns in public will only embolden the “bad elements” in our society to carry guns (concealed) and I think will lead to more violence and personal injury. I believe you and your movement are going to cause greater harm to our society and really wish you would stop. Maybe you-all could move to the country in Idaho where carrying a weapon might have some legitimacy?

  6. I disagree with some basic fundamental pieces of your argument. Gang members, ex-cons, and the mentally incompetent are already prohibited from carrying guns. Those laws are in place and should be enforced. You need to understand that criminals are already carrying concealed weapons. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. They are going to continue to break the law, whether law-abiding citizens open carry or not. Any notion that seeing more people openly carrying firearms leading to more criminals carrying firearms doesn’t make much sense.

    And, even though you did not make this argument, I am going to go ahead and address another stance that many anti-UOCers take. Criminals will not start walking around with unloaded firearms on their hips because law-abiding citizens are doing so. UOC invites greater scrutiny from law enforcement. Logically, criminals do not want to draw undue attention to themselves.

    Unloaded open carry is legal in California. Open carriers are advocating that law-abiding citizens, should they choose to do so, should have the right to carry a firearm to protect themselves from the criminal element that already exists. As for your assertion that weapons are only appropriate in the country, I would argue that you are short-sighted and misguided. Why would one’s right to protect him or herself have to be sacrificed because one is living in a suburban or urban environment? The right to protect oneself from mortal danger should exist throughout the United States.


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