A retired army vet has won $15,000 from the town of Bellingham, Washington, after he claims a police officer violated his civil rights by refusing to recognize the vet’s right to carry his weapon openly, going so far as to pull a gun on the vet.
Washington State is an “open carry” state, meaning that citizens can openly carry licensed weapons. John Laigaie (lah-GAY) III, a 64-year old retired U.S. Army master sergeant and Second Amendment supporter, is one of those who routinely takes advantage of this right. He always carries a handgun on his hip, saying “It’s my job, it’s what I do. I protect myself and my family.”
On December 19, 2011, John Laigaie III, a 64-year old retired U.S. Army master sergeant was walking his dog in a Bellingham, Washington, park with his 9 mm handgun on his hip. A police officer came up to him, asked Laigaie for his identification, and told him that it was illegal to have a gun in the park.
Laigaie did not touch his gun. Instead, he explained to the officer that Washington is an “open carry” state, and offered to show the officer a copy of the statute, which Laigaie carried in his pocket. Rather than discussing the matter or showing any interest in the law, the officer drew his gun and aimed it directly at Laigaie’s chest.
The officer eventually backed down and allowed Laigaie to leave without charging him.