A Washington man who began getting harassed by security guards for taking pictures at the Port of Tacoma seaport Thursday ended up drawing more suspicion when responding federal officers realized he was carrying a gun.
However, he was not breaking the law by taking pictures or by carrying a gun.
Photography from public places is legal throughout the United States, even of so-called sensitive infrastructures like port-of-entries, bridges, train stations and federal buildings – despite how many times authorities like to claim otherwise.
And the right to openly carry firearms is legal in Washington as long as you’re not a felon.
But the collection of videos posted by a man who goes by Rogue Reflections on Youtube shows that just because the law is on your side, doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be treated like a criminal.
In one video, a Customs and Borders Protection agent who pulled up and asked if he was “authorized” to take pictures of the port pulled out his own gun after noticing the gun the man was carrying, telling the other agent that, “he has a gun.”
“Is my hand on my holster, am I making any threatening gestures toward you?” Rogue Reflections asked as the agent kept yelling “gun” to fellow agents who were pulling up.
Eventually, a supervisor from the Port of Tacoma security office drove up and calmed the situation down.
“You say you’re just taking pictures? As long as you’re on public land, then that’s fine,” the supervisor said.
The man returned to the port on Friday, the following day, and came across another port security supervisor who also proved to be level-headed and told him he was fine as long as he did not enter the port property uninvited, adding that the right to open carry a firearm does not apply in the federally regulated areas of the port.