D.J. Parten, a junior at the University of South Alabama, was cited April 13 by a campus police officer for wearing an empty gun holster (video below).
"The officer took up 30 minutes of my time and did not allow my friend and me to move about freely," Parten told AL.com.
Parten, the acting president of the USA chapter of Students for Concealed Carry, told Campus Reform: "This week is the empty holster protest for Students for Concealed Carry in Alabama to demonstrate that students are defenseless on campus."
Parten and Kenneth Tews were promoting a film when three campus police officers approached their table.
"I turned around and two officers were right behind me," Parten told AL.com. "I think it's kinda interesting because I was helping to promote a campus showing of a film about censoring others for their beliefs."
A cellphone video by Parten shows the officer asking him where the gun that goes with the holster is. Parten replies that he doesn't have it, and Tews offers the officer a copy of the U.S. Constitution, which the officer refuses.
"One, you've got a knife in your right pocket," a second cop tells Tews. "I don't know if you're ever gonna draw it out. But I'm not gonna take it from you, but if you keep being a smart ass, we'll figure out something."
The first cop tells Parten that someone called in his empty holster and adds, "If you've been a student since 2014, you know there's a no-weapons policy out here, but then you want to push it."
The officer then asks Parten if he has permission to wear the holster, but Parten explains he doesn't need permission to wear it.
"You need permission from the university," the officer insists.
Parten explains that the holster is not a weapon, but the officer replies, "I understand that. Well, we'll take it up with Dean of Students then, because you are gonna be written up for disciplinary, and I will put in here your attitude, you understand?"
The cop asks Parten again where the gun is, and Parten tells him that it is at home.
The cop then tries to blame the confrontation on Parten for wearing a holster without a gun and somehow causing someone to call it in.
Parten is eventually cited for violating sections 7G and 7N of the Student Code of Conduct.
Campus Reform notes that 7G is "[e]ngaging in activities that threaten the safety of the campus community," which includes "intentionally or recklessly misusing or damaging fire or other safety equipment; use or possession of fireworks or incendiary, dangerous, or noxious devices or materials which have not been authorized by University officials; or intentionally initiating or causing any false report, warning or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency."
7N says that students cannot violate the school's rules, regulations, or policies.
The cop asks Parten to remove his empty holster so that he won't be cited again if someone calls it in, but Parten refuses to do so and the campus police leave.
The school website states: "All weapons are prohibited in University housing buildings, parking lots, and on University property. This includes, but is not limited to, bullets, ball bearing bullets, bullet balls, pellets, firearms, guns, knives (see below III.12. “Knives”), paintball guns, air guns, hunting bows, archery bows, swords, martial arts weapons, and replicas of such weapons. Toy and water guns are prohibited. In addition, fireworks and pyrotechnic devices and materials are prohibited on University property."
University Director of Communications and Media Relations Bob Lowry later issued a statement that cleared Parten: "Upon further investigation, it has been determined that the citation should not have been issued and it has been rescinded. University Police are conducting an internal investigation of the matter."