Washington Man John Laigaie Awarded $15K After Police Officer Makes Mistake About Open Carry Law

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A retired U.S. Army master sergeant will receive a $15,000 payout from the city of Bellingham, Wash., after a cop harassed him for openly carrying a gun in a public park. John Laigaie III, 64, was walking his dog with his gun holstered on his hip when the officer approached him and demanded identification. The officer then informed Laigaie that it was against the law to have a firearm in the park.

Laigaie told the officer that it was perfectly legal to have a gun in the park and offered to show him a copy of the law. The officer didn’t take him up on his offer and instead ended up drawing his gun and pointing it at Laigaie’s chest from about three feet away.

"A couple of times, he had it right in my chest and that was 6, 7 inches from muzzle to flesh," Laigaie said. "I wasn't breaking the law, I was well within the law and he had no right to do that. I don't like being bullied.”

Things eventually calmed down and Laigaie was allowed to leave the park.

Laigaie was correct about the law. As long as a weapon is being carried in a peaceable manner, it is legal to bring a gun into a public area like a park in Washington State, reported.

The retired Army man was awarded the money as part of a civil settlement. He was also informed that all law enforcement and 911 dispatchers will receive better training about the law in an effort to prevent this kind of thing from happening going forward.

Sources:, KIRO TV