A small business owner in Georgia was arrested for carrying a gun on his own property, the furniture store that he operates in Lithonia, GA. Although the man, Eric Lee, has a concealed carry permit from the state, his gun was still confiscated and he was arrested immediately when police showed up outside of his store one night.
Lee explained to WSBTV that he heard noise outside of his store and brought his gun with him to investigate. It turned out to be a group of homeless people that were nearby the store making the noise.
Lee described the scene that took place as one of panic and confusion on behalf of the officers.
“[The police] just pulled in and said, ‘What is going on? What is going on? Hands up, anybody have any weapon?’ I said I have a gun. They just grabbed me, took my gun and threw me in the car,” Lee said.
Even though Lee owned the property he was dragged away from, he was issued a citation for loitering and his truck was towed.
The officer reporting on the incident indicated that Lee was taken to jail because the officer “could smell a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage” on the man. In the state of Georgia, “it is against the law to be in possession of firearm while ... under the influence of alcohol or any drug,” according to Georgia Packing, a website that explains Georgia’s gun laws.
Lee, however, insists that the smell of alcohol was coming from the homeless people that were initially making noise on his property. A judge quickly dismissed his case and issued him an apology. Despite over a year of attempting to reclaim his gun and the costs incurred from the arrest, however, judges have done little to respond to his requests.
“I am not sure how one can be loitering on property that they own. I am also not sure how one can be carrying a weapon without a permit when they do indeed have a permit for the weapon at issue. I believe my Fourth and Second Amendment rights were violated,” Lee wrote in a letter to DeKalb County Internal Affairs.
Lee has since filed a federal lawsuit, claiming a violation of those aforementioned constitutional rights.