Proving that not even in the Lone Star State are people free of the idiotic, fact-free fear of firearms, a Texas police chief was ordered to leave a doctor’s office last week because he was carrying a gun! According to an article in The Courier, Conroe Police Chief Philip Dupuis came in for an appointment at Texas Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in Woodlands wearing his badge, police ID, and his gun. After the receptionist took his information, she saw the gun and asked him to go put it in his car.
Dupuis declined to do so, and was thus asked to vacate the premises.
“It’s just bad,” Dupuis said in an interview with The Courier. “My badge is clearly displayed. I have my lanyard on with ‘police’ on my ID card hanging around my neck. I had handcuffs. The lobby was full of people, and they asked me to leave because of who I am.”
Texas has laws that allow licensed officers to carry their guns openly everywhere, but they are still restricted from doing so on private property if their rights conflict with the property owners’ wishes. Therefore, as Dupuis acknowledges, the doctor’s office technically was within their legal rights to ask him to leave.
“These people have the right to do what they did and refuse my service,” he admitted. “Legally, they can ask me to leave because I’m not there on official business.”
Texas ENT Specialists, clearly worried about the blowback, quickly issued a statement distancing themselves from their actions:
We regret the situation that occurred on August 8, 2017 involving Chief Dupuis and a member of our staff. We have personally apologized to Chief Dupuis for any inconvenience or embarrassment he experienced. Our company values law enforcement officers and first responders for their selfless service and will serve them and our communities with the utmost respect.
Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists will continue to treat armed law enforcement officers who have the appropriate identification. Again, we sincerely apologize to Chief Dupuis for the situation and the embarrassment he may have felt. We will make every effort to ensure this does not happen again in any of our locations.
It’s refreshing to see a business take full responsibility for their error and publicly apologize in this way, and there’s no sense getting too upset about what may have been nothing more than one employee’s misguided attempt to enforce a vague policy. Nonetheless, this just goes to show that there’s still a lot of education to be done when it comes to open carry, and advocates will have to overcome plenty of ingrained fear and prejudice as we move forward.