On two afternoons in a row last week, Solomon, 24, was arrested after hanging out at a North Philadelphia bus stop, and each time, the cops confiscated from him a legally owned gun and a separate license to carry a gun, the licensed security guard said yesterday.
“They locked me up for loitering at a bus stop,” said Solomon, who has a special concealed-carry permit for security-training officers and one of the controversial gun permits issued by Florida. “And they took my guns away.”
Police think that Solomon was being insolent and used poor judgment, including by showing up armed at the same bus stop at which he was arrested the previous day.
“If he’s that defiant, should this guy have a gun?” said Sgt. Ray Evers, a police spokesman. “The most uncommon human trait is common sense. He’s not using good, adult judgment.”
The first day, cops charged Solomon with a summary citation for failure to disperse when he refused to leave the bus stop at Broad Street and Olney Avenue, a “known drug corner,” after being asked to do so four times by police, Evers said.
Solomon said that it’s the same bus stop he waits at every day and that he allowed four buses to pass by him because it was about 3 p.m. and he didn’t feel like riding a bus full of kids leaving school.
He agrees that he refused to leave when asked repeatedly by two beat cops.
“I was mad. I told them you can’t lock me up for waiting for a bus,” he said. “I’m allowed to miss a bus or two.”
Solomon, of Germantown, an independent contractor who works with the Parapet Group, a security and law-enforcement training company, said he was taken into custody and held for seven hours. He said city police confiscated his gun and his Act 235 license, issued by State Police to security-training officers.
Solomon had received that same gun back one week earlier, after petitioning the courts for months to return it. The gun had been confiscated when he was a passenger during a 2009 car stop, he said, adding that he was never charged in that case.
When cops took his gun and Act 235 permit yesterday, they let him keep the Florida license.
Solomon said he never applied for a Pennsylvania permit, and got the Florida permit because he travels often for security work.
Residents in Pennsylvania can get a license through the mail from Florida – even if they have been denied a license here or if theirs has been revoked – because of a reciprocity agreement between Pennsylvania and a handful of other states. Anti-gun activists and politicians have called for the abolition of the so-called Florida gun loophole.
Solomon was one of nine men in an August Daily News story whose legally owned guns were taken by police while they carried a Florida permit or an Act 235.
The day after his first arrest last week, Solomon returned to the same bus stop and began taking pictures of others who were standing around, as he was instructed to do by an attorney he consulted, he said.
“A bunch of other people was loitering, but they [police] didn’t say nothing to them,” Solomon said.
He said that the same two beat cops approached him and that one of them erased the pictures from his cell phone. He said that one of the cops pocketed his Florida gun permit and that they took another handgun away from him.
Source: Stephanie Farr for The Philadelphia Daily News.