The trend to confiscate handguns and revoke legally obtained permits from motorcycle club members in America is on the rise. From Houston to Long Island, and now back to Texas, law enforcement is aggressively targeting the gun rights of those in motorcycle clubs. Merely labeling a motorcycle club a gang should not be a sufficient legal basis to revoke the right of a member to possess a handgun or a permit to carry that gun, particularly when that member has no criminal record and a legally obtained permit. Motorcycle clubs are 1st Amendment protected associations and the 2nd Amendment is fundamental. The Constitutional implications are obvious.
The Motorcycle Profiling Project recently received the following report describing an incident of blatant motorcycle profiling and discrimination. Based on the individual’s account, the police’s actions were purely motivated by the victim’s expression of membership in a motorcycle club, in this case, in the individual’s words, an all black outlaw motorcycle club that has a Chapter in Fort Worth.
In September, according to the provided description, this man was arrested for a turn signal violation as an excuse to conduct a search after he refused to consent to a search during a traffic stop. The man’s legal handgun was seized and police refuse to return his property. To add an unconstitutional insult to an unconstitutional injury, the police have filed with the state of Texas to repeal his CHL permit even though he had never previously been arrested and never been charged in a crime.
I was simply pulled over for not using my turn signal to change lanes on September 19th, 2015 in Ft, Worth Texas. I complied with all questions. I immediately gave them my CHL, my license and insurance.
I was then harassed with more questions regarding my club and patches on my black denim vest. They asked to search my motorcycle to which I said not without a search warrant.
After the officers spoke back and forth with their Sgt., I was then arrested on failure to use my turn signal. Pictures were then taken of me, my vest, and my bike. They proceeded to break my locked saddlebags and tear my saddlebag lids apart to search my motorcycle. They found nothing!
I have never been arrested before in my life, never charged with anything, degree professional, member of the Masonic fraternity and hardworking family man.
My weapon was confiscated and now the crooked cops are refusing to release it and they have filed with the state to have my CHL rights taken away.
I am hiring an attorney to fight this case as I have did nothing wrong nor has my club yet we continue to get pulled over and harassed and hauled to jail.
-Texas Biker [actual name omitted for privacy and safety of the victim]
Though we have verified the arrest through online reports, the MPP has issued a public information request to the Ft. Worth PD in hopes of gathering more information about this particular stop including confirmation of the gun seizure and an update will be provided.
What is the long term outlook for motorcycle club membership if that association means giving up your 2nd Amendment rights? How many men that have the legal right to posses and carry a gun will risk giving up that right if the the trend to restrict member gun ownership continues? There is a real risk of chilling and discouraging membership in 1st Amendment protected associations.
“In a very real way, the fate of motorcyclists will serve as a blue print for other groups in the future. Disarming bikers, even those associated that have no criminal records of any kind, is a strategy to cripple the rights base of one of the most visible and active grassroots social and political movements in America. Much of the movement’s efforts are to combat civil liberty abuses by law enforcement targeting motorcyclists. If bikers are successfully marginalized as criminals not worthy of baseline liberties, then the strength of our political movement exposing law enforcement abuses will be crippled as well. It’s a blueprint for social control in the 21st Century.” (read It’s Illegal for Motorcycle Club Members to Own Guns? That’s What Authorities Say.)