Independence Day at an Ikea store in College Park, Maryland, produced one of the more bizarre moments of the recent national holiday: A uniformed police officer was told that he was not welcome in the store as long as he was carrying his firearm.
Image source: WRC-TV
Police chief Alan Goldberg of neighboring Takoma Park, Maryland, visited the store Friday while wearing his uniform, WRC-TV reported. Goldberg and his daughter were shopping for furniture when, after two hours, an Ikea employee approached them.
Goldberg said the employee told him, "We have a no-firearms policy, and you're either going to have to leave or you can lock your gun in the car."
The police chief told WRC he was stunned.
"It isn't the most prudent thing to do to walk around the store in uniform with an empty holster," he said.
Not only did Goldberg disagree with the store's "weapons-free environment" sign, he found the employee's idea of locking the weapon in the parking lot was also unwise.
"I am not going to lock my gun in a commercial parking lot," Goldberg said, "with people watching me put it in there. That's just ludicrous."
Goldberg chose not to lock his weapon in the car and left the store instead, then shared his experience on Facebook afterward.
Once the story spread, Ikea apologized and clarified that its policy "does not apply to law enforcement officers."
"We are taking steps to ensure that this is clear for all of our co-workers," the company said.
Image: wnbcwashington.com screen capture
Goldberg, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, told WRC he was pleased with Ikea's statement.
Watch the local television coverage.
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter