Let’s all join together in a giant boo-hoo for Thomas Allman, who says his health was put at risk when a service dog entered his gun show over the weekend.
Allman kicked out the dog — and the Bronze Star-winning veteran the dog accompanied (that’s them above) — saying the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) didn’t apply to them at his gun show. He explained his reasoning this way:
“It doesn’t apply because he’s not setting up at my gun show because we don’t allow dogs in my gun show,” he told Fox 14 News. (Click the link for video.)
The nerve of that veteran! Thinking he could just waltz into a gun show and put everyone else’s health at risk with a dog that helps him cope with injuries he received during his nearly 20 years of service in Iraq.
Did he give any thought that his actions could result in sneezes and stuffy noses among anyone who was allergic (like Allman) as they innocently shopped for new deadly weapons to add to their home arsenals?
Former U.S. Army Sergeant John Williams went to the Tri-State Gun Show at the armory in Evansville on Saturday as a vendor, but he was asked to leave because of his service dog, Winchester.
Williams, appropriately, raised a stink, and called the police, waiting outside for them to arrive and hear his complaint that his rights, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, were being violated.
Winchester was assigned to Williams by the Soldier Dogs for Independence group to help him with mobility.
The president of that group Michael Barrentine, was called to the gun show once he heard what was going on.
“There’s so much irony,” he said. “You have a 21 year veteran of the United States armed forces that’s disabled due to his military service that’s getting kicked out of the armory …”
Williams says he is still contemplating filing charges.
Thomas Allman stages several guns shows a year in Indiana (and whatever other two states comprise the “tri-state” area), allowing folks to show off, buy, sell and trade guns.
Something less than full scrutiny, apparently, is applied to those buying them: “They’ll ask them if they’re a felon or not and all we can do is take their word that they’re not,” Allman once said in a TV interview.
Allman is all for nurturing an environment in which guns can be freely sold and exchanged — something he says is necessary in today’s world.
“What would you do if ISIS came to your door today and you didn’t have any way of protecting yourself? They will come here. They’re coming folks so you better be prepared for them.”
So feel free to bring your guns to the show (unloaded please, he asks). Just don’t bring a dog.
Allman says dogs haven’t been allowed to sit at booths at his shows for the last 20 years. Apparently, he considers it OK for paid guests to bring service dogs, but not vendors (who pay a $50 registration fee).
“You want to come in the gun show and sell your guns, or walk around and look and trade guns with your service dog, we have no problem with that,” Allman said.
Under the ADA, “Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.”
Allman is allergic to dogs — “I can’t stand to be sick and be put in the hospital” — and apparently gets a little anxious when they are around, as he also does amid talk of laws restricting gun sales.
“Just cause they don’t want one, what’s the right to take anybody else’s away from them?” Allman said in a 2015 interview. “That’s my problem with it and I can’t handle that… This is what we do for a living and have a hobby of doing it and love doing it. It’s freedom. We’re in the United States. It’s freedom.”
Apparently, as he sees it, he’s the one who gets to define freedom. So his shows don’t allow cameras or news media past the entrance, don’t allow service dogs, and insist you don’t enter with a loaded weapon.
(That didn’t stop a visitor, and a drunken one at that, from loading up his .45 caliber handgun after he entered, firing it and injuring a a 72-year-old man and 16-year-old boy during the 2011 show in Evansville.)
We’d suggest that if Allman can’t handle service dogs, he stop holding public gun shows, or hire a representative to oversee them, or take a Zyrtec, or conduct his arms dealing online.
(Photos: At top, Williams and his dog, Winchester, WFIE; at bottom a photo taken at a gun show in Ft. Wayne)