WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A gun-wielding, shirtless man who had just finished a beer outside a local Walmart carried his gun into the store, placed it on the counter and demanded ammunition. And then, things started to get out of hand.
Rodney Lewis, 24, was arrested last week at a Walmart after his overtures for more ammunition for the gun he was carrying inside the store led to a screaming match concerning his First Amendment rights.
On July 3, Lewis finished a beer outside his local Walmart before entering the store at around 3:15 p.m., according to Winter Haven Police. Once he reached the sporting goods department, Lewis placed his pistol on the counter and asked for ammunition for the gun. Police said the clerk was stunned, telling Lewis, who was not wearing a shirt, he could not buy ammunition since Lewis had possession of the gun inside the store. Befuddled by the explanation, Lewis argued with the clerk before putting the gun in his pocket and proceeding to walk around the Walmart.
When police arrived at the scene, Lewis, still not wearing a shirt, grew even angrier. WTSP-TV reports that Lewis began to scream about his “First Amendment right” to carry a firearm, mixing up his First Amendment and Second Amendment rights. But there was a small problem with Lewis’ claim, as he didn’t have a concealed permit to carry the weapon, according to police.
Arguments between Lewis and police continued on as Lewis refused to calm down and stop yelling. Police said that Lewis “tried numerous times to put his hand into the pocket with the gun.” When he was finally apprehended, Lewis allegedly threatened to harm an officer on the scene once he was released from jail.
Lewis has been charged with improper exhibition of a firearm or dangerous weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, and disorderly intoxication to cause a public disturbance, among others. He remains in custody.