Man's concealed weapons permit revoked over gun found in theater

Man's concealed weapons permit revoked over gun found in theater
The loaded handgun a couple of students found in a Tillamook movie theater. (Photo courtesy Tillamook Police Department)

TILLAMOOK, Ore. (AP) — Police revoked the concealed-weapons permit of a 61-year-old Tillamook man after he wriggled in his theater seat during a showing of "The Hobbit" and shook loose a loaded handgun.

A 7th-grade student found the weapon on Wednesday with a round in the chamber and the safety off.

Gary Quackenbush says he's embarrassed that the gun fell out of his holster.

Quackenbush says he always keeps the gun loaded with a round in the chamber because he never knows when he may have to use it.

"In a time of crisis like somebody barging into a mall or a theater, you don't have time to do a two-handed cocking of the weapon," Quackenbush said. "It is my mindset everywhere I go."

Quackenbush said he lives in a rural area where bears and cougars abound. He said he's had to fire his weapon to scare off animals, but in more than 40 years of gun ownership, hasn't had to fire it another person.

The student notified adults and local police cleared the theater on Wednesday.

Quackenbush said mass shootings in recent months, including a Colorado movie theater, could have been averted — or the casualties lessened — if someone had had a loaded weapon.

"If somebody had been prepared, they could have stopped those perpetrators long before they were able to commit those horrific acts," Quackenbush said.

Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long said the case was handled by city police and information was forwarded to the county district attorney, who is considering whether to press charges.

Quackenbush can reapply for a concealed-weapons permit as long as criminal charges aren't pending, Long said.

"He shouldn't apply for it soon," Long said.

Quackenbush said no one answered the phone when he called the theater late Tuesday after he realized the gun had fallen out of his holster.

He said he spent a sleepless night pacing and drove to the theater early Wednesday, but police were already on scene.

"I'm totally appalled at the incident and embarrassed and regret that I gave people distress," Quackenbush said.

Of the movie "The Hobbit," his review in a letter to news media organizations explaining the incident was brief: "Overly long," he said, "and fairly boring."

You can reach reporter Nigel Duara on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/UKvVDo

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.