Gun owner claims he was harassed by CHP officer during traffic stop

SAN DIEGO - An East County man is outraged after he said he was harassed and handcuffed by California Highway Patrol officers during a traffic stop even though the loaded gun he was carrying was legal.

Eddie Bagdesar was pulled over on state Route 94 in Lemon Grove after a CHP officer noticed safety violations on his Chrysler 300. Bagdesar's windows are tinted, he's missing a front license plate and his taillights are black instead of red.

Bagdesar, an auto shop owner, told 10News he rolled down all the windows when the officer approached and immediately notified the officer that he's licensed to carry a firearm and that he had a loaded .40 caliber Glock tucked in his pants, as well as a second handgun in the glove compartment.

Bagdesar claims the officer told him to climb over the center console of his car and he exited on the passenger side. When he climbed out of the car, he was ordered to put his hands behind his head and lock his fingers. After the officer removed the gun from Bagdesar's waistband, he was handcuffed and put in the backseat of a patrol car.

"I don't think a person who is carrying a firearm legally should be harassed like that and thrown in the back of a cop car," said Bagdesar, who also claimed that police had "profiled" him because he's young and drives an attention-grabbing vehicle.

According to Bagdesar, it wasn't until after he was in handcuffs that the officer looked at his permit to carry a concealed weapon. On the permit, issued by the San Diego County Sheriff, it clearly states that Bagdesar is permitted to carry two Glock pistols as protection for his auto body shop and the deposits he makes on a regular basis.

Bagdesar believes his permit should have been taken at face value, and that because he had already been separated from his guns, there was no need to lock him in the back of a CHP cruiser.

"I'm a businessman. I'm not some thug that just got out of jail," said Bagdesar.

10News contacted a CHP spokesman about the incident, and Officer Kevin Pearlstein could not give specifics of Bagdesar's traffic stop but did say safety is paramount.

"Traffic stops are inherently dangerous in themselves, now you bring another firearm into it other than the officers, and the officer's radar is going to go up," said Pearlstein.

When asked why not take the CCW (concealed weapons) permit at face value, Pearlstein responded, "Believe it or not, with technology and the Internet, you can make fraudulent documents."

Pearlstein added that officers have to confirm the document is valid and that the weapons are registered and haven't been used in any crimes. He said it's a process "that takes time."

In the end, Bagdesar was released and given a fix-it ticket -- to correct the safety violations on his vehicle.

Bagdesar does not plan to file a claim against the officer, but he said he contacted 10News because he wants other CCW permit holders to know what they may be up against.

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