Authorities were notified. The owner of the gun, Gary Quackenbush, 61, eventually showed up to look for his missing gun, thinking it would be in the lost-and-found box. Quackenbush has a conceal carry permit.
From an article:
When Kolton McKinney, 12, unfolded the seat in a Tillamook movie theater Wednesday morning and heard a "plink," he thought a part of the seat might have fallen out.
Then the boy heard his friend say, "Dude, there's a gun."
A loaded Beretta 9mm semi-automatic handgun, that is. One bullet in the chamber. The safety off.
But authorities said the dangerous encounter turned out OK in no small part because the two boys did exactly as they should have. They stayed away from the gun and called for a teacher, who in turn called police to Tillamook's Coliseum Theatre.
"I went through a hunter's safety course, and I was expecting the worst, like the safety would be off or something," McKinney said. "I was kind of scared that it might have went off."
And it very well could have, said Tillamook Sheriff Andy Long.
"If they had picked that gun up and decided it was a play gun, with all those kids in the Coliseum, it could have been very tragic," Long said. ....
"They left an officer there just to make people feel good," Schild said. "The kids did get their reward. But it could have been bad. In light of recent events, our sense of awareness is certainly heightened. Loaded handguns aren't supposed to be laying around ."
On Wednesday evening, Gary Quackenbush, 61, turned up at the theater seeking his missing gun, "like it would be in the lost and found with lost eyeglasses and other things," said Long.
"He has a concealed handgun license," Long said. "That will be revoked tonight. The law says if you are a danger to yourself or the public, it can be revoked."
A man answering a phone number listed for Quackenbush laughed and told a reporter, "Get a life."
Authorities are holding onto the firearm until their investigation into the matter is complete.UPDATE (12/27/12): The owner of the gun is not only a conceal carry permit holder, but also a licensed gun dealer. He doesn't understand why he is being considered a "bad guy" for his irresponsibility. From an article:
Police are now holding the pistol as evidence and have revoked Quackenbush's concealed handgun permit.
Quackenbush said he carried the permit and weapon because of shootings such as the one at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary School. He's also a licensed gun dealer, but said he does very little selling and mostly steers buyers to good websites.
"You go into a mall and all of a sudden there is this jackass psycho killing people," he said. "I'll stand in front of a kid and take the bullet, but I'm going to take him out, too."
Tillamook Police Chief Terry Wright said he's recommending that Tillamook County prosecutors charge Quackenbush with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it wouldn't affect his gun-selling license.
"This is not something we can just blow off," Wright said, noting that the gun had a bullet in the chamber and the safety was off. ....
Still, the man whose passion is writing whimsical stories and who looks forward to retiring after running a local market for years, ponders how he's now cast as a "malevolent criminal."
"You have people shooting up malls, building bombs," he said. "And I'm the bad guy."