For Elvis, firearms not exactly hidden

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal
January 12, 2010

Elvis Presley was involved in a couple of jaw-dropping public incidents that left his security all shook up. The first one occurred in 1977 in front of law enforcement. Elvis' bodyguards Sam Thompson and Dick Grob.

Elvis' private jet, the Lisa Marie, had just landed after a Rochester-to-Binghamton, N.Y. flight. Grob, the chief of security, had just warned Elvis that they were in a restricted gun-carry area. It was about 3 a.m. May 26, and a crowd of fans and dignitaries, including Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker, and a high-ranking law officer, had gathered to welcome Presley. Still wearing pajamalike karate gear, Elvis began descending the portable stairs when the crowd started cheering as a spotlight hit him. As he lifted his arms to acknowledge the reception, two loaded semiautomatic Colt pistols fell from his waistband and bounced down the steps.

'Elvis had a sheepish grin as he came down', said Thompson, now chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. Waiting was the local police chief or ranking officer, Thompson said. Presley 'completely disarmed the man by shaking his hand and introducing himself', Thompson said. 'The guy handed him the guns and said, 'I believe these are yours Mr. Presley'. Elvis stuck 'em back in his waistband'.

At another concert, around the same time, a loaded .22-caliber derringer popped out of one of Elvis' stage boots and bounced on the stage right in front of rhythm guitarist John Wilkinson, 'who did not like guns'. Thompson said. It was retrieved about 20 minutes later, Thompson said.

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