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Crime & Courts

‘Sovereign citizen’ had gun on Plant City school property, deputies say


Published:   |   Updated: May 17, 2013 at 05:05 PM

A convicted felon was arrested in possession of a handgun on school property, and he told the arresting deputy he wasn’t subject to the law, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

Bruce Hicks, 46, of Plant City, was charged Thursday with possession of a firearm on school property, felon in possession of a firearm and openly carrying of weapon, the sheriff’s office said.

Hicks was walking at around 4 p.m. along Connell Road, which is next to Turkey Creek Middle School, 5005 S. Turkey Road, Plant City.

Sheriff’s Dep. Patrick Diaz saw Hicks as he pushed a dolly with an old plastic toy car attached to it. He also noticed that Hicks had a small handgun holstered on his left hip, the sheriff’s office said.

Diaz called him over. When Hicks turned around, he stepped on the school property, the sheriff’s office said.

Diaz asked Hicks if he was carrying a handgun. Hicks said he was and added that he was a sovereign citizen and isn’t subject to county and federal laws. Hicks told Diaz that for every 15 minutes of unlawful detention he would charge a $250 fine, the sheriff’s said.

Diaz seized the weapon, which turned out to be a Davis Industries two shot, .32 caliber handgun loaded with two live cartridges, the sheriff’s office said.

Hicks was arrested without incident. He has an extensive criminal record, including lewd or lascivious molestation of victims under 18.

He’s being held at a Hillsborough County jail with bail set at $9,750, according to jail records.

According to the FBI, people who call themselves “sovereign citizens” believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. They often do not pay taxes and sometimes print their own currency or create their own license plates and driver’s licenses.

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