William M. Barnes was trying to get inside the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum on Monday, which is located inside the old courthouse.
Barrens was donating a rifle seized in the 1940s or 1950s from legendary South Florida gangster John Ashley to the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, which operates the museum. A receptionist at the museum did not recognize him and called police after she saw the rifle.
When officers arrived, he told them the gun was unloaded. A museum official came out and confirmed his story.
The 87-year-old Barnes was West Palm Beach’s police chief for two decades.