Open Carry Still Dangerous — Even Where “Legal”
me ID and that just proves who you are.”
Brewster: “Open carry is legal in Washington… Unless you have reasonable articulable suspicion to detain me, you don’t need to request ID.”
“In the end,” KING 5 News informs us, “Brewster showed his ID. Deputies did not detain him.”
The official response? “If they’re carrying guns around, there’s a strong possibility that somebody is going to come talk to them.”
Police are free to do that—as long as it’s understood we’re free to not talk back. That’s not how some Wisconsin open carriers at a restaurant were treated, though.
“When police arrived,” the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel relates, “two of the men refused to provide ID and were ticketed for obstruction of justice. Later, those tickets were rescinded but all five men were then cited for disorderly conduct.”
“Respect is a two way street,” a Journal-Sentinel editorial declares. “[R]esidents are not legally required to hand over an ID simply for possessing a visible weapon, but we suggest they do it anyway.”
What’s to respect about charges being filed over activity the police have no legal say prohibiting? And is the best course to ensure law enforcement is educated on its legitimate authority, or to become a culture where a demand for “your papers” is complied with out of fear?
Because official ignorance endangers open carriers, as one in Willowick, Ohio, found out when, per Ohioans for Concealed Carry, he “was ordered to his knees at gunpoint by several police officers.” And the chilling account they relate includes no small amount of disrespect by the enforcers, including blasphemies directed at the detainee.
It happened again in Cleveland. The Plain Dealer reported officers with drawn guns forced a “surprised group to… hit the sidewalk belly-down”—and then arrested an open carrier for a concealed carry violation!
And that treatment is officially (and illegally) sanctioned: “Cleveland has a local ordinance prohibiting open carry, and police are under orders by Mayor Frank Jackson to continue enforcing the local rules despite the state law.”
Also disturbing was a statement an East Palo Alto Police detective made on his Facebook page, laughing because most Californians can’t get concealed carry permits, and must open carry (with unloaded guns) to remain “legal.”
“Should’ve pulled the AR out and prone them all out!” he wrote. “And if one of them makes a furtive movement… two weeks off!!”
Despite open carry being legal in many states, some in the “pro gun” community condemn attempts to normalize the practice, worried that public backlash will prompt moves to enact laws against it—as was recently unsuccessfully tried in California. The irony of such “logic,” that we must forego exercising a right lest we lose it, appears lost on them.
As for the danger open carriers face from police: Affected state attorneys general must direct all sworn personnel be informed of the law. Require them to sign a form, just like they do when they acknowledge understanding other training policies, and put it in their files.
Before someone gets killed.
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