So I Stop These Gwinnett Officers . . .

Discussion in 'LEO Encounters' started by Malum Prohibitum, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    So I stop these Gwinnett officers to inquire into what is their policy on open carry. Keep in mind that I was not trying to argue with them, as I wanted to hear their justifications and opinions without putting them on the defensive.

    I was in the Gwinnett courthouse, and I saw a younger officer and an older one, with gold bars, so I thought, great, I will get the street officer and the supervisor opinion in one shot.

    For those not inclined to read the whole post, the short answer is: Prepare to be detained, disarmed, and treated like you are possibly the VT shooter.

    So I approach and politely ask them if they have a couple of minutes to speak with me, and I ask whether they have a policy or practice regarding openly carried pistols, and I make it very clear that I am talking about carrying in a place where one is legal to carry. I also set it up as - no call, they just see a guy with a pistol in a holster.

    Stop, disarm, question, checkout.

    "Disarm?" I ask, alarmed. "Sir, just so I am clear, I stated that you see someone in a place that is legal to carry, and you have not received a complaint."

    "Yes, I will take your weapon. I will check you out. If eveything is fine, I will let you go." He mentioned the license.

    "But what is your probable cause or reasonable suspicion?"

    "Your gun."

    He made it sound like this is department wide practice.

    I asked whether he stops cars just to check and see whether the driver has a driver's license. He said he did.

    "Without witnessing a traffic offense?" I asked like this ---> :shock:

    "No, I have probable cause when I see a traffic offense."

    "So what is your probable cause when you see an openly carried holster?"

    "Your gun," he responded, and assurred me he would stop me if he saw me carrying openly a pistol in a holster, but tried to mitigate his statement by affirming that he would let me go on my way after checking the license.

    I then turned to the older gentlemen with the gold bars, and inquired, "So what does the supervisor say?"

    His face grew into a very suspicious expression, and he said, "Why are you asking all of these questions?"
    :sly:

    He asked, "Did you get arrested and charged with this?"

    He never did say what "this" would have been.

    :roll:
    So I decided to throw in the ex-LEO card to keep them talking, as I sensed otherwise he was too suspicious to speak freely to an "outsider" like me, and I told him I spent twelve years as a police officer and I would never have stopped somebody for simply openly carrying a pistol in a holster, because there is no reasonable suspicion of a crime. It is legal.

    "How often do you see people carrying?" he asked.

    "Pretty frequently," I answered, realizing now that we probably ran in different crowds. I informed him I carry every day now.

    "Openly!?!" he interjected.

    "Yes, at least three or four times a week, sometimes in front of police officers, and I have never been stopped, but I heard from this guy in Savannah, who was stopped and threatened with arrest by an officer who erroneously thought open carry was illegal."

    He then took on an authoritative tone and said, "Your gun gives me all the probable cause I need. Yes, we are going to stop you and check you out. What if you were the VT shooter running around campus. Should nobody check that out?"

    "Well, sir, as I understand it, the law in Virginia allows them to eject people with firearms from the University, as does the law in Georgia, so I would think then you have your reasonable suspicion or probable cause in that circumstance, but please keep in mind that I am speaking about you seeing an openly carried pistol in a place that is not off limits, like out on the sidewalk."

    "Your gun gives me all the reasonable suspicion I need. Rest assured we would check you out."

    I thanked them for their time.

    So, I ask, what is the reasonable suspicion standard about? I thought it was reasonable suspicion that a crime was being committed or about to be committed. What is the crime?

    If it is the crime of carrying a pistol without a license, what is the reasonable suspicion that you do not have a license, and how is this the same/different from the car license example?
     
  2. Taler

    Taler New Member

    1,089
    0
    0
    I hope we get the turn-out that VCDL has, when this occurs to one of ours, if that's the course we set.
     

  3. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

    8,460
    5
    38
    Since so many places are off limits, my guess is that his "reasonable suspision" is that you will wander into or just come from an off limits place.

    But then again it could be like being Black while driving. Guilty until proven innocent.
     
  4. viper32cm

    viper32cm New Member

    760
    0
    0
    Crap, M_P, you make me think it would be a good idea to take criminal procedure.
     
  5. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    State v. Armstrong, 223 Ga. App. 350 (1996)
     
  6. viper32cm

    viper32cm New Member

    760
    0
    0
    Sounds like it to me.
     
  7. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    5,798
    0
    0
    So if police are only allowed to disarm people when they are detaining them and the police officer believes he is detaining you would you be incorrect in asserting your right to not be disarmed EVEN IF he believes he is right but is wrong?

    Basically what I am getting at is...when the time comes that a police officer comes up to me while I am in a legal place and tell me to give him my gun and I tell him no and just give him my permit and he persists in wanting my gun and I tell him to leave me alone then try to walk away (but not resist arrest)....after I am tazers/maced then handcuffed then brought to jail.... what are the chances that the charges are not going to stick and that I can sue the pants off of the officer/department/county?
     
  8. AV8R

    AV8R Banned

    6,624
    0
    0
    One of the problems are that if you had gotten officer C & D, instead of A & B then their answers could have been friendly and this thread would be a lot different with no discussion about PC or reasonable suspicion.

    Officer C & D:

    "No biggie as long as you're in a legal area and not acting suspicious (about to, or committing a crime)."

    MP:

    "Cool, good day gentlemen."
     
  9. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    5,798
    0
    0
    Oh, and I suppose that since I open carry so much it would be a wise investment to buy a micro-recorder. No he said/she said in court.
     
  10. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    I have said previously, and I think it was to you, that I will not provide answers here that will get people shot, tasered, or jailed.
    So my advice would be to comply, even if under protest.
     
  11. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    Does your attempt to walk away constitute reasonable suspicion?
     
  12. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    Black v. State, 281 Ga. App. 40 (2006)
     
  13. AV8R

    AV8R Banned

    6,624
    0
    0
    Do you HAVE to ask if you are free to go instead of assuming so, especially if you aren't told that you are being detained?
     
  14. viper32cm

    viper32cm New Member

    760
    0
    0
    State v. Armstrong, 223 Ga. App. 350 (1996)[/quote]

    Well considering that there is a subset of the pupulation licensed to perform such activity isn't there at least a colorable argument that the actions aren't reasonable. Of course, statist reason and libertarina reason are two different... universes.

    Of course, "let me see your license" is in a lot different catagory than what you described above.

    Seems to me that open carrying is at least prima facie evidence of being law abiding.
     
  15. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    Lucas v. State (2007)
     
  16. AV8R

    AV8R Banned

    6,624
    0
    0
    And at the very least conventional thinking/reasoning, sans power-trip.
     
  17. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    No, but it sure is an easier way to clarify whether the encounter is consensual than being tackled or tasered. :wink:
     
  18. Dan H

    Dan H New Member

    1,075
    0
    0
    If I was a criminal, I sure as hell wouldnt be open carrying.

    Additionally, I would have a HUGE problem with a police officer asking me to hand over my weapon if I KNOW I am not breaking the law....Of course if you dont you would be accused of resisting and probably thrown in the back of the squad car...
     
  19. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    Couldn't hurt.
     
  20. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,081
    255
    83
    Yeah, maybe so, but it would just suck to get stopped by these people.