Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ohio hostile to Open Carry

"Open carrying gun not a crime"

One word. DUH! If it's not specifically prohibited by law then it's legal.

"An undercover agent with the Ohio Investigative Unit -- the police agency that enforces the state's alcohol, tobacco and food-stamp laws -- saw the gun and quickly ordered him against his truck with his hands on his head.

"He came up and treated me like a felon for absolutely no reason at all," Turner said. "There wasn't even a suspicious action on my part to warrant him taking this action against me. Had I been out waving a gun around the parking lot, (then) yeah.""

So the ATF (F = food stamp?!) officer sees a man walking around with a holstered gun, freaks out and orders the guy to stand against his truck with his hands on his head. Under what authority has he decided to do this? Carrying a weapon in a holster is NOT probable cause. Waving it around in your hand would be completely different, since that would be brandishing.

"After being detained for about 30 minutes, and after Hilliard police arrived at the agent's request, Turner was released without charges. An internal investigation that concluded this week found that neither Agent Timothy Gales, who had stopped Turner, nor his partner, Betty Ford, did anything wrong."

So detaining a citizen when no probable cause nor even reasonable suspicion exists is considered "not doing anything wrong?" If I ever decide to open carry and am stopped by police I want to know almost immediately whether I'm being detained.

But it wouldn't be unreasonable for officers to draw their guns until they know what the situation is, said Sgt. Rich Weiner of the Columbus Police Division.

"The first thing we need to address: This man has a gun," Weiner said. "We're going to pull our guns.

"As a police officer, we also have the right to protect ourselves and protect the public, so we do have the right to disarm him momentarily. Now everybody is a little bit more at ease. We don't have a potential weapon being used against an officer or anybody else."

If your open display of a firearm is causing panic, you could be charged with inducing panic, Weiner said. If you carry it onto private property, you could be charged with trespassing, he said.

I take issue with almost everything said above. The first statement says that it is "reasonable" for officers to draw their guns upon seeing someone open carrying. What if I, a mere civilian, see someone open carrying and my immediate reaction is to draw my weapon? Would that be a "reasonable" response? HELL NO! It would in fact be illegal for me to draw on someone who wasn't threatening me in any way. It is no more reasonable for the police to draw on a guy going about his daily business while OC'ing.

"This man has a gun, we're going to pull our guns" is not how the law works. Self-Defense laws are very specific as to when I may draw my weapon. Drawing on this man is a gross over-reaction given that his actions were completely non-threatening.

They state that someone open carrying could be charged with "inducing a panic"

Here's the applicable statute for Delaware, which is "disorderly conduct"

§ 1301. Disorderly conduct; unclassified misdemeanor.
A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when:
(1) The person intentionally causes public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to any other person, or creates a risk thereof by:
a. Engaging in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or
b. Making an unreasonable noise or an offensively coarse utterance, gesture or display, or addressing abusive language to any person present; or
c. Disturbing any lawful assembly or meeting of persons without lawful authority; or
d. Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic; or
e. Congregating with other persons in a public place and refusing to comply with a lawful order
of the police to disperse; or
f. Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition which serves no legitimate purpose; or
g. Congregating with other persons in a public place while wearing masks, hoods or other
garments rendering their faces unrecognizable, for the purpose of and in a manner likely to
imminently subject any person to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States of America.
(2) The person engages with at least 1 other person in a course of disorderly conduct as defined in subdivision (1) of this section which is likely to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, and refuses or knowingly fails to obey an order to disperse made by a peace officer to the participants.

So, if Ohio law is anything like Delaware law, this man would have to be intentionally causing public alarm, and the State would have to prove intent. Lawful open carry absent other aggravating behavior could never rise to the level of intent required for such a charge. Also, open carry is LEGAL, thus it could not be said to serve "no legitimate purpose." Self Defense is a legitimate purpose. If someone else is offended or alarmed by my totally LEGAL actions, tough luck. I didn't intend to alarm or offend you, and if your irrational & unreasonable fears cause you to panic at the mere sight of a holstered firearm, that is not my problem and it should have no bearing on my actions.


Anonymous said...

I agree OCing is a right not just for law informent.

Anonymous said...

Here is Ohio's law on "inducing panic". http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2917.31

Anonymous said...

The problem in Ohio is that not enough people legally open carry. Not enough people have obtained CCW licenses either. We SEEM like we are the minority and thus must be a nut or something. Instead it should be nearly everyone's OBLIGATION to arm and protect themselves and their loved ones.

Anonymous said...

It is true, there are not enough open carriers in Ohio. Most people in Ohio are "sheltered" to the idea of seeing firearms. The only time most people see firearms is on police and on television/movies. I have a CC permit and had issues with people not understanding (even though I know it's supposed to be concealed, but different body motion will unveil it on occasion).