Saturday, March 25, 2006

We Get Letters...

"Here's the scoop...

I'm in PA, out with my girlfriend at a local mall. I'm open carrying (I do often and have at this exact mall before). We're shopping around, doing our usual thing, and we hit a store where she wanted to try clothes on. She starts to try clothes on in a fitting room, and after about five minutes and two outfits, I notice out of the corner of my eye a LEO standing in front of the store, pacing and on his radio.

Thirty seconds later, I see him walk in, and I already knew why he was there. I turned towards him and said light-heartedly "i know why you're here".He asked me if I had a firearm on me, disarmed me, and asked for my license. I obliged, then asked why it was needed since PA is an open carry state. He said he just needed to verify it, etc, and not to worry as I'm not in any trouble.

A few minutes later, a second LEO arrives, handles my Glock, then empties out the clip that was laying out in the open on a display shelf. I was then asked by the second LEO:"why are you carrying a gun"? to which I replied "for self-defense, as on my LTC". I was then told by the second LEO that only police and federal officers should carry a gun, and there is no reason why I should. They then asked me the first question again but added "why... in a mall?" I replied because of the mall shootings last year, and the recent Denny's shooting.I started chatting it up with the first LEO about me taking the act 120 and my interest in LE. I was then told "if I have an illegal weapons charge" against me, I wouldn't be eligible to get into LE. I asked "what illegal weapon", and was told about me possessing in the mall. I asked what was wrong, and they told me I cannot carry in the mall, that it's against policy.

I questioned where it was posted and was told it's not, and my responsibility to call and ask if I can carry in the establishment. I've never heard of this before and obliged to them. After them checking my firearms registration and license for any warrants, they walked me through the mall to my car, and sent me on my way.The encounter was so-so. I was uneasy by the questioning from the second LEO, and my girlfriend was pissed because of the situation.

I did learn some things about Act 120 before I take the course though...So, any comments regarding my situation tonight? I know some may not like open carry, but it is legal in my state and I am happy to exercise my rights.
I cannot give legal advice because I am what I am but that does not include being something dirty like a lawyer, or some other criminal. I've checked the PA laws and nowhere does it state that the burden of proof is on the individual regarding carrying inside a place of business. PA strictly forbids any sort of carry inside a courthouse, police station, or the grounds of a school. Open-carry is quite legal and there is no "brandishment" law. Therefore, the strong presumption has to be made that you're a young guy, the second cop was an older guy, and the vast majority of police do not like the idea of civilian carry.

My recommendation would be to contact your local Attorney General and ask for a ruling on carry within a business that prohibits such. In most every other state, such businesses must post signs to this effect and one does not break the law by carrying, but may be asked to leave. But hey, you can be asked to leave ANY place of business, it's their right to withhold service from whomever they wish, as long as THEY are not breaking a law. A few states make it a misdemeanor to disregard a posted sign prohibiting the carry of a firearm, but in each and every one of them the sign must comply with the letter of the law and cannot be some crayon-scrawl saying No-Guns-In-Hear, Ya'll, and if it isn't posted it isn't a problem.

In your instance, there were no signs. Of any kind. If this is a fact, then dollars to donuts it's the cops busting your balls. Happens every day in every town and every state in the Union.

You were threatened by an officer of the law. He told you that you were facing an illegal weapons charge. Call the DA's office. If all of this is the bullshit it seems to be, then call the cop shop and ask how you may then file a complaint against the officer's in question.

On a personal note, this is why a lot of people DO frown upon open-carry in places other than the wilderness. You scare the shit out of the sheeple, law enforcement officers then must get off their ass to go talk to you, and this pisses them off. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be exercising your Constitutional right, but this is what happens when a young guy who doesn't even know the law in his own town walks outside with a gun.

Why DIDN'T you know?


Lemuel Calhoon said...

The last person you want to ask about the law is a cop.

Fits said...

Bingo. It's reaching the point where the average law abiding citizen needs an attorney on retainer just for cases like this. Truth is, cops will always fuck with the younger guys because they figure them to be an easy mark.

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