Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Helpful Gunnie Hints...

Friend, fellow blogmeet attendee, and SigSauer enthusiast Lissa e-mailed me the following story which I'd like to use as a cautionary tale:

Court upholds police pointing gun at lawful carrier
The First Circuit Court of Appeals is the Court just below the United States Supreme Court in the New England states. The case stems from a lawyer who sued a police officer after he was detained for lawfully carrying a concealed weapon while in possession of a license to carry concealed. According to the case opinion, the lawyer, Greg Schubert, had a pistol concealed under his suit coat, and Mr. Schubert was walking in what the court described as a "high crime area." At some point a police officer, J.B. Stern, who lived up to his last name, caught a glimpse of the attorney's pistol, and he leapt out of his patrol car "in a dynamic and explosive manner" with his gun drawn, pointing it at the attorney's face.

This is, believe it or not, the best part of the story. It all goes downhill from here.
Officer Stern "executed a pat-frisk," and Mr. Schubert produced his license to carry a concealed weapon. He was disarmed and ordered to stand in front of the patrol car in the hot sun. At some point, the officer locked him in the back seat of the police car and delivered a lecture. Officer Stern "partially Mirandized Schubert, mentioned the possibility of a criminal charge, and told Schubert that he (Stern) was the only person allowed to carry a weapon on his beat."

Got that? Schubert was licensed to carry in MA, and yet still gets a dressing down from Officer Respect Mah Authoritay/Only One. Schubert has jumped through all of the legal hoops one need jump through to obtain a permit in MA (which he will almost certainly lose as a result of this), and yet the ill-informed police officer treated him like a common criminal. At least, I'd like to think that the officer was simply uninformed - the alternative is that the officer made a conscious decision to harass a law-abiding gun owner.

There are several lessons one can take from this story:

1. As I've mentioned before, "concealed means concealed" is never more topical than when carrying in gun-unfriendly areas. If they can't see your sidearm, they can't get all butt-hurt and ZOMG ONLY COPS SHOULD HAVE TEH EBIL GUNZZZZ! on you. In many places -TX included - it's actually against the law for your concealed weapon to be visible. This can be cause for revocation of your permit and/or criminal charges. Invest the money in a good concealed carry holster - this is not an area to save a few bucks.

2. Have the name and number of a good attorney with experience in firearms litigation in your wallet and on your cell phone. This comes in handy if, G-d forbid, you are ever involved in a righteous shooting and also in cases like the above. You want competent legal representation when you defend yourself in court as well as if/when you decide to go after the powers-that-be in civil court.

3. Just as important as #2, know the gun laws of your state and/or local municipality. If you live in an state with binding signage, know what is and isn't a valid display of a sign. Decide whether to frequent such businesses or not. Know the places and conditions under which you cannot carry (i.e. bars, restaurants that serve alcohol, places of worship, etc.). This is 1,000 times more important if you're carrying out of state.

4. The side of the road is not the time to argue the finer points of the Second Amendment with the arresting officer. You're just some jamoke with a pistol to the officer - don't forget that cops probably see hundreds of people carrying firearms, and in their world 99.9999% of guns and folks carrying them are doing so illegally and for illegal purposes. Getting into a pissing contest with a cop on the scene because "It's my right and it's protected under the Constitution" is going to go pear shaped most rikki-tik, and YOU WILL LOSE. The deck is stacked against you in a big way.

5. And in conjunction with #4, remember that Officer Friendly is not your friend. While there are many cops who respect the Constitution and the Second Amendment, there are easily as many (if not an order of magnitude more) who think that they are the "Only One"s who should be carrying firearms. As long as there are "Respect Mah Authoritay" types out there like the gung-ho good little fascist in the story above, your best bet when dealing with the police is to make it so you don't have to deal with the police. Make sure your sidearm is invisible. Resist the urge to flip off the jackass tailgating you. Don't let the prying fat cow critiquing your parenting style get under your skin. Be cool.

6. Officers like the jack-booted thug in the story above need to be called out, fired from their jobs, and forcibly prevented from holding any position of authority above that of pest control. If you get all hot-and-bothered by a law-abiding citizen LEGALLY carrying a firearm, to the point of illegally detaining him, you need to reconsider your line of work. I sincerely hope that Attorney Schubert rakes whatever PD hired Stern over the coals on this one, and I also hope that whichever locality issued Attorney Schubert his permit doesn't declare him "unsuitable" after this incident.

7. Lastly, if there's any way to avoid living, working, or traveling in a gun-unfriendly hellhole like the Volksrepublik of MA, do it.

Carrying a firearm shouldn't have to be a legal minefield, but in places like MA/CA/NY/etc. it should be expected...

That is all.

17 comments:

TOTWTYTR said...

Wrong venue. He should have sued in MA courts, which have pretty much held the exact opposite. State law, not federal law, will likely govern the actions of police in cases like this.

It will be interesting to see what happens to this sort of thing is SCOTUS incorporates the Second Amendment as applying to the states.

Lissa said...

Great post, Jay! (And much more thoughtful than my profanity-laden email.) Very sad to have it rubbed in my face that, despite having jumped all the hoops and dotted my i's and crossed my t's, some jerkwad like Officer Stern could pull a stunt like this.

(Of course, since I'm a petite woman, I bet I'd get a lot more press and a lot more sympathy. Three cheers for sexism! um, or something.)

ASM826 said...

Flee Massachusetts

Weer'd Beard said...

I haven't heard jack from GOAL about this. I intend to send an Email with this linked story to them tonight.

I advise all Goal members to do as such, and if you live in Massachusetts and are NOT a member, I advise you joining.

ASM826 mentions the common statement of "Flee Massachusetts (sub California, New Jersey, New York ect ect ect)" But let's face it, there is a war on ALL our 2nd Amendment rights going on, and Massachusetts is one of the front lines. Life isn't pleasant BECAUSE its a front, but that's MORE of a reason for those of us willing to fight to stay here.

Ideologies spread (Just look at the gun control laws being proposed for New Hampshire) if we flee this state and let the anti-freedom crowd win, they'll be knocking on your door next.

TXGunGeek said...

Jay,
You're right about Texas. That's why some of us are backing open carry. I'll not likely ever open carry but if it is legalized, then the "Failure to conceal" will go away as open carry would be legal as well as concealed with a CHL. If you inadvertently flash your gun / print really badly, you won't be able to be charged anymore. Now we just need to get it passed.

Gun Monkey said...

The Atlanta Gun rights examiner (who is a lawyer) had an article on it recently.

http://www.examiner.com/x-5619-Atlanta-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2009m12d31-Court-upholds-police-pointing-gun-at-lawful-carriers

Fark somehow got a hold of it so the comments get interesting.

Wally said...

"Ideologies spread (Just look at the gun control laws being proposed for New Hampshire) if we flee this state and let the anti-freedom crowd win, they'll be knocking on your door next."

NH has some draft legislation to make Montana envious. I'd be there in a heartbeat.

The Big Guy said...

Amen to Point #7...

Y'all scared the crap outta me
regarding MA and the fact
that carrying a empty/expended cartridge without proper licenses, permits, certifications, authorization and credentials from the Volksrepublik is a FELONY (WTF?!)

MA is a bite in the ass...

TBG

Anonymous said...

Jay,

I am confused by the court's ruling.

Is concealment an element of Massachusetts carry?

Shooin' Buddy

Old NFO said...

All good points Jay, thanks for the reminders!

AngryPatriot said...

Well, if that just doesn't plain out and out SUCK.

Bad enough that we have gung-ho Only Ones out there, but now the Only One Wanna-Be's are going to come crawling out of the woodwork.

As TOTWTYTR said, it will be interesting to see what happens if we win Incorporation via the 14th, of the 2nd against the States.

I'm wondering...since mASS has the rather convoluted "these are the firearms you're allowed to own* list, if there is a list of holsters you're allowed to own to carry the gun you're allowed to own. This way, a cop can see an approved holster (something obviously gov't approved, like pink camo with gold lamee' fringes), so that the officer can readily see that you're OK to carry. These fashion-savvy holsters would be issued only by the state, through state-approved holster stores, sort of like hard liquor through state liquor stores.

And only after a 6 month waiting period for the approval to own an approved holster to carry an approved gun.

And I thought NY was bad....

jimbob86 said...

You can ALWAYS vote with your feet. I'd use a U-Haul, just 'cause I'd not abandon my stuff.

wv=goniscop

....um, errr..... at last his job should be gone, at the very least.

Wai said...

If you're an NRA member, you already have the number of NRA lawyers printed on your membership card.

Sarah said...

Yeah, Texas is strange - intentionally failing to conceal your carry gun is a big, big no-no here.

And don't count on living in a more-conservative part of this state (like my area) to always work in your favor, either. One of the clerks at a local store has honest-to-goodness hysterics when she catches even the slightest glimpse of an outline of a gun through a CHL holder's shirt because she despises all firearms. She, no kidding, has to run into the break room in order to get control of herself because she hyperventilates.

I DON'T shop there, but it's a sad reminder that the "ZOMG IS THAT A GUUUUUN?" types can live and work anywhere.

Tam said...

Nothing personal, but I wouldn't cross the Massachusetts state line to pick up a hundred-dollar bill lying three feet on the other side of it.

Jay G said...

Hmm. I was going to comment about how that meant you couldn't visit Marko, except that you could just as easily go through NY and VT...

Prolly best you stay out of MA, Tam. I think you're expressly mentioned in state law. :)

Mike W. said...

in Mass. there's probably a law banning the level of Snark Tam possesses.