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.