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Thread: Anti Open Carry legislation?

  1. #1
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    I am cutting and pasting an e-mail exchange I had with my local sheriff's office regarding open carry. I still think I will carry concealed most of the time, just a personal choice, but I'd like to have the option and the legal ability to carry open when I deem it necessary. Any thoughts?

    Good afternoon (NAME REMOVED),

    First of all, let me apologize for the delay in responding to you. We had to get our yearly inservice training completed this month, therefore I've not been in the office.

    I will forward your email to the Sheriff.

    Our normal outlook on open carry reflects TN law. In our handgun permit classes we teach citizens to keep their weapons concealed at all times. We feel it's a common sense approach to the issue. As a matter of fact, I believe new legislation will soon be introduced in TN which will require weapons to be concealed under the state handgun permit law.
    Our officers, when carrying off duty, are actually required to keep their weapons concealed.

    I hope this has been of some help to you.
    If you need anything else, please don't hesitate to call or write. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

    Thank you,
    OIC John Rupe
    WCSO Crime Prevention Unit
    (423) 461-1414

    ----- Original Message Follows -----
    From: REMOVED
    To: <sheriffgraybeal@wcso.net>
    Subject: Open Carry of personal defense handguns
    Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2006 20:43:01 -0500

    > Sheriff Graybeal,
    >
    >
    >
    > I am a citizen of Washington County, and I wanted to pose the question
    > to you regarding your views on citizens openly carrying their
    > firearms, instead of concealed carry. I certainly realize that there
    > are tactical and situational advantages and disadvantages to each, and
    > that one must be licensed by the state to carry a handgun.
    >
    >
    >
    > What are your personal views on open carry?
    >
    > Do officers receive any training on the legality of open carry?
    >
    > What response should the average citizen expect from the local law
    > enforcement officers when they open carry?
    >
    >
    >
    > Thank you for your time, and your service.
    >
    >
    >
    > NAME REMOVED
    >
    >


  2. #2
    Regular Member reefteach's Avatar
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    I believe new anti OC legislation will not be introduced. We'll have to wait and see. I can't imagine that OC has resulted in problems which will require our hard working elected officials to enact a law against it. All in all, sounds like you have green light according to the local LEOS. Good for you!

  3. #3
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    I would write him another letter asking why he feels that it is common sense to not open carrry. I would also ask him to cite cases where OC by an non-LEO caused a problem, and someone freaking out over a handgun in a holster and wasting a cop's time by calling 911 doesn't count.

  4. #4
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    My reply....

    Mr. Rupe,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my message. If I may, I would like to clarify my understanding the position of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

    Currently, the letter of the law does not prohibit carrying a firearm by licensed individuals in an open fashion. As you may be aware, there was a decision handed down by the state Attorney General (Opinion #05-154), which I have attached to the e-mail, in which the AG supports this interpretation of the law.

    My understanding thus far is that the department has trained its officers in the law, and that one would not be harassed by deputies responding to a licensed citizen openly carrying their firearm in a non-restricted location. Is this correct?

    Can you cite any examples in which the open carry of a firearm had a detrimental effect in an encounter, which would have not occurred had the individual been carrying concealed? Certainly I realize that this may cause some citizens to call 911 to report a "man with a gun" call, and this is part of my concern. I want to be sure that if I chose to open carry, or if my weapon was inadvertently not concealed fully, that the officers responding to the call have received training regarding the legality of open carry.

    Could you please give more detail regarding the new legislation being introduced? Sponsors and bill names/numbers would be helpful if you have that information available.

    Why is it the policy of the department to require concealed carry for your officers, when they open carry daily during their on-duty responsibilities?

    I truly do appreciate your willingness to engage in a dialogue about this subject, and in helping me understand the position of the Sheriff's Office. Thank you for your time.

    Patrick




  5. #5
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    That is very well written, and you were much more diplomatic than I would have been tempted to be (not that I would have been rude).

  6. #6
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    The legality of open carry in TN is well settled - I would recommend not discussing the matter with LEOs - their associations are very powerful and yes, they might cause anti-OC legislation to be introduced.

    The best way to preserve our OC rights is to actively exercise them - taking away rights which are not actively exercised is very easy to do.

  7. #7
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    I live in this same county and have not had any problems open carrying as of yet. My permit class was given by the sheriff's department and the comment was made that open carry was not illegal in Tn. but there might be the probability of being challenged at some time by not concealing, I carry both ways depending on the weather and plan on continuing my current practice.

  8. #8
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    Now that I think about it, I definitely agree with Mike (always a good idea) about not asking police their opinion on OC. Their opinion is not the law.

    Especially in TN, if you are concerned about the LE reaction just carry a copy of the Tennessee Attorney General's opinion confirming the legality of OC to show to any uninformed cops who challenge you.

  9. #9
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    this is a copy of a letter I wrote to our local chief of police in cleveland tn.

    Chief Snyder,

    I know Tennessee’s policy on open carry and I am a permit holder and chose to carry concealed. My question is what are you and your officer’s policy on "open carry"?

    The Tennessee law states that I am within my rights where permitted to open carry. How do you and your officers feel about this? Will I be stopped and checked or detained? Below is a copy of a situation in Knoxville that happened recently. You may or may not be familiar with this story. In sight of all of the recent shootings in Nebraska, Utah, etc. more citizens need to carry concealed or other wise.

    Thank you for you time.

    and his reply:

    our officers are very familiar with the handgun carry laws of the State of Tennessee. We strive very hard to keep our officers educated on State, Federal and local laws, ordinances and directives. Our officers are trained to follow the law, but also to act in the interest of public safety. In compliance with the law, an officer may disarm a permit holder until the official business is finished. On your choice to carry openly, it is permitted by law-except where excluded by law, and your right will not be infringed upon. However, be aware that you may elicit the attention of law enforcement officers and others in the general public who are not as comfortable with your display of a firearm. This may include a temporary detention to determine your permit status. Understand our officers will ALWAYS act to preserve life. We hope you will understand (in light of mall, church and school shootings) if you are questioned and asked to produce your permit. If you are legally carrying a firearm, you have nothing to fear from the officers of the Cleveland Police Department. Please be aware that state law puts a great deal of emphasis on your responsibilities as a gun owner and permit carrier. I hope this information helps.

    Thank You

    Lieutenant Kenneth Simpson

    Accreditation Manager

    Cleveland Police Department

    100 Church Street NE

    Cleveland, TN 37311

    Phone: (423) 476-1121 ext. 3105

    Cell: (423) 593-6468

    Fax: (423) 303-3135



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