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Thread: OCDO letter to Alexandria Police Chief Baker requesting action to halt harassment of open carriers

  1. #1
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    I just sent this to APD Chief David Baker using the webmail link of http://alexandriava.gov/contactus/ma...me=David+Baker.

    --------------------------------------

    30 June 2007

    Chief of Police
    City of Alexandria
    Virginia

    SUBJECT: Unlawful harassment of gun owners by APD officers

    Dear Chief Baker:

    This correspondence asks you to ensure that all APD officers are reminded that all Alexandria gun carry related ordinances are invalid pursuant to Va. Code § 15.2-915.

    This has been the law since 2004.

    In the last few weeks, multiple citizens have reported harassment by APD officers on the discussion threads of OpenCarry.org. See, e.g., http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum54/3288.html; http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=3214&forum_id=54&highlig ht=Alexandria; http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=3181&forum_id=54&highlig ht=Alexandria.

    All of the reports are similar in that the individual reports that APD officers are issuing verbal warnings in lieu of a summons and either tell citizens that loaded gun carry is illegal in Alexandria pursuant to local ordinance, or, ordering or advising the citizens to conceal their guns. As you know, any concealment directive by police is unlawful generally, and doubly problematic in restaurants licensed to serve alcohol because Virginia law requires open carry in such locations. Va. Code § 18.2-308(J3).

    It s likely that many gun owners will be enjoying the sights in Alexandria while open carrying in the warm days ahead, especially this Wednesday, July 4th in an around Old Town and the Torpedo factory, and including at one or more of Alexandria’s coming seasonal events listed at http://www.funside.com/calendar/7/2007#event21, e.g., the First Thursday in Del Ray Parade on 5 July from 6-9 PM & the July 7th symphony concert and fireworks at Oronoco Bay Park, 7 North Lee Street, Alexandria, Virginia, from 4-10 PM.

    Accordingly, I ask you to take prompt action to ensure all APD officers are advised that:

    1. All City of Alexandria ordnances pertaining to gun carry are invalid.

    2. The open carry of handguns in Virginia is legally generally, including the City of Alexandria and its restaurants, parks, and public events, and the open carrier has no duty to possess any permit or identification when open carrying. Further, that Virginia has no stop & ID statute requiring persons to identify themselves to the police on demand. See generally, Va. Attny. Gen. Op. 2002-82 at http://www.oag.state.va.us/Opinions/2002opns/02-082.pdf.

    3. That open carry of handguns in restaurants licensed to serve alcohol is required as a matter of Virginia law, even if the person holds a concealed handgun permit.

    4. That more persons are likely to be carrying handguns openly in the coming days due to warm weather and upcoming public events, such as the First Thursday in Del Ray Parade on 5 July & the July 7th symphony concert and fireworks at Oronoco Bay Park..

    5. That due to recent reports of harassment of open carriers in Alexandria by APD officers who claim to not know that Alexandria gun carry related ordinances are invalid, that open carriers are likely to be traveling in groups of friends, associates, and family members, and that their parties may include undercover video camera operators who will document any open carry harassment incidents on U-Tube within hours of the event. See, e.g., http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum54/3190.html.

    As you can imagine, there is great frustration among citizens when the police claim to not know the law 3 years after the law takes effect. I am posting this letter to the following thread which you and your staff may wish to peruse from time to time to observe citizens lawfully communicating to freely associate and travel while bearing arms:http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum54/3293.html.

    Please let me know what you are going to do in this matter.

    Sincerely,
    Mike Stollenwerk
    Co-founder, OpenCarry.org


  2. #2
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    Excellent letter....

  3. #3
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    That rocks.

  4. #4
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    Excellent letter. Let's hope that Chief Baker didn't go to the same Chief of Police school that Chief Skinner did
    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." - George Washington

  5. #5
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    GREAT LETTER :celebrate (Can't believe no one else has put up the little guy!)

    One little thing though. When I clickedon:

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/edit_post.php?id=46828

    I got:





    Error









    Invalid request.

    « Back

    What is supposed to be at that location?

  6. #6
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    XD Owner wrote:
    One little thing though. When I clickedon:

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/edit_post.php?id=46828

    I got:





    Error









    Invalid request.

    « Back
    Fixed now. The kink was supposed to be the link to this thread - I guess I used the mid stream edit link version...Baker will figure it out.

  7. #7
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    If some folks happen to be going toAlexandria in the coming week and want to let others know it, feel free to post in this thread. For example:

    Torpedo factory tours and/or lunch in Old Town on the 4th?

    Del Ray parade on the 5th?

    Concert and fireworks on the 7th?

  8. #8
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    Excellent.
    Only point I have is that I always question the practice of sending an important communication through a web submission.
    There is the concern that it even gets there in the first place. Then there is the (I guess it's old fashioned, but so am I) notion that a formal or official communication be made either in person or at least certified mail. I suspect the premis is that it is somehow taken more seriously if you put it on paper and mail it. Not that I agree, just the way I've perceived it.
    Again, maybe I'm just too old fashioned?

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    Thank you Mike.
    -Unrequited

  10. #10
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    I agree. I hope a "hard copy" of the letter is sent as well, by certified mail to insure receipt and so that it cannot later be said that the letter was not received.

  11. #11
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    While letters are okay, although generally referred to the circular file (trash can) could there be some better way to educate local law enforcement. There are thousands of laws on the books and no way is any one cop gona be aware of all of them. I know that many groups are allowed access to police officers via the academy during training for just such reason, to raise awareness. Various groups, STARE, MADD, Megans Law advocates, even pro gay organizations, regularly go to great lengths to get some face to face time with the cop on the street during these training seminars. I think that would be a good way to educate the rank in file on such things as open carry, which Im sure is not a priority in the academy. Pro gun groups, I think, could really be more effective in educating officers during these training sessions, much more so than letters or civil litigation.

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    SicSemperTyrannis wrote:
    I agree. I hope a "hard copy" of the letter is sent as well, by certified mail to insure receipt and so that it cannot later be said that the letter was not received.
    Just an observation from someone who operates an ISP service and deals with the USPO and E-mail on a fairly large scale......(customer payments through USPO and operating email servers through which 1000s' of emails pass daily)

    Email is MUCH more reliable than USPO and most email clients can be set up so that a reciept is sent back to the sender when the reciever reads the email...somewhat like signing for it.
    This is just an educated estimate but, out of 1000 payments through USPO, we may have 5-6 that will arrive anywhere from a few days to a few weeks late...if they arrive at all.
    Out of 10,000 emails, we may have them same number of problems....maybe half of those are user error (mis-typing email address etc.)

  13. #13
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    I don't know. I've always thought that e-mail offers a certain measure of anonymity and insincerity while a letter is sent from a verified address, is signed by the sender (signature carry a LOT more weight) and show that the sender is convicted enough to take the time to actually put pen to paper. At least that's what I was taught.

  14. #14
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    BobCav wrote:
    I don't know. I've always thought that e-mail offers a certain measure of anonymity and insincerity while a letter is sent from a verified address, is signed by the sender (signature carry a LOT more weight) and show that the sender is convicted enough to take the time to actually put pen to paper. At least that's what I was taught.
    I agree 100% with you on this point BobCav....my point was just to reliability.

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    Gotcha. I would say e-mail is much faster, but not necessarily more reliable.As to my letters sent to the FCPA and FCPD Chirf of Police sent both e-mail and snail-mail, I have yet to receive a reply on either, so who knows!

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    Well still, a good email fro Mike all the same.

    If it wasn't over 2 hours away, and I wasn't planning on buying and using explosives on the 4th, I'd consider heading up there.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    Comp-tech wrote:
    ...
    Email is MUCH more reliable than USPO
    For regular mail?... Maybe so, maybe not. Irrellevant though as we are talking about "certified mail" which is very nearly 100% reliable and without any doubt more reliable than e-mail.

    ...and most email clients can be set up so that a reciept is sent back to the sender when the reciever reads the email...somewhat like signing for it.
    Most, but not all. And the practice is not common among those whom do have that feature.
    I personally disable that feature. No ones business when I read my email. If you need to be absolutely certain I receive a communication you need to send it cert mail return rcpt. This is the std.



  18. #18
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    BobCav wrote:
    I don't know. I've always thought that e-mail offers a certain measure of anonymity and insincerity while a letter is sent from a verified address, is signed by the sender (signature carry a LOT more weight) and show that the sender is convicted enough to take the time to actually put pen to paper. At least that's what I was taught.
    Yep, this was exactly my original point along with the side point of certified mail being more reliable as well.



  19. #19
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    Here is the APD Response received this morning:

    --------------
    In a message dated 7/2/2007 3:21:25 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Hassan.Aden@alexandriava.gov writes:
    Hi Mr. Stollenwerk,

    This email is in response to your email dated June 30, 2007.

    I wanted to thank you for bringing up potential training issues for our officers regarding how they interact with persons openly carrying firearms within the City of Alexandria. In response to the issues you raised, I am coordinating legal training through our Commonwealth Attorney's Office to provide our staff with legal updates associated with open carry laws.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at 571-221-8503.

    Thank you.

    Hassan

    Captain Hassan Aden
    Alexandria Police Department
    City Council Liaison
    Mobile: 571-221-8503
    Office: 703-838-6360 ext. 1274
    hassan.aden@alexandriava.gov



  20. #20
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    Mike wrote:
    Here is the APD Response received this morning:

    --------------
    In a message dated 7/2/2007 3:21:25 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Hassan.Aden@alexandriava.gov writes:
    Hi Mr. Stollenwerk,

    This email is in response to your email dated June 30, 2007.

    I wanted to thank you for bringing up potential training issues for our officers regarding how they interact with persons openly carrying firearms within the City of Alexandria. In response to the issues you raised, I am coordinating legal training through our Commonwealth Attorney's Office to provide our staff with legal updates associated with open carry laws.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at 571-221-8503.

    Thank you.

    Hassan

    Captain Hassan Aden
    Alexandria Police Department
    City Council Liaison
    Mobile: 571-221-8503
    Office: 703-838-6360 ext. 1274
    hassan.aden@alexandriava.gov

    Dang, someone gets in early. 0321 in the morning..



  21. #21
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    That's great, quick response, and good news for us all in Alexandria. Any way you could put both the initial email and reply into a pdf I could print out and carry/keep in my car?
    -Unrequited

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    Mike,

    Thanks for the letter and the posting of the response. With that, I would hope the issues of open carry are over in Alexandria.

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    Sweet, thanks Mike!

    unrequited wrote:
    That's great, quick response, and good news for us all in Alexandria. Any way you could put both the initial email and reply into a pdf I could print out and carry/keep in my car?
    Here you go. I just made both into a .pdf


    Attached Files Attached Files

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    BobCav wrote:
    Sweet, thanks Mike!
    unrequited wrote:
    That's great, quick response, and good news for us all in Alexandria. Any way you could put both the initial email and reply into a pdf I could print out and carry/keep in my car?
    Here you go. I just made both into a .pdf
    Wonderful. Printed, and this one I will keep in my wallet, since it's the Chief's own words.
    -Unrequited

  25. #25
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    Good letter, Mike!

    We should send something similar in Georgia, except that just about every place you mentioned is Off Limits to carry by state law . . .

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