Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Ohio Police Chief asks Ohio Attorney General Rogers to Educate Police on Legality of Open Carry

  1. #1
    Moderator / Administrator
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    8,711

    Post imported post

    Now this is what I call a proactive police chief!

    -------

    http://www.ohioccw.org/images/storie...ief_letter.pdf

    Willowick Police Department Michael T. Lazor, Chief of Police 30435 Lake Shore Boulevard, Willowick, OH 44095-4600 (LAKE COUNTY) 1-440-585-1234 http://www.cityofwillowick.com/ DETECTIVE BUREAU FACSIMILE 1-440-585-1243 1-440-585-3770 Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    State of Ohio Office of the Attorney General

    30 E. Broad St., 17th Floor

    Columbus, OH 43215

    Dear Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers:

    A number of Willowick police officers responded to an "open carry" incident in June of this year. A call was received that a male was walking through a residential area with a holstered sidearm. After 10 minutes, the male was told to conceal the firearm (
    he had a concealed carry permit) and was allowed to continue on his way.

    Although I won’t get into the specifics of this particular matter, this incident generated a great deal of attention from members of an organization called the Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OFCC). Based upon my understanding of open carry and after conferring with our law department, the determination was that the lone fact of his openly carrying a firearm did not constitute any type of illegal act and that he should not have been informed that he would need to conceal his weapon before proceeding. [emphasis added]

    As a department, we have taken steps to inform and train our officers and staff regarding open carry. During this time, we have had occasions to discuss this with other law enforcement agencies and officers and come to the realization that uncertainty regarding open carry issues reaches across the entire state. Open carry, as an issue, is misunderstood by a very large portion of the law enforcement community and the public at large.

    Members of the Willowick Police Department and Willowick City Administration met with OFCC to discuss this issue. One thing discussed was the general misunderstanding of the laws in this regard. It was suggested that a letter from my office to your attention would be beneficial. An opinion from the Attorney General’s Office along with some training options would go a long ways toward giving law enforcement some guidance from the state level. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Lazor

    Chief of Police

    CC: Rich Bonde, Mayor

    John O’Donnell, Law Director

    Dan White, OFCC (
    via email)

  2. #2
    Regular Member rodbender's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Navasota, Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,524

    Post imported post

    Will be very interested in reading the reply, if there is one. What I mean is, if the Chief shares it with you.
    The thing about common sense is....it ain't too common.
    Will Rogers

  3. #3
    Wisconsin Carry, Inc. Shotgun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    2,668

    Post imported post

    Wow! Any chance we could clone the chief?
    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

  4. #4
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Englewood, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    654

    Post imported post

    I just called the Chief, he was not in atm. I spoke with an Officer LaForge, he said he would pass on my information to the Chief.

    With the attitude of Officer LaForge on the phone, and again I'm only going on the 4 or 5 minutes I spoke with him... The Willowicke PD seems to have taken this very seriously. They seem to understand what happened and what they need to do to fix it.

    They also seem to be willing to take that extra step to get the word out to not only help other police agencies but to help the citizens who both conceal and openly carry their firearms.

    I have a very good feeling this is going to be a tremendous boost to Concealed and Open carry. Waiting to see what the AG does and says now..

  5. #5
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Lake Charles Area, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    1,723

    Post imported post

    BADA BING !!



    Shotgun wrote:
    Wow! Any chance we could clone the chief?
    I'm not for cloning, but in this case I might make an exception

  6. #6
    Regular Member AZkopper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Prescott, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    673

    Post imported post

    Thats what we should be seeing more often.

    1. Because of ignorance of a (little used) Right in his state, the PD violateda citizen'sRights.

    2. The Chief got complaints/education on the matter, investigated thematter with his legal department, and determined his agency was violating a citizen's rights.

    3. The Chief then goes on to educate his troops on the legality of open carry, so as to bring them in to compliance.

    4. The Chief then goes on to request the AG conduct training state wide, to avoid any other agency stepping on anyone's rights.

    This is a perfect example of a responsive, non-agenda driven, leader. Cops are human, they don't know everything, and they make mistakes. It's acknowleging our mistakes and correcting the problem (in this case very proactively) as opposed to trying to find new ways to make legal behavior illegal, that makes the difference between a "thank you" and a civil rights lawsuit.


    Go on the town website and you can email the chief your thanks.



  7. #7
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Ravenna, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    106

    Post imported post

    His actions should be applauded. Nice to see there are some good guys still on the job. Education never hurt anyone.

  8. #8
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    , ,
    Posts
    1

    Post imported post

    Some Ohio law enforcement officers continue to demonstrate ignorance about Open Carry

    printable page
    Submitted by cbaus on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 00:05.


    "Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy." - Louis D. Brandeis
    "We the People grant law enforcement their limited power and authority, not vice versa." - Ken Hanson, Esq.
    By Chad D. Baus

    Just over two weeks ago, Buckeye Firearms Assocation was contacted by Ohio concealed handgun license (CHL)-holder Bryan Ledford with an ominous message:

    Another law-abiding Ohioan who was exercising his legal and Constitutional right to openly carry a handgun had been apprehended by police officers with guns drawn.

    Mr. Ledford had already published his account on an Internet discussion forum at OpenCarry.org, and Ohioans For Concealed Carry, of which he is a member, set about to obtain an apology on his behalf.

    Mr. Ledford's detainment by the Willowick, OH police department was far from a first. Indeed, just a few short months ago the Columbus Dispatch published an article detailing plight of Philip Turner, who suffered a similar experience. Similar incidents have been document by this website and others.

    What should have brought Mr. Ledford's experience to the attention of every police chief (and news director) in Ohio was the fact that he had made a tape of the entire incident, and had caught these ignorant, abusive police officers red-handed.

    On the tape, which is nearly ten minutes in length, a police sergeant can be heard repeatedly berating Ledford with profanity, threatening him with baseless charges and misinforming him about the illegality of openly carrying a firearm.

    As we have in the past, Buckeye Firearms Association decided to give the responsible parties (primarily Chief Michael T. Lazor of the Willowick Police Department) a chance to make things right. While an apology from the police department is certainly called for, it is clear that Mr. Ledford may well also have claims that deserve the attention of a judge (false arrest and interfering with his civil rights to name two).

    More than two weeks have passed, and Ohioans For Concealed Carry is now reporting their efforts to rectify the situation have resulted in a written reprimand for the abusive police sergeant, and in new training procedures for Willowick police officers.

    Buckeye Firearms Association regularly receives inquiries on the subject of Open Carry in Ohio. There is obviously much confusion among the media, law enforcement agencies, and even Supreme Court Justices in Ohio regarding the open carrying of firearms, so perhaps the following information will help clarify Ohio’s law as it relates to citizens carrying firearms.


    1. As a general matter of law, the right to bear arms is a fundamental, individual right guaranteed by Section 4, Article 1 of the Ohio Constitution.* This right, however, is not absolute, and is subject to regulation.

    2. Beyond the rights granted by the Ohio Constitution, Revised Code § 9.68 provides that, unless otherwise prohibited by State or Federal law, any person “may own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer, transport, store, or keep any firearm, part of a firearm, its components, and its ammunition.” Specifically included in this statute is the right to openly carry a firearm. See Revised Code § 9.68(C)(1). There is no requirement that the person first get a license, get permission or show any need prior to openly carrying a firearm.

    3. Officer safety must always be a paramount concern and goal for peace officers. However, officers should not consider openly carrying a firearm as per se suspicious or criminal conduct. Openly carrying a firearm does not automatically equate into a Disorderly Conduct (R.C. § 2917.11) or Inducing Panic (R.C. § 2817.31) charge. To take this position would be tantamount to taking a position that a person may not exercise their statutory or constitutional rights without risking constant “Terry stops” or police arrest. This position is obviously problematic. Instead, the officer or the dispatcher needs to look at the totality of the circumstances. Is there reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal conduct is occurring? What are the facts and circumstances, beyond the mere presence of a firearm, that indicate it is reasonable to suspect criminal activity?

    Simply reacting to every single “man with a gun” situation as an automatic “Terry stop” or felony stop will clearly have a chilling effect on the exercise of these rights by citizens, thus potentially opening the officer and the department up to civil liability. Officers and dispatchers should carefully question informants when being dispatched on these types of calls to verify what allegations of further suspicious or criminal conduct, if any, the suspect is engaged in. In a non-dispatch or informant situation, where the officer directly observes the conduct of the suspect, the officer should be ready to articulate what factors beyond the mere carrying of the firearm prompted the official police interaction with the suspect.

    4. Nothing in Ohio’s concealed carry law requires a license holder to carry their firearm strictly concealed. Rather, Ohio’s concealed carry law is mostly a series of exceptions to the existing criminal statutes. For instance, see Revised Code § 2923.12(C)(2). The main statute, § 2923.12(A)(2), prohibits carrying a concealed handgun, and section (C)(2) simply states that the main statute does not apply to someone with a Concealed Handgun License. While some states do require strict concealment by their license holders, Ohio has not taken this approach. Further, there is nothing in Ohio’s concealed carry law that requires a license holder to forfeit their constitutional and statutory right to bear arms in order to obtain a Concealed Handgun License. Thus, a person who has been issued a Concealed Handgun License may still openly carry a firearm if they chose to do so, provided all other laws are observed.

    5. Nothing in this article should be construed to mean that someone may openly carry a firearm where the person is otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm. For instance, if the person is under firearm disability pursuant to Revised Code § 2923.13, the person may not openly carry a firearm, as the person cannot legally possess a firearm. Further, if the area where the open carry occurs in a prohibited area, such as a courthouse as provided for by Revised Code § 2923.123 or in a car as provided for by Revised Code § 2923.16, then the person may not openly carry the firearm.

    * See Klein v. Leis, (Ohio 2003) 99 Ohio St.3d 537, 539 and Arnold V. Cleveland, (Ohio 1993) 67 Ohio St.3d 35, 46.
    There is still very much a need for education on the matter of open carry in Ohio, because there is still very much a need to open carry.

    For instance, Ohio law restricts concealed handgun license (CHL)-holders from carrying concealed inside publicly-owned buildings (including, until SB184 takes effect on Sept. 9, highway rest stops). And although the law does NOT restrict open carry in these places, the signs that the state Attorney General's office provides for state facilities erroneously state that firearms are prohibited "anywhere on these premises", and do not differentiate between openly-carried and concealed firearms.

    Until the Ohio legislature modifies the mandatory language on these signs, and as the following 2004 email from the office of the Ohio Attorney General notes, potential rest stop rape or robbery victims will be forced to make the choice between self-protection and the potential for false arrest:

    "While it is legal for a person to carry a weapon openly some law enforcement agencies have said such actions may prompt an arrest for inducing panic, a misdemeanor.


    It is impossible to say if any particular officer will cause problems for any particular person at any particular time, but carrying openly in a rest area – while within the bounds of law – may still result in difficulties.

    Mark Gribben
    Director of Constituent Services
    Office of Attorney General Jim Petro


    Ohio gun owners have long been aware that open carry is a legal, if risky, option for exercising their Constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense.

    Despite the many uncertainties, open carry is an important stop-gap measure for Ohioans who have no other means of protection or who have not yet obtained a CHL or temporary emergency license.

    ANY attempt to limit open carry in Ohio, a practice previously endorsed by everyone from the Million Mom March to the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, should be met met with vigorous opposition.

    Chad Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

  9. #9
    Regular Member rodbender's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Navasota, Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,524

    Post imported post

    I just got home and in my email inbox was, of all things, a reply to my email to Police Chief Michael Lazor of Willowick, Ohio. Below is the entire emailincluding mine to him.I think this man has a lot of integrity, it shines very brightlyand I don't think he could hide it if he wanted to.





    [size=
    From:] Dennis Patterson [mailto:dpatterson2095@hotmail.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 18:22
    To: mlazor@cityofwillowick.com
    Subject: Letter to AG


    [size=]

    Chief Lazor, Although I am a life long resident of Texas, and no of no occasion I may ever have to visit your town or state, I want to thank you for taking the initiative to contact the Attorney General of Ohio for clarification on the legallity of open carry of a sidearm in your state. Not many people in your position would admit to the need for education in this area. It is an humble man that admits that he needs help in his professional fieldand I applaude you for it. Thanks again from The Lone Star State.

    Sincerely,
    Dennis Patterson

    P.S.
    I know you don't have to, but I certainly hope you share her response with us at opencarry.org.




    Dear Mr. Patterson



    Thank you for the kind words. All I can say is that we are trying to do the right thing.



    I had some difficulty posting any type of formal reply on the website but if you would, please forward my appreciation for some of the positive comments that I have been receiving. Thank you.




    Michael T. Lazor, Chief of Police

    Willowick Police Dept.

    30435 Lakeshore Blvd.

    Willowick, OH 44095

    Phone: 440-585-1234

    Fax:440-585-3770



    The thing about common sense is....it ain't too common.
    Will Rogers

  10. #10
    Campaign Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Missouri, ,
    Posts
    79

    Post imported post



    "After reviewing the recording prior to the meeting, the Chief agreed that the Sergeant was in violation of department policy and was given a written reprimand for his behavior on the scene. Sergeant Turner informed us he was under the mistaken impression that open carry was a violation of the terms of a concealed handgun license and he thought Bryan was breaking the law at the time. He claimed his treatment of Bryan was uncharacteristic of his typical conduct on the job."



    I believe that Sergeant Turner was lying through his teeth when he claimed his treatment of Bryan was uncharacteristic of his typical conduct on the job because he also admitted he was under the mistaken impression that open carry was a violation of the terms of a concealed handgun license. He should not be allowed to help teach the class for the concealed handgun license.


  11. #11
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Norwood, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    15

    Post imported post

    "He should not be allowed to help teach the class for the concealed handgun license."-->

    Right On.

  12. #12
    Regular Member Deanimator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Rocky River, OH, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,086

    Post imported post

    Benjamin9 wrote:
    "He should not be allowed to help teach the class for the concealed handgun license."-->

    Right On.
    Is he an NRA certified instructor? Perhaps the Training Division of the NRA should be contacted regarding his certification...
    --- Gun control: The theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists.

  13. #13
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    , Florida, USA
    Posts
    25

    Post imported post

    Deanimator wrote:
    Benjamin9 wrote:
    "He should not be allowed to help teach the class for the concealed handgun license."-->

    Right On.
    Is he an NRA certified instructor? Perhaps the Training Division of the NRA should be contacted regarding his certification...
    Just a thought...

    Many people learn from thier mistakes, the officer may turn out to be the best instructor because of the reprimand that he received.

    He can really stress the best and worse ways to handle the situation.

    If someone gets caught vandalizing someones property, they are sometimes forced to perform community service.

    This may be a blessing in disguise. So far, the incident has started the ball rolling, the police chief is taking a proactive approach to educating his dept., contacting the AG and is also working with other depts.


    Don't be so quick to judge and think that you know all the facts, that's exactly what sparked this.





  14. #14
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Norwood, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    15

    Post imported post

    If hes has apologized, and acts upon it, OK. His act was atrocious, will he now support our efforts in helping the public and law enforcement know the law and our stance? If so, I welcome it. If not ...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •