From David Codrea's WaronGuns.com
This could easily be adapted to any open carry state where people are being harassed.
A Plan to Stop Cops from Harassing Openly Carrying Gun Owners in Ohio
Get on the ground, an officer ordered, forcing the surprised group to set aside their drinks and hit the sidewalk belly-down. An officer began searching one of Llewellyn's friends before abruptly ending the suspense and demanding to know who had the gun.We had this happen in Willowick a while back and it looks like Ohio cops still aren't getting the message--in spite of the chief notifying the Attorney General. Sure, she put out a booklet with a brief mention on page 18, but that's a far cry from positively ensuring that the law is understood by those tasked with enforcing it. Matter of fact, with the "If you openly carry, use caution" recommendation, that puts the burden solely on the citizen.
And that's the best our gun rights leaders have given us, too :
State law does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms except in certain locations, but a person should exercise caution when carrying a firearm in public.As we've repeatedly seen, one can exercise all the caution in the world and still end up on the floor--or worse. That's not good enough. Those who get paid to enforce the law have a responsibility to know just what it is they can and cannot enforce in this regard--especially since it creates the potential for a lethal encounter.
They don't have a right to put us at risk like that. It needs to stop. Starting today.
What follow is a rough draft of sorts on how this could be done. Thing is, I won't be the one doing it. My plate is already full. Which means it probably won't be.
But I'd start out with a letter to the AG, return receipt requested, putting her on notice with something along these lines:
[Date]The enclosure form letter she'd get a copy of follows. This is something that would need to be sent to every LEO head in the state--by return receipt mail in order to create a documented record that they have received notice. As such, whoever took on this project would probably need to raise a thousand dollars or so for postage, plus have the time and resources to customize each letter with the appropriate chief/sheriff, department and address, and go to the post office to fill out the return receipt forms and mail them. Here's where you'd get that information from (and these may need to be verified as current and complete).
Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers
State of Ohio Office of the Attorney General
30 E. Broad St., 17th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Subject: Law Enforcement and Ohio Open Carry of Firearms
Dear Attorney General Rogers,
Over two months after Willowick Police Chief Michael Lazor's letter to you on the subject of open carry of firearms, I am still reading news accounts of police officers harassing citizens for it. This creates a dangerous and intolerable risk for citizens and a not undeserved liability for Ohio law enforcement agencies.
It is incumbent on you as the highest law enforcement executive in the state to rectify this, especially since you cannot claim you're not aware that risks exist. I am prepared to spearhead a project to try to notify every police chief and sheriff in the state via the enclosed return receipt letter.
But that's really not my job, that's yours. I'm calling on you to notify every police chief and sheriff in the state as to the legality of open firearm carry in Ohio. You have the resources and the staff to accomplish this with just one order. And law enforcement heads will heed you--with me, there's no such guarantee.
Consider this your notice that dangerous deficiencies exist within Ohio law enforcement as to the proper understanding and application of state law. Should you now fail to act on this, and should any citizen suffer any harm as a result of your lack and/or thoroughness of action, a copy of this letter and the USPS return receipt will serve as documentation that you were notified of your obligation and, with negligence and/or deliberate indifference, did not fulfill it.
[Name and Address]
[Date]I think it's not a bad little project, and something a team of volunteers could do it in very little time and for very little effort and expense--a bang for the buck kind of effort. I'd think each county should have someone who takes charge and assumes responsibility for getting it done in that area. Larger counties would need a couple of volunteers.
Subject: Ohio Open Carry of Firearms
Recent incidents where citizens carrying firearms in an open manner have been detained by police make it evident that uniform training does not exist throughout the state of Ohio to inform officers of the law, what they are authorized to enforce, and what they have no authority to challenge.
Per the Ohio State Attorney General:The legal burden of proving innocence should not fall on citizens exercising rights over which your department has no legal authority. This creates a dangerous situation. Citizens who are not violating any laws could get hurt or worse, and your officers and management could be held liable for damages.
It is up to your officers to know what laws they have authority to enforce, and not to attempt enforcement activity for which they have no legal authority. It is your responsibility to ensure they are properly trained in this regard.
This letter serves as formal notice that you must learn the law regarding open carry in Ohio and ensure those under your command have been properly trained to understand it as well.
Should you fail to do this, and should any citizen suffer any harm as a result of your lack and/or thoroughness of action, a copy of this letter and the USPS return receipt will serve as documentation for any and all plaintiffs that you were notified of your obligation and, with negligence and/or deliberate indifference, did not fulfill it.
[Name and Address]
If I had one dedicated week and the postage, I could do the whole job myself. But, like I said, I'm already more than occupied. If enough Ohio volunteers contact me, I'll put you in touch with each other and offer general help, but I'm not prepared to solicit funds and administer a project. I'd really prefer to see some grassroots gun group take this on and make it their own. And the thing is, it could also be emulated in other states that have similar open carry issues.
Any bets on whether or not this will just turn out to be a[nother] theoretical exercise in what might have been?