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Thread: Curious incident at Whatcom County District Courthouse

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    This post is more fishing for advice than trying to make a point. Here's what happened:

    Thursday I had occasion to go to the courthouse, where I had never been before. There was a painted sign on the glass front door citing RCW 9.41.300 stating firearms are to be checked at Security. So far, so good. I went in the door and the Security checkpoint was at the far end of a long corridor with several offices on both sides. Very strange, I thought. I got to the checkpoint and asked about where to check my weapon and was directed to a lady at a desk. She demanded to see my CPL. I was CC'ing so had my CPL on me, but I asked her "what-if" I were carrying openly. She said "We always verify those (CPL's)" She gave me a key for a locker, I locked up my gunand went thru the security check.

    What I take away from this is that if I had been OC'ing without my CPL I could have ended up having a discussion with the nearest Deputy about Section 270. It definitely appears to be their policy to check CPL's under all circumstances. And the people on the scene aren't trained to differentiate between 300 and 270. I have to go back tomorrow, and I think I'll just lock the gun in the car to avoid the hassle. So does anyone have any thoughts on how to approach the apparent mis-reading of the law?

    PS: I don't want to volunteer to be a test case.

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    Richard6218 wrote:
    This post is more fishing for advice than trying to make a point. Here's what happened:

    Thursday I had occasion to go to the courthouse, where I had never been before. There was a painted sign on the glass front door citing RCW 9.41.300 stating firearms are to be checked at Security. So far, so good. I went in the door and the Security checkpoint was at the far end of a long corridor with several offices on both sides. Very strange, I thought. I got to the checkpoint and asked about where to check my weapon and was directed to a lady at a desk. She demanded to see my CPL. I was CC'ing so had my CPL on me, but I asked her "what-if" I were carrying openly. She said "We always verify those (CPL's)" She gave me a key for a locker, I locked up my gunand went thru the security check.

    What I take away from this is that if I had been OC'ing without my CPL I could have ended up having a discussion with the nearest Deputy about Section 270. It definitely appears to be their policy to check CPL's under all circumstances. And the people on the scene aren't trained to differentiate between 300 and 270. I have to go back tomorrow, and I think I'll just lock the gun in the car to avoid the hassle. So does anyone have any thoughts on how to approach the apparent mis-reading of the law?

    PS: I don't want to volunteer to be a test case.
    Just OC without your CPL next time.

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    Simple, just leave your CPL in your vehicle. That is the moment when you would need it. When they ask to see your CPL, state that OC does not require a license, so while you do have one issued to you, it is not on your persons at that time because it is not legally required at that point.

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    David.Car wrote:
    Simple, just leave your CPL in your vehicle. That is the moment when you would need it. When they ask to see your CPL, state that OC does not require a license, so while you do have one issued to you, it is not on your persons at that time because it is not legally required at that point.
    I did ask the hyothetical question and mentioned Section 270. That had no effect at all: she said they always require a CPL.
    That kind of confrontation isjust what I want to avoid. These people on the spot are just civil employees trained to respond in one way. If anything deviates from that they will sound the alarm bells and cause a huge ruckus because they don't have the authority to review the law. I don't have the time to mess with them. So the next alternative is what? Send a letter to the sheriff, who probably is the ultimate authority about this?

    Suggestions?


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    Send a polite letter. Include the Sheriff, but also copy any non-police folks who may have a say - the court's administrative offices, perhaps, or the Mayor, or other public official who isn't a cop. If they don't respond, follow up regularly until they do.

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    Next time hand her a copy of the State Constitution.

    But on a serious note, why not think positively? If you OC, and get asked for your CPL, simply state, in a confident manner, that none is required, and confidently expect that the matron will check your gun without further fuss.

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    deanf wrote:
    Next time hand her a copy of the State Constitution.

    But on a serious note, why not think positively? If you OC, and get asked for your CPL, simply state, in a confident manner, that none is required, and confidently expect that the matron will check your gun without further fuss.
    Ok, thats a thought, have the State Constitution Laminated to look like a CPL. When asked for your CPL, say "Iam sorry mine is in the car, as it is not needed, but here is the other one."

    I understand your want to not cause a ruckus, or upset the apple cart, or draw attention to your rights.... oops, I guess I don't understand. What problem is a 5 minute polite conversation with a LEO over the fact of not having your CPL when not required?

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    What problem is a 5 minute polite conversation with a LEO over the fact of not having your CPL when not required?
    The problem is they aren't always 5 minute polite conversations. Often they are an hour long ordeal with threats, intimidation, etc... On the other hand, if we don't willingly put ourselves through that, we will continue to lose ground until these bastards respect none of our rights.


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    OK GUYS, THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED!!! No fuss, no bother, no shouting, no threats. Here's what happened today.

    I locked my weapon in the car and went thru security and did my business on the 3rd floor. On my way out of the building I stopped in at the last office before the exit, the County Admin. Office. The receptionist called the Division Manager, George Reid, who came out from his office. He has overall responsibility for security in the building, so he is THE MAN to talk to about all issues about guns. He is a very amiable guy, which madethe mattermuch easier to discuss. He brought with him a copy of a 2005-dated court order restricting all areas of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors from firearms. With a complete copy of the RCW on the counter in front of us, I explained the difference between Section -.050, conceal carry, and Section -270, open carry. When I was finally able to get the words out about carrying OUTside the security perimeter and that no license is required for OC (under -.270) he finally agreed that they only need to ask for a CPL for CC and NOT for OC. The conversation ended with him saying "I'll take care of that for you".

    I said I would confirm the discussion with a letter.

    Mission accomplished.

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    Not only a good job, but a great job ! Two thumbs up to you, Sir.

    When faced with the facts of pre-emption, theres no choice but to agree.

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    Triple Tap wrote:
    Not only a good job, but a great job ! Two thumbs up to you, Sir.

    When faced with the facts of pre-emption, theres no choice but to agree.
    Thanks for the kudos. But this wasn't an issue of pre-emption, it was about interpreting the two sections that govern types of carry, 050 and 270. Once he understood that, we were in lock step. When you're dealing with reasonable people in a businesslike mannerit's so easy to get stuff done.

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    Richard6218 wrote:
    This post is more fishing for advice than trying to make a point. Here's what happened:

    Thursday I had occasion to go to the courthouse, where I had never been before. There was a painted sign on the glass front door citing RCW 9.41.300 stating firearms are to be checked at Security. So far, so good. I went in the door and the Security checkpoint was at the far end of a long corridor with several offices on both sides. Very strange, I thought. I got to the checkpoint and asked about where to check my weapon and was directed to a lady at a desk. She demanded to see my CPL. I was CC'ing so had my CPL on me, but I asked her "what-if" I were carrying openly. She said "We always verify those (CPL's)" She gave me a key for a locker, I locked up my gunand went thru the security check.

    What I take away from this is that if I had been OC'ing without my CPL I could have ended up having a discussion with the nearest Deputy about Section 270. It definitely appears to be their policy to check CPL's under all circumstances. And the people on the scene aren't trained to differentiate between 300 and 270. I have to go back tomorrow, and I think I'll just lock the gun in the car to avoid the hassle. So does anyone have any thoughts on how to approach the apparent mis-reading of the law?

    PS: I don't want to volunteer to be a test case.
    While heading down to the County Courthouse to do some business today, I had the same thing happen to me. They use the CPL as collateral for the key to the firearm locker. The funniest thing about it is that the moment I surrendered the CPL to the security guy, I was not legal to carry concealed, so I tucked my shirt undermy firearmto display it openly all the way to the locker. When I retrieved my firearm from the locker, I carried it openly up to the security check point to turn in the key and retrieve my CPL. The security guard told me to cover it up and I said "Not until I have that CPL in my hand. To cover it right now without that paper in my hand would be a civil infraction and I'm not here to pay fines today." He gave me an odd look and then quickly smiled and bid me to have a great day. I replied in kind, with a smile and then walked out with the weapon concealed again under my shirt.

    In my county of residence, you could OC up to them and if you didn't have a CPL I guess they'd have to take something else as collateral for the locker key. I don't know, but I highly doubt my county of residence would try to charge you under 9.41.270 for OC up to the gun locker at the court house.

    (I don't OC near the courthouse because there are far too many degenerates wandering around that might try for a grab.)

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    Here's the letter I have written to George Reid, Division Manager at the Whatcom County Courthouse who is responsible for security.

    November 17, 2008



    Mr. George Reid, Jr., Division Manager
    Whatcom County Administrative Services
    311 Grand Avenue
    Bellingham, WA 98225-4038

    Re: Firearms security

    Dear Mr. Reid:

    It was my pleasure meeting with you last Friday, November 14 to discuss an
    issue of firearms security in the County Courthouse Building. This letter is to confirm
    that meeting.

    As I first mentioned, your security screeners are instructed to request display of
    Concealed Pistol License at all times when screening individuals carrying firearms into
    the building, pursuant to RCW 9.41.300 and to Order No. 05-2-00001-1 of the Superior
    Court dated April 15, 2005, a copy of which you provided to me, as well as the Whatcom
    County Courthouse Security Policy, which you also provided to me.

    As I pointed out, two types of carrying of weapons are permitted by Washington
    law, and the two are covered by different sections of the RCW. Concealed carry is
    regulated by RCW 9.41.050(1)(b), as follows:

    (b) Every licensee shall have his or her concealed pistol license in his
    or her immediate possession at all times that he or she is required by this
    section to have a concealed pistol license and shall display the same
    upon demand to any police officer or to any other person when and if
    required by law to do so.
    Open carry is regulated by RCW 9.41.270(3)(c)

    RCW 9.41.270

    Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm — Unlawful
    carrying or handling — Penalty — Exceptions.

    (1)
    It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw
    any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing
    instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of
    producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a
    time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or
    that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.

    Mr. George Reid, Jr. Page 2
    November 17, 2008

    (3) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to or affect the
    following:
    (c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or
    herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by
    another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of
    such unlawful force by a third person;
    As is my understanding of these Sections, carrying of a weaponconcealed requires a Concealed Pistol License, but openly carrying is
    provided for in 9.41.270(3)(c) and does not require a license. In the course of
    business your screeners are likely to encounter both types of carriers at the
    security checkpoint. It is entirely appropriate for them to request the CPL of
    anyone carrying concealed. However, I believe the Security Policy needs to
    be further defined to take into account that persons openly carrying weapons
    are doing so lawfully, but may or may not be in possession of a CPL.
    Notwithstanding other security procedures and regulations, under this
    circumstance it is therefore not necessary to ask for such.

    I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this issue with you and your
    understanding of my views.

    Sincerely,













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    Richard6218 wrote:
    [snip]

    It is entirely appropriate for them to request the CPL of anyone carrying concealed. However, I believe the Security Policy needs to be further defined to take into account that persons openly carrying weapons are doing so lawfully, but may or may not be in possession of a CPL. Notwithstanding other security procedures and regulations, under this circumstance it is therefore not necessary to ask for such.
    Richard - good letter. Just a thought; since you mention the appropriateness of requesting a CPL for CC, how about countering that stance for OC? I was thinking of the last sentence reading "Notwithstanding other security procedures and regulations, under this circumstance it is therefore not necessary or appropriate to ask for such.

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    Gene Beasley wrote:
    Richard6218 wrote:
    [snip]

    It is entirely appropriate for them to request the CPL of anyone carrying concealed. However, I believe the Security Policy needs to be further defined to take into account that persons openly carrying weapons are doing so lawfully, but may or may not be in possession of a CPL. Notwithstanding other security procedures and regulations, under this circumstance it is therefore not necessary to ask for such.
    Richard - good letter. Just a thought; since you mention the appropriateness of requesting a CPL for CC, how about countering that stance for OC? I was thinking of the last sentence reading "Notwithstanding other security procedures and regulations, under this circumstance it is therefore not necessary or appropriate to ask for such.
    Because he had acknowledged that I was right, and I didn't want to rub his nose in it with aggressive language. I did think about using the word "legal" in that space but decided to leave well enough alone.

    BTW, I discovered how to paste a .pdf file here: use the "browse" button and select the file from my .pdf directory. But when I tested it it looked like anyone could access my whole hard drive by first going to the file I pasted. So I deleted the link and replaced it with the plain text version. Is this right, or was I simply accessing my own hard drive or cache?


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    Just found out about opencarry.org, first post. When I have gone to the Whatcom court house and went to lock up my pistol they have told me that I do not need to as I am a federal police officer, when I tell them that my department expects us to as I am not there on official business they never asked to see any thing, just gave me a key and then told me to walk around the metal detector.

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    CDAT wrote:
    Just found out about opencarry.org, first post. When I have gone to the Whatcom court house and went to lock up my pistol they have told me that I do not need to as I am a federal police officer, when I tell them that my department expects us to as I am not there on official business they never asked to see any thing, just gave me a key and then told me to walk around the metal detector.
    Welcome to the board. I think you'll find it very informative, at times contentious, and sometimes amusing.As a federal officer you have much to contribute. I hope you will stay with it, read the threads and post when you see the need.

    Your story about the security people is astonishing. This tells me that I could have said the same (falsely) and gotten past them without any question. State law excepts federal officers, among others, in carrying inside the security perimeter. (Cf RCW 9.41.300) so you would not have been required to check your weapon at all. There are a number of "what-if's" about your story that I'll leave to others' imagination.

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    That is what they told me (I already knew it) but my agency is really picky about things like that and even though I do not think they would ever find out if they have a policy and I only do it when I think people are watching that is wrong, if they policy is not against the law, I need to follow it or find a different job.

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    CDAT wrote:
    That is what they told me (I already knew it) but my agency is really picky about things like that and even though I do not think they would ever find out if they have a policy and I only do it when I think people are watching that is wrong, if they policy is not against the law, I need to follow it or find a different job.
    I was just hypothesizing to illustrate the holes in their security. I wasn't suggesting that you should test their system, or state law. You were doing the right thing and if you were not there on government business it certainly was right for you to act as an ordinary citizen and follow their procedures. What appalls me is that they have this "security" system backed by a written policy and state law, and they simply accept your statement that you are a federal LEO without verifying it.

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    "they simply accept your statement that you are a federal LEO without verifying it."

    Remember what they say about assumptions. CDAT doesn't say that. He says they told him he doesn't have to, which is inline with State law. He never said they didn't ask for ID or that they didn't verify.
    Be prepared. Be very prepared.

    http://swwsurplus.com/ *** 2519 E Fourth Plain Blvd Vancouver WA 98661 *** 360.314.6687
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    Richard6218 wrote:
    OK GUYS, THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED!!! No fuss, no bother, no shouting, no threats. Here's what happened today.

    I locked my weapon in the car and went thru security and did my business on the 3rd floor. On my way out of the building I stopped in at the last office before the exit, the County Admin. Office. The receptionist called the Division Manager, George Reid, who came out from his office. He has overall responsibility for security in the building, so he is THE MAN to talk to about all issues about guns. He is a very amiable guy, which madethe mattermuch easier to discuss. He brought with him a copy of a 2005-dated court order restricting all areas of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors from firearms. With a complete copy of the RCW on the counter in front of us, I explained the difference between Section -.050, conceal carry, and Section -270, open carry. When I was finally able to get the words out about carrying OUTside the security perimeter and that no license is required for OC (under -.270) he finally agreed that they only need to ask for a CPL for CC and NOT for OC. The conversation ended with him saying "I'll take care of that for you".

    I said I would confirm the discussion with a letter.

    Mission accomplished.
    Nice thing about Whatcom. I love that place. It's usually better when it comes to respecting citizens than the metro areas.

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    thebastidge wrote:
    "they simply accept your statement that you are a federal LEO without verifying it."

    Remember what they say about assumptions. CDAT doesn't say that. He says they told him he doesn't have to, which is inline with State law. He never said they didn't ask for ID or that they didn't verify.
    Here's what he said in his original post:
    ...they never asked to see any thing, just gave me a key and then told me to walk around the metal detector.

    I presume by this he was referring to his LEO ID, such as badge, ID card, etc.

    CDAT, what actually happened about that?



  23. #23
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    Ah, fair enough. I apologize. I missed that somehow, even after reading it twice.
    Be prepared. Be very prepared.

    http://swwsurplus.com/ *** 2519 E Fourth Plain Blvd Vancouver WA 98661 *** 360.314.6687
    http://www.facebook.com/SouthWestWashingtonSurplus *** https://twitter.com/SWWSurplus

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    Richard6218 wrote:
    thebastidge wrote:
    "they simply accept your statement that you are a federal LEO without verifying it."

    Remember what they say about assumptions. CDAT doesn't say that. He says they told him he doesn't have to, which is inline with State law. He never said they didn't ask for ID or that they didn't verify.
    Here's what he said in his original post:
    ...they never asked to see any thing, just gave me a key and then told me to walk around the metal detector.

    I presume by this he was referring to his LEO ID, such as badge, ID card, etc.

    CDAT, what actually happened about that?

    The first that I heard that you needed to show a CPL was on here so the few times that I have been there I have just walked up and asked for a key and never had any issue with getting one, in the future will make sure that I have my permit on me and give it to them, so I can try to do the right thing.

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    CDAT wrote:
    Richard6218 wrote:
    thebastidge wrote:
    "they simply accept your statement that you are a federal LEO without verifying it."

    Remember what they say about assumptions. CDAT doesn't say that. He says they told him he doesn't have to, which is inline with State law. He never said they didn't ask for ID or that they didn't verify.
    Here's what he said in his original post:
    ...they never asked to see any thing, just gave me a key and then told me to walk around the metal detector.

    I presume by this he was referring to his LEO ID, such as badge, ID card, etc.

    CDAT, what actually happened about that?

    The first that I heard that you needed to show a CPL was on here so the few times that I have been there I have just walked up and asked for a key and never had any issue with getting one, in the future will make sure that I have my permit on me and give it to them, so I can try to do the right thing.
    Don't worry about the CPL. Your federal ID will cover you under RCW 9.41.300. All you need do is flash your badge. If you want to get a CPL that would just be frosting.

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