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Thread: Detained by police for alleged open carry in Longview, WA

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    Okay, so here is my very unpleasant experience..

    At approximately 17:45 on Friday, May 8th 2009, while shopping [location omitted - it is a store] in Longview Washington, I was standing in line waiting to purchase some deli meat and sandwich bread when I noticed two uniformed police officers emerge from a door situated near the end of the check-out aisle.

    One officer began to proceed against the flow of the check-out line I was in, and the other officer seemed to go another direction. As the officer approached my position I stepped a little to the left to allow him to pass, at which point he was intently looking at my belt-line while bent over slightly - seemingly trying to see under my motorcylce jacket. At this point I stopped all movement as he was obviously interested with something regarding myself.

    The officer said to me "Are you carrying a firearm?" I said "Yes sir.". The officer then asked "Are you a police officer?", I said "No sir, I have a concealed carry permit.", at which point the officer asked me where the firearm is, I told him it is on my belt on the right rear. The officer then told me to set my stuff on the counter, and then the officer removed my firearm from its holster without warning - then a second officer approached me from behind asked me to place my hands behind my back. I complied. The officer held my fingers together as he patted me down. Then the officer who first approached me asked where my wallet is. I told him it is in my left rear pants pocket. One of the officers then removed my wallet. The officer patting me down asked if I had any other weapons, I replied "No, but I do have a small screwdriver in my shirt pocket.".

    As I was being patted down the officer who removed my firearm informed me that we will go outside to sort this out, and to leave my purchases here. He then changed his mind and said we will discuss this matter in the store security office - he then repeated that decision to the officer patting me down.

    I was then escorted to the store security office hallway with my hands still being held behind my back. At this time a man wearing plain clothes and what looked like a bullet proof vest entered the security office hallway directly after us. I was then instructed to spread my legs, and a more thorough frisking took place by the officer who was holding my hands behind my back. The officer seemed to be spending a long time in the area of my motorcycle riding jacket - at which point I mentioned to the officer that the jacket is equipped with plastic plates for protection from a crash. He acknowledged in a manner that indicated to me he was aware.

    After being frisked thoroughly I was escorted into a room about 3 feet to my right and was instructed to sit in the chair with my hands on my lap while they check my permit and "call in" my firearm. I complied. I was then asked for the location of my concealed carry permit. I informed the officer that it is my wallet which they removed from me.

    At this point they asked me the caliber of my firearm, I informed them it is a .40 caliber. I was then asked if a round was chambered, and I informed the officers that yes, a round is chambered, the hammer is at rest, and the safety is off - and it is a double-action firearm. At this point I can hear one of the officers reciting the serial number of my firearm into a telephone or radio in a room behind the chair I was sitting in. I sat for about 5 minutes while they "called in" my firearm.

    The officer who first approached me and removed my firearm then returned my firearm, my wallet and my CHL. He said my firearm is not stolen, and my CHL checks out. I believe it was at this point they the officer informed me they received a call about a man with a gun.

    He then informed me that I need to conceal my weapon - I asked, is there law regarding this? He said yes, "a statute". He said they had an identical case a week ago.

    The officer then asked if I have a tail-bag on my motorcycle. I said yes. He said "I know a tail-bag isn't secure" and he indicated I should place the firearm in the tail-bag. He added that he rides motorcycles, and he knows it is difficult to keep the firearm hidden. Then both officers agreed a shoulder holster may be a good solution.

    I was then told I could go - at which point I asked the officer if he could write down the "statute" that I allegedly violated regarding the need to conceal my firearm at all times. He wrote down "RCW 9.41.270" and told me that the city attorney interprets that to include openly carrying a firearm...

    I thanked the officers and wished them a good evening. I then proceeded to the checkout to pay for the items.

    I did not place my firearm in the tail-bag of my motorcycle, because I only draw my weapon in public when in the defense against presently unlawful use of force against my self or against another.

    Here is a link to the cited RCW (even though most of you know it): http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.270

    That was the chain of events to the best of my recollection. Now, at the time the officer approached me and the entire time throughout the store, my firearm was completely concealed beneath my jacket. While on my motorcycle however it possible my firearm was exposed due to my short riding jacket and the forward leaning riding position of my particular motorcycle (read: a crotch rocket). So my guess is that the "man with a gun" call was prior to entering the store. In any event, I was not charged or given a citation, and I was never placed under arrest. But I very much dislike being treat like a criminal, having my firearm removed from me, searched, escorted through a store by armed officers with my hands behind my back and being told I am can only bare arms in secret..

    Now, I know from reading the forums here many of you would have told the officer to remove his hands from your gun.. However, for me this was a very quick chain of events, and to my disadvantage; nearly all of my previous interactions with law enforcement were during the time I was a Firefighter/EMT and I am very much used to a different dynamic. In my little world of prior experience; either I am the Incident Commander on the scene, or law enforcement is. In this situation I - in an instinctual manner - deferred Incident Command to law enforcement. And by the time I came to my senses it was already over.

    Completely besides the point - the firearm I was carrying is a Berreta 90-Two .40S&W Type F.

    Also besides the point - I wish I knew who the person was from last week... I'd like to know his/her story..

    [EDIT] Sorry about the title of this topic; I do not mean to infer open carry is illegal, my line of thinking was to the fact that the officers never witnessed me open carrying my firearm. So I was only allegedly open carrying, and to add "alleged" or "allegedly" I know adds a negative connotation to it, i wish I could change to topic title...

    [EDIT] Corrected a spelling error.

    [EDIT] fixed sentence that made no sense..

  2. #2
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    Sorry about the title of this topic; I do not mean to infer open carry is illegal, my line of thinking was to the fact that the officers never witnessed me open carrying my firearm. So I was only allegedly open carrying. To add "alleged" or "allegedly" I know adds a negative connotation to it. I wish I could change to topic title...

    [EDIT] When I tried to edit the first post, I got an error, so I just made a reply.. evidently they both are there now... yay for flaky wireless! =c )

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    You handled it well. It is best to not get into a ******* match with officers. You really need to seek an attorney at this point. It is very well documented in court cases that the presence of a firearm is not cause for detainment or frisking.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    I hope you are in this Longview, and not this one. The second Longview is a long way for me to drive to for the next OC meetup group.

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    HA! I didn't know there was 2 cities named Longview in Washington.. How confusing.. Anyway, I am the in the first Longview, the one in Cowlitz County.

    [EDIT] At first I said the second link, but it is the first link.. I think... =c )
    It is the Longview near Kalama, Carrols, Lexington. And has a bridge that connects to Oregon to Hwy 30..

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    Sorry to hear about your encounter. Welcome to the forum.

    What do you plan to do about this, Kyle?

    Are you looking for advice or insights on where the officer did or did not violate your rights?

    Just blowing off some steam?



    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Thanks Citizen for the welcome!

    As to what I will do about it; The first (and very tiresome) task to was to document the event. Next I will visit the Longview PD and request any related police report, and also a copy of the department policy regarding the "Legal opinion" of the city attorney. From there I will approach the Longview City Council members with my documentation, and prior case-law and issued legal opinion from other Washington cities/counties. And I will have to proceed from there.

    Is that a good plan? I have no idea! =c )
    Advice is GREATLY appreciated.

    As for my civil rights/liberties.. I don't know.. I don't know what to do. I work a ton - but I pay even more.. So I'm the worse kind of legal action guy - I have little time and less money. I don't know of any good attorneys to contact in my area - or how I would pay them, or even if my rights have been violated and I need to contact a lawyer.. I'm pretty lost on that front.

    But also, it was nice to post the event here for a few reasons. First, I want others who may live my area to be aware of this. Second, I wrote up what happened so I would not loose track of the details - and I didn't want it to go to waste, as it took a long time to write up! =c )

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    If everything is as you have described at the very least a complaint needs to be filed. Your Fourth Amendment & Fifth amendmentrights were violated, you we subjected to an illegal search and were illegally detained.

    The most the officer had the right to do was ask to see your CPP. He did NOT have the right to detain you nor did he have the right to run your guns serial number.

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    Sounds to me like you need to make a formal complaint, that once your permit was displayed you should have been free to go without the SN privacy invasion per Arizona v. Hicks and the idiotic lecture that open carry was unlawful in Washington.

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    Formal complaint at a minimum.

    Ask some of the veterans in Washington state for assistance.

    There are legal points that need to be sorted out so your complaint is effective.

    Somebody from Washington state whoiffamiliar with the staturoryand case law will probably be your bestbet for a helper.

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  11. #11
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    Sorry Citizen, but what do you mean? Washington Veterans of this forum? Military veterans? I'm confused..


    [EDIT] edited for clarity..

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    Can an unpubished opinion be used in a Civil Case?

    I ask because I;m beginning to think that nothing will stop these guys until they have to start paying out $$$ in civil claims. There are a number of cases in other states where open carriers have received fairly large judgements.

    Perhaps if we had one or two of those here in WA, police departments would start paying attention.

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    kyle.huff wrote:
    Sorry Citizen, but what do you mean? Washington Veterans of this forum? Military veterans? I'm confused..
    Open Carry veterans. Members of the Washington state sub-forum who have plenty of experience with OC.It will need to be someonewho isfamiliar with court opinions (aka case law)on police detentions.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    kyle.huff wrote:
    Sorry Citizen, but what do you mean? Washington Veterans of this forum? Military veterans? I'm confused..
    Open Carry veterans. Members of the Washington state sub-forum who have plenty of experience with OC.It will need to be someonewho isfamiliar with court opinions (aka case law)on police detentions.
    Okay, thanks for the clarification Citizen.

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    Citizen wrote:
    kyle.huff wrote:
    Sorry Citizen, but what do you mean? Washington Veterans of this forum? Military veterans? I'm confused..
    Open Carry veterans. Members of the Washington state sub-forum who have plenty of experience with OC.It will need to be someonewho isfamiliar with court opinions (aka case law)on police detentions.
    Your best bet for this is going to be Gray Peterson if he's got enough time to help you out. He lives up here in Snohomish County, but he's the most familiar with the case law outside of being an attorney.

    BUT! There is an attorney that takes on OC-related cases of police misconduct and has helped out OCDO-WA members in the past:

    Randy W. Loun
    Attorney at Law
    509 4th Street, Suite 6
    Bremerton, WA 98337
    (360) 377-7678
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
    KF7GEA

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    Thanks just_a_car! I sent Gray a PM, and if he is not too busy we will see what he has to say. I will give Gray a chance to respond first before contacting the Attorney you mentioned - as Gray may have some crucial advice regarding my interactions with a lawyer and where I need to focus. Thanks for all the info!

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    I sure hope you follow Thur with this as that's just wrong.

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    Mark Knapp is also a highly respected firearms lawyer.

    His link is at http://nwcdl.org/FirearmLawyers.html
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Double Tap.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    This sucks bad! The cops violated all manner of rights, and a quick bit of reading will tell you what they did wrong. Randy Loun is not available right now for health reasons BTW, however any competent attorney who is familiar with gun laws should be able to handle this.

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    If the Longview city attorney has indeed told law enforcement that open carry is a violation of 9.41.270, then the officers were acting in good faith, and your complaint is not with them. It may or may not be with the city council (who have the power to replace the city attorney), but it is certainly with the city attorney and his erroneous opinion.

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    Here is a link to the cited RCW (even though most of you know it): http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.270


    This reads to me as a brandishing offense of which a handgun in a holster would not fit. I hope the case (the officer mentioned took place a week earlier) that was referred here gets thrown out as that would kill OC in Washington.
    An Amazon best seller "MY PARENTS OPEN CARRY" http://www.myparentsopencarry.com/

    *The information contained above is not meant to be legal advice, but is solely intended as a starting point for further research. These are my opinions, if you have further questions it is advisable to seek out an attorney that is well versed in firearm law.

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    Venator wrote:
    Here is a link to the cited RCW (even though most of you know it): http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.270


    This reads to me as a brandishing offense of which a handgun in a holster would not fit. I hope the case (the officer mentioned took place a week earlier) that was referred here gets thrown out as that would kill OC in Washington.
    Venator, using the word "brandishing" is a big pet peeve for a few of us over on the WA forum... the reason? There is nowhere in the RCW that that word is used... thankfully. The term implies "showing" and that would include OC, IIRC, in some states.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    deanf wrote:
    If the Longview city attorney has indeed told law enforcement that open carry is a violation of 9.41.270, then the officers were acting in good faith, and your complaint is not with them. It may or may not be with the city council (who have the power to replace the city attorney), but it is certainly with the city attorney and his erroneous opinion.
    I agree.. I have close ties to some in Longview politics, and unfortunately I do not believe the city attorney will change her mind.. However, it is my understanding that the city council can insist the city attorney rescind the opinion; which is why I was going to try and take that approach first.. Then again, perhaps that is not the proper way of going about it. I hope to know more after speaking a firearms savvy lawyer on Monday.



  25. #25
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    NavyLT,

    Thanks for the support.

    In the future, I plan to condition myself to handle these types of situations differently. Like I said in my first post, I am used to working along side of law enforcement, not below.

    As to the attorney fees, well, in either case of where the money ultimately comes from - for the sake of putting these types of issues behind us - I think it is well worth it.

    To say I cannot openly carry a firearm, and to also say I can only carry a firearm concealed, and only then with a permit or license, is to say I do not really have a constitutional right to bare arms; I am merely afforded a privilege.. My right to bare arms is not a privilege, nor is my right to free speech, or freedom of religion, etc..

    As to me typically concealing or carrying openly; I more often carry openly - that particular day I was not wearing a holster with positive retention, and the store was quite busy, so I decided to conceal it. If I was wearing my serpa holster, I would have been certainly open carrying.

    As for the rest of what you said; to my knowledge I was not charged with anything. I was never placed under arrest (that is, they never said I was under arrest), and I was never read my rights or taken 'down town'. My understanding is that the officers 'educated' me, and sent me on my way - only after dis-arming me, patting me down, frisking me, and telling me to sit in a chair while they rummaged through my wallet and checked if my firearm was stolen.

    In any case, I will be consulting an attorney with 2a experience.

    BTW: If your name is any indication to a current or previous occupation; Thank you for your service. I myself was a Navy bratt growing up. So my summertime activities were watching the Blue Angels with my dad and his jarhead friends. good memories.. =c )

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