Yesterday I spent a few hours with a firearms instructor to qualify for USPSA competition. This guy is not LEO but he supervises most of the LE qualification programs in Whatcom County, including ICE. So he knows pretty much what he's talking about. Granting that his point of view is decidedly from the LE perspective, we discussed a number of issues about OC and CC. One case that he cited involved some guy walking his dog on a dark street at night and carrying an AR-15. Someone called 911 claiming he was "frightening" them, LE responded, arrested him, and when it went to court, THE GUY LOST! This seems to be a simple case of OC, protected by 9.41.270 as we all are, but somehow the claim of "frightening" won the day in court. This probably hinged on the phrase "causes alarm" as the law words it. If this case is precedent, it means someone need only claim they were "frightened" by an OC'er to have an arrest, and worse, a conviction. So the question is: what could this case have been? He didn't mention any case name, or even the jurisdiction where it happened. Does this ring a bell with anyone?
This instructor's advice was basically this: OC is legal, no question, BUT if you do it be prepared for consequences like that case. He himself carries, but strictly CC. Likewise, he says, if you do have to fire your weapon in self-defense, CALL 911 yourself and PUT YOUR WEAPON DOWN. If you still have it on you or in your hand it couldget you shot by LE.
This mirrors a conversation I had with a sergeant in the Ferndale PD. Interestingly, he's the same guy who responded to my OC incident in Haggen's last October. I bumped into him at the Custer range a couple weeks ago and we had a rather friendly discussion about competitive shooting, guns, etc --- "gun talk". His guys were doing quals with their AR-15's. Then a week or so later I bumped into him again and the topic turned to OC, and I reminded him of the Haggen incident. He asked me if I always OC and I said Yes, almost every day, except when I CC
. At that point the air became a bit thick, and the subject changed rather quickly. So my take on it is that even though this guy is educated about the law, he takes a dim view of OC. I don't know how this would translate in a MWAG incident on public property. This just FWIW