A news article recently appeared in our local paper about the higher than average number of armed robberies here in Colorado Springs: http://www.gazette.com/articles/colo...y-springs.html
While reading his article, I grew concerned about how its wording might incite someone to report me simply because I was carrying a firearm. In response, I sent the following letter to the reporter:
Mr. Millman, I have two concerns about your article I would like to share with you.
My principle concern is Sgt. Noblitt's comment, "If it seems suspicious, it probably is," as well as how you reported his comment. While his comment certainly holds true for someone casing an establishment, I am concerned many people will take that to mean "If you see a man with a gun, call the cops."
The reason this concerns me is that I and many other fine, upstanding, and law-abiding citizens here in Colorado Springs carry a firearm. Some of us are licensed to carry concealed, while others carry openly. Colorado has long been an open carry state, and open carry throughout the United States is on the rise, with nearly all states allowing for the open carry of a firearm by its citizens.
Articles which highlight the use of handguns and comments such as Sgt. Noblitt's, without qualifying that open carry of a properly holstered handgun is both legal and not grounds for suspicion, tend to elicite irrationally fearful responses, including calls to 911 along the lines of "I just saw a man pumping gas - he was wearing a gun!"
Properly trained 911 operators and policeman will differentiate whether or not the individual in question was merely wearing the firearm (legal), or whether he was brandishing it or otherwise using in an inappropriate or illegal manner. Unfortunately, neither all 911 operators nor all policeman are properly trained when it comes to Colorado's open carry firearm laws. Some, for example, are probably unaware that a recent Federal Court decision prohibits police from detaining or harassing anyone simply because they're openly carrying a firearm (attached).
It behooves us all to address this issue in an objective manner which avoids inciting fears by reporting PD comments such as "If it looks suspicious, it probably is." It woudl have been better, however, if you'd simply kept it to something along the lines of "increased vigilance," along with a short list of suspicious behavior.
In closing, I would like to suggest that open carry by itself is not suspicious activity, as criminals rarely wear properly-holstered weapons. Furthermore, open carry is a strong deterrent to crime, as most criminals avoid situations in which they're likely to encounter others who're armed while they're committing their crimes.
If you care to learn more about either open carry or the types of suspicious activities for which our fine citizens should remain vigilant, I would be happy to assist you.
Thank you for your time.