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Thread: Standard letter to Police Chiefs requesting local policy on open carry and MWAG responses

  1. #1
    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    I am thinking it would be good for us to canvas the towns around us checking in with the chiefs of police in those towns and asking what their policy and training is in responding to an open carrier or MWAG call.

    I can draft something up, but I am looking for other thoughts and making sure I am not duplicating existing effort.

    I would also like to know what people think of this idea.

    My abstract concept of the letter at the moment would consist of something like this:

    Dear Chief of Police,
    I would like to know what your department's policy is on the open carrying of firearms in your town. As you should already be aware, there is no Connecticut law against open carrying of a firearm by an individual with a permit to carry. When this activity is observed by an officer in your town, please answer the following:

    • 1. Are the police instructed to stop (detain) the individual?

      2. Are the police instructed to ask for identification from the individual?

      3. Are the police aware that there is no offense that would warrant arrest from the simple open carrying of a firearm, when the firearm remains in the holster and no one has a credible and reasonable claim of a threat?

      4. Are they educated with the fact that it is not necessarily illegal for a citizen to have a holstered firearm?

      5. What questions and procedures are the dispatchers trained with when a 'man with a gun' call is received?


      Thank you for your time in reviewing these questions, I look forward to your reply. It is my hope that we can make sure that everyone involved is on the same page and that we all understand the law on this important and relevant topic.

    Obviously this is a very rough draft that I just whipped out for the purpose of demonstration, but I think you all can get the idea. By pinning a chief down, we can call attention and focus effort on OC unfriendly towns and we can educate as necessary. It would also be very difficult for an officer to argue with the decision from their chief when presented with it in print.

    Post your thoughts, comments, questions, modifications please.
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    Good work on your letters!

    I have every intention of using your letter as a model for my letters to Local Officials in my Community for Open Carry ofa Loaded Pistol.

    Thank you again, and keep up the good work.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    aadvark wrote:
    Good work on your letters!

    I have every intention of using your letter as a model for my letters to Local Officials in my Community for Open Carry of¬*a Loaded Pistol.

    Thank you again, and keep up the good work.
    Whoa, wait a minute, this is not at all complete or anything. Wait until we get this finalized please.

    I am sure we can do much better than the letter here that I just spouted off the top of my head.
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    I like the idea Rich & would send one to my chief once its wrung out a little.
    I'm not sure dispatch can be asked to make a difference though. How the responding officers are trained/instructed to handle things is critical though. They should be made aware & instructed that its perfectly ok to let a person alone once they know that person has a permit. There is no requirement to make an arrest just because they are called.

    That said I'm not sure I'll get a response. We had correspondence but he stopped when I tried to nail him down.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Leverdude wrote:
    I'm not sure dispatch can be asked to make a difference though.
    How dispatch reports a MWAG incident is critical. They have to be trained and educated just as much as the officers. There is no crime committed when there is a person walking down the street with a holstered firearm. The dispatcher must do their due diligence to get information from a complainant and report the situation accurately to the responding officers. After all, someone walking around with a holstered firearm is very different than a person walking around threatening people with a gun in their hand.

    How it should go:
    Dispatch: "911, what is your emergency?"
    Concerned Citizen: "I am at 5th and Broadway and there is a man with a gun."
    Dispatch: "Ok, is he doing anything with the gun?"
    Concerned Citizen: "No. He is just walking around."
    Dispatch: "Is it holstered?"
    Concerned Citizen: "Yes, it is on his side."
    Dispatch: "Is he making any threats or acting aggressively?"
    Concerned Citizen: "No. He is just walking into an ice cream shop. He appears to be buying ice cream."
    Dispatch: "Ok, and how would you like officers to assist you?"
    Concerned Citizen: "He is carrying a gun!"
    Dispatch: "That is not a crime. We can send an officer to check up on him, but there is likely nothing that can be done."
    Concerned Citizen: "But he has a gun!"
    Dispatch: "Thank you for your call, I will send an officer by to take a look."
    As opposed to:
    Dispatch: "911, what is your emergency?"
    Concerned Citizen: "I am at 5th and Broadway and there is a man with a gun."
    Dispatch: "I'll send officers immediately. Clear out of the area immediately."
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    Rich B wrote:
    Leverdude wrote:
    I'm not sure dispatch can be asked to make a difference though.
    How dispatch reports a MWAG incident is critical. They have to be trained and educated just as much as the officers. There is no crime committed when there is a person walking down the street with a holstered firearm. The dispatcher must do their due diligence to get information from a complainant and report the situation accurately to the responding officers. After all, someone walking around with a holstered firearm is very different than a person walking around threatening people with a gun in their hand.

    How it should go:
    Dispatch: "911, what is your emergency?"
    Concerned Citizen: "I am at 5th and Broadway and there is a man with a gun."
    Dispatch: "Ok, is he doing anything with the gun?"
    Concerned Citizen: "No. He is just walking around."
    Dispatch: "Is it holstered?"
    Concerned Citizen: "Yes, it is on his side."
    Dispatch: "Is he making any threats or acting aggressively?"
    Concerned Citizen: "No. He is just walking into an ice cream shop. He appears to be buying ice cream."
    Dispatch: "Ok, and how would you like officers to assist you?"
    Concerned Citizen: "He is carrying a gun!"
    Dispatch: "That is not a crime. We can send an officer to check up on him, but there is likely nothing that can be done."
    Concerned Citizen: "But he has a gun!"
    Dispatch: "Thank you for your call, I will send an officer by to take a look."
    As opposed to:
    Dispatch: "911, what is your emergency?"
    Concerned Citizen: "I am at 5th and Broadway and there is a man with a gun."
    Dispatch: "I'll send officers immediately. Clear out of the area immediately."
    Sometimes I hate talking with a keyboard. I didn't mean that how dispatch reacts is irrelevant, I'm just not sure that they dont already do pretty much as you said. I can be wrong but I think the cops in the Goldberg case knew it wasn't a wild west scenario. They responded, as I think they should in most cases, but once there they felt they were supposed to arrest him just as a matter of procedure. THAT is what needs changing the most IMO, the perception by LE that they need to make an arrest when they find a guy with a gun & an irate, or not so irate, citizen.

    Our chief, before he stopped answering me, said that officers would respond to about any call of MWAG & I think it only reasonable that they should. But those officers should be just as ready to find a law abiding citizen as a criminal & be just as eager & happy to send him on his way as to lock him up.

    Anyway, like you, I am VERY interested in how different PDs are handleing this. Most if not all of them should know by now what is going on and I'm certain theres been discussions on what should happen & how things will be handled.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Leverdude wrote:
    I'm just not sure that they dont already do pretty much as you said.
    The Goldberg case only became an issue in the first place because of a poorly trained/educated dispatcher. Seriously, listen to the 911 call. The girl from Chili's calls and actually asks if it was legal and there is no answer, only police dispatched. That whole incident should have never been an issue in the first place.

    I know it is not a popular opinion, but when we get down to it, there is no crime being committed. What is the need for police to respond in the first place? How about a Man With A Car call? Man With A Dog? I know we are a long way away from having our proper rights, but we shouldn't be hassled unless we are committing a crime. If an officer wants to observe, that is fine. But that is all they have the right to do. Even asking for a permit is outside of their rights.

    Also, I have heard first hand the lack of information given to officers involved in MWAG calls.

    Part of the issue is when a responding officer has no information, they will approach the person assuming the worst (as well they should). But if they have the information from the start that it is likely a law abiding citizen buying ice cream, there is no needs for the adrenaline to be pumping. There is also less of an expectation of action (arrest, lecture, etc) on their part. Officers are only human. Give them the info they need and steer them on the correct path to begin with.
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    Rich,
    Your draft looks great. When complete I'll send it to at least 10 towns....

    1. Hartford
    2. Meriden
    3. Mystic
    4. New Haven
    5. Stratford
    6. Bridgeport
    7. Bloomfield
    8. Manchester
    9. Enfield
    10. West Hartford

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    Rich B wrote:
    Leverdude wrote:
    I'm just not sure that they dont already do pretty much as you said.
    The Goldberg case only became an issue in the first place because of a poorly trained/educated dispatcher. Seriously, listen to the 911 call. The girl from Chili's calls and actually asks if it was legal and there is no answer, only police dispatched. That whole incident should have never been an issue in the first place.

    I know it is not a popular opinion, but when we get down to it, there is no crime being committed. What is the need for police to respond in the first place? How about a Man With A Car call? Man With A Dog? I know we are a long way away from having our proper rights, but we shouldn't be hassled unless we are committing a crime. If an officer wants to observe, that is fine. But that is all they have the right to do. Even asking for a permit is outside of their rights.

    Also, I have heard first hand the lack of information given to officers involved in MWAG calls.

    Part of the issue is when a responding officer has no information, they will approach the person assuming the worst (as well they should). But if they have the information from the start that it is likely a law abiding citizen buying ice cream, there is no needs for the adrenaline to be pumping. There is also less of an expectation of action (arrest, lecture, etc) on their part. Officers are only human. Give them the info they need and steer them on the correct path to begin with.
    You cant compare a call about a man with a gun to one about a dog. Makes us look silly. Folks arent likely to dial 911 about a dog either. They will usually call the PD & speak to a cop.
    I could be wrong but I didn't think the cops in Goldbergs case came in looking for gangbangers. I was & am under the impression they knew there wasn't a robbery or anything like that going on. They were just responding to the call, as IMO they should and when they got there made mistakes we all know about.
    I dont think it's wise, or even realistic, to want dispatch to not bother sending an officer when they are called. They dont know theres no crime until they get there. I live on a tight dead end street & call police frequently because of how people park etc. Should they not respond because cars are legal & I might be mistaken about parking laws?

    At any rate theres no harm in educateing & maybe better instructing dispatchers but I think educateing the guys with the badges & cuffs is more important & crucial.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Leverdude wrote:
    You cant compare a call about a man with a gun to one about a dog.
    Sure I can. Both are legal activities. Both could turn dangerous at any moment, but are innocent civilian activities until proven otherwise.

    This mindset of fear amongst gun owners needs to stop. There is nothing illegal about any form of carry here and we have every right as that person walking his dog. The police have no right to hassle him and ask for ID, nor do they have that right with us.

    Folks arent likely to dial 911 about a dog either. They will usually call the PD & speak to a cop.
    In most cases, calling the PD and calling 911 is the same thing. You are speaking to the dispatcher all the same. Regardless, that is my whole point. That person has no more reason to call the police for someone walking their dog peacefully as they do to call the police when I am walking downtown with my 1911 on my side.

    I could be wrong but I didn't think the cops in Goldbergs case came in looking for gangbangers. I was & am under the impression they knew there wasn't a robbery or anything like that going on.
    Right. They simply knew there was a man with a gun. The whole 'man with a gun' thing has a stigma to it. Sounds dangerous, sounds illegal. Regardless, there was no reason for the police to investigate since there was no crime being committed according to the very call. I don't blame the police for wanting to check it out, but it did not require the aggressive posturing that was implemented.

    They were just responding to the call, as IMO they should and when they got there made mistakes we all know about.
    Well then I would argue that the police have the same requirement to check out every dog owner you report to the police department. MWAD calls will skyrocket for sure near me.

    I dont think it's wise, or even realistic, to want dispatch to not bother sending an officer when they are called.
    Are you under the assumption that they should respond equally to every call the receive even when no crime has been identified?

    They dont know theres no crime until they get there.
    Then they shouldn't go. If they do, they can casually observe like they are required to do when they get a call of a suspected DUI. If no crime is being committed, they can call all clear and return to service.

    I live on a tight dead end street & call police frequently because of how people park etc. Should they not respond because cars are legal & I might be mistaken about parking laws?
    Again, it is a subjective thing, but if there is a crime being committed they should respond. But they also have the option of checking on what you are reporting before making contact with anyone.
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    Sure I can. Both are legal activities. Both could turn dangerous at any moment, but are innocent civilian activities until proven otherwise. This mindset of fear amongst gun owners needs to stop. There is nothing illegal about any form of carry here and we have every right as that person walking his dog. The police have no right to hassle him and ask for ID, nor do they have that right with us.
    Both are legal activities but there the similarity stops. Lets be honest, people use guns to commit crimes all the time and a person alarmed by a gun enough to call the police should expect them to respond. If you want to take the position that an officer observing a person open carrying cannot even ask to see your permit I think that will hurt our cause. There is nothing legal here about any form of carry unless you have a permit. Asking to see it should not be a big deal at all. If we have a right to refuse to show it then the result must be that they can arrest you until they can find the truth.

    I dont think its a mindset of fear as much as reality. If we are going to compare carrying a gun openly with walking a dog we arent dealing with reality. You dont need a permit for a dog. If you did they could ask to see it. Thats what permits/licenses are for. Now, in a real open carry state like NH you are right. Theres no law against open carry, you dont need a permit, so you dont have to prove anything to a LEO.


    In most cases, calling the PD and calling 911 is the same thing. You are speaking to the dispatcher all the same. Regardless, that is my whole point. That person has no more reason to call the police for someone walking their dog peacefully as they do to call the police when I am walking downtown with my 1911 on my side.
    Not really, you call 911 you get a 911 dispatcher who directs the call to the proper department. You call the PD you get a cop on desk duty. It doesn't matter what right the caller has to complain, it matters what they are complaining about. Generally a call about a guy with a gun will be a greater cause for concern. Having the cops come, check you out & wish you well is actually a great thing as it will teach that person that law abiding people can carry guns & more than likely cause them to realize that a person OCing is very unlikely to be a criminal.

    Right. They simply knew there was a man with a gun. The whole 'man with a gun' thing has a stigma to it. Sounds dangerous, sounds illegal. Regardless, there was no reason for the police to investigate since there was no crime being committed according to the very call. I don't blame the police for wanting to check it out, but it did not require the aggressive posturing that was implemented.
    They did not know a crime was not being commited until they got there. If you dont blame them for checking it out why do you keep saying they shouldn't have responded?
    Their mistakes were after they got there.
    I agree about the stigma but its a reasonable one in CT since OC is very new here & wether we like it or not is not as socially acceptable as it is in other places.

    Well then I would argue that the police have the same requirement to check out every dog owner you report to the police department. MWAD calls will skyrocket for sure near me.
    Why? Is there a requirement to have a dog permit? Do people regularly use dogs to commit crimes in North Branford? You arent compareing apples to apples.
    I expect cops to respond to any call of a person with a weapon making others nervous. Bat, knife, gun, sword, broken bottle, whatever. If when they get there nothing is really wrong there is no need for an arrest. I think this feeling of a need to arrest someone when a gun is involved is at the heart of the matter.

    Are you under the assumption that they should respond equally to every call the receive even when no crime has been identified?
    Of course not. Are you under the assumption that the police shouldn't respond until after a crime has been commited? Thats the problem with a permit & open carry. Nobody knows if a crime is being commited until its investigated. In a true OC state they will still respond but they know that everybody has a right to carry & like as not its not an issue.
    In CT we have 3.5 million people and 150 thousand permit holders, thats less than .5% of the population permited to carry. Not responding to a call about a gun would be irresponsible.

    Then they shouldn't go. If they do, they can casually observe like they are required to do when they get a call of a suspected DUI. If no crime is being committed, they can call all clear and return to service.
    Would you feel the same way about a call about someone climbing in a window at night? I'd rather they respond & find out iits the homeowner or his kid then wait until someone discovers their stuff gone.

    They should go, make sure everything is ok, then leave after they have done their job.


    Again, it is a subjective thing, but if there is a crime being committed they should respond. But they also have the option of checking on what you are reporting before making contact with anyone.
    You cant have it both ways, either they should respond (I think they should) or they shouldn't. They should IMO respond & check out the situation, in my scenerio they come & if cars are parked wrong they run the plates & give out tickets. In a MWAG scenerio they come & if they find a guy with a gun, check his permit & if he is legit its over.

    Its all how they handle it when they get there.

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    Absent some other activity/situation that gives the police officer reasonable articulable suspicion that some crime has/ is / is about to happen then no they don't get to come up and demand to see your permit.

    The police may ask if they can see it, that is their right, same as I can come up to you and ask to see yours - however you also may refuse this request which is well within your rights to do. Does each polite request responded to with a permit strip us of our rights? perhaps no, but when you no longer have the right to refuse a request then it becomes a demand and then your rights are being trampled.

    Just my 2cents

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    I am scared to walk my dog in some of your neighborhoods now. I may be arrested because one of you called the cops for a man with a dog and a gun:what: j/k.

    The way i feel, is I have never been randomly pulled over, or followed by a cop into a parking space and asked if i had a license to drive, or to see it. Why should i be asked to see my permit to carry a firearm if i am not acting out of sorts, or displaying an odd behavior like a crack head, or being loud and threatening.

    If a cop came up to me and asked to see my permit, i would gladly show them the proof and carry on with my day. That said, if people begin to report that cops are harassing them to show permits ect, then i will politely decline and walk away.

    Some people may get butt hurt over this, but there is a huge difference in me walking my dog through the center of Thomaston Ct, vs Jamal and five guys of african decent with there pants falling down, making the same walk. I would like to believe the cops discretion would play a big role in how to handle a situation.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Leverdude wrote:
    people use guns to commit crimes all the time
    Likewise, dogs maim and kill people all the time. In fact, I would say dogs maim and kill people a whole lot more than law abiding citizens open carrying kill people.

    a person alarmed by a gun enough to call the police should expect them to respond.
    No, they really shouldn't. Just like if I am alarmed by a dog on a leash that has broken no laws and has done nothing wrong, I should expect the police to take my call seriously either. They can come down and do a quick and passive investigation, but they certainly should be hassling anyone because of my irrational fear.

    If you want to take the position that an officer observing a person open carrying cannot even ask to see your permit I think that will hurt our cause.
    That is not my position, that is the law's position. Do you feel the police have the right to pull you over when driving your car and ask to see a license at any point? Do they have the right to ask for ID when you are walking down the street doing nothing wrong?

    Neither is true, nor should it be.

    There is nothing legal here about any form of carry unless you have a permit.
    And they have no right to request it unless I am the subject of a criminal investigation. It is called 'probable cause'. Same thing applies to a car.

    Asking to see it should not be a big deal at all. If we have a right to refuse to show it then the result must be that they can arrest you until they can find the truth.
    Thankfully that is the case because that is a dangerous way to think. We are not subjects to the police or the government. They are employed by us to protect our rights. Always remember that.

    You dont need a permit for a dog.
    Nor should we need one to carry a firearm.

    If you did they could ask to see it.
    Not unless you are the subject of a criminal investigation.

    Thats what permits/licenses are for.
    No, that really is not the idea.

    Now, in a real open carry state like NH¬* you are right. Theres no law against open carry, you dont need a permit, so you dont have to prove anything to a LEO.
    Nor do we have anything to prove here. You keep saying we are so different, but whether we require a permit or not, the law is still on our side.

    Not really, you call 911 you get a 911 dispatcher who directs the call to the proper department. You call the PD you get a cop on desk duty.¬*
    Not in most towns in CT. That is only true of larger towns and cities who have contracted out their 911 dispatch. Trust me, I have called the local police numbers enough to know for sure. You will get the same person whether you call 911 or the local police number. In fact, most towns around here don't even have an officer 'on desk duty' at most times.

    It doesn't matter what right the caller has to complain, it matters what they are complaining about. Generally a call about a guy with a gun will be a greater cause for concern.
    But it shouldn't be. Which is why the dispatcher needs to understand the laws and ask the right questions.

    Having the cops come, check you out & wish you well is actually a great thing as it will teach that person that law abiding people can carry guns & more than likely cause them to realize that a person OCing is very unlikely to be a criminal.
    So will the dispatcher telling them that no crime is being committed and that open carry is legal in CT. And all without our rights being violated and without being hassled by officers.

    Remember, if other bystanders see open carriers being hassled by police officers in public, they are not going to stick around and find out whether it was in fact legal or not, they will only take away 'open carry' == 'police needed'.

    They did not know a crime was not being commited until they got there.¬* If you dont blame them for checking it out why do you keep saying they shouldn't have responded?
    Responding and 'checking it out' mean two different things here. Observing the person is not the same as hassling them for their permit and interrogating them. The officer has not observed any unlawful behavior so he has no right to request your permit or detain you.

    I agree about the stigma but its a reasonable one in CT since OC is very new here & wether we like it or not is not as socially acceptable as it is in other places.
    That is broken logic. It is legal. That is all there is.

    Why? Is there a requirement to have a dog permit?¬*
    You keep saying that like it matters somehow. You need a license to drive a car, but I cannot call the police when I see you driving and have them check your license unless you are doing something wrong.

    You have to understand this simple portion of the law before arguing further.

    Do people regularly use dogs to commit crimes in North Branford?¬*
    Approximately as much as someone open carrying commits a crime.

    You arent compareing apples to apples.
    I sure am, you just don't understand the apples.

    I expect cops to respond to any call of a person with a weapon making others nervous. Bat, knife, gun, sword, broken bottle, whatever. If when they get there nothing is really wrong there is no need for an arrest.
    That only requires observation, not a direct confrontation.

    I won't even get into the irony that you are comparing unlawful activity to lawful activity and saying I am not comparing apples to apples...

    I think this feeling of a need to arrest someone when a gun is involved is at the heart of the matter.
    I think the dangerous 'guilty until proven innocent' train of thought you and other people follow is at the heart of the matter. The feeling of a need to arrest is the logical conclusion of this mindset.

    Of course not.¬* Are you under the assumption that the police shouldn't respond until after a crime has been commited?
    Yes, that is kind of the idea of the police.

    Thats the problem with a permit & open carry.
    Well, I agree we should do away with permits, but not for the same reason.

    Nobody knows if a crime is being commited until its investigated.
    Nobody should be assuming some is guilty of a crime and needs to prove their innocence.

    In a true OC state they will still respond but they know that everybody has a right to carry & like as not its not an issue.
    Then you are not paying attention. There have been plenty of issues in those states. Ohio and Virginia come to mind with recent questionable police actions against OCers.

    In CT we have 3.5 million people and 150 thousand permit holders, thats less than .5% of the population permited to carry.¬* Not responding to a call about a gun would be irresponsible.
    No, it would be the right thing to do. Again, innocent until proven guilty is how the rest of us chose to run this country. Not the other way around.

    Would you feel the same way about a call about someone climbing in a window at night? I'd rather they respond & find out iits the homeowner or his kid then wait until someone discovers their stuff gone.
    Now you are comparing apples to oranges. That is a criminal investigation.

    In a MWAG scenerio they come & if they find a guy with a gun, check his permit & if he is legit its over.
    They can try, but the MWAG would be within their rights (and well advised) to not give any identification without a criminal investigation.
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  15. #15
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    stacks04 wrote:
    If a cop came up to me and asked to see my permit, i would gladly show them the proof and carry on with my day. That said, if people begin to report that cops are harassing them to show permits ect, then i will politely decline and walk away.
    Exactly. I am more than happy to show an officer my permit and talk politely with him about my carry. However, how I react will depend on how they act. If they are polite and cordial, I will respond in kind. If they are aggressive and standoffish, I will revert to 5th amendment mode.

    "Am I the subject of a criminal investigation?"
    "Am I being detained?"
    "Good day officer."
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    Exactly, absent Reasonable Articulable Suspicion that a crime has/is/is about to happen they have no legal standing to demand to see your permit.

    They can ask to see it, they can ask for you to stand on one foot and sing the Star Spangled Banner but unless you feel like it you are under no compunction to comply.

    How that turns out in a real encounter is left as an exercise to the reader, having a voice recorder in times like this would be very good for your side of the story should it come to that.

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    If I am being asked politely and cordially for a permit, I have no problem presenting it. But the officer will be reminded of the fact that I am under no obligation to do it, and that I am only doing it in the interest of cooperation.


    It is amazing how much of the civilian population doesn't understand their rights and don't even understand the very basis of our legal system. Reading comments on forums on news sites can be quite a shock when you realize how many people don't understand simple concepts like the 5th amendment and innocent until proven guilty.

    "He lawyered up? He must be guilty!"
    "He refused comment? He must be hiding something!"

    ...or he is just smarter than you are...

    Another shocking concept is when you express these kinds of rights to people and they respond with B.S. like this:

    "Oh yeah right, try and that get beaten with a billy club!"
    "And get tasered? No way!"
    "I wouldn't say that, I don't want to be arrested!"
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    Rich B wrote:
    I am thinking it would be good for us to canvas the towns around us checking in with the chiefs of police in those towns and asking what their policy and training is in responding to an open carrier or MWAG call.

    I can draft something up, but I am looking for other thoughts and making sure I am not duplicating existing effort.

    I would also like to know what people think of this idea.

    My abstract concept of the letter at the moment would consist of something like this:

    Dear Chief of Police,
    I would like to know what your department's policy is on the open carrying of firearms in your town. As you should already be aware, there is no Connecticut law against open carrying of a firearm by an individual with a permit to carry. When this activity is observed by an officer in your town, please answer the following:

    • 1. Are the police instructed to stop (detain) the individual?

      2. Are the police instructed to ask for identification from the individual?

      3. Are the police aware that there is no offense that would warrant arrest from the simple open carrying of a firearm, when the firearm remains in the holster and no one has a credible and reasonable claim of a threat?

      4. Are they educated with the fact that it is not necessarily illegal for a citizen to have a holstered firearm?

      5. What questions and procedures are the dispatchers trained with when a 'man with a gun' call is received?


      Thank you for your time in reviewing these questions, I look forward to your reply. It is my hope that we can make sure that everyone involved is on the same page and that we all understand the law on this important and relevant topic.

    Obviously this is a very rough draft that I just whipped out for the purpose of demonstration, but I think you all can get the idea. By pinning a chief down, we can call attention and focus effort on OC unfriendly towns and we can educate as necessary. It would also be very difficult for an officer to argue with the decision from their chief when presented with it in print.

    Post your thoughts, comments, questions, modifications please.
    Good job.

    I have a hangup on #4's wording. Sounds like your giving too much.

    How about: Are they educated with the fact that it is not illegal for a licensed citizen to have a holstered firearm?

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    dwayner79 wrote:
    How about: Are they educated with the fact that it is not illegal for a licensed citizen to have a holstered firearm?
    Sounds like a good correction to me. Thanks!
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    Likewise, dogs maim and kill people all the time. In fact, I would say dogs maim and kill people a whole lot more than law abiding citizens open carrying kill people.
    Realize that you are largely preaching to the choir and I'm playing devils advocate, but comparing a man with a gun to a man with a dog will never be taken seriously. I know more people are bit by dogs etc but the fact remains that you dont need a permit to have a dog and more people are alarmed by a person with a gun than by a person with a dog.

    No, they really shouldn't. Just like if I am alarmed by a dog on a leash that has broken no laws and has done nothing wrong, I should expect the police to take my call seriously either. They can come down and do a quick and passive investigation, but they certainly should be hassling anyone because of my irrational fear.
    All I'm saying is they should respond & check things out. By passive I guess you mean they shouldn even ask to see your permit. I gather from what I hear here that they cannot request to see your permit. I see nothing unreasonable about asking to see it, especially since lacking one you are committing a felony.

    That is not my position, that is the law's position. Do you feel the police have the right to pull you over when driving your car and ask to see a license at any point? Do they have the right to ask for ID when you are walking down the street doing nothing wrong? Neither is true, nor should it be.
    The police can certainly pull you over at will, I guess you never saw a DWI roadblock or spot check. When they do a DWI check they run your license drunk or sober. If they see you with a gun & dont know you I'd expect them to ask to see your permit.

    And they have no right to request it unless I am the subject of a criminal investigation. It is called 'probable cause'. Same thing applies to a car.
    I think I covered that.

    No, that really is not the idea.
    So what is the idea of a permit/license then if not to provide proof that you are permitted/licensed for whatever it is we are talking about? Its pretty stupid to issue a permit for something if its forbidden for LE to request seeing it.

    Nor do we have anything to prove here. You keep saying we are so different, but whether we require a permit or not, the law is still on our side.
    The law can be changed pretty easy, why provide reasons to change a law we like?
    There is a huge difference between a state that respects a citizens civil rights and one that requires a permit for every nuance of excercising that right.
    in NH, VT, places like that everyone can carry openly so theres no reason to ask for a permit. In CT its an entirely different scenerio, if you are correct about them not being able to request to see a permit and people push it just because they can we will be fighting back legislation to change that.

    Responding and 'checking it out' mean two different things here. Observing the person is not the same as hassling them for their permit and interrogating them. The officer has not observed any unlawful behavior so he has no right to request your permit or detain you.
    If an officer responds to a report of a person driving like an idiot, when they get there they will first check out the drivers license etc if the person is still there. Why should it be different for a guy carrying a gun?

    Why the big deal about showing your permit anyway?
    If you want to see OC accepted in CT I'd venture to say that cooperation & a non combative attitude might help. Every time a person calls a cop because of OC & the cop responds, checks a permit & lets the permit holder go we win because they learn its legal & we arent bad. If every time it happens we argue & create a bigger scene we dont look so good.

    That is broken logic. It is legal. That is all there is.
    No its not, its cold hard truth & refusing to deal with it will come back to bite us.
    If you want the citizens of CT to accept OC you need to change the stigma associated with it. What you refuse to admit is you dont have a right to OC in CT. You dont need permits for rights. To most people the OC thing is viewed as a loophole in CT. A loophole I'd rather not see closed but one that will be easy to get closed once more people become aware of it.

    You need a license to drive a car, but I cannot call the police when I see you driving and have them check your license unless you are doing something wrong. You have to understand this simple portion of the law before arguing further.
    Yes you can, if you report someone breaking a law with a car they will come & check your license among other things. They cannot know if I'm doing something wrong until they investigate, by checking my license, or in this case checking my permit.
    They come because someone reports someone doing something wrong, once on scene they determine the truth.

    If you are right then nobody really needs a permit because they cannot check it.

    Approximately as much as someone open carrying commits a crime.
    Agreed, open carriers arent likely to be criminals.

    I sure am, you just don't understand the apples.
    Sure I do, theres no similarity between a dog & a gun & talking about what dog owners do doesn't matter. Everybody can walk a dog, very few of us can carry a gun. If we ever get the state to respect our civil rights & OC stops requireing a permit so everyone can do it then dogs & guns might be comprable.

    That only requires observation, not a direct confrontation. I won't even get into the irony that you are comparing unlawful activity to lawful activity and saying I am not comparing apples to apples...
    Not exactly, since a gun requires a permit its the ONLY one above that requires a confrontation. What unlawful activity was I compareing to lawful? Its not against the law to have a bat, knife or broken bottle.

    I think the dangerous 'guilty until proven innocent' train of thought you and other people follow is at the heart of the matter. The feeling of a need to arrest is the logical conclusion of this mindset.
    Thats funny. You obviously dont know me. If you have a permit you went right along with guilty until proven innocent but now want to reneg on that & refuse to show your permit? The feeling of a need for arrest comes from ignorance of the law, nothing more or nothing less.
    I'm as far from "guilty before innocent" as you can get. I dont think we should even have permits period. But, since we are treated as guilty before innocent every time we buy a gun & every time we get a permit I dont see how we can cry about letting the authorities look at our permits.

    Yes, that is kind of the idea of the police.
    I agree to a large degree, but they are responding to a reported crime. The only way its not a crime to carry is with a permit & the only way they can tell you have a permit is if you cooperate. Its another subject but we have let them get involved in crime prevention as well as crime solving because most people arent inclined to police themselves.

    Well, I agree we should do away with permits, but not for the same reason.
    Whats your reason then?

    Nobody should be assuming some is guilty of a crime and needs to prove their innocence.
    Agreed, but you surrender your presumption of innocence anytime you get a permit/license for anything. The time to make the stand you are talking about is before getting a permit not after.

    Its simply illogical to say "ok, I'll submit myself to your scrutiny to get a permit, but I'ts an infringement of my assumption of innocence if I ever have to show it to LE"


    Then you are not paying attention. There have been plenty of issues in those states. Ohio and Virginia come to mind with recent questionable police actions against OCers.
    On the contrary, I pay alot of attention, I just dont simply buy the story line that best suits my desires. I deal in reality. While there may be open carry issues in real OC states they are not permit related. They are ignorance related. I just got back from a weekend in NH. I OC almost all the time up there. Nobody has but if I ever do get hassled it wont be permit related at all because you dont need one.
    CT is entirely different and I dont see showing my permit as a big deal.
    I have one & I got it to show I'm legal if need be. I dont carry open here much so I'v never had to but if I ever get hassled & someone calls the law I'll be happy to show them my permit.


    No, it would be the right thing to do. Again, innocent until proven guilty is how the rest of us chose to run this country. Not the other way around.
    Nice fantasy world, but we live in reality.
    To take your position seriously the police should never respond to any calls because responding is assuming someone is commiting a crime. Innocent until proven guilty reffers to court, nothing more. The police dont deal in guilt or innocence, they dont convict you, they serve the public & enforce the law. Since the law says that some 90% of CT residents cannot carry a gun, whats unreasonable about them checking it out when someone is carrying one?

    Now you are comparing apples to oranges. That is a criminal investigation.
    Its a crime to break into a house, unless its yours.
    Its a crime to carry a gun, unless you have a permit.
    How is it not assuming guilt to check out the guy climbing in the window, but it is assuming guilt to check out the guy carrying a gun?
    Apples & apples.

    They can try, but the MWAG would be within their rights (and well advised) to not give any identification without a criminal investigation.
    I dissagree. I guess you think its better to get arrested and cause an investigation, but personally I'd rather just show him my permit, go about my business & prevent any criminal investigation.


    I guess it just boggles my mind that people would carry openly in a state that requires a permit & then get uppity if asked to see it. It goes beyond just wanting to carry more comfortably or acessably & would be best served by pushing for unrestricted OC.

    I do agree with most of your idea's if not your points. It would seem IMO to do the cause much more justice to be seen as cooperating with LE when they are being reasonable instead of combating them. When they go to far, as in Goldberg & many other instances they deserve everything they get. But asking a law abiding person who is OCing in public to see their permit seems, to me anyway, quite reasonable.




    But enough of this crap, I didn't respond to start an arguement.
    I'll send a questionaire in to Norwalk once its all settled. Itd be best I think if it were standardized so we can see how the different chiefs stack up.


  21. #21
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    Judge Blackstone said "It is better that ten guilty persons should escape than one innocent person should suffer"

    That in a nutshell is how our judicial system should work. Innocent until proven guilty.

    In the case of open carrying which in CT does require a permit (either to open or conceal) UNLESS there is reasonable articulable suspicion that a crime has, is, or is about to happen then they have no legal justification for demanding to see your permit to carry pistols and revolvers.

    If you are walking down the street minding your own business not breaking any laws etc and a police officer happens to notice your lovely sidearm he MAY legally engage you in conversation and in doing so try and gain some evidence of a crime in progress, if you are not being "detained" then you are under no legal compunction to converse with him. If he believes he has reasonable articulable suspicion then he will detain you in the hopes he can find out more and get the next level of probable cause in which case you will be arrested.

    You gain very little by talking to the police if they initiate an informal investigation trying to find out something about you they can use against you.

    The most often repeated advice in any of the state forums in this site is along these lines:

    You: Am I under arrest?
    PO: No
    PO: Yes (go to arrested)
    You: Am I being detained?
    PO: No ( You: if I am neither under arrest nor being detained then I am free to go - and leave)
    PO: Yes
    You: (stop talking and answer no questions)

    Arrested: Demand to speak to a lawyer and answer NO questions without counsel.

    I thought this line of behavior was a bit heavy handed until I read more stories of what happens when you DON'T establish the ground rules early on.

    If a police officer acting under color of law holds you against your will with no probable cause to suspect you are guilty of a crime then he/she has violated your civil rights. There is NO qualified immunity in civil rights violations.

    If you, like Mr Goldberg in Glastonbury, are arrested and carted off to jail for doing NOTHING illegal, your rights as a human being have been violated. You may then bring a civil rights suit against the department and the officer(s) personally for this violation and the damages awarded for such are usually quite steep.

    The police are supposed to know this stuff cold, and many do but prey on the public that do not know it and that's how a lot of regular Joe's wind up in a jackpot. If you're going to be arrested you will NOT be able to talk yourself out of it and you will make things worse for yourself in trying.


    Now if a cop were to walk up and say hello and ask what model pistol it is, well it's up to you if you want to talk guns with them. The second it goes from being a pistol lovefest to a question/answer session your spidey senses should be going into overdrive and your mouth should be clamped shut.

    Good discussions though, it's a lot to think about.


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    Judge Blackstone said "It is better that ten guilty persons should escape than one innocent person should suffer"
    Sounds good in theory & in a perfect world it would work that way. But how many people end up with restraining orders etc being treated guilty with no trial or before a trial. These days its more common to hassle a whole bunch in hopes of preventing one crime.

    You may be under no legal compunction to show your permit when walking around minding your business, but I'd say in most cases refusing to do so will not make the incident any better.

    I do agree totally with keeping your yap shut if showing your permit doesn't end the situation. Arguing or pleading your case to a cop will never help.

    Guns & open carrying in particular are going to be a hot topic for awhile now in CT and creating the impression that we cooperate with reasonable police activities can, I'd tend to think only help. If time proves out that people OCing is no biggie then it'll become accepted, possibly to the point that it no longer raises eyebrows and these discussions will be moot.

    As it stands now, every Norwalk cop I'v asked said if they got a call about a man with a gun, upon arrival they'd ascertain what was going on & if the person had a permit. If he/she has a permit & did nothing wrong its over. I'll have to ask about what if the guy refused to show his permit, but I expect that the officers would have no option at that point but to treat it as if he/she had no permit.

    I think we need to admit that carry, open or concealed is NOT treated as a right in CT at the moment. You dont need permits to excercise civil rights, and carrying on as if it were will do us no good. Its kinda like worrying about a fire in the fireplace while the house is ablaze.

    Now if we had a "right" to carry it'd be an entirely different tune from my mouth. But if I have to beg from an issueing authority, the permision to carry a gun, I just dont see a problem with showing that authority my permit if asked in most situations.

    I dont think the issue in Golbergs case was them asking to see a permit. It was them deciding to arrest him anyway. I think also his criminal case might not have turned out the same if he had not cooperated with the police upon their arrival.

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    I understand what you are saying. We live in an imperfect world and the best we can do is make positive changes as we go.

    Reasonableness would be a huge part of my decision making process. If I get approached (versus accosted) by a police officer and asked versus demanded for a look at my permit then I may be more inclined to show him/her the permit.

    I'm not suggesting that every police encounter will go poorly, but if they are coming down like a ton of bricks over a basically non-issue then don't expect me to behave to them like they are doing me a favor.

    We can show ourselves to be a reasonable bunch IF we are treated with courtesy and respect. If we are not treated that way and get steamrolled over because a cop has an opinion that doesn't jive with ours (or the statutes) then he can learn his lesson at the end of a judges gavel. Not my choice that's on him/her.

    We are all civilians here, even the cops. They have no more right to interfere with a lawful activity than another non-uniformed person. The only people that aren't civilian are military and thankfully the police aren't military (yet).

    We've been treated as 2nd class citizens for far too long, personally I'm glad the Tea-party and Obama protestors chose to open carry and get the issue squarely out into the open (if you'll pardon the pun). There's no real reason why an openly carried firearm in the possession of a lawful person is any more or less an issue than a concealed one. People react to things they don't know or don't have experience with yet but that perception doesn't affect the legality of what they are reacting to. That's like me getting a sunburn and then claiming the sun is hot and dangerous because I got a sunburn. Give enough exposure (or sun screen) the suns rays would have little to no effect on me - same with getting the public used to firearms in the hands of good guys.




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    Please add Ridgefield, Danbury, Wilton, Norwalk to your list

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    GoldCoaster wrote:
    I understand what you are saying. We live in an imperfect world and the best we can do is make positive changes as we go.

    Reasonableness would be a huge part of my decision making process. If I get approached (versus accosted) by a police officer and asked versus demanded for a look at my permit then I may be more inclined to show him/her the permit.

    I'm not suggesting that every police encounter will go poorly, but if they are coming down like a ton of bricks over a basically non-issue then don't expect me to behave to them like they are doing me a favor.

    We can show ourselves to be a reasonable bunch IF we are treated with courtesy and respect. If we are not treated that way and get steamrolled over because a cop has an opinion that doesn't jive with ours (or the statutes) then he can learn his lesson at the end of a judges gavel. Not my choice that's on him/her.

    We are all civilians here, even the cops. They have no more right to interfere with a lawful activity than another non-uniformed person. The only people that aren't civilian are military and thankfully the police aren't military (yet).

    We've been treated as 2nd class citizens for far too long, personally I'm glad the Tea-party and Obama protestors chose to open carry and get the issue squarely out into the open (if you'll pardon the pun). There's no real reason why an openly carried firearm in the possession of a lawful person is any more or less an issue than a concealed one. People react to things they don't know or don't have experience with yet but that perception doesn't affect the legality of what they are reacting to. That's like me getting a sunburn and then claiming the sun is hot and dangerous because I got a sunburn. Give enough exposure (or sun screen) the suns rays would have little to no effect on me - same with getting the public used to firearms in the hands of good guys.


    I do agree with much of what you say. The "second class citizen" goes a bit far though. The OC demonstrations in NH & AZ were great but have little bearing on CT. Even if OC here is accepted we still need a permit to excercise a God given right, that makes us second class citizens more than the limitations inherent in that permit.
    My position is that CT, in regards to handguns, does not recognize our RKBA. You have no right in this state to carry at all lacking a permit, so its perfectly reasonable IMO to be asked to show it when found carrying in public by a LEO. Heck hunting & fishing licenses must be shown.

    The only reason OC gets more reaction is because people see it, likely a concealed one would cause a greater issue when seen anyway.

    At any rate the only places we seem to really disagree is regarding the showing of a permit if asked. I'd think it would make us look more responsible to simply show it & be done with it than make a big deal out of it. If they are going to arrest you anyway it can only work in your benefit to be able to say you cooperated & they still arrested you for not breaking the law. What benefit would a person gain by refusing to show their permit & getting arrested for it instead of cooperating & getting arrested? Also I'd think it would place more culpability on the LEO if he arrested you anyway even after having been shown that you have a permit to carry.

    But these are just my thoughts, I'm not a lawyer or scholar. Just a CT citizen trying to excercise my rights.

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