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Thread: What am I required to say to police officers when open carrying?

  1. #1
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    Question What am I required to say to police officers when open carrying?

    If I open carry in a place like Walmart or Hanafords I fully expect that some "busy body" is going to call the police. I am trying to ascertain what I am required to say when a police officer shows up.

    1. Am I required to give my name or any form of ID if I am not driving?
    2. Am I required to speak to the officer? If not my only response to the officer would be ... "Am I free to go"?
    3. Am I required to relinquish my firearm to the officer should he ask for it?

    Thank you.

    EDIT - I forgot to mention I lived in Maine.
    Last edited by MaineOCDad; 09-23-2010 at 04:56 PM.

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    1. I am not sure of this, it depends on your state. Do you need a permit to carry a pistol? If not, then you do not have to provide ID if asked. If you do, it depends on the state. In Minnesota, for example, you must provide your permit and photo ID if requested. This is not true of all states, as far as I know. Handgunlaws.us or a Maine member of this forum would be a better person to ask.

    2. Under no circumstances are you ever required to speak to an officer, even if you are arrested. This is the crux of the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution. If you do not want to talk to the officer, you can just say "I do not consent to this encounter." Whether or not you feel comfortable doing that is up to you, but you don't have to talk. If he doesn't let you leave you can just ask if you are detained. If he says no, you can go. If he says yes, ask if you are detained and for what. If you answer a question he asks, that doesn't mean you lose your 5th Amendment rights. You are free to answer or not answer any questions the officer asks.

    3. If the officer asks for your firearm, just say "I do not consent to searches." If he attempts to disarm you, do not physically resist. If you do so you can be arrested. You can verbally resist, however.

    I hope that helps you, if at least a bit. If you decide to carry a pistol, especially openly, it would be wise to invest in an audio and/or video recorder. They can be had for as little as $10 now and you should have them on if you are carrying a pistol outside of your house, because if you do not have it on before an encounter you may forget to turn it on if an officer approaches you.

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    You may get an answer here.

    However, may I suggest that you repost this in the Maine sub-forum. You will probably get a better answer faster there. There is an alphabetized list of State sub-forums on the bottom of the main index. Maine ought to be about half-way down.

    Anyway, welcome to the forums.

    A few nice reasons to live in Alabama:

    1. We don't have to tell an officer squat unless he has RAS of a crime.

    2. We don't have to scroll near as much as you do to get to our State sub-forum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by singhcr View Post
    I hope that helps you, if at least a bit. If you decide to carry a pistol, especially openly, it would be wise to invest in an audio and/or video recorder. They can be had for as little as $10 now and you should have them on if you are carrying a pistol outside of your house, because if you do not have it on before an encounter you may forget to turn it on if an officer approaches you.
    Great advice! Thank you. I do have a small digital recorder with me at all times. Do I have to let the officer know I am recording him?

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    A few nice reasons to live in Alabama:

    1. We don't have to tell an officer squat unless he has RAS of a crime.

    2. We don't have to scroll near as much as you do to get to our State sub-forum.
    Both GREAT reasons to live in Alabama! Unfortunately I would miss the cold up here in Maine. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaineOCDad View Post
    Both GREAT reasons to live in Alabama! Unfortunately I would miss the cold up here in Maine. Thanks!
    Miss the cold? Wow, now that's a different approach. Then again, I'm Southern so it's a given that I am not a fan of cold weather.

    Welcome aboard! We're pleased to have you here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    A few nice reasons to live in Alabama:

    1. We don't have to tell an officer squat unless he has RAS of a crime.

    2. We don't have to scroll near as much as you do to get to our State sub-forum.
    1. We have that here in NC too!

    2. I'm sorry you have to resort to such things when finding a good reason to live in Alabama...

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    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    *Maine: Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.*
    Art. I, § 16 (enacted 1987, after a collective-rights interpretation of the original provision).
    1819: "Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense; and this right shall never be questioned." Art. I, § 16.

    [Self-defense right protected, State v. Brown, 571 A.2d 816 (Me. 1990).]


    Maine has no state law that could be construed as "Stop and Identify" without RAS of a crime. Stand fast, look them straight in the eye, and ask them if they like smooth or crunchy peanut butter best.


    [Edit:] What I'm trying to get across here is that you owe them no explanation for your legal conduct. The only reason why the police are contacting you is that they hope to find a criminal, arrest him, and put him in jail.
    Last edited by Fallschirmjäger; 10-01-2010 at 03:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallschirmjäger View Post
    Stand fast, look them in the eye, and ask them if they like smooth or creamy peanut butter best.
    Isn't "smooth" and "creamy" peanut butter the same thing?

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    Here in Vermont you don't have to provide ID if stopped while open carrying a handgun for defense, Most of the police here in the state are very well versed in the gun laws (except Rutland). But if you are stopped you don't have to provide any ID if asked, unless they have RAS and are doing an investigation. If you are asked if they can search you and they don't have a reason too. Then respectfully decline the request, If they try to detain you then ask them for what reason. If it isn't due to an infraction you have caused then claim that you don't consent, and if not being detained ask if you are free to go.

    If an officer asks you at a traffic stop if you have any weapons, you don't have to inform them that you do, Just common courtesy.

    The biggest piece of advise i can give you is simply this. Be respectful when talking to an officer, He is doing his job. i always say you get back what you give out. So if you treat an officer respectfully he will be respectful back.

  11. #11
    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethal Overdose View Post
    Isn't "smooth" and "creamy" peanut butter the same thing?
    dang it, you caught me. Post modified

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    I live in Maine. I had an unfortunate (nothing good about having four guns pointed at me) encounter with the police and after this I met with the police chief I made it clear that I will continue to open carry and that I will not identify myself and the chief said that that was my right and that he was preparing a notice to send out to his people in regards to open carry laws. One day after this I was walking along and a cop drove up and asked me for id. I told him no and kept on walking. He drove off. That is all you are required to do.

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    Flashlight, I'm so glad your story has had a happy ending! :-)

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    1. Am I required to give my name or any form of ID if I am not driving?
    Depends on the laws of your state. If Maine is not a "stop & identify" state, then no. Generally, they can only stop you (legally) if they have reasonable suspicion of a crime.

    2. Am I required to speak to the officer? If not my only response to the officer would be ... "Am I free to go"?
    Absolutely not! See above, about the 5th Amendment.
    And as for asking if you're free to go, I think it was ixtow who said (in another thread) "if you have to ask, you're not free to go".
    Instead, ask "why am I being detained?" Make them tell you what crime they suspect you of, and if they can't tell you, or if they tell you you're not being detained, walk away.

    3. Am I required to relinquish my firearm to the officer should he ask for it?
    Nope. Though as someone else pointed out, it's unwise to physically refuse if s/he tries to physically disarm you. This is one instance where resisting a theft would be a bad idea. Verbally resist all you want, and loudly if there's anyone else in the area to witness the crime, but unfortunately our right to resist the illegal actions of police officers has long ago gone by the wayside.
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    MKEgal: Your answer to the third question prompted me to try to do some research. I was under the impression that, if the officer has RAS and has lawfully stopped you because of that RAS, he may disarm you for "officer safety." I am still looking it up, but ran across this on officer.com that bolstered my hope for humanity. The OP was asking if he could disarm a member of the public who was involved in a traffic accident while the OP was helping him. Another poster, grog18b, sagely said:

    No disarm. No reason. Just like I don't stop traffic every time I make a traffic stop on the interstate. It continues to go by me. Is it dangerous to be standing out along a 65 mph highway, writing a speeding ticket with hundreds of lethal weapons flying by you at 65+? Yup. Comes with the job.

    I don't need to infringe on someone's rights, just to make myself feel better. Fear the gun you DON'T see, and keep track of the ones you do. Simple. Stay safe, but keep in mind, people do have rights, even if you don't agree with them.
    As much as the above reply pleased me, another reply bothered me. He said, "if he wants my help he's gonna give up the gun...or I'm 10-8," which I assume means gone.

    On edit: For those who want to read the whole thread: http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...122&viewfull=1
    Last edited by eye95; 12-03-2010 at 09:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaineOCDad View Post
    If I open carry in a place like Walmart or Hanafords I fully expect that some "busy body" is going to call the police. I am trying to ascertain what I am required to say when a police officer shows up.

    1. Am I required to give my name or any form of ID if I am not driving?
    2. Am I required to speak to the officer? If not my only response to the officer would be ... "Am I free to go"?
    3. Am I required to relinquish my firearm to the officer should he ask for it?

    Thank you.

    EDIT - I forgot to mention I lived in Maine.

    Obviously it will vary from State to State, so consult your State's laws and preferably a lawyer. Here's where my mindset is based on having been a MP...I am not a lawyer.

    1. You say NOTHING to the police as everything is on the record and CAN be used AGAINST you in a court of law...now or on a later and totally unrelated incident. NOTHING you can possibly say will ever help you in court...it will actually wind up being condemning in the long run.

    2. You immediately invoke your 5th Amendment right and ask for your lawyer to be present as you have NOTHING to say to the police without your lawyer...per #1. The 5th Amendment right IS NOT just for criminals, it is to protect innocent people from getting caught up in ambiguous Q&A with police that might lend aid for a possible conviction in court. This is EXACTLY how LEOs gain bogus convictions that send innocent people to jail/prison in an intentionally flawed and manipulated system.

    3. You'll likely get this response: If you have done nothing wrong you have no reason not to talk to me. OR You cannot use your Miranda rights as I am not in an interview setting. WRONG!!! Since EVERYTHING you say can be used against you in a court of law, your Miranda rights can be enacted upon immediate contact with police. Their failure to recognize this is a violation of your rights.

    4. Ask if you are free to leave. If you are told "No". You are being detained whether or not the officer admits you're being detained. You may be told that they need to talk to you. Remind them of #'s 1 and 2, then ask if you are free to leave. If you receive another "No", you'll be stuck telling the police to either charge you or release you as you are being unlawfully detained if they continue.

    5. Make 100% sure that if you carry that you have a pro-2A lawyer on retainer or speed-dial. You just may need one!


    If those don't hit home watch these 2 videos, they illustrate the reality of the CJ approach, specifically the 5th Amendment. Take it from a former MP, this is dead-on.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE
    Last edited by REALteach4u; 12-03-2010 at 11:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallschirmjäger View Post
    *Maine: Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.*
    Art. I, § 16 (enacted 1987, after a collective-rights interpretation of the original provision).
    1819: "Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense; and this right shall never be questioned." Art. I, § 16.

    [Self-defense right protected, State v. Brown, 571 A.2d 816 (Me. 1990).]


    Maine has no state law that could be construed as "Stop and Identify" without RAS of a crime. Stand fast, look them straight in the eye, and ask them if they like smooth or crunchy peanut butter best.



    [Edit:] What I'm trying to get across here is that you owe them no explanation for your legal conduct. The only reason why the police are contacting you is that they hope to find a criminal, arrest him, and put him in jail.
    I recently ON OCDO saw what may be the BEST WAY to determine if you are being detained by an officer. Instead of asking, "Am I free to go?" and having the officer IGNORE YOU or say something like "just a minute", ask, "Officer, Why am I being detained?" IF he doesn't answer.... leave. If he says that you are NOT BEING DETAINED... Leave. If he says that you are being detained, State clearly that your are invoking ALL or your Constitutional rights and protections and then SHUT YOUR TRAP! A recording of this interaction and other witnesses will serve you well.

  18. #18
    Founder's Club Member ixtow's Avatar
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    What am I required to say to police officers when open carrying?
    More directly; you are required to say nothing more or less then if you were not Open Carrying.

    Courts across the country have all pointed out that merely possessing a gun means nothing more than possessing shoes, pants, or a head attached to your body with a neck. It is not 'suspicious' to exercise a Right.

    "He's got a gun!!"
    "Yeah, so what? This is America. Respect it or leave."

    Cops often disagree with the courts and attempt to enforce their own ideas. I advocate being prepared for their kind. Most would be better suited to work in Red China, but they think that working and living in the USA is better for them. Maybe it is, but it isn't better for us.

    I digress. Carrying a Firearm Openly doesn't create any special category that makes you open to more scrutiny or less freedom. It is a right in itself, it cannot cause you to lose access any of your other rights. Expect cops to disagree and be ready for their anti-constitutional agendas.

    See my thread titled "Am I being detained?" for more, if you're interested...

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    A recent SCOTUS ruling made it a requirement to VERBALLY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY INVOKE OUR 5TH AMENDMENT RIGHTS in order for them to be effective. Would it be unfair to assume that in order to invoke ALL of our Constitutional protections that we must verbally and unequivocally invoke them.

    I wonder if the SCOTUS would rule that the statement such as "I am a US Citizen and as such I invoke ALL the Protections and benefits I am entitled to under the laws and CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" is sufficiently verbal and unequivocal? Or would I have to specifically list each INDIVIDUALLY?
    Last edited by JoeSparky; 12-06-2010 at 10:11 PM.

  20. #20
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    I think that it more appropriate to say that the SC said that merely remaining silent does not stop questioning.

    We shouldn't have a problem with that since the right isn't really to remain silent. It is not to self-incriminate. The only way to stop questioning was, an still is, to ask for a lawyer.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flashlight View Post
    One day after this I was walking along and a cop drove up and asked me for id. I told him no and kept on walking. He drove off. That is all you are required to do.
    I wish it were that clear-cut here in Colorado. I'm still trying to nail this issue down, here.
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