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Thread: Going Armed to the Terror of the Public

  1. #1
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    Going Armed to the Terror of the Public

    Hello all,

    I am new to open carrying, and have been doing everything I can to learn the rules. I have talked to many people, and even received some answers on this website. However, the one thing I can't figure out is what going armed to the terror of the public means. When can I be charged with this? What actions would cause an officer to arrest you for this? Is there any more advice or general thoughts to help me understand?

    By the way, this forum has made a big impact in Cumberland county. When I asked an officer some simple questions about open carrying, he referred me to this website, and said that the people who hang around and post on opencarry.org usually know their gun laws pretty well.

  2. #2
    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
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    There are people here that have been carrying in this state for many decades and they still couldn't give you a definite answer lol. It's enforcement is highly subjective depending on the opinion and interpretation of the LEO involved, and normally ends up being a "tack on" charge in addition to other charges people get for crimes they are accused of that involved weapons.

    Personally, I've read numerous cases involving this law and some times it sticks and other times it doesn't. Rarely is it used as a stand alone charge, but that doesn't mean it's unheard of, either.

    Basically, it's a filler law especially because NC doesn't have much in the way of "unlawful display of a firearm" types of laws. Simply carrying your weapon in your holster and not drawing attention to it intentionally does not qualify, nor should it. Supposedly, your intent has the most bearing as to whether or not you can or will be charged with it. If you're demonstrated intent is not to cause others fear or to "terrorize" them, it's not supposed to be charged.

    On the other hand if you're around other people, have your gun out, and are waving it around intending to intimidate them without threat of immediate bodily injury or death (toward you), LEOs would have a good cause to charge you with it.

    That's simply my opinion of it in a nutshell. I'm not a lawyer, though. I'm sure others will be along shortly to get more in depth with it.

    Good luck out there
    Last edited by rotorhead; 03-16-2011 at 07:15 PM.

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    Thanks for your input. I just want to make sure that by carrying my gun on my hip, in plain view, in unrestricted areas, I still dont end up breaking the law due to something I don't understand.

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    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
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    There is nothing illegal about carrying a gun in your holster openly as long as you are in compliance with state and federal laws, as well as other statutes such as local ordinances. Simply doing so does not indicate criminal conduct nor is it supposed to indicate intention to commit a crime.

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    from the AG:

    "By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himself/herself with

    any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public

    highways in a manner to cause terror to others."

    that is what constitutes GAttToTP. idiot/bully cops try to charge this arbitrarily but most of the time it never makes it to court. Pretty much, no worries lol

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    Regular Member Room C's Avatar
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    Thread titled NC Flyer has link to NC Open Carry Flyer (a must read/print/carry document), that has case law for GATTTOTP. Havent posted a link before and when I try it doesnt look right. Hope this helps.

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    Good info in this case. It was about GATTTOTP.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...Gr8EeiohKCpGjA



    Also search the site, lots of info here already.

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    You guys are always a lot of help... thanks for your time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aosailor View Post
    from the AG:

    "By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himself/herself with

    any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public

    highways in a manner to cause terror to others."

    Actually the GAttTotP "law" (which isn't actually a statutory "law on the books", but rather is Common Law, based on a court case from the 1800's, which uses a 13th century English court case as it's fundamental precedent...) is easy to understand if you break it up like this:
    "By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to:

    1. arm himself/herself with any unusual and dangerous weapon,
    2. for the purpose of terrifying others,
    3. and go about on public highways
    4. in a manner to cause terror to others."
    GAttTotP is a "four-pronged" violation, and for it to apply to any given situation, the "accused" must meet ALL FOUR criteria. If you don't meet ALL four, it is not GAttTotP. That doesn't mean no violation may have been committed, it just means that GAttTotP isn't applicable.

    For instance, if someone was armed, but was on private property, and pulled out a gun and waved it around in a menacing way to terrify someone, that isn't GAttTotP, because he's NOT on a public highway. But it IS assault with a deadly weapon, and possibly Carry Concealed without a permit.

    But if you're just minding your own business, OCing a handgun in a holster, and you are NOT a prohibited person, the gun is possessed legally, and you are not in a prohibited location, then GAttTotP DOES NOT and CAN NOT apply to your activities.

    NC needs to create a statutory definition of "brandishing" like they have in VA, and in that statute, they need to declare that the Common Law GAttTotP violation is hereby, and thereafter, removed from the codes, conventions, and enforcement standards of NC.
    Last edited by Dreamer; 03-18-2011 at 09:32 PM.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Regular Member Resto Guy's Avatar
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    I'm curious as to what this guy did to get charged.

    http://www.reflector.com/jail-booking/114371

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    Actually the GAttTotP "law" (which isn't actually a statutory "law on the books", but rather is Common Law, based on a court case from the 1800's, which uses a 13th century English court case as it's fundamental precedent...) is easy to understand if you break it up like this:
    "By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to:

    1. arm himself/herself with any unusual and dangerous weapon,
    2. for the purpose of terrifying others,
    3. and go about on public highways
    4. in a manner to cause terror to others."
    GAttTotP is a "four-pronged" violation, and for it to apply to any given situation, the "accused" must meet ALL FOUR criteria. If you don't meet ALL four, it is not GAttTotP. That doesn't mean no violation may have been committed, it just means that GAttTotP isn't applicable.

    For instance, if someone was armed, but was on private property, and pulled out a gun and waved it around in a menacing way to terrify someone, that isn't GAttTotP, because he's NOT on a public highway. But it IS assault with a deadly weapon, and possibly Carry Concealed without a permit.

    But if you're just minding your own business, OCing a handgun in a holster, and you are NOT a prohibited person, the gun is possessed legally, and you are not in a prohibited location, then GAttTotP DOES NOT and CAN NOT apply to your activities.

    NC needs to create a statutory definition of "brandishing" like they have in VA, and in that statute, they need to declare that the Common Law GAttTotP violation is hereby, and thereafter, removed from the codes, conventions, and enforcement standards of NC.
    http://tracycarter.blogspot.com/2011...s-one-one.html

    This young man was in a Private drive (Next to his house)
    When all of this occurred.
    I can't wait to find out how it all goes for him, His court date is 3/30/11.
    Once I find out how things turn out I will try to post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resto Guy View Post
    I'm curious as to what this guy did to get charged.

    http://www.reflector.com/jail-booking/114371
    I have been searching Court Calenders for GAttTotP for the past few months, and this is the first time I have seen GAttTotP as the only Charge.

    http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/cale...t=Submit+Query

    http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/cale...52126&court=CR

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod8812 View Post
    I have been searching Court Calenders for GAttTotP for the past few months, and this is the first time I have seen GAttTotP as the only Charge.

    http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/cale...t=Submit+Query

    http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/cale...52126&court=CR


    Thanks for the additional links. Please keep us updated with your findings.

  14. #14
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod8812 View Post
    http://tracycarter.blogspot.com/2011...s-one-one.html

    This young man was in a Private drive (Next to his house)
    When all of this occurred.
    I can't wait to find out how it all goes for him, His court date is 3/30/11.
    Once I find out how things turn out I will try to post.


    A bit short of being on a public highway terrorizing the public.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resto Guy View Post
    A bit short of being on a public highway terrorizing the public.
    I couldn't agree more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod8812 View Post
    I have been searching Court Calenders for GAttTotP for the past few months, and this is the first time I have seen GAttTotP as the only Charge.

    http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/cale...t=Submit+Query

    http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/cale...52126&court=CR
    First time I have ever seen it as being the only charge.

  17. #17
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod8812 View Post
    http://tracycarter.blogspot.com/2011...s-one-one.html

    This young man was in a Private drive (Next to his house)
    When all of this occurred.
    I can't wait to find out how it all goes for him, His court date is 3/30/11.
    Once I find out how things turn out I will try to post.

    They are using GAttTotP as a "pile on" charge.

    Mr. Coggins has ALSO been charged with two counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill, two counts of Injury to Personal Property as well as one count of Going Armed to the Terror of the Public (which should actually be an EASY charge to get dropped, if he was indeed on private property...)
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resto Guy View Post
    I'm curious as to what this guy did to get charged.

    http://www.reflector.com/jail-booking/114371

    There is no report of Mr. McNiel on WITN's website, that I can find...

    It will be interesting to find what he did to get charged with GAttTotP. I wonder if he has a public defender or a private attorney?

    His trial date is May 11. That's after classes are done for the semester. I may have to put it on my calendar...

    Is there any way we (I) could do a FOIA to get the arrest record, or a copy of the cite issued? We have his arrest#, and the docket# for his trial.
    Last edited by Dreamer; 03-19-2011 at 01:54 AM.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  19. #19
    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
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    Anyone should be able to get a copy as they are a matter of public record. I don't think there's any "need to know" or "interested party" roadblocks with arrest reports.

  20. #20
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Well, Mr. McNiel didn't get arrested by Greenville PD. I've searched through the arrest reports for March 15, 16, 17 and 18 and nobody by that name was arrested, and nobody was charged with GAttTotP on those days.

    http://www.greenvillenc.gov/departme...ts/default.asp

    I also searched the incident reports and call reports, and nothing about this guy shows up...

    So it must have happened in the County, and unfortunately, Pitt County doesn't put their arrest records or incident/call reports online...

    And the "Reflector" website is completely down today...
    Last edited by Dreamer; 03-22-2011 at 09:03 PM.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  21. #21
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    After a rather terse response from a desk officer at the Pitt County Sheriff's office (who told me that arrest reports ARE NOT public records, and I'd need a court order to get them if it wasn't MY report, or I wasn't council for the arrested party), I went back home and researched matters a little better...

    As it turns out, "Deputy Friendly" was flat-out wrong. According to NCGS §132-1.4.(c), they HAVE to give me the basic information in an arrest report and incident report if I ask...

    http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedL...S_132-1.4.html

    § 132‑1.4. Criminal investigations; intelligence information records; Innocence Inquiry Commission records.
    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, and unless otherwise prohibited by law, the following information shall be public records within the meaning of G.S. 132‑1.
    (1) The time, date, location, and nature of a violation or apparent violation of the law reported to a public law enforcement agency.
    (2) The name, sex, age, address, employment, and alleged violation of law of a person arrested, charged, or indicted.
    (3) The circumstances surrounding an arrest, including the time and place of the arrest, whether the arrest involved resistance, possession or use of weapons, or pursuit, and a description of any items seized in connection with the arrest.
    (4) The contents of "911" and other emergency telephone calls received by or on behalf of public law enforcement agencies, except for such contents that reveal the name, address, telephone number, or other information that may identify the caller, victim, or witness.
    (5) The contents of communications between or among employees of public law enforcement agencies that are broadcast over the public airways.
    (6) The name, sex, age, and address of a complaining witness.

    I went back later in the day, and "Deputy Friendly" wasn't at the front desk, so I went in and sweet-talked the two women at the info desk, and they printed the incident and arrest reports right up for me...


    However, when I asked about how to request a recording of the 911 call and any radio traffic associated with this arrest, they said I'd need a court order.


    I showed them a copy of the Statute, and they just told me that didn't matter--I needed a court order.


    So I'll be calling the Sheriff later this week to see what he can do about getting his people trained as to NC Statutes regarding requests for Public Records information...


    ANYWAY....


    This arrest (McNiel) isn't one of us (OCer). His arrest report says that the PCSO seized a 12ga shotgun--a "Revelation 300f" to be exact, valued at $100 (a house name that Western Auto used to sell)



    But then the paper trail gets weird...


    The initial Incident Report lists "Weapons Violation-Illegal Discharge" as the violation. It lists the "State of NC" as the "victim". It also lists two other men as being "Involved Others", but the were not charged with anything...


    However, on the Arrest Report, the charge is GAttTotP (NOT "Illegal Discharge"), and there is no narrative or complainant listed. Also, Mr. McNiel is reported as having no drugs or alcohol on his person, property, or in his system...


    So although this is a long-gun-related GAttTotP charge (so it's not really our purview), it IS a very odd case. No other charges were filed. The "Weapons Violation-Illegal Discharge" disappeared sometime during the investigation and before the arrest, and he was charged with a Common Law Violation that is almost NEVER used as a stand-alone charge in NC.


    This case doesn't appear to be applicable to OCDO, but the sparse details available from the arrest report and incident report only make it more intriguing...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  22. #22
    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
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    Bery odd indeed.

    It's not all that uncommon to be charged with something and then the charges are switched around some during the process, though. Often times LEOs will charge people with almost anything just to keep them for a bit until they can figure out what really to charge them with. Or, to charge them with additional charges after the investigation of the original charges progresses.

  23. #23
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Oh, and FYI, for any of you out there who may need to generate FOIA requests for NC State or local agencies, this website is a great little tool:

    http://www.rcfp.org/foialetter/index.php
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  24. #24
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Another interesting thing is that the arrest was made at the arrestee's home, but the incident is reported as having occurred 285ft down th eroad and around a corner--on a public road...

    My guess is something dicey is going on here, and Mr. McNiel was brandishing his shotgun (and maybe even popped of a round in the air) to persuade someone else to go away.

    The two "Involved Others" are from Sterling VA and Palisade CO, and one of them comes up with an outstanding warrant from 2008 in AR for "hot checks". I guess PCSO doesn't have "Goggle" access from their cruisers...

    Curiouser and curiouser...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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