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Thread: Disorderly Conduct? Menacing???

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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

    Disorderly Conduct? Menacing???

    Work in progress. I'm editing, but needed to post so I can copy the URL elsewhere. Just wait a bit -- it'll soon be cleared up.

    This thread is an outgrowth of the What's Wrong With LEO Training for the Lawful Carry of Firearms? and Does a sign denying firearms in a business carry the weight of "notice of trespass?" threads.

    I had an interesting conversation this afternoon with a member of local law enforcement. No, it wasn't an encounter -- I'd called him to ask him a question involving trespassing.

    Towards the end of our conversation, he mentioned the tired old line about "disorderly conduct." I asked him how lawful behavior could be misconstrued as DC, to which he replied "it depends on the totality of the circumstances." Barring criminal activity, such as inciting a riot, brandishing, verbally or physically abusing other, I still don't see how any "totality of the circumstances" would or could translate into "disorderly conduct."

    What he said sounds very typical, and I'd chalk it up to departmental memo, bad training, or not having received any training on the lawful carry of firearms by a private citizen.

    I did some research, following his advice to look up DC, and came up with some things which I'm discussing further in the Disorderly Conduct? Menacing??? thread.

    Colorado's Stop and Identify law: C.R.S. 16-3-103(1)

    Definition: C.R.S. 18-9-106(1)(b). Disorderly Conduct. Interestingly, this statute criminalizes abusing or threatening a person in a public place. The law has been held unconstitutional, and should therefore be repealed. Aguilar v. People, 886 P.2d 725 (1994).
    The officer also mentioned the term "alarm" as in any activity which "alarms" another may be considered "disorderly conduct."

    In response to that I discovered the following:

    18-3-206. Felony Menacing Should not Include Simple Gun Possession

    In People v. Adams, the Colorado Court of Appeals wrote:

    "Giving effect then to the plain and ordinary meaning of the words and phrases contained in the statute, we conclude that, for purposes of the felony menacing statute, the General Assembly intended that the word "use" would necessarily include the physical possession of a deadly weapon at the time of the crime. See People v. Hines, 780 P.2d 556 (Colo. 1989) (The term "use" in 18-3-206 is broad enough to include the act of holding the weapon in the presence of another, without pointing the firearm at that person, in a manner that causes the other person to fear for his or her safety.)."

    867 P.2d 54 (Colo. App. 1993).

    In other words, "menacing" with a gun can include nothing more than simple possession of a gun. This twisted interpretation of the word "use" has allowed menacing charges to be brought against people who were doing nothing more than lawfully carrying firearms for protection. The Firearms Coalition of Colorado has reported several cases of people engaged in nothing more than carrying a gun in a holster for lawful protection who were arrested and charged with "menacing."

    The statute should be amended to add: "Menacing does not include any use of a firearm for lawful protection, or any statement about the use of a firearm for lawful protection."
    Then I come across Summit County's (think Breckenridge) prohibition against the "use" of firearms:

    Section 7. Firearms and Fireworks.
    a. No person shall discharge, use, or allow the use of firearms or weapons at any time. - Source
    What? This is Colorado...

    Then this:

    Use of the Colorado State University-Pueblo Library...

    Illegal Activity
    The following are illegal under Colorado or federal law:
    - Open possession of weapons or concealed weapons without a permit on state property, except by a police officer. - Source
    I was under the impression that Federal Law does NOT restrict the lawful carry of firearms, open or concealed. I was also under the impression that State Law specifically allows open carry on all state property, with the deadlocked exclusion of the PDR.

    Ok, this deserves a much closer look, which I'll do in the Colorado section. If you feel like your state's laws are or have been bent to unduly pressurize OCers with threats of DC or menacing, please share all!

    And get down to state-specific brass tacks in your own states' threads, hopefully to get your legislators to fix them.
    Last edited by since9; 09-10-2011 at 01:14 AM.
    I no longer have any confidence in the moderation or administration of this forum. Nonetheless, the First STILL protects the Second, and the Second protects the First! Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and other founding documents. If you're going to do anything at all, do it right!

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