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Thread: Guilford County Sheriff doesn't know the law

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    Guilford County Sheriff doesn't know the law

    I had a debate with a fellow concealed carry friend. I told him it is legal to open carry in NC. He asked for the proof so we called the Guilford County Sheriff's office and spoke to Deputy Doolen. Deputy Doolen informed us that if we open carried it was illegal and was going to the terror of the people. Are you kidding me? I disagreed with him and mentioned Grass Roots to which he responded we were all incorrect. I then called the Greensboro NC Police Department and got a very knowledgeable woman in Ops. She informed me it was very legal indeed but that if someone freaked out that we would probably be visited by a nice member of the law. That's fine, but for the sheriff department to say it is illegal is infuriating me. They are supposed to inform the local citizen of his rights, not infringe his second amendment. I have since sent the Sheriffs office a memo to ask for their help in informing the deputies of the correct information. I doubt it will do anything, but who knows. My question is: Is there anything I can carry that shows it is legal and so forth when an officer approaches me and doesn't know what he/she is talking about? Chris

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    The last person you ask about the law is someone in law enforcement. They are not lawyers and have very minimal training in law. They know the basics and from your post, not even then.

    Ask a lawyer or read up on the code yourself.
    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -Thomas Jefferson circa 1776
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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    1. Pay a lawyer to, on his letterhead, write a letter stating what the law is concerning OC.
    2. If you have sheriffs like some of the ones we have in Alabama, put that same lawyer on speed dial.

    I'll grant that there are some LEOs who take pride in actually being knowledgeable about the law and do their very best to stay current and to increase their knowledge. They are, unfortunately, in the minority.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deepdiver36 View Post
    The last person you ask about the law is someone in law enforcement. They are not lawyers and have very minimal training in law. They know the basics and from your post, not even then.

    Ask a lawyer or read up on the code yourself.
    THIS.

    I always tell people: cops know about as much of the law as car salesmen know about the cars they sell. the salesmen know just enough about the cars to sell them, and the police know just enough about the law to arrest people.
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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    May a retired bureaucrat step in and offer some translation services?

    Very much like attorneys and judges, LEOs interpret the law. They do that so they can decide if your behavior meets some standard (set by training, instruction, or "that's how I see things") of reasonable, articulatable suspicion/probable cause that you have violated some section of the criminal code.

    The fortunate thing is they are not the final arbiters of exactly what the legislature meant when they passed that law that is written that way.

    It would probably be a good guess to say that the Deputy has been taught, told, figured out or otherwise determined that they are going to get support from at least the Magistrate and their immediate boss if they charge folks OCing with GAattTotP, as opposed to getting their hindquarters chewed for doing so.

    If you can do some research in your County's Circuit Court about how the judge(s) there have decided cases of people so charged, you can get a fair idea of how your case will be decided. It's called "case law" or "precedent" and is what judges use so they do not have to strain their brains too often. If the local Circuit Court says OC = GAttTotP then you need to check the State Appellate and/or Supreme Court to see if they have decided otherwise or have upheld the decisions of judges at Circuit Courts around the state.

    If a higher court has said OC is not GAattTotP and your local Circuit Court judge says it is, that is grounds for appeal and a fair bet tat you will eventually win. If there are no appeals above the Circuit Court level in any county in the state then it's a crapshoot pretty much based on how the majority of Circuit Courts have decided - but "pretty much" is the operative phrase.

    If you know that an appellate-level court has said OC is not automatically GAattTotP then you should send copies of the decision to your Sheriff with a polite note reminding him what the "settled" law is. The Sheriff and his Deputies should have already been trained concerning the appellate decision, but sometimes things "slip through the cracks".

    This is why those of us who are not attorneys may just be lawyers. And in most states the law says I cannot charge or accept compensation for stating my opinion about what the law says, not that I cannot tell anyone what that opinion is. Just remember my opinion is just that - you have the responsibility of deciding if you agree or disagree with it.

    This http://www.guncite.com/court/state/25nc418.html - seems to be where all decisions on the subject start.


    stay safe.
    Last edited by skidmark; 12-31-2011 at 07:35 PM. Reason: added citation
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    I have actually read the NC Statutes and the NC Constitution. I will say that I do NOT have a law degree however, I am somewhat intellectual. The verb-age in either of NC's laws are the vaguest things I have ever seen. They were intentionally written that way to give law enforcement WAY TOO much leeway. I have been advised basically in our State to conceal unless I am looking for trouble. Completely sad.

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    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
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    There's nothing you can carry that definitively states that OC is legal in NC. That's because laws do not tell us what we can do- only what we cannot. They also set legal restrictions on activities that may be legal, but are limited in scope based on location, age, and other conditions. Anything not specified by law as illegal is legal. Hence, since there is no law outlawing the practice of openly carrying your handgun. It's legal, although with certain restrictions.

    Ask him to show you the exact general statute covering the crime of "Openly Carrying A Handgun". He can't, because there is none. What he can find, however, are laws that describe where the practice is unlawful or restricted. These are very specific in nature for the most part with the exception of the biggie called Going Armed To The Terror Of The Public. To be charged and/ or convicted of this one, though, would require the state to show that you had the intention of causing terror while carrying (basically). It's already been ruled that simply carrying a holstered handgun in public is not sufficient to be convicted of GATTTOTP. They have to prove that your intent was to terrorize others by doing it. Good luck with that one, Mr Sheriff.

    Some might say that by you simply carrying it, it's enough to cause terror in people. Meh...

    You could carry around every law that deals with the open carry of handguns, or you could go to the NC Attorney General's website and download the latest version of their .pdf file that deals with handgun laws. The NC AG's office will not give you legal advice, mostly because they do not work for you, they work for the state. The state of NC is their client, not it's citizens. But, the file is immensely helpful when trying to figure out some of these laws. It's basically a "Do's & Don'ts" of carrying in NC.

    In short, the sheriff is an idiot. He's either uninformed of the laws involved, or he's intentionally misrepresenting them. Either one shows a distinct lack of professionalism and character within the scope of his office. He's paid by that county's citizens to be better than that. Within the scope of the subject of OC, he's woefully inept and probably intentionally causing undue legal ramifications for the residents of that county.

    Personally, I wouldn't waste my time trying to educate the entire sheriff's department in your area. It's up to them to know the laws, as well as enforce them in a manner that's legal and professional. If they can't handle that much, then perhaps it's time to look for a new sheriff when election time comes around in your area.

    Open carry is legal in NC. There are restrictions, but it's not illegal, no matter how he wants to interpret the laws.
    Last edited by rotorhead; 01-01-2012 at 01:30 PM.

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitch1769 View Post
    I had a debate with a fellow concealed carry friend. I told him it is legal to open carry in NC. He asked for the proof so we called the Guilford County Sheriff's office and spoke to Deputy Doolen. Deputy Doolen informed us that if we open carried it was illegal and was going to the terror of the people.

    Never believe anything a LEO tells you about the law. Cops are NOT lawyers. If they wanted to be lawyers, they would go to College for 4 years, then 2 years of LAW SCHOOL, pass the bar, and be attorneys. How can you expect someone who goes through BLET (a sixteen-week course) with no previous education more than a high-school education to know ANYTHING about the finer points of the actual laws, statutes, and codes of NC?


    Stitch, have your friend read these links:

    http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com...h-carolina.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_North_Carolina

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2...ant_to_protect


    And he should ESPECIALLY download and read this training memo by "Smith, Rodgers and Strickland, PLLC", a law firm in Greensboro, NC, that was distributed to LEAs all over the state. SR&S is the official legal council for High Point PD, and offers legal advise and training to several other NC LEAs (with the apparent exception of Guilford County...):

    http://www.policehelp.net/pubs/2009/qv8n11.pdf


    In other words, both your "friend" AND the Guilford County Sheriff's office are full of it.

    Open Carry is legal in NC. Period. End of discussion.

    If you need someone with a bit of experience and background in this to talk to your friend, and explain it to him, please PM me, and I'll give you my phone#. I was the Founding President of the ECU Chapter of "Students for Concealed Carry on Campus", I have appeared on radio talk shows in NC speaking on the topic, and I have given testimony before the Maryland General Assembly on CC and OC law. I have CC permits in NC, PA and UT. I know the law in NC (and most of the other states in the Mid-Atlantic region) and can generally quote statutes and case law by chapter and verse for NC firearms law...
    Last edited by Dreamer; 01-01-2012 at 11:30 PM.
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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    "stitch", how about an update for the whole list on this situation? Everyone in NC needs to hear the news of your HUGE victory!
    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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    I lived in Guilford County for many many years and at present live in an adjacent county, Rockingham.

    Sheriff Barnes of Guilford is a show boater. His department could not catch a cold in a winter ice storm.

    I saw a letter in a gun shop I frequent, posted on the board, in which he stated exactly how a gun was to be carried in a vehicle by a person who does not have a CCW.

    It was totally contrary to NC law. In fact, if you read the attorney general's writings on the subject, he states clearly that there is no specified manner in which a handgun may be carried in a vehicle other than that it must be in plain view.

    In my county, with a much smaller less well equipped sheriff's department, we have virtually no unsolved murders or missing person cases.

    Guilford has quite a few, some of which were highly publicised.

    So OP's post hardly surprises me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by old curmudgeon View Post
    I saw a letter in a gun shop I frequent, posted on the board, in which he stated exactly how a gun was to be carried in a vehicle by a person who does not have a CCW.

    It was totally contrary to NC law. In fact, if you read the attorney general's writings on the subject, he states clearly that there is no specified manner in which a handgun may be carried in a vehicle other than that it must be in plain view.

    Just out of curiosity, what were his specifications? As a traveler in N.C., I have always operated under the "plain view" rule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManInBlack View Post
    Just out of curiosity, what were his specifications? As a traveler in N.C., I have always operated under the "plain view" rule.
    I don't want to misquote it here so because I read that letter almost a year ago, I will not try to quote it.

    I plan to be in that shop tomorrow or Tuesday and I will check to see if it is still posted and if so will get a copy.

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    Campaign Veteran G22shooter's Avatar
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    Perhaps there ought to be an OC event scheduled for Guilford County?
    Quote Originally Posted by P.J. O'Rourke; The Liberty Manifesto
    There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by old curmudgeon View Post
    I don't want to misquote it here so because I read that letter almost a year ago, I will not try to quote it.

    I plan to be in that shop tomorrow or Tuesday and I will check to see if it is still posted and if so will get a copy.
    Lets confuse things even more with the NCHP version.

    Handguns in Vehicles

    It is unlawful to carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle unless the person has a North Carolina concealed carry permit. A person who is not a convicted felon may carry a handgun if not concealed. A handgun is concealed in a vehicle if it cannot be readily seen by a person approaching and if it is readily accessible. A handgun under the front seat or in an unlocked glove box or console is illegal. A handgun openly displayed or in a locked glove box, locked console, or in the trunk is lawful.


    http://www.nccrimecontrol.org/Index2...,000935,000941

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    Quote Originally Posted by G22shooter View Post
    Perhaps there ought to be an OC event scheduled for Guilford County?
    I really really think this is a great idea! I also think the sheriff should receive some calls from some of our more knowledgeable people. You know who you are, the guys who can argue the laws backwards and forward! And of course post what takes place for the rest of us.....

    Sent from my T-Mobile G2 using Tapatalk

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    I put together my own little pamphlet specifically for GaTTToP. Basically says something like this:

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Going Armed to the Terror of the Public



    Cite as State v. Dawson, 272 N.C. 535 (1968)

    State of North Carolina

    v.

    Edward W. Dawson.

    No. 831.

    Supreme Court of North Carolina.

    Feb. 2, 1968


    Court Citation:

    3 Wharton's Criminal Law section 1870 (11th Ed. Kerr 1912.


    It charges all the essential elements of the crime, that is, that defendant:

    (1) [Armed] himself with unusual and dangerous weapons, to wit, pistols and rifles
    2) [did so] for the unlawful purpose of terrorizing the people of Alamance
    County,
    (3) [Whilst] thus armed, he went about the public highways of
    the county
    (4) in a manner to cause terror to the people.

    *[sic] mine for clarity

    Court Commentary:

    While it would have been proper (as in Huntley, supra) to enumerate acts or threats of violence committed by defendant while thus going armed, such specific averments are not required. Evidence of such acts, ofcourse, was admissible as tending to prove the commission of the offense charged.

    Words Omitted: “and,” at the end of the second enumerated article;

    Original Ruling in State V. Huntley:

    But although a gun is an "unusual weapon," it is to be remembered that the carrying of a gun per se constitutes no offence. For any lawful purpose-either of business or amusement-the citizen is at perfect liberty to carry his gun. It is the wicked purpose-and the mischievous result-which essentially constitute the crime. He shall not carry about this or any other weapon of death to terrify and alarm, and in such manner as naturally will terrify and alarm, a peaceful people.

    ---------------------------------

    Its not yet entirely complete, but what it does for me is that it establishes to the officer that the burden of proof for proving that I did ALL, not some, of the criteria is on him, in order for the charges to stick. Furthermore, it shows case law for this, and that the judge, in these cases, was very specific to indicate that the right to bear arms was preserved. GaTTToP is a crime of intent, and this clarified that to a...less than educated...LEO.
    Last edited by Shimmer; 01-13-2012 at 06:14 PM.

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Just to push a button, or two, and make a point, have the attendees call in MWAG. Yeah, I know, false reports. But, it would be funny to watch the LEOs response when they are on the scene and see folks calling in a MWAG from folks who are armed and on the same scene.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
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    As promised, here is a copy of Sheriff Barnes" letter.

    I am not able to upload a copy of the letter so here is a typed copy of the paragraph to which I take exception.

    "While transporting the pistol in a vehicle, it should be in plain view on the passenger seat, in a locked glove compartment or carrying case with no key in the lock, or in the trunk of the vehicle. Never place the pistol on the dashboard of your vehicle or have it in the open when a child is present. If the pistol is placed under the seat......., etc."

    If he had stopped at the "in plain view", it would have been OK and in compliance with NC law.

    But stating it the way he did it is misleading to an over zealous deputy and misleading to the public.

    What happens when some one not knowledgeable places a handgun on the center seat when the right seat is piled up with winter jackets, groceries or a big passenger. In that case, the weapon would be hard to see and would sucker the driver into a concealed charge.

    Contrary to his letter, on some vehicles, the dashboard is the safest place.

    As an example for my displeasure, the fellow who conducts CCW clases for Calibers in Greensboro is adamant that the ONLY place one can carry a handgun is on the seat.

    That is not NC law.
    Last edited by old curmudgeon; 01-13-2012 at 11:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by old curmudgeon View Post
    As promised, here is a copy of Sheriff Barnes" letter.

    I am not able to upload a copy of the letter so here is a typed copy of the paragraph to which I take exception.

    "While transporting the pistol in a vehicle, it should be in plain view on the passenger seat, in a locked glove compartment or carrying case with no key in the lock, or in the trunk of the vehicle. Never place the pistol on the dashboard of your vehicle or have it in the open when a child is present. If the pistol is placed under the seat......., etc."
    Amazing that he feels he can add his own addendum to state law with the passenger seat requirement. If the statutory requirement is "plain view," wouldn't the dashboard be the location MOST visible from outside the vehicle, and therefore [theoretically] in the best place for "officer safety?"


  20. #20
    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
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    The dashboard is, indeed, a very good place for a weapon to be seen by an approaching LEO. The trouble is that an LEO will be on alert for movement within the vehicle while approaching and may notice the movement associated with placing the gun on the dashboard and take it the wrong way lol.

    I was talking to a guy in a store the other day and he was telling me about his uncle who got pulled over. The uncle was doing just that- placing his gun on the dashboard when the cop came up to the window. The cop immediately drew his gun and eventually the uncle was placed in cuffs and brought to the station. The whole time, the uncle was telling the cop that he wast trying to place it up there so it would be in plain sight. In other words, he was trying to comply with the law, but the cop took the movement out of context and reacted to it.

    From that, I simply confirmed my own plan- to have it in plain sight in the first place and leave it there. That way, there's no movement from me to observe and to be taken the wrong way.

    Unless you happen to travel with a gun on the dashboard (which isn't too bright, imo), then there is going to be observable movement during the stop while you place it there. This can be taken the wrong way in certain circumstances. I'm not saying everyone will be treated like the uncle I was told about, but there's certainly a chance for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rotorhead View Post
    The dashboard is, indeed, a very good place for a weapon to be seen by an approaching LEO. The trouble is that an LEO will be on alert for movement within the vehicle while approaching and may notice the movement associated with placing the gun on the dashboard and take it the wrong way lol.

    I was talking to a guy in a store the other day and he was telling me about his uncle who got pulled over. The uncle was doing just that- placing his gun on the dashboard when the cop came up to the window. The cop immediately drew his gun and eventually the uncle was placed in cuffs and brought to the station. The whole time, the uncle was telling the cop that he wast trying to place it up there so it would be in plain sight. In other words, he was trying to comply with the law, but the cop took the movement out of context and reacted to it.

    From that, I simply confirmed my own plan- to have it in plain sight in the first place and leave it there. That way, there's no movement from me to observe and to be taken the wrong way.

    Unless you happen to travel with a gun on the dashboard (which isn't too bright, imo), then there is going to be observable movement during the stop while you place it there. This can be taken the wrong way in certain circumstances. I'm not saying everyone will be treated like the uncle I was told about, but there's certainly a chance for it.
    I'm sorry; I wasn't clear. I would never handle my weapon as a police officer approached my vehicle. I was referring to leaving it on the dash at all times in a vehicle in which it is safe to do so. I do understand that there are some vehicles where the weapon would be likely to slide around, but there are even things you can do to those to make them more "sticky."

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    Quote Originally Posted by rotorhead View Post
    The dashboard is, indeed, a very good place for a weapon to be seen by an approaching LEO. The trouble is that an LEO will be on alert for movement within the vehicle while approaching and may notice the movement associated with placing the gun on the dashboard and take it the wrong way lol.

    I was talking to a guy in a store the other day and he was telling me about his uncle who got pulled over. The uncle was doing just that- placing his gun on the dashboard when the cop came up to the window. The cop immediately drew his gun and eventually the uncle was placed in cuffs and brought to the station. The whole time, the uncle was telling the cop that he wast trying to place it up there so it would be in plain sight. In other words, he was trying to comply with the law, but the cop took the movement out of context and reacted to it.

    From that, I simply confirmed my own plan- to have it in plain sight in the first place and leave it there. That way, there's no movement from me to observe and to be taken the wrong way.

    Unless you happen to travel with a gun on the dashboard (which isn't too bright, imo), then there is going to be observable movement during the stop while you place it there. This can be taken the wrong way in certain circumstances. I'm not saying everyone will be treated like the uncle I was told about, but there's certainly a chance for it.
    Uncle must be a mite slow.

    When the lights light up and the siren sounds, you have a reasonable length of time to place the gun where you want it to be.

    At 55 on the highway, it takes quite a distance to find a safe place to pull over and get stopped.

    In the city, with parked cars, intersections, etc., you usually have to go a half block or so to get stopped.

    Place the gun where you want it while still moving.

    Most cars now have so much behind the driver that you can't see much from behind.

    Just try it. Next time you are following a vehicle similar to your own, try counting the people in the other vehicle.

    Try to determine whether they are male or female. Only in the very smallest cheapest vehicles is it possible.

    But the main thing is to use common sense. If you are already parked and a cop pulls up beside you and it at your window before you know it, sit still. Be slow to open your window so it does not look like you are making an aggressive move.

    Use common sense.

  23. #23
    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
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    I have no idea as to the physical or mental capacities or limitations that this uncle has. I'm only relaying what was told to me by a random guy at a store earlier on this week. From what I gathered, it was already out on the seat before he was being pulled over and at some point (of which I'm not specifically sure of) during the event of being pulled over he decided to put the gun on the dash to make it more "in view", I guess.

    My point is only to have it securely in a place that's already "in view" if one does not have a CHP. Either that or have it secured in a location which makes it not readily available. Either one would make any further movement unneeded. If it's already in plain sight before a stop, there's no reason to move it and thereby cause some undue concern on the part of the officer involved, whether real or perceived.

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