Philly Police: We Promise To Continue To Violate Your Rights

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

My first reaction to this story was, “Unbelievable.”

My second reaction was that, sadly, it is entirely believable.

With a shocking altercation between Philadelphia police and a 25-year-old IT worker putting the spotlight back on open-carry gun laws, local authorities are warning gun owners that they will be “inconvenienced” if they carry unconcealed handguns in the city.

Lt. Raymond Evers, a spokesman for the city police, told FoxNews.com that gun owners who open carry, which is legal in the city, may be asked to lay on the ground until officers feel safe while they check permits.

Let’s be clear here. Regardless of how you feel about guns, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that gun ownership is a right protected by the Constitution. Under Pennsylvania law, it is perfectly legal to open carry. So Lt. Evers is openly, publicly, and without any apparent shame promising that if gun owners exercise their constitutional rights in Philadelphia in a manner that is well within the confines of the law, they can expect a violent confrontation with police.

As I explained in my post on Philadelphia DA R. Seth Williams, this is a knowing, premeditated, intentional violation of the constitutional rights of people who live in or visit Philadelphia.

So where is the Justice Department?

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

81 Responses to “Philly Police: We Promise To Continue To Violate Your Rights”

  1. #1 |  Deoxy | 

    Where? They’re busy doing whatever Obama tells them to… which means, NOT THIS.

  2. #2 |  SJE | 

    The DOJ is not going to touch this: the DEMS have too much anti-gun baggage, and like to use it to hammer the GOP.
    The NRA is not going to touch this (or will only give a lukewarm defense): they don’t want to get in a fight with cops, and are more interested in defending gun rights in the country where its politically easier
    The GOP is not going to touch this: see first point.

    Thank God for Reason, Cato, IJ and ACLU.

  3. #3 |  EH | 

    It seems Counsel has advised that qualified immunity covers these situations.

  4. #4 |  ducey | 

    “Thank God for Reason, Cato, IJ and ACLU”

    Amen.

  5. #5 |  MassHole | 

    Cause guns are bad mmmkay. The “why would anyone need a gun” crowd will love this. It’s kinda like the state is taking on a similar role to anti-abortion crusaders that hassle doctors. Yes, it is legal, but we are going to make it so difficult and potentially dangerous to exercise that right that no one will wish to do it.

    Open carry is technically legal in MA, but there is a “suitability” clause that allows the local police chief to basically confiscate your guns for any reason they see fit. Most people in MA would flip out if they saw someone open carrying and call the cops. Thus, no one in MA open carries because there is a solid chance you be deemed “unsuitable” for scaring the sheep, even though it is legal.

  6. #6 |  flogleviathan | 

    “So where is the Justice Department?”

    They are busy turning the U.S. Government into the militant wing of the RIAA.

  7. #7 |  TomG | 

    There’s been bus ads in the Capital District area of NY state that have some minister saying he’ll pay people who turn in hand guns. The ad ends by claiming hand guns are illegal. I know they are heavily restricted, but I doubt they are totally illegal outside of NYC just yet.

  8. #8 |  capn_amurka | 

    So, by their own public admissions through their agent spokesman:

    1) the city police are conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate persons in a State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of a right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States? See 18 USC 241; and/or

    2) the city police, law enforcement officers, are planning to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States? See 42 U.S.C. § 14141

    I have to think that any decent attorney would have a field day with this…

  9. #9 |  Nick42 | 

    IMHO, the charges against Mark Fiorino are the biggest problem here. Police will jealously guard their ability to control suspects by ordering them to the ground at will. Even in much more gun friendly states (GA for one), the courts have ruled that openly possessing a gun is reasonable suspicion for an officer to investigate. Trying to argue against that is unlikely to succeed in either before a judge or in the court of public opinion.

    But having a prosecutor bring charges against Fiorino for posting the audio is clearly retaliatory. Legal claims are unlikely to succeed ( we can’t even get the courts to allow civil suits against prosecutors who put innocent men on death row by hiding evidence), so we’ll have to rouse public opinion. It’s a great place for gun owners, libertarians, and anti-police abuse groups to join forces.

  10. #10 |  Mattocracy | 

    I would love to see the NRA, IJ, and ACLU team up on this one. But IJ is probably the only group who would actually stick up for gun owners since they aren’t controled by dems or obsessed with law enforcement.

  11. #11 |  Mike T | 

    So Lt. Evers is openly, publicly, and without any apparent shame promising that if gun owners exercise their constitutional rights in Philadelphia in a manner that is well within the confines of the law, they can expect a violent confrontation with police.

    He’s not that stupid. He’s saying that they’ll order you to the ground like a criminal, which means they’ll order you to engage in behavior which makes you defame yourself by looking suspicious to other law-abiding citizens.

  12. #12 |  Andrew S. | 

    The ACLU has stuck up for gun owners in the past. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see them involved in the lawsuit Mr. Fiorino will likely be filing.

    The ACLU is far more likely to get involved than the cop-fellating NRA is.

  13. #13 |  Flint | 

    This is why I live in NH. There’s an AG’s opinion letter on file (which has the force of law under RSA626:3-II) explicitly stating that no reasonable person would fear the mere sight of a holstered or slung firearm, so open carry, alone, can never be disorderly conduct.

    It’s time for folks to just give up on the areas that are lost causes, and concentrate on making the salvageable places, the best they can be.

  14. #14 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Lying on the ground is the perfect punishment
    for these Constitution-hooligans who challenge the alpha-male
    superiority of the Philly police.
    Cops like citizens to be inert, unarmed, and compliant:
    Easier to steal their money that way.

  15. #15 |  Ken Hagler | 

    The Justice Department is too busy writing papers on why it’s perfectly okay for the government to grab people off the street and torture them to death.

  16. #16 |  CyniCAl | 

    People who live in Philadelphia get what they deserve. Philadelphia is the anus of the universe. It is the only thing keeping New Jersey from occupying that position of dishonor.

  17. #17 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Remember, cops like citizens to be inert, unarmed and compliant:
    easier to steal their money that way.

  18. #18 |  Brandon | 

    They’ll probably only bother you if your gun is bigger than theirs. Police tend to have…insecurities.

  19. #19 |  divadab | 

    Leaving aside the gangster behavior of the police (which is much scarier than the “offense”) – I admit to being made very nervous by the sight of people walking around with a gun on their belt. WHat is it about Americans that they need to reinfoce their masculinity by carrying a gun? WHat insecurity!

    I agree with the intent of the police, if not their authoritarian lawless tactics – when you come to town, leave your guns at home. Are you that much of a dickless coward that you need to announce your intention to kill by displaying your weapon?

  20. #20 |  CyniCAl | 

    You’re a moron, divadab. Open carry is a deterrent, not the “announcement of intention to kill.”

  21. #21 |  PeeDub | 

    Philadelphia is the taint. Baltimore is the anus.

  22. #22 |  divadab | 

    I don’t think it’s moronic to want to live where people don’t need to be “deterred” by display of deadly weapons. I mean, this is Philadelphia, not frikking Somalia.

    And if you are openly displaying a deadly weapon, you are also asserting you are ready to use it to kill. Otherwise, it’s just an ornament, not a deterrence at all.

    Or are you second amendment zealots just making a fashion statement, like riding a harley with leather chaps when you;re not being a corporate drone?

  23. #23 |  divadab | 

    Incidentally, I’m much more concerned with the trashing of the 4th amendment by the State than with any threat to the 2nd. The federal government is operating illegitimately by breaking its own Constitution.

    Let’s recognize the real threat here: the illegal appropriation of powers reserved to the people and/or the States by a criminal federal government.

  24. #24 |  Carl Drega | 

    FYI, and not that it would change your position, but in Philadelphia, open carriers must possess a Pennsylvania “License to Carry Firearms”, or an equivalent from one of the states Pa. has reciprocity with. In the rest of Pennsylvania any adult can openly carry without any form of government permission.

  25. #25 |  Curt | 

    Well, technically, the police chief says they MAY be ASKED to lie on the ground until officers feel safe while they check permits (emphasis mine, also I understand it’s not a direct quote).

    The real questions are… What happens when you politely decline their request to lay on the ground? How much fun do you think cops are going to have playing this game on rainy/snowy days?

    At what point can we expect the officer to feel safe? These guys obviously didn’t give a crap what his permit said. Is he supposed to lay on the ground for an hour while the cop calls up his buddy back at the station who digs around and finally determines it’s legal?

    Does anyone honestly think that the police have a serious reason to worry about people who are openly carrying their gun? I think if someone has their gun in a holster, clearly visible on their hip, that person probably isn’t a criminal trying to pull a fast one on the cops.

  26. #26 |  Marty | 

    damn, divadab- anyone else you feel like looking down upon? what a dick.

  27. #27 |  Henry Bowman | 

    Curt (#25):

    The real questions are… What happens when you politely decline their request to lay on the ground?

    The likely result is that you may well be shot dead by the murderers. After all, they will simply say that “an armed man refused to follow orders, and that they were afraid for their chickenshit lives.” In other words, they will murder you.

  28. #28 |  Steamed McQueen | 

    Note to self: Add Pennsylvania to the list of places not to go.

    The list so far:

    Indiana
    Pennsylvania

    …no doubt there will be more

  29. #29 |  Kristen | 

    @Steamed…probably Chicago, though not sure about the rest of the state.

  30. #30 |  perlhaqr | 

    Divadab: Anyone else you’re this bigoted against, or is it just gun owners?

  31. #31 |  Steve Verdon | 

    divadab,

    How do you bring yourself to leave the house everyday?

    Christ what a wuss.

  32. #32 |  Sean L. | 

    divadab:
    “I’m much more concerned with the trashing of the 4th amendment by the State than with any threat to the 2nd.”

    So you, like the government, pick and choose which amendments to care about. I don’t recall there being a pecking order.

  33. #33 |  Dante | 

    “Lt. Raymond Evers, a spokesman for the city police, told FoxNews.com that gun owners who open carry, which is legal in the city, may be asked to lay on the ground until officers feel safe while they check permits.”

    Call me crazy, but what about the safety of the citizens?

    If the police are making the citizens unsafe with their actions, do THEY have to lie on the ground until WE feel safe?

    {trundling off to enjoy the mental image of cops on the ground}

  34. #34 |  Peter | 

    Divadab: You dismiss and demean one enumerated Right while bemoaning the degradation of another. In other words, you need to get a refund for your education, since obviously you’ve learned nothing.

  35. #35 |  demize! | 

    Isn’t there a bell in that city?

  36. #36 |  Brandon | 

    “I mean, this is Philadelphia, not frikking Somalia.”

    Yeah, no one has ever committed a crime in Philadelphia!

  37. #37 |  Flint | 

    Divadab: civilized people carry guns. Realistically, anyone is capable of dealing out death. Just in varying degrees, due to physical condition. Are my rights more important because I drag boilers around for a living, and could probably rip an average punk thug in half?

    Yes, guns symbolize a willingness to kill. But they symbolize more than just that: they symbolize a willingness to set aside brute force in favor of an intellectual skill that nearly anyone can learn. If it becomes necessary for me to defend myself, I will do so using skills that can be acquired by the young and the old, the weak and the strong, the infirm and the athletes, the popular and the loner, not using brute force that is only available to a fraction of the population.

    A gun on the hip says that I am a democrat. Not in the political sense, but in that I believe all men and women are equal, and no one’s rights are more important than anyone else’s. I have only one “vote” if a conflict occurs, and my vote has no more weight than a 90-year-old, 85-pound grandmother’s does. If we are both armed, we are equal.

  38. #38 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I’m not seeing the legal difference between this and saying “all black people will be asked to lay on the ground until we check you for warrants”.

  39. #39 |  CyniCAl | 

    #22 | divadab — “I don’t think it’s moronic to want to live where people don’t need to be “deterred” by display of deadly weapons. I mean, this is Philadelphia, not frikking Somalia.”

    The law is the law. Don’t like it, change it. Or so I’ve been told a billion times. Logic is apparently not a strong part of your arsenal, Divadab. The argument is not whether Philadelphians need to be deterred by display of deadly weapons, it’s that the City has expressed its collective will by not making open carry illegal.

    “And if you are openly displaying a deadly weapon, you are also asserting you are ready to use it to kill. Otherwise, it’s just an ornament, not a deterrence at all.”

    False again. An ornament may or may not be a deterrent. In fact, it is logical that a perfectly real-looking fake gun will be an effective deterrent just about 100% of the time.

  40. #40 |  Eddie | 

    My question is, what do you think the cop should have done instead?

    Let’s say you’re a police officer patrolling a street, and you see a man with a gun sticking out of his pocket. You have no idea if this guy is a law-abiding citizen with a valid permit or a violent criminal with a warrant out for his arrest or a mentally ill individual who happened to get his hands on a weapon.

    What do you think the cop should do? Ignore it and let the guy continue walking around with a gun? Tap him on the shoulder and say “Excuse me sir, do you have a permit for that?” and hope that the guy falls into the first category rather than the second or third and hope that he doesn’t see a cop and think “I’m not going back to prison!” and start firing?

    And if he says “Yes I have a permit,” the cop should just take his word for it and say “Ok then, have a nice day”?

    What exactly do you propose that a cop in this situation do that doesn’t endanger his safety or the safety of bystanders?

    If you want to play cowboy, move to Arizona.

  41. #41 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    @#28

    Hey, please don’t punish the entire state of Pennsylvania for the sins of “New Jersey West”.

  42. #42 |  oscar | 

    Several years back there were some gas station robberies in my area. I remember seeing a gas station attendent with a large pistol on his hip. He told me that he used to keep the gun in the office, but that he was now wearing it so that the would be robbers would not pick his gas station to rob. It made perfect sense to me.

  43. #43 |  Mike T | 

    I agree with the intent of the police, if not their authoritarian lawless tactics – when you come to town, leave your guns at home. Are you that much of a dickless coward that you need to announce your intention to kill by displaying your weapon?

    Whereas you sound like a limp-wristed pansy or woman who gets “tha vapahs” at the sight of a little firepower.

  44. #44 |  Mike T | 

    I’ll now present a remedial lesson on how to not get shot by non-psychopaths for the benefit of people like divadab.

    Step 1: don’t be unnecessarily aggressive toward total strangers.
    Step 2: don’t be unnecessarily aggressive toward acquaintances.
    Step 3: don’t be unnecessarily aggressive toward a police officer.

    You might say that live and let live or the gold rule will bail you out 99 times out of 100.

  45. #45 |  Cyto | 

    #4 | ducey | May 25th, 2011 at 10:42 am
    “Thank God for Reason, Cato, IJ and ACLU”

    Amen.

    And thank all of the good folk who pony up a contribution to help them do their work. The kind of folk who post on “the Agitator” and other “fringe” blogs. (bunch of freedom-loving nut-jobs….)

  46. #46 |  M. Steve | 

    @Flint #37

    That’s some eloquent and trenchant prose.

  47. #47 |  Phelps | 

    In other news:

    With a shocking altercation between Philadelphia police and a 25-year-old IT worker putting the spotlight back on Jim Crow laws, local authorities are warning African-Americans that they will be “inconvenienced” if they walk around in the city.

  48. #48 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    @#47

    I realize that was supposed to be parody, but the Philly police are pretty much doing that for real. They call it “Stop and Frisk”.

  49. #49 |  Marie | 

    You have a choice whether or not to carry a gun. You do not have a choice whether to be black or not.

    And, as far as I know, dark skin is not a weapon and cannot kill anybody.

  50. #50 |  Andrew Roth | 

    At one point the Philadelphia PD was proposing to have the Pennsylvania State Police take over primary patrol jurisdiction on expressways within the city limits so that the city cops could focus on street patrols in violent neighborhoods. I don’t know whether that proposal was ever implemented.

    I’m not particularly impressed by the PSP, but at this point I have to wonder whether it wouldn’t be wise for them to take over primary patrol jurisdiction on Philadelphia’s surface streets, with the PPD as backup under their supervision. This is just a hunch, but they don’t seem likely to do anything as contemptuous and violent as Lt. Evers has promised on behalf of the PPD. A lot of PA State Troopers are country boys (and a very few girls) whose buddies all have guns, and the command structure seems to take discipline more seriously than PPD’s. A PA Statey doesn’t greet people, “yo junior.” On the negative side, the average PA State Trooper carries purposely carries himself like a jackbooted thug. On the surface, the PSP just looks scarier than any other state police force I’ve seen.

    The sad part is that there are a lot of decent, well-behaved, mellow cops in Philadelphia who are only interested in keeping an eye on their beats and intervening if they see genuine trouble. Some of the lazy fuckers on the force are all right, too, since they don’t cause trouble in the normal course of things and can be roused off their asses if there’s a real emergency. But something has to be done about the thugs and the spokesmen.

  51. #51 |  CyniCAl | 

    Or DWB … Driving While Black.

  52. #52 |  J.S. | 

    “I don’t think it’s moronic to want to live where people don’t need to be “deterred” by display of deadly weapons. I mean, this is Philadelphia, not frikking Somalia.

    And if you are openly displaying a deadly weapon, you are also asserting you are ready to use it to kill. Otherwise, it’s just an ornament, not a deterrence at all. ”

    No Philly isn’t Mogadishu but its certainly no longer filled with “brotherly love”.

    As for your second notion Diva, the second ammendment puts all citizens on equal footing to defend themselves, not just the vaunted police.

  53. #53 |  demize! | 

    For you hipsters carrying open is very DIY man. That and Pabst Blue Ribbon and apparently Track Bikes. Fyi. Im a long time brakeless track bike rider, very un hipster, Philly is one of the few places that have a law that there must be at least one brake on your bike. Im not sure if their police are more or less nasty to riders than here in NY. I wouldn’t be surprised but can’t imagine it. But seriously I wouldn’t entrust my life to a cop if I was in mortal danger.

  54. #54 |  Bergman | 

    Re: EH, #3:

    To which I’d point out, that 18USC242 describes a crime that private citizens are incapable of committing. Police don’t have qualified immunity from prosecution under a criminal offense that only a public official (such as a police officer) can commit.

  55. #55 |  croaker | 

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” John F Kennedy, 1962.

    @35 Yes, and as a person who grew up in the area, I wouldn’t mind if a commando raid removed it from the city until this crap stopped.

    @47 Been happening for years, and is the subject of a lawsuit. This is also the same street gang that trashed/stole from small stores after cutting the camera wires.

    @50 Yes, PA State Police have fallen far from the days when they were considered, at least by H. Beam Piper, one of the top ten constabulary formations in the world.

  56. #56 |  JOR | 

    “My question is, what do you think the cop should have done instead?”

    I dunno. Should cops stop and harass people driving around normally and safely in accordance with traffic rules and not harming or endangering anyone? Cars are extremely dangerous and deadly pieces of hardware, after all.

  57. #57 |  Eddie | 

    @JOR – you appear to have missed the point entirely.

    So you are saying, then, that if a cop sees someone walking around with a gun hanging out of his pocket, he should simply do nothing? I just want to be clear about what you are saying here.

  58. #58 |  jlap | 

    eddie… that works just fine where I live (Portsmouth NH). It also works well in Dutchess County NY where I grew up, as well as myriad of other places which allow open or concealed carry. It sounds like you intend that question to be theoretical, but in a large portion of the country that is exactly what happens.

    and to speak further of your hypothetical situation, how is asking (or yelling at someone) to get on the ground less likely to elicit a violent response on the part of a criminal than asking for documentation?

  59. #59 |  Flint | 

    @M. Steve: Thank you, sir.

    @Eddie: If the cops could just stop anyone, at any time, and do a body-cavity search, I’ll guarantee you that it would reduce crime. But it would be a blatant human rights violation.

    Back when I took law, we were taught that the requirement for a stop was a reasonable, articulable suspicion or belief that a crime was being committed. Not, “well, he looked like he might be a criminal.” The cop has to be able to articulate specific facts that made him believe the individual in question is committing (or about to commit) a crime, and that belief must be objectively-reasonable.

    Merely carrying a gun does not qualify, or they would never get out of the station in the morning, because they’d be too busy frisking each other. Sure, someone carrying a gun “might” be out to commit a crime, but lots of folks “might” be, as well. Young black males are statistically more likely to be criminals, so is it okay if cops just stop them and toss them on the ground while checking their papers? It’s probably more reasonable than going after gun owners (you’re statistically more likely to be wrongfully shot by a cop, than an ordinary gun owner). But it’s wrong, in either case.

    Now, if you see someone with a gun, wearing a ski mask, casing a liquor store, then there is a reasonable, articulable belief that that individual is up to no good. Most crooks don’t calmly walk down the street with holstered pistols. Other than the crooks with badges, anyway.

  60. #60 |  RWW | 

    The best answer to this issue, if one must live in a place like Philadelphia, seems pretty simple: ignore the law and carry concealed. Not only does it avoid problems with the police (unless you have really bad luck or poor judgement), but I think it puts you in a much better strategic position with regard to the kind of violent criminal that doesn’t wear a uniform.

  61. #61 |  Eddie | 

    @Flint
    It seems that your law class did not cover the DeBour standard, which set out different levels that the police can stop and question someone at. There are levels below reasonable suspicion, where police officers can legally stop people and ask them for their name, ID, and a reasonable explanation of their conduct, without necessarily having an indication of criminal activity.

    In Terry v. Ohio, Officer McFadden had a lot less than a guy with a ski mask standing outside a store, yet the Supreme Court found that he was justified in his actions, leading to what is known today as the stop question and frisk.

    As far as your statistics, I’d be interested in knowing where you got them from, because the statistics I am looking at say that approximately 360 people are killed each year by law enforcement (including justified and not) while over 31,000 people each year are killed by guns overall.

    It seems to me that you are effectively arguing that Philadelphia should not be able to enforce its law that those carrying weapons must have permits to do so, since the police shouldn’t ever be allowed to ask anyone for their permit.

  62. #62 |  JOR | 

    “So you are saying, then, that if a cop sees someone walking around with a gun hanging out of his pocket, he should simply do nothing?”

    Well certainly someone missed someone’s point. If the only thing notable about the person is that they’re carrying a handgun, then yes, that’s precisely what he should do. Cars are at least as dangerous as handguns (and in practical terms kill far more people), and cops don’t (or at least shouldn’t) randomly stop people who are driving just to check their licenses.

    Besides, someone up to no good will most likely be hiding any weapons they’re carrying. Or trying to.

  63. #63 |  JOR | 

    Of course, if we’re asking, not what the cops should do, but what they are legally allowed to do, well, in purely practical terms they can get away with outright highway robbery, assault and battery, kidnapping, and cold-blooded murder. And as a legal nihilist, I’d say that “what they can get away with” is identical to “what they are legally allowed to do”.

  64. #64 |  “Good God, y’all” — Kayak2U Blog | 

    [...] of many from Balko: [A] knowing, premeditated, intentional violation of the constitutional rights of people who live [...]

  65. #65 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: #53:

    Requiring vehicles operated on public rights-of-way to be equipped with brakes does not strike me as regulatory oppression or overreach, but brakes are no substitute for giving a rat’s ass about anyone else on the streets. Which the hipster bike couriers in Center City Philly generally do not. Brakeless bikes are a symptom of bad bicycling etiquette, not a cause. Actually, calling it “etiquette” doesn’t really do justice to the goal of not being run over on a sidewalk by some disingenuous asshole in a scarf and skinny jeans who hasn’t had a square meal in a week.

    I love the DIY PBR image. Anyone who drinks that shit twice is mentally ill. All the same, if anyone in Northern Liberties is looking to homebrew a batch, I can recommend some monitoring wells near Aramingo Avenue whose water would be suitable. Throw in a shovel full of the so-called soil from the vicinity and you’ll be sure to get that authentic boiled-in-a-leaded-tin-kettle taste.

  66. #66 |  Andrew Roth | 

    When I lived in Philly the police seemed pretty relaxed around bicyclists. I rode a lot and never had trouble with cops there. I wasn’t aware of other cyclists being targeted by the police, either, even though, as I mentioned, the hell on wheels crowd downtown was asking for trouble.

  67. #67 |  cobaco | 

    [quote]My question is, what do you think the cop should have done instead?

    Let’s say you’re a police officer patrolling a street, and you see a man with a gun sticking out of his pocket. You have no idea if this guy is a law-abiding citizen with a valid permit or a violent criminal with a warrant out for his arrest or a mentally ill individual who happened to get his hands on a weapon.
    [/quote]

    well given that every cop falls in the category of ‘man walking around with a gun’ and cops dont have a problem with other cops that should be obvious, but let me spell it out
    ‘innocent till proven guilty’, ergo in absense of the guy with the gun actually using the gun to pose a threat you leave him alone

    [quote]
    What do you think the cop should do? Ignore it and let the guy continue walking around with a gun? Tap him on the shoulder and say “Excuse me sir, do you have a permit for that?” and hope that the guy falls into the first category rather than the second or third and hope that he doesn’t see a cop and think “I’m not going back to prison!” and start firing?
    [/quote]

    read up on the tueller drill if the gun is holstered, there’s no safety problem, he tries to pull his gun when you’re next to him and you knock him out (or quite simply block his hand so the gun cant clear the holster.

    [quote]
    And if he says “Yes I have a permit,” the cop should just take his word for it and say “Ok then, have a nice day”?
    [/quote]

    well what happens if a cop asks for your driverslicence? you show it to him, same thing oughta happen here.

    [quote[
    What exactly do you propose that a cop in this situation do that doesn’t endanger his safety or the safety of bystanders?
    [/quote]

    lets see, your proposed (and actual) cop response does the following:
    1) it escalates a peaceful situation to a ‘threat of leathal force confrontation
    2) you’re making a threat of leathal force against someone who has the means to respond in kind, ergo you risk starting a firefight in a public place

    now please explain how that is in any way shape or form is a respone that ‘doesnt endanger his safety or the safety of bystanders’?

  68. #68 |  solinox | 

    When places pass (or even try to pass) rules restricting breastfeeding in public, pro-breastfeeding organizations stage “nurse-ins”, where they try to get as many women as possible to show up at the same time and all nurse their children in public.

    Just thinking this would be an interesting tactic to take against something like this. What would this police department do if hundreds or thousands of licensed, legal gun owners decided to show up together at a park or something, openly carrying? And can we script in advance the words they will use to justify their actions?

  69. #69 |  Flint | 

    @Eddie: Reasonable, articulable suspicion is from Terry. That’s what defines a lawful Terry stop, versus an unlawful detention.

    Yes, they can step in there and ask you who you are and what you’re up to, with less than RAS. So can I. Or anyone else, for that matter. But, to be a lawful detention, where they can physically hold you, they must meet RAS. If a cop approaches you on the street, the first question should always be, “am I free to go?” The only way he can lawfully answer anything other than, “yes,” is if he has met RAS.

    I’m not going to go into more detail with the statistics, as it’s getting to be a tangent. Feel free to do more research, though, if you like.

    As for your last paragraph, it’s no different than any other license-required situation. They cannot just pull drivers over to check their papers, even though they are obviously driving a car. There must be a reasonable cause for the stop. And, even then, the only reason they are allowed to demand a license be produced, is because the law explicitly says so. Last I checked, no one is arguing that Philly’s gun licensing law contains an explicit exception allowing police to demand licenses without full cause.

    If they have RAS to stop and search someone, they can then check if he has a valid license for his gun. But they cannot do “spot checks” of innocent passers-by, “just in case.”

  70. #70 |  Mike T | 

    Eddie,

    Let’s say you’re a police officer patrolling a street, and you see a man with a gun sticking out of his pocket. You have no idea if this guy is a law-abiding citizen with a valid permit or a violent criminal with a warrant out for his arrest or a mentally ill individual who happened to get his hands on a weapon.

    There are two distinctions here, from a law enforcement perspective. Police are supposed to profile in cases like this because people (whether liberals and libertarians want to admit that we’re not all individual snowflakes or not) tend to fit fairly well into categories. If the gun owner is carrying it in a holster, odds are very high that the man is a law-abiding gun owner. If he’s carrying it in his pants, like a gang-banger, the proper interaction would be:

    1. “Sir, do you have a permit to carry that weapon?”
    2. “Please reach slowly for you permit, sir.”
    3. Permit? “Thank you sir. Have a nice day.” No permit? Enforce the law.
    4. Radio other cops in the area to report the man’s description and inform them that if other cops see him, he is in fact obeying the law.

    At no point should a cop force him to the ground unless he refuses to show his permit.

  71. #71 |  BoogaFrito | 

    #22 divadab
    I don’t think it’s moronic to want to live where people don’t need to be “deterred” by display of deadly weapons. I mean, this is Philadelphia, not [fucking] Somalia.

    The solution then would be to move out of Philadelphia. Outlawing the “display of deadly weapons” doesn’t make the city any safer for law-abiding citizens; it simply makes them more likely to become victims of crime. Criminals will still be carrying their guns, as only in your delusional lollipops-and-rainbows imagination would a law outlawing open carry deter a rapist/murderer/mugger from concealing a pistol beneath his baggy sweatshirt or inside his backpack.

    #57 Eddie
    So you are saying, then, that if a cop sees someone walking around with a gun hanging out of his pocket, he should simply do nothing?

    Yes, that’s the whole point of allowing people to openly carry handguns. Perhaps if guns were a more common accessory for the non-criminal citizen on the go (coming soon: the Apple iGat), you wouldn’t be so helplessly terrified by the thought of seeing someone carrying one on the street.

  72. #72 |  Gil | 

    Divadab’s right the open carrying of a gun is projection of the desire to main or kill – you’re sending a message you’re not going a sucker who timidly hand over money and then get pistol-whipped by muggers but you’re going to defend yourself with no-nonsense force. If you don’t have the guts to use a gun then there’s no point in owning one – the muggers will immediate pick up on your wussiness and take the gun you and use it against you.

    On the other hand, do courts really say guns are an unregulated right? I’ve never heard of a court decision in which owning, carrying and using a gun is unlimited to which no government can take away.

  73. #73 |  Flint | 

    Gil, no, there’s no “desire” to maim or kill. I don’t carry a gun because I want to maim or kill someone who attacks me. I carry a gun because I want (and intend to) stop him from attacking me. If he’s smart, he’ll immediately stop, slowly drop whatever weapon he has, and behave calmly. I won’t feel let down because I didn’t get to shoot him. My sole intent is to stop his attack. Whether he walks away without a scratch, is wounded, permanently disabled, or dead, are all things he has more of a say in than I do, at that point.

    I’m willing to maim or kill him, if he chooses for the interaction to do that way, but all I’m thinking of is stopping him. If you actually want to hurt others, you probably shouldn’t carry a gun.

    As far as your other question, no, the courts do not say that. But they do put limits on what the government may do. I happen to disagree with them, as the Constitution is quite clear on the matter (except to those who willfully ignore English grammar, and attempt to claim that it says things other than what it says in actual, proper English), but that’s neither here nor there in this case, as what Philly is doing violates even the restrictive rulings made by the courts.

  74. #74 |  demize! | 

    #66 Andrew the NYPD have taken upon themselves to enforce laws that do not exist. They are citing riders for not wearing helmets. There is no law that compells one to wear one. They are ticketing for carrying items on your bicycle. Generally they have a hard on for cyclists that must come from command and trickles down to tour officers. They have been harrassing Critical Mass for years. Famous footage of the Iraqi war vet getting body slammed by rookie imbecile etc.

  75. #75 |  Dylboz | 

    “If you want to play cowboy, move to Arizona.”

    Yes, because we respect the Second Amendment, and would never call a cop on a guy for open carry. I do it all the time. The cops here have a saying. “Bad guys don’t wear holsters.” Cops are more likely to just chat with you about shooting or what type of gun you carry, if they say anything to you at all. Same is true of most civilians.

    Contrary to what those of you on the east coast imagine, it is actually quite possible for an openly carried firearm to NOT be an incitement, nor a threat. Your neighbors CAN be trusted with the responsibility (just as they can be trusted to drive cars) of owning and carrying a firearm without using it for malice.

    Really.

  76. #76 |  Dylboz | 

    “Yes, that’s the whole point of allowing people to openly carry handguns. Perhaps if guns were a more common accessory for the non-criminal citizen on the go (coming soon: the Apple iGat), you wouldn’t be so helplessly terrified by the thought of seeing someone carrying one on the street.”

    ^^^ A THOUSAND TIMES THIS!!!

  77. #77 |  Flint | 

    Hey, don’t be painting the east coast with broad brush, there. New Hampshire is the most gun-friendly state in the entire US.

  78. #78 |  Non Sub Homine? | 

    [...] The police are above the law. [...]

  79. #79 |  More Than Just Free Markets | Bleeding Heart Libertarians | 

    [...] have not reported finding anything illegal in his home, or anything linking him to any crime.  Police in Philadelphia, meanwhile, have told citizens that – the law be damned! – they’re going to [...]

  80. #80 |  NEWS V « MENTAL PINPRICKS | 

    [...] The Agitator, Re: Philadelphia, PA , Radley Balko, Citizens “may be asked to lay on the ground until officers feel safe while” urinating on The Constitution of the United States. This is relative to the citizen exercising his 2A Right in the city of brotherly love a short time ago which I covered on this blog. And the hits just keep on coming! By the way, I do not lay down for anyone, no how, no way. Just shoot me so my wife’s financial troubles will be solved. If you think I am testy now, you don’t want to see me when I’m angry. [...]

  81. #81 |  Perfect Example of Where Concealed (or Open) Carry Would Deter Lowlifes | marfdrat | 

    [...] legal in Philadelphia, but the cops don’t want you to do it – and they will harass you (and get away with it) if you [...]

Leave a Reply