Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement)

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Mike Lawlor, undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning for the state of Connecticut, joins the ranks of other public officials who are choosing to simply ignore those rights they don’t believe citizens should have.

“In almost every situation you can imagine this happening in, it qualifies as breach of peace,” he said. “If you walk into a restaurant with a gun it’s almost by definition a breach of peace.”

That results in an arrest and sets in motion a chain of events that usually results in the revocation of an issued pistol permit, he said. And that’s the way it should be, Lawlor said. Anyone who walks into a McDonalds plainly carrying a firearm either intends to alarm people or is irresponsible, he said.

Here’s the problem: If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Connecticut simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace. It’s an abhorrent and lazy mindset that forgets everything about who serves who in a free society. In a just world, Lawlor would be resigning over it.

And he isn’t alone. Law enforcement officials in Milwaukee and Philadelphia have expressed similar sentiments, and without much consequence.

I suppose if there’s an upside to all of this, it’s that when someone in one of these jurisdictions does inevitably sue, they’ll be able to show that the violation of their rights was systematic, and part of an ongoing policy. Unfortunately, when they win, the payout will come from taxpayers, not from the pockets of clueless public officials like Lawlor.

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81 Responses to “Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement)”

  1. #1 |  JS | 

    Sueing won’t help change this. The lawsuits don’t actually affect the people in law enforcement personally. They are totally unaffected it by it and as a consequence totally indifferent to whether the state gets sued or not. It’s like if you have a child acting up and you beat his older brother for it. The one acting badly suffers no consequences when the government is sued because the government has an endless supply of money it steals from the people the cops are beating and arresting. So either way the people get fucked and the cops have a consequence free existence.

  2. #2 |  Fist of Etiquette | 

    It would seem up to the business owner to decide if he or she wants to allow armed patrons inside. If not and the person refuses to exercise his 2nd Amendment rights on someone else’s property, then it can become police business.

    “Breach of the peace” or “disturbing the peace” shouldn’t continually be retasked to help law enforcement officials justify any and all action against the public, but instead should be stricken from the books as too vague.

  3. #3 |  Hal_10000 | 

    The cop is always right. If if the cop is wrong, the cop is still always right.

  4. #4 |  nicole | 

    Wow. I hate on my current state of IL all the time for having no provision whatever to carry, but it’s nice to know my former state is full of rights-violating jerks too. This is completely reprehensible.

  5. #5 |  Highway | 

    I agree with JS. Lawsuits won’t change this, because the police have convinced themselves in their echo chamber that other people with a gun are, by definition, public safety hazards. So at this point, as Lawlor’s statement shows, they’re fighting ‘the system’ to do what they think is right, even though people who carry with a permit, openly or concealed, aren’t any sort of problem. And every time a judge tells them they’re doing it wrong, they just blow it off as “pfft, liberal judges trying to tell us how to do our jobs” or crap like that.

    This will only change when some police officials are *fired* and replaced with people who actually respect the rights of citizens, not just the invented ‘rights’ of cops.

  6. #6 |  John P. | 

    I’ve said it before here and was ridiculed for it.

    But I agree with the others, we need to focus our attention on the elected officials. The ones who contralto he budgets for the LE agencies.

    Start firing them for allowing/supporting such environments that allow this kind of mentality to grow.

    And I bet we will see this stuff dry up.

    The politicians understand one thing, elections… you start costing them reelection and this will be addressed.

    Reforming LE in this country is a losing issue.

    To reform it would first require that those working in LE have the ability to grasp the logic behind any reforms.

    And no one, except maybe those in LE believe’s they are smart enough to comprehend such.

    The problem with LE in this country is that its polluted with people too stupid to hold down any other job.

  7. #7 |  DoubleU | 

    JS, I know the reason why the lawyers go after the city/county instead of the officer is because that is where the bigger payout, easier target is. However I would love to see them go after the officer’s pension. I heard about an officer that has 3/4 of a million dollars in his pension, and he isn’t ready to retire. If they went after that money the police would start to care a little more, but because the end result really doesn’t bother them, they don’t care.

  8. #8 |  JS | 

    Yea DoubleU I agree but I don’t think that is an option. I don’t think cops can be sued or held financially accountable for what they do like the rest of us can.

  9. #9 |  DoubleU | 

    John P., the police departments are protected by unions. Unions don’t believe in getting rid of any person no matter how incompetent they are. The good elected officials are fighting the unions on many fronts.

  10. #10 |  JS | 

    John P.#5, I totally agree. I can’t imagine who would ridicule you for that idea. I would add that there is simply no way to pressure politicians to do anything until the media cover this with the same frequency that Radley covers it. If Radley were programming director of ABC News, CNN, Foxnews and the others then this problem would disappear overnight as politicians “suddenly discovered” that police in this country were in a state of all out war against the rest of us.

  11. #11 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Anyone who walks into a McDonalds plainly carrying a firearm either intends to alarm people or is irresponsible, he said.”

    Whatever happened to, “hey we don’t make the laws, we just enforce them,” Mr. Lawlor. Isn’t that the usual cop out?

    Look, tactically I don’t think open carry is a great idea. If someone comes into this hypothetical McDonald’s to rob it, and they see you carrying openly, there is a good chance that you are going to get shot, assuming he gets the drop on you. Remember, action is quicker than reaction. You are not just a witness in this case, but an obviously armed deterrent. You will be the first to be shot and/or executed. Also, I partially agree with Lawlor’s assessment. If you are not on your own property or out hunting, people may well be alarmed to see someone walking around in public with a gun on their hip. So, I don’t think open carry is a super idea, but if it is not against the law, obviously law enforcement needs to back off unless the person carrying has committed some act that justifies police intervention.

  12. #12 |  Michael Pack | 

    I have no problem with open carry but,you do not have a right to walk onto private property with a gun.You should ask permission.If in doubt,leave it behind.To me it’s up to the owner.

  13. #13 |  BamBam | 

    @11 stores can post a sign that says “no firearms allowed” to remedy their desire to not have firearms on their “private” property. Search for articles about Costco and their contradictory corporate policy and the guy that was recently gunned down in Nevada and the magical disappearance of key video portions from the store video.

  14. #14 |  EH | 

    Please just ignore Michael Pack’s obvious troll attempt.

    Helmut: Do you know of any cases of open-carry people being the first to get “executed” during a violent crime? Does it happen more often than people getting arrested for filming public police work?

  15. #15 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    EH– “Helmut: Do you know of any cases of open-carry people being the first to get “executed” during a violent crime? Does it happen more often than people getting arrested for filming public police work?”

    No, EH I don’t, and I really don’t have time to do a research project right now. I just think it is a possibility for the reasons I stated. I also maintain that it would be a tactical mistake on the part of the gun owner to carry openly. Concealed carry is preferrable, IMHO, because it allows one to utilize the element of suprise. Criminals hate that! I did say flat out that if open carry is legal in a state, the police should not interfere with the gun toter’s right. And no, I’m sure this happens much, much less than arrests for filming police.

  16. #16 |  Michael Pack | 

    It’s not a troll attempt,I’m a firm believer in property rights.I also think you should be able to allow smoking if that’s your choice.I do need to clarify one thing,is ‘s not up to the cops to arrest those on private property carrying.The owner can allow it or ask you to leave.

  17. #17 |  Mendelism | 

    Sadly I agree JS. This was my thinking on the MA wiretapping case. What happens next time the cops decide to do this? Than that person has to go through the whole ordeal, repeat this civil suit business.. is the ruling actually going to change anything?

  18. #18 |  EH | 

    Helmut: You didn’t say “a possibility,” you said “you will be the first to be shot and/or executed,” and that “there is a good chance that you are going to get shot, assuming he gets the drop on you.” Sounds pretty “flat out” to me.

    I’m just trying to figure out if your risk assessments are based on anything beyond your own imagination, i.e. blather.

  19. #19 |  Jesse | 

    So the onus on living up to one’s responsibility is on the private citizen. One might suggest to Lawlor that

    “You want to be a police officer? Then you have to accept the responsibility that comes with it.” That would mean the responsibility to respect the rights of citizens. Of course, in practice we know that citizens are responsible for everything, the police responsible for nothing.

  20. #20 |  Jesse | 

    One more thing:

    I don’t know if I’d describe Lawlor as “clueless”. I’m sure he’s quite aware of the concept of “rights”. He just doesn’t care, and/or he thinks it’s an antiquated idea. In his world, there are 2 groups—people with authority and the people without. He’s in the authority group.

  21. #21 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    The only people carrying firearms in public who make me nervous are the ones who can’t be arrested or persecuted for it (i.e. the cops), because there are virtually no consequences if they choose to use those weapons against others.

  22. #22 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Could the lawyers who read this blog give me a “What’s wrong with this?”;

    Go to a court and get an injunction against enforcement of “breach of peace” statutes regarding open carry. Then, when a cop tries to enforce it ANYWAY, ask the court to find him in contempt, and jail him.

    That’s so cute that there just HAS to be something wrong with it, but I don’t kno exactly what.

  23. #23 |  Chris Mallory | 

    The robber walking into the McDonald’s to rob it is just as likely to turn around and leave if he sees an open carried weapon as he is to start shooting. These guys aren’t rocket surgeons, but most of them are smart enough to know that if they start shooting it isn’t going to end well for them. They want to walk in, scare people, take the money and go. Pull the trigger and you start having to consider riding the needle or spending the rest of your life as a bitch in the state pen.

    We don’t know how many times open carry has stopped a crime just because an armed citizen was there.

  24. #24 |  Matt | 

    CT CC holder here. This is why I don’t carry. Not only is it illegal to open carry, but if anyone happens to see your gun while you CC you can be arrested and charged (and get all of your guns confiscated).

    http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=144957

  25. #25 |  EH | 

    WND…really? That story says nothing about confiscation.

  26. #26 |  KBCraig | 

    Matt wrote:

    CT CC holder here. This is why I don’t carry. Not only is it illegal to open carry, but if anyone happens to see your gun while you CC you can be arrested and charged (and get all of your guns confiscated).

    Illegal? No. You might get hassled or even arrested (just as you might while legally recording police), but the Connecticut Board of Firearms Permits Examiners ruled 5-0 that open carry is perfectly legal in CT.

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/showthread.php?93376-BFPE-stated-open-carry-is-indeed-legal

  27. #27 |  KBCraig | 

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/showthread.php?94387-I-emailed-DPS-asking-if-I-would-be-hassled-for-open-carry-and-here-s-the-Q-amp-A

  28. #28 |  Matt | 

    @KBCraig

    I think we have a difference of opinion on what constitutes “illegal”. If a CT cop sees you with a gun you are going to earn yourself a “hot felony” stop and a trip downtown (if you don’t earn a lead slug in the grey matter, that is). The fact that they won’t be able to make any convictions stick doesn’t really seem relevant at that point.

  29. #29 |  supercat | 

    #23 | Chris Mallory | “The robber walking into the McDonald’s to rob it is just as likely to turn around and leave if he sees an open carried weapon as he is to start shooting.”

    Or else wait around until anyone who’s visibly carrying a weapon has left. The ideal situation would be for people to exercise a mixture of open and concealed carry, such that a criminal who wanted to wait until there was nobody around with a visibly-carried weapon would have to wait a long time, but that even if a criminal did wait that long there might still be someone around who could stop him.

    A robber who wrongly believes nobody around him is armed is far more likely to act in a way that will force someone to shoot him than would a robber who is aware of armed people around him. While one might argue that a dead robber is better than a deterred robber who might strike at some other time, deterring robbers doesn’t cause hearing loss or spatter blood everywhere.

  30. #30 |  Bergman | 

    “If you walk into a restaurant with a gun it’s almost by definition a breach of peace.”

    Does the CT breach of peace law include a law enforcement exemption? I don’t know the law on the matter in CT, but in Washington state, cops are not immune to citizen’s arrest.

  31. #31 |  twency | 

    @Matt

    You seem to be expressing an opinion that if a police officer might violate your civil rights for engaging in a particular act, then that act is “illegal”.

    Wow. Really?

  32. #32 |  Daily Outrage, weekend edition | Tales of Injustice | 

    [...] http://www.theagitator.com/2011/08/27/ignorance-of-the-law-is-no-excuse-unless-youre-in-law-enforcem… – Fear and ignorance of the Second Amendment and the rights protected therein. [...]

  33. #33 |  JS | 

    Bergman “I don’t know the law on the matter in CT, but in Washington state, cops are not immune to citizen’s arrest.”

    If you try it I think you’ll find that they are. If you survive, which I doubt.

  34. #34 |  Robert | 

    Helmut: You didn’t say “a possibility,” you said “you will be the first to be shot and/or executed,” and that “there is a good chance that you are going to get shot, assuming he gets the drop on you.” Sounds pretty “flat out” to me.

    I’m just trying to figure out if your risk assessments are based on anything beyond your own imagination, i.e. blather.

    If you’re going to start shooting a place up, the prudent thing to do would be to go for the people that can shoot back first. That’s what I would do.

    It seems to me that the person with the counter intuitive argument should be the one to come up with “proof”.

  35. #35 |  EH | 

    It seems to me that the person with the counter intuitive argument should be the one to come up with “proof”.

    I agree. Since people “shooting the place up” have not been noted to “go for the people that can shoot back,” you and Helmut seem to be making the counter-intuitive argument.

  36. #36 |  Azygos | 

    Not a problem here in Arizona. I see people open carry all the time and no one freaks out. I CCW as I like the idea of surprise. If I come across a victim rich store (No firearms sign) I don’t spend any money there. Twice here in Phoenix I have shown a firearm in my own home to drive off unwanted guests. neither time did I have to fire.

  37. #37 |  c andrew | 

    #7 | DoubleU | August 27th, 2011 at 1:40 pm
    JS, I know the reason why the lawyers go after the city/county instead of the officer is because that is where the bigger payout, easier target is. However I would love to see them go after the officer’s pension. I heard about an officer that has 3/4 of a million dollars in his pension, and he isn’t ready to retire. If they went after that money the police would start to care a little more, but because the end result really doesn’t bother them, they don’t care.

    I think that the jury award should exhaust the defendants’ assets first before drawing on the public monies. That way, the cops, prosecutors and other gov’t malefactors would care. I’d like to see them broken without a pot to piss in just like they enjoy inflicting on others. That would be real justice.

  38. #38 |  Warren | 

    The arguments against open carry are kissing cousins to the panties-wetting arguments that having more people carrying concealed will lead to gunfights over traffic encounters, line jumping, talking in theaters and so forth.

    It’s the same useless, uninformed babble.

    I am a member of and read a lot more other gun boards full of people who oppose open carry who, if they had the stories to cite, would be waving the figurative bloody shirts of the open carriers shot first every time it happened. Guess what? It doesn’t happen.

    Not to mention, the antis would be all over it as well. Every incident would be major news.

    If it was happening it would only be a Google search of a few moments to find numerous accounts of it, but there are a lot of people OCing out there yet no stories…hmmm.

    As the numbers of people OCing goes up it might happen but it will be statistical noise in the same way that CCers who commit crimes are so few as to almost be a rounding error.

  39. #39 |  BamBam | 

    bar smoking ban? pay it forward by banning them from your bar.
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/25/michigan-bar-owners-to-blacklist-lawmakers-in-protest-smoking-ban/

    assuming the article is accurate, it’s sickening that the bar owners won’t ban the highest level politicians. DO NOT FELLATE THE STATE COCK! quit it cold turkey.

  40. #40 |  Robert | 

    I agree. Since people “shooting the place up” have not been noted to “go for the people that can shoot back,” you and Helmut seem to be making the counter-intuitive argument.

    Care to site some examples of people gunning down unarmed people when someone who is armed is threatening them?

  41. #41 |  EH | 

    Care to site some examples of people gunning down unarmed people when someone who is armed is threatening them?

    I’m not sure I understand this sentence and its relevance.

  42. #42 |  supercat | 

    #34 | Robert | “If you’re going to start shooting a place up, the prudent thing to do would be to go for the people that can shoot back first. That’s what I would do.”

    If one were going to start shooting up a place at a time when visibly-armed people were present, the most prudent way of doing so would be to start by shooting the visibly-armed people. On the other hand, I can’t really think of many circumstances where one would be compelled choose such a time to start shooting up a place, rather than waiting for a safer time to do so (one in which there weren’t any visibly-armed people present). I suppose there may be a few such occasions (e.g. one wants to steal a rare artifact which will only be on display for a limited time, the artifact is so valuable that one is willing to risk one’s life to steal it, and it doesn’t seem likely that any better opportunity will arise) but in most cases robbers are opportunists who will strike when it seems safe to do so, and lay low when it doesn’t.

  43. #43 |  Robert | 

    If one were going to start shooting up a place at a time when visibly-armed people were present, the most prudent way of doing so would be to start by shooting the visibly-armed people. On the other hand, I can’t really think of many circumstances where one would be compelled choose such a time to start shooting up a place, rather than waiting for a safer time to do so (one in which there weren’t any visibly-armed people present). I suppose there may be a few such occasions (e.g. one wants to steal a rare artifact which will only be on display for a limited time, the artifact is so valuable that one is willing to risk one’s life to steal it, and it doesn’t seem likely that any better opportunity will arise) but in most cases robbers are opportunists who will strike when it seems safe to do so, and lay low when it doesn’t.

    I don’t disagree with this, however, if someone is going to decide to start shooting, or has already begun shooting, they’ll go for the people that can shoot back.

    I defy ANYONE to link a story in which someone gets into a shootout with the cops and just decides to start shooting innocent people instead of the police which are shooting at them.

    If you’re in a violent conflict, it’s pretty much a no-brainer to take out the most threatening enemies first. Apparently EH doesn’t grasp this concept.

  44. #44 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    **Discussion from youcancarry.com:(http://www.youcancarry.com/open-carry-vs-concealed-carry/)

    Concealed Carry: From a tactical standpoint concealed carry has the benefit of surprise. A criminal that is not aware of your firearm will not pay any special attention to you. That may give you an opportunity to get into a good position to use your firearm to stop a crime.

    Open Carry: Open carry has a couple advantages–first is that your firearm may be a deterrent. A criminal that sees your firearm may not be prepared to fight you–and may choose another location that isn’t so difficult. But the opposite may also be true–they may see your firearm and attack you first with the intention of eliminating the biggest threats. Another advantage of open carry is that you can draw your weapon much quicker (that time gap obviously decreases as you train). With your weapon not being covered with clothes you can access it more quickly.

    **Discussion from The Truth About Guns.com (http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2010/06/brad-kozak/the-pros-and-cons-of-open-versus-concealed-carry/)

    Same scenario, but now we have an open carry law. You look around the Starbucks and note that there are several patrons with handguns on their hips. The bad guys can see this, too. Question – would this deter them from their holdup, or would they simply shoot the people that are carrying in the open, to take out what they perceive as credible threats to their plans? Answer – I dunno.

    Talk to self-defense mavens and they’ll laud the tactical advantages of concealment. Element of surprise and all that. Plus, they’ll tell you, carrying concealed means you won’t be singled out for the “let’s ice this guy first, since he’s a threat” treatment. Theoretically, if your state has a concealed handgun law, the bad guys will think twice before they jack a restaurant, bank, or other commercial venture, because they know anybody in the place might be a potential threat with a concealed handgun

    **Discussion from learnaboutguns.com
    (http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2009/01/01/my-thoughs-on-open-carry/)

    The drawbacks of open carry
    1. People who aren’t aware of open carry rights may become frightened, causing problems for the person who is openly carrying. Those problems could be both legal and social in nature.
    2. Criminals will be able to see the gun, and may try to take advantage of that fact. The criminal might grab for the gun, or prevent the citizen from drawing the gun in the self defense. A criminal who is looking to steal a gun may choose to target someone carrying openly as well.
    3. A large part of the benefit of concealed carry exists because a criminal won’t know who is carrying a gun for self defense. If enough people were to carry openly, criminals would be better able to tell who is armed.

    So, lest EH or anyone think that I get my talking points on open carry from some anti-gun commies or whatever, there is a random selection of pro-gun people talking about possible TACTICAL DISADVANTAGES of open carry. Perhaps my tone was a bit to strident, but the concerns I was expressing are not the least bit uncommon, even among people who strongly support the right to carry. I am sorry that EH threw a hissy fit because I did not cite specific examples of open carriers being shot. However, I believe that is really beside the point. I work in the field of healthcare security, and I am paid to consider worst case scenarios. That’s what I was doing here.

  45. #45 |  Warren | 

    And as I pointed out none of the anti-OCers can present evidence that their concerns about literal gun-grabbing or being shot first has been a problem.

    Plus, the more people who OC, the more of a regular thing it becomes and the stigma of it and carrying in general washes away and then it becomes normal to carry and hopefully at some point, it becomes abnormal not to be openly armed.

  46. #46 |  JohnF (Boulder, Co) | 

    I refuse to accept the hyped up fear that if you OC, you’ll draw the first fire of a crook.
    Is there a case of this anywhere? And we’d suspect that thugs and crooks would go ahead and try top rob a place with cops in it, just by assassinating them first -never happens, does it?

    A far more realistic scenario, based on factual history, is that the knowledge by crooks that the general public is allowed to be armed and many of them do, will cause the crooks to go elsewhere of change their profession. This we can prove as the result of having liberal gun laws (“freely allowing”) in place.

    The big problem with concealed carry in a state that’s not “constitutional Carry” is that you’re reduced to begging the authorities for a government permission to do what you want, when you’ve not ever harmed anyone unjustly. CC is in place to placate the ignorant hoplophobic masses who get in a tizzy at the sight of a weapon.
    It follows the hollow supposed promise of legislative language about there not being an intent to outlaw something, but to regulate it. It gives them as many options to outlaw it as they can possibly wangle out of the situation. As many options as they can get to make situations where a thing that isn’t explicitly required, is implicitly forbidden.
    If you’ve got a CC permit and disdain open carry when you can do it, you might be kneeling to the authorities and hoplophobe ninnies all the while you’re inwardly thinking you’re standing tall as an armed free citizen.

    Situations where LEOs and the local “elected masters” choose to ignore the obvious intent of the laws and impose their anti-egalitarian whims, should NOT be encouraged.

    I’d like to make up some signs for places that ban citizen’s carry: “We prohibit legal citizens from being armed. Criminals as usual will do whatever they dare.”
    OTOH, a good one might say “We welcome armed & peaceable lawful citizens. Crooks beware.” At first, you’ll have hoplophobes avoiding the places, but I’ll bet money that crooks will too.
    I cannot fathom the supposed logic of places that let it be known that they forbid armed citizens, and don’t allow their employees or management to be armed either…

  47. #47 |  Archie1954 | 

    Whether or not it is legal to walk into a McDonalds with a gun at your hip, it is definitely stupid to do so. The risks involvedand the concern you would engender in the patrons would seem to me to far outweigh the demand to carry firearms in public. If you don’t understand that then you are a part of the problem not the solution.

  48. #48 |  Radley Balko | 

    Whether or not it is legal to walk into a McDonalds with a gun at your hip, use your cell phone to record a police officer who is beating someone, it is definitely stupid to do so. The risks involvedand the concern you would engender in the patrons anger you would engender from other cops would seem to me to far outweigh the demand to carry firearms in public use your cell phone to record a cop who is beating someone. If you don’t understand that then you are a part of the problem not the solution.

  49. #49 |  K. J. | 

    Sue them and sue them often. When the city/state has to pay the lawsuits they will put pressure on the police to act properly. It is not that difficult.
    Time consuming, but neither impossible nor difficult.

  50. #50 |  Instapundit » Blog Archive » CONNECTICUT JUSTICE OFFICIAL: If I don’t like the law, I’ll just tell police to ignore it. “Here | 

    [...] JUSTICE OFFICIAL: If I don’t like the law, I’ll just tell police to ignore it. “Here’s the problem: If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds [...]

  51. #51 |  Chuck Pelto | 

    TO: All
    RE: There Seems to Be….

    ….a developing ‘pattern of behavior’.

    I’m seeing a series of reports from various different jurisdictions that ALL indicate that the police are not authorized to ‘make the law up as they go along’, based on THEIR idea of ‘common sense’.

    From rafting down a flooded street after Hurricane IRENE, to recording police activities in the public venue, to children riding their bicycles to school, the police are now arresting anyone whose activities THEY DON’T LIKE!

    And I have to wonder if there has been some sort of change in philosophy on the application of the Law that has been passed down to them, considering so many different jurisdictions are now doing this sort of think.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    P.S. Well….

    ….considering that the Chief Executive makes it up as he goes along, the Law notwithstanding, maybe they’re just taking their cue from him.

  52. #52 |  Chuck Pelto | 

    P.P.S. ERRATA….

    That SHOULD READ….

    “….that the police are NOW authorized….”

  53. #53 |  Arnold Williams | 

    Actually, this public official has just laid the groundwork for a lawsuit to name him PERSONALLY as “depriving others of their civil rights under color of law” — which is not covered by the state’s insurance pool. He may not know the “under color of law” rules (they are federal), but, as noted above, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Especially if you can get a large jury award against him.

  54. #54 |  StoneHeads | 

    #7 | DoubleU | August 27th, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    JS, I know the reason why the lawyers go after the city/county instead of the officer is because that is where the bigger payout, easier target is. However I would love to see them go after the officer’s pension. I heard about an officer that has 3/4 of a million dollars in his pension, and he isn’t ready to retire. If they went after that money the police would start to care a little more, but because the end result really doesn’t bother them, they don’t care.

    DoubleU nails it. We need to go after the individual officers and the officials personally. Bureaucrats everywhere are unaccountable because they’re playing with other people’s money. Make them feel the pain and see how fast this arrogant behavior changes. If the police feel threatened, that is understandable but still not an excuse. they are charged with enforcing the law, not making up new laws to suit themselves. And it is the officials and the officers’ responsibility to know the law. If they don’t that would seem to indicate they are not fit for their positions. if the law is bad, then let’s change the law, not go after law-abiding citizens.

  55. #55 |  theBuckWheat | 

    We have to be careful about where we draw the line with the owner of private property. If we want don’t want to allow the owner of a restaurant or a store from being able to refuse entrance to a person who carries HIV, then how can we allow him to refuse entry to a person who is carrying a concealed weapon? A property own cannot force me to disrobe to prove whether or not I am carrying. Neither can he force me to take a blood test to see what diseases I may be carrying concealed. When something is concealed it should be legally distinct than when something is openly carried.

  56. #56 |  65r79gjhgcxc6 | 

    I think the problem is the way the police are trained. They get trained on how to handle criminals with guns and that’s all they know, they do what they are trained to do and they apply that training to anyone with a gun. They don’t have any mental flexibility to conceive that a person with a gun might not be a criminal and if they did they still wouldn’t have any notion that they should do something different than threat them as a criminal.

    The problem is with the civilian government that should be supervising the police and their training. If a few police chiefs get fired because the police officers are mis-serving the public who pay their salaries these problems might get fixed.

    Attention should be focused not on the individual officers but those who supervise them and who are ultimately responsible for police department policy.

  57. #57 |  Reason 9,070,377 Why We Need Federal Preemption Laws With Teeth | Extrano's Alley, a gun blog | 

    [...] Writing at the Agitator, Radley Balko discusses yet another of the endless stream of public official who chooses to ignore rights he does not think the people should have. [...]

  58. #58 |  Ignore Carry Law, Make Up Your Own? - INGunOwners | 

    [...] carrying handguns in that state and substitute his own. The Rule of Man is on the march out East. Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) | The Agitator __________________ Notice: IMPD's tank is now known as "The Lemon [...]

  59. #59 |  DonM | 

    If they get to ignore the law, so do we. And there are a lot more of us then them. And we are well armed.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  60. #60 |  DonM | 

    If a crook is going to shoot an open -carry-er first, why not shoot everyone in the store? Bullets are fairly cheap, and people are easy to search when they are dead. The death penalty doesn’t hurt more when you are getting the spike for 30, rather than for 1.

    The answer is: the professional crook needs to rob two banks or stores a week. Eventually that kind of behavior will catch up with him. Better for him to try to stay under the radar, and find the easiest of easy target.

    The smart citizen merely makes sure that the easiest of easy targets is someone else.

  61. #61 |  links for 2011-09-01 « Marty Andrade | 

    [...] Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) Quote:"If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Conn simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace." Note to (future permit holding) self: never openly carry. (tags: concealedweapons secondamendment police policestate guns) Share this:TwitterEmailPrintFacebookMoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  62. #62 |  John C. Randolph | 

    When a law enforcement official states his intention to violate the rights of the citizens in his jurisdiction, and then goes on to do exactly that, he should be removed from office and prosecuted.

    -jcr

  63. #63 |  RS | 

    So much for the rule of law… and the rise of the rule of the lawmen.

    Liberal lawmen, and now to a lesser extent lawmen who call themselves conservatives.

    Either way, it’s a serious blow to liberty.

  64. #64 |  tv_racin_fan | 

    I can not think of an article where someone who open carried was attacked first. I can however find at least one article where someone who open carried apparently caused the bad guy not to committ the crime he intended to committ.

    http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-atlanta/open-carry-deters-armed-robbery-kennesaw

    I myself carry and on occasion open carry. I find it much simpler just to leave my handgun on my side when entering a store or the occasional Waffle House while I am out handgun hunting. The local police dont seem to mind when we open carry at the local gun shop either.

  65. #65 |  links for 2011-09-02 « Marty Andrade | 

    [...] Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) Quote:"If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Conn simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace." Note to (future permit holding) self: never openly carry. (tags: concealedweapons secondamendment police policestate guns) Share this:TwitterEmailPrintFacebookMoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  66. #66 |  Libertarian Advocate | 

    A couple of things. First: Michael Lawlor is an extremely liberal Democrat who by his comments is deliberately encouraging the police to arrest OC’ers in CT because he hates the fact that the state even permits citizen carry at all.

    Second: Odds are, a criminal who sees an OC in a store or on the street is more likeIy to assume “cop present” than think “can I get the drop on this guy or gal”.

    I CC because I just prefer it that way, but I am not opposed to OC at all which I believe strongly deters idiots from engaging in armed robbery.

  67. #67 |  TonyD | 

    This gibberish about being shot at first in a robbery/criminal activity is a bunch of crap.

    A thief is out to steal money , with speed, using fear and intimidation. Thieves are cowards.

    This garbage about first to get shot and shoot em up, is bunk. If that happens, not only was the thief stupid, he is also suicidal and evidently does not want to enjoy the fruits of his attempted efforts.

    Any goblin that would resort to “shootin em up” was not a robber or petty criminal — they were scum and murderers from the get go.

  68. #68 |  Bill | 

    The argument seems to be that, notwithstanding the fact it is legal to carry, the fact of carrying is irrebutably presumed to disturb the peace.

    A question:

    Should the irrebutable presumption of fiream + civilian clothes = disturbed peace not apply also to off duty police, plainclothes officers, and federal agents? If it is a fact that someone in civilian clothes carrying a firearm disturbs the peace then the fact that it is a LE officer in plain clothes does not matter. The peace is still disturbed.

  69. #69 |  More Connecticut Liberalism | Yankee Gun Nuts | 

    [...] at The Agitator, Radly Balko comments on this tale (from an admitted anti-gunner!) of a left-wing apparatchik gone [...]

  70. #70 |  Beer Here | 

    Mike Lawlor, 1950’s version:

    “In almost every situation you can imagine this happening in, it qualifies as breach of peace,” he said. “If a black man walks into a whites-only restaurant it’s almost by definition a breach of peace.”

    That results in an arrest and sets in motion a chain of events that usually results in jail time, he said. And that’s the way it should be, Lawlor said. Any black man who walks into a whites-only McDonalds either intends to alarm people or is irresponsible, he said.

  71. #71 |  Edwin Leap, MD | 

    I’ve always wondered what other rights can be circumvented by the authority of the business owner. Do you see signs that say, ‘No free speech allowed,’ or ‘Leave your religion outside?’ Do we see signs saying, ‘No assembly here,’ or ‘Blacks need not enter?’

    Of course not. The only time we see it has to do with carrying a firearm. ‘No concealed weapons allowed.’ Where is the ACLU? Furthermore, what self-respecting criminal will be dissuaded by that ridiculous sign?

    Too often, the business owners have the same knee-jerk reaction as the police. Education, education, education. And some economic boycotts might help.

    The popular media only makes this worse. Whenever a permit law is passed, they predict blood running in the streets and random violence by permit holders; things which never pan out.

  72. #72 |  Jalan | 

    It sounds like they need the kind of law just passed in Florida that goes into effect Oct. 1. Any local government/agencies that enforce laws or policies in conflict with state gun laws are now subject to fines up to $100,000, AND the individual local actor is personally responsible for fines up to $5,000. Hit a few cop supervisors with $5k fines and this nonsense will stop abruptly.

  73. #73 |  richard40 | 

    We need to change laws so if the gov is sued for the willful negligence of an elected official or a public employee, the gov has the right to counter sue the official for part of the claim, and is mandated to exercise that right. Once these officials start to personally pay for this kind of crap, it will stop.

  74. #74 |  links for 2011-09-03 « Marty Andrade | 

    [...] Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) Quote:"If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Conn simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace." Note to (future permit holding) self: never openly carry. (tags: concealedweapons secondamendment police policestate guns) Share this:TwitterEmailPrintFacebookMoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  75. #75 |  NAME REDACTED | 

    “Unfortunately, when they win, the payout will come from taxpayers, not from the pockets of clueless public officials like Lawlor.”

    And this is why it won’t end. If you want it to end you need to be like the Scientologists. You should hire lawyers to sue the cops and DA’s personally, and hire PI’s to record them and their family’s every move.

  76. #76 |  links for 2011-09-04 « Marty Andrade | 

    [...] Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) Quote:"If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Conn simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace." Note to (future permit holding) self: never openly carry. (tags: concealedweapons secondamendment police policestate guns) Share this:TwitterEmailPrintFacebookMoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  77. #77 |  links for 2011-09-05 « Marty Andrade | 

    [...] Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) Quote:"If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Conn simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace." Note to (future permit holding) self: never openly carry. (tags: concealedweapons secondamendment police policestate guns) Share this:TwitterEmailPrintFacebookMoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  78. #78 |  links for 2011-09-06 « Marty Andrade | 

    [...] Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) Quote:"If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Conn simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace." Note to (future permit holding) self: never openly carry. (tags: concealedweapons secondamendment police policestate guns) Share this:TwitterEmailPrintFacebookMoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  79. #79 |  links for 2011-09-07 « Marty Andrade | 

    [...] Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) Quote:"If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Conn simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace." Note to (future permit holding) self: never openly carry. (tags: concealedweapons secondamendment police policestate guns) Share this:TwitterEmailPrintFacebookMoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  80. #80 |  links for 2011-09-08 « Marty Andrade | 

    [...] Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) Quote:"If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Conn simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace." Note to (future permit holding) self: never openly carry. (tags: concealedweapons secondamendment police policestate guns) Share this:TwitterEmailPrintFacebookMoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  81. #81 |  links for 2011-09-09 « Marty Andrade | 

    [...] Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (Unless You’re in Law Enforcement) Quote:"If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Conn simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace." Note to (future permit holding) self: never openly carry. (tags: concealedweapons secondamendment police policestate guns) Share this:TwitterEmailPrintFacebookMoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

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