Negative OC Experiences


HounDawg07

New member
Hi all! I'm new to this forum, and I've had a couple of negative OC experiences that I'd like to share, and hopefully get some feedback/opinions/advice on how to handle any similar situations in the future.

BTW, I live in Las Vegas, where OC is completely legal (as far as I know).

The worst one I had occurred after a target practicing trip out to the lake bed with a friend and my wife. On our way back into town we stopped at a restaurant for food (this was around 2 am) and I still had my handgun on my hip, so I just left it on and we went in to eat. About halfway through our meal, we were interrupted by about four police officers who led us outside and asked us several questions, checked out my gun, and checked out the other firearms in my car (I gave them permission to; they were all legally registered, etc., I had nothing to hide). Anyways, it turned into a long lecture about how OC is a remnant of a bygone era that shouldn't apply anymore (apparently this LEO was quite opposed to armed citizens) and how they HAVE to respond when someone calls with a "he's got a gun" complaint. Apparently, another patron at the restaurant had called us in. After everything checked out, they sent us back in to finish our (now cold) meals.

Another instance occurred in a shopping mall. I hadn't been in the first store for five minutes when I noticed about five security guards at the entrance to the store I was in. One of them approached me and asked if I was LE. I replied no, and he informed me that only LE is allowed to carry firearms in the mall. I didn't feel like arguing, so I obliged and returned the firearm to my car, but I don't see how that is possible. There is no signage to that effect anywhere outside or inside the mall.

This last one was more funny than anything else. I was with a friend and we were both OC'ing, and we went into a small gun store to look at some grips for his gun. The guy behind the counter (who was carrying, BTW) took one look at us and said, almost apprehensively, "Are you guys armed?" When we responded in the affirmative, he informed us that we were not allowed to carry in his store and we would have to leave. We obliged, and had a good laugh in the car on the way to the next gun store.

I guess my point is, I've OC'd a few times without any problems, but I seem to run into paranoid people who are afraid the gun is going to jump out of my holster and start shooting people. The cop in the first story made a point of the fact that I shouldn't OC because it scares people. How should I respond to this kind of stuff? If I'm not breaking any laws, are the police obligated to harass me and run a check every time someone gets spooked?
 

If you haven't already done so, check out this video by Professor James Duane. "Don't Talk to the Police" by Professor James Duane He talks about why you should NEVER talk to the police, and if you don't believe him, in the second part of the video you'll hear from a detective (turned 3rd year law student) who reinforces what Professor Duane says.

In the first incident where you were eating at 2am, the police are required to respond whenever they get a "man with a gun" call. How they handle it when they arrive on the scene has a lot to do with the "man with the gun" and other circumstances. The fact that it was 2am may have played a part in why the officer acted the way he did. By that time Krispy Kreme was probably closed, he was probably running low on coffee, and he still had 5 more hours until the end of his shift. When he got the call, he probably thought to himself "oh ****! another wise guy walking around with a gun." After rounding up his posse, they responded and approached you. The way you handled yourself in the BEGINNING of the encounter is what probably set the tone of the encounter. I'm guessing that you presented yourself as being "unsure" of the law. Had you been firm in stating your stance, then things may have gone a little different. For future reference, NEVER allow LE to search your private property without "probable cause" or without a "warrant". Doing so opens the door to a lot of "bad things" and tells the officer that you're not sure of your rights and allows him/her the opportunity to find something to bust you for. Regardless of if you have "nothing to hide" or not, it's generally a very BAD idea. IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer), don't play one on television, and didn't stay at a "Holiday Inn Epress" last night, but I do pay my attorney a lot of money to give me legal advice. This is what they have told me. Moving on....

At the shopping mall, my first response would be "Where's the signs". If you know the legal statute that governs the posting of the signs, blurt that out as well. This will get them thinking. If they still ask you to leave, be polite, respectful, but firm. Comply to the best of your ability, then get as much info on the folks as possible. I carry a note pad and pen in my pocket. As soon as some rent-a-cop gives me crap, I start writing. A lot of times they ask "What are you writing". I then ask for their name, badge or ID number and jot down the time and date. When I get an opportunity (more like after I cool off), I write details of the incident. When I get home or back to my computer, I type up a formal complaint letter and forward it to the proper people. Bottom line is don't let them get away with treating you that way. Write to the proper people, and spend your money where it will be appreciated. :wink:

The incident in the gun shop is totally unacceptable. Please let us know which gun shop it is, so that we can spend our money elsewhere. I know that "The Gun Store" on Tropicana has a sign on the front door. Don't remember the exact wording, but in essence it's either "No concealed weapons" or "No loaded weapons". I'm not sure which one it is, but there's a lot of gun stores that have these signs for insurance purposes. Any gun shop that discourages legal OC is not one that I'll shop at unless absolutely necessary.

Important thing about OC is keep in mind that if you're doing it somewhere that people aren't exposed to firearms, then expect to be stopped by police. Knowing your rights under the law will make the experience less stressful for you as well as the officers involved in then encounter. I strongly recommend that you find a good "criminal defense" attorney in your area if you haven't done so already. Get their "legal advice" of what you should do and how to go about your business.

Good luck!




gf
 

HounDawg07

New member
I can't watch the video right now, since I'm at work, but I'll definitely check it out when I get home.

As for the first experience, they didn't give me a chance to handle myself, so to speak. I was sitting at our table, eating my meal, and when I looked up there were about four uniformed officers approaching our table. I noticed the one closest to me had his right hand on his firearm while he pointed at me with his free hand and said "you need to come with me." As I got up, he secured both my hands behind my back with his free hand and led me outside. I thought I was going to be arrested at first! They did the same thing to my friend, but they left my wife alone, if that says anything *cough*sexism*cough*

Oh, and the lecture! Like I said, there was one cop especially who made it ABUNDANTLY clear he did not trust anyone who wasn't LE with a gun. He told me I shouldn't wear it because "people don't know if you're about to stand up and start skull-poppin' people" (yes, those were pretty much his exact words). He essentially told me that I should leave the gun-carrying to the cops, and if I get mugged or asssaulted, just call 911.

I'm sorry, it still frustrates me when I think about it. I understand with many people, but this guy has probably seen the consequences of armed victim vs. unarmed victim and knows the probable outcomes of each. How could someone in that position, who carries a gun for his job, be so blatantly anti-second-amendment?

As for the gun store, it was some little hole-in-the-wall shop. I think it was off of either Sahara or Charleston near Jones, or somewhere in that vicinity. Anyways, it's probably out of business now. I still laugh when I think about it. The owner was GENUINELY shocked that we would have the audacity to carry firearms into his gun store!

I have patronized The Gun Store on Tropicana for some time, and will keep going back. I love that store, and it's not far from where I live. (And I believe the sign you are referring to says "No loaded weapons" - I've noticed that at a few places). I would discourage anyone in Vegas from shopping at the Las Vegas Gun Range and Firearm Center on Blue Diamond. I have a friend who did a lot of business with them until they royally ripped him off. Plus, that store reeks of machismo sometimes :p

But, I digress. Thank you for your advice and input :)
 
I have patronized The Gun Store on Tropicana for some time, and will keep going back. I love that store, and it's not far from where I live. (And I believe the sign you are referring to says "No loaded weapons" - I've noticed that at a few places). I would discourage anyone in Vegas from shopping at the Las Vegas Gun Range and Firearm Center on Blue Diamond. I have a friend who did a lot of business with them until they royally ripped him off. Plus, that store reeks of machismo sometimes :p

But, I digress. Thank you for your advice and input :)

I've shopped at Las Vegas Gun Range and Firearm Center off of Blue Diamond Rd. I have to agree with the machismo. I got to watch a guy bust his thumb while shooting their .50 AE.



gf
 

rayven

New member
Most people in OC legal states are not aware that it is perfectly legal to do so. As such, you have to know that you WILL eventually encounter negativity toward your firearm.

With regard to the general public, it doesn't matter. Just be polite, friendly, and be an ambassador for the rest of us who carry. The more of us who handle the skeptical public in a good, friendly manner, the less they will be afraid of guns in general.

Law enforcement, however, is an entirely different story. Sooner or later, you will probably have a run-in with them. First and foremost, MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE LAWS OF YOUR STATE BEFORE YOU CARRY. Know them inside and out -- what you are legally allowed to do and not legal to do.

Regardless of what happens in a LEO encounter, you should pretty much follow the basics:

1) Say nothing more than your name and address (if required by your state).
2) Never voluntarily allow the police to search you or your property (car, house, etc.)
3) Ask "Am I free to go?" If the answer isn't "no" or something to that effect, walk away. If yes, tell the LEO you are using your right to remain silent, and say nothing more.

If you do these three things, you can almost never be charged with something "extra" that cops seem to love to dream up when you are doing something legal and they don't like it.
 

tattedupboy

Thank God I'm alive!
Even though it is my right to do so, instances like that are why I choose to conceal my firearm. I have yet to hear of the police being called on a citizen carrying a well-concealed (meaning no printing and otherwise totally undetectable) handgun and being harassed. Furthermore, I prefer for people not to know that I'm armed anyway, for the same reason I prefer for people not to know how much money I'm carrying, or whether or not I have a cell phone (which I always keep on vibrate). To me, it's no one's business.
 

gunther37

New member
Hi all! I'm new to this forum, and I've had a couple of negative OC experiences that I'd like to share, and hopefully get some feedback/opinions/advice on how to handle any similar situations in the future.

BTW, I live in Las Vegas, where OC is completely legal (as far as I know).

The worst one I had occurred after a target practicing trip out to the lake bed with a friend and my wife. On our way back into town we stopped at a restaurant for food (this was around 2 am) and I still had my handgun on my hip, so I just left it on and we went in to eat. About halfway through our meal, we were interrupted by about four police officers who led us outside and asked us several questions, checked out my gun, and checked out the other firearms in my car (I gave them permission to; they were all legally registered, etc., I had nothing to hide). Anyways, it turned into a long lecture about how OC is a remnant of a bygone era that shouldn't apply anymore (apparently this LEO was quite opposed to armed citizens) and how they HAVE to respond when someone calls with a "he's got a gun" complaint. Apparently, another patron at the restaurant had called us in. After everything checked out, they sent us back in to finish our (now cold) meals.

Another instance occurred in a shopping mall. I hadn't been in the first store for five minutes when I noticed about five security guards at the entrance to the store I was in. One of them approached me and asked if I was LE. I replied no, and he informed me that only LE is allowed to carry firearms in the mall. I didn't feel like arguing, so I obliged and returned the firearm to my car, but I don't see how that is possible. There is no signage to that effect anywhere outside or inside the mall.

This last one was more funny than anything else. I was with a friend and we were both OC'ing, and we went into a small gun store to look at some grips for his gun. The guy behind the counter (who was carrying, BTW) took one look at us and said, almost apprehensively, "Are you guys armed?" When we responded in the affirmative, he informed us that we were not allowed to carry in his store and we would have to leave. We obliged, and had a good laugh in the car on the way to the next gun store.

I guess my point is, I've OC'd a few times without any problems, but I seem to run into paranoid people who are afraid the gun is going to jump out of my holster and start shooting people. The cop in the first story made a point of the fact that I shouldn't OC because it scares people. How should I respond to this kind of stuff? If I'm not breaking any laws, are the police obligated to harass me and run a check every time someone gets spooked?
in my state nc. oc is allowed in a bank. lol. if i tired it, how many red buttins would be tripped?

lol.
 

rayven

New member
Even though it is my right to do so, instances like that are why I choose to conceal my firearm. I have yet to hear of the police being called on a citizen carrying a well-concealed (meaning no printing and otherwise totally undetectable) handgun and being harassed. Furthermore, I prefer for people not to know that I'm armed anyway, for the same reason I prefer for people not to know how much money I'm carrying, or whether or not I have a cell phone (which I always keep on vibrate). To me, it's no one's business.
True, it is easier to carry concealed if you are legally permitted to do so.

But it is my preference to let people know that it is legal, and that "man with gun" does not mean violence / they are about to be shot. Too many negative stories in the news about idiots with guns shooting up the place.

I'd rather let everyone know that I'm safe with it, and by proxy, they are too. That, and with the constant erosion of our rights by an ever increasing "Big Brother" type government, I like to use and enforce my rights as best I can.

But everyone has to make the choice on whether or not to OC or CC. Personal preference. I'm just glad to know there are many people out there who carry and are responsible.
 

Mainsail

Member
“You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers, or if you hassle me man.”

It may sound crass, but grow a pair. The officers did not have any reasonable suspicion that you were involved in a crime, so to detain you would be illegal. Since you seemed to volunteer to this encounter, you really have nothing to complain about. You allowed everything that happened to happen. If you file a grievance, the officer will say exactly that.

When you are approached, immediately ask, “Are you detaining me?” If the officer is not detaining you, wish him a nice day and go about your business. DO NOT engage him or her in a conversation. DO NOT allow him or her to search you or your property. If they respond that they are detaining you, immediately ask, “For suspicion of what crime are you detaining me?” These are important legal questions! If carrying a pistol is legal where you live, and you are not otherwise breaking the law, the police cannot legally seize you merely for appearing odd.

Know your rights! Do not allow yourself to be walked on for exercising your rights.

I know because I was there and did pretty much the same as you did. Now I know better.
 

HounDawg07

New member
It may sound crass, but grow a pair. The officers did not have any reasonable suspicion that you were involved in a crime, so to detain you would be illegal. Since you seemed to volunteer to this encounter, you really have nothing to complain about. You allowed everything that happened to happen. If you file a grievance, the officer will say exactly that.
I'm not disagreeing with you; I never should have volunteered to let them search my car. However, when they approached me while I was still in the restaurant and demanded I step outside with them, what would be the correct course of action?

That's my biggest question here, and one yet to be truly answered. Do I step outside with them and then calmly explain that since I didn't break any laws and they weren't detaining me for the commission of a crime, I'd like to resume my meal? Or do I do that in the restaurant when they are in defensive mode, probably expecting me to start a shootout in a restaurant at 2am because that's obviously why I'm carrying in the first place?

This point begs another question as well, one I brought up earlier. Are the police obligated to respond to every "man with gun" call, even if they have no reason to believe that any crime is being committed? If so, are they required (or even allowed) to drag me from my meal and interrogate/lecture me? Or are my rights already being violated the moment they act upon the assumption that "gun = bad guy"?

The way this anti-gun cop explained things to me, he's just gonna harass me every time I OC and he gets called because even though it's legal, well, "you still shouldn't do it." I told him I'd stop carrying when he can personally guarantee my safety 24/7.
 

Mainsail

Member
I'm not disagreeing with you; I never should have volunteered to let them search my car. However, when they approached me while I was still in the restaurant and demanded I step outside with them, what would be the correct course of action?

That's my biggest question here, and one yet to be truly answered. Do I step outside with them and then calmly explain that since I didn't break any laws and they weren't detaining me for the commission of a crime, I'd like to resume my meal? Or do I do that in the restaurant when they are in defensive mode, probably expecting me to start a shootout in a restaurant at 2am because that's obviously why I'm carrying in the first place?

This point begs another question as well, one I brought up earlier. Are the police obligated to respond to every "man with gun" call, even if they have no reason to believe that any crime is being committed? If so, are they required (or even allowed) to drag me from my meal and interrogate/lecture me? Or are my rights already being violated the moment they act upon the assumption that "gun = bad guy"?

The way this anti-gun cop explained things to me, he's just gonna harass me every time I OC and he gets called because even though it's legal, well, "you still shouldn't do it." I told him I'd stop carrying when he can personally guarantee my safety 24/7.
First, get a voice recorder. They’re cheap insurance and will go a long way to stopping any harassment. The encounter I mentioned in my post, where I made the same mistakes you did, the officer lied about many things. When I contacted his supervisor he lied to his supervisor about the things he said to me and the threats he made. One threat he made to me, that he would respond to any call about me carrying a gun even if he wasn’t the one dispatched, take it from me, and leave it to me to get it back from a judge. He lied to his supervisor and claimed to have made no such statement. I encountered him again after someone called the police to report my open carry. I asked if he was detaining me and he said no, but that I should show him my CPL and then I would be free to leave. I pointed out that since he wasn’t detaining me that I was already free to leave. I never showed him anything and left.

As I said in my previous post. If an officer approaches and wants to discuss your carry method, ask this question: “Am I being detained?” Detainment means seizure, and there are certain legal implications and procedures if an officer is going to seize you. Do a search for ‘Terry stop’ for more information.

“Am I being detained?”

If he doesn’t answer, ask again. Do not say anything or show him any identification until he answers that question.

If he says you are being detained, ask him for suspicion of what crime is he detaining you. If his answer is ‘because you are carrying a gun’ remind him that it is legal and ask if you are free to leave. If he persists, demand a supervisor respond to the scene.

If he says no, that he is not detaining you, tell him you are not interested in discussing it and go about your business. You are under no obligation to talk to the police.

There are three types of police-citizen interactions. In simple terms:
1. A casual conversation. You are not obligated to participate so don’t.
2. Seizure (detaining). You may have to provide ID if your state requires it. The officer MUST HAVE a reasonable articulable suspicion that you are, have been, or were about to be involved in criminal activity. Legal activity, even firearms carry, is not a reasonable suspicion by itself.
3. Arrest. The officer must have probable cause to believe you have violated a law.

REMEMBER: If the police are talking to you, in almost every case it is to build probable cause to arrest you. It very rarely happens that an officer simply wants to discuss the weather and how you like your pistol, no matter how friendly they act. They are talking to you to get you to say or do something so they can establish probable cause for an arrest, nothing more. My thoughts on voluntary searches is to never allow them, no matter how uncomfortable it is to say no. If I allow an officer to search my car, and unknowing to me the spring from a balllpoint pen or some other innocuous common item is used in meth manufacturing is under my front seat, I can be arrested for it. Yes, I most likely will get off on the charges, but only after I’ve spent a lot of money. The officer is never going to search your car for your benefit! He’s not going to search your car and tell you your lost sunglasses are under the seat. He’s looking for anything that can be used to affect your arrest. He gets points on his performance report for arresting people, not for finding your sunglasses. His motivation, when he asks to search your car, is not to help you, but to look for criminal activity. I don’t know enough about drugs, drug manufacturing, or drug culture to know what common items they use. Do you? Don’t volunteer to allow a search, even if you’re late and want to get going.
 

HounDawg07

New member
There are three types of police-citizen interactions. In simple terms:
1. A casual conversation. You are not obligated to participate so don’t.
2. Seizure (detaining). You may have to provide ID if your state requires it. The officer MUST HAVE a reasonable articulable suspicion that you are, have been, or were about to be involved in criminal activity. Legal activity, even firearms carry, is not a reasonable suspicion by itself.
3. Arrest. The officer must have probable cause to believe you have violated a law.
So essentially, if he has no reasonable suspicion that I was in our about to be involved in a crime, he cannot detain me, and therefore there is nothing he can do? I guess this interaction of mine would fall under #1 then, even though they were called out and it was anything but casual. Does that matter? And if so, why do they even bother dispatching officers if they can't at least get some indication that a crime was, is, or will soon be in progress? As you said, legal firearms carry is not reasonable suspicion of a crime, so what basis do they have of even dispatching officers?
 

Mainsail

Member
So essentially, if he has no reasonable suspicion that I was in our about to be involved in a crime, he cannot detain me, and therefore there is nothing he can do? I guess this interaction of mine would fall under #1 then, even though they were called out and it was anything but casual. Does that matter? And if so, why do they even bother dispatching officers if they can't at least get some indication that a crime was, is, or will soon be in progress? As you said, legal firearms carry is not reasonable suspicion of a crime, so what basis do they have of even dispatching officers?
I can’t speculate why they dispatched officers, only they know that. Additionally, we don’t know what the person who reported you to the police might have said. That is exactly why you need to establish right from the get-go whether or not they’re detaining you. If the caller reported that you were practicing your quick-draw and the police are detaining you for that reason, then you need to cooperate fully with them. If the caller merely reported that you were carrying a gun in a holster on your belt, then they shouldn’t detain you. I say ‘shouldn’t’ because some officers forget or ignore that court decision called Terry vs. Ohio.

At the beginning, always ask, “Are you detaining me?” Detainment or ‘seizure’ is a specific legal term that carries with it certain restrictions and limitations. If you ask that question, and the follow-up question (if they confirm they are detaining you), “For suspicion of what crime are you detaining me?” you will eliminate all ambiguity about why they’re there. As I said, if it was reported that you committed a crime, then you will want to cooperate and clear yourself. The questions also trigger the officer to think a bit about what he’s about to do. If it ever gets ugly, either they cite you, arrest you, or even if you just want to file a complaint with the officer’s department, any ambiguity will fall to the officer’s favor. Again, any time there is doubt, the benefit of the doubt belongs to the officer.

In other words, if you complain about what they did to you to their department, the officers involved will likely say they were not detaining you but merely having a casual conversation and you didn’t object. Since you didn’t object, you volunteered to engage the officer in the open carry debate. His supervisors will not fault him at all. If, however, you ask and he replies that he is detaining you, he cannot later claim that you were a willing participant to the encounter. If the police detain you for lawful behavior you can sue in federal court for damages. You cannot sue if they aren’t detaining you and you volunteered to debate them.

Let me reiterate again, do not debate the officers about open carry. You do not owe them any explanation about why you choose to carry openly. Lawful behavior is not police business. You will not win a debate or change their minds; the best you can do is come to a stalemate. Since that is the best possible outcome, there is no reason whatsoever to waste your time trying.

Ok, so let’s say you asked (Am I being detained?) and the officer refuses to answer. This is certainly possible and is one way he might try to regain the high ground in the encounter. The officer is trained to control an encounter and will attempt to short-circuit you asking questions of him. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked – do not engage him in a debate. If you feel like you cannot leave, and a reasonable person in your situation would not feel free to leave, then he is detaining you. At this point you need to either shut up, or ask if you are free to leave and inform him that you object to the encounter.

Officer: I want to know why you are carrying a gun.

You: Are you detaining me?

Officer: Can I pat you down for my safety?

You: Are you detaining me? Am I free to leave?

Officer: No, but if you give me your ID (or CPL) then I can get you on your way. [Notice that you asked two questions and he gave you only one answer. Did he mean no, you are not free to leave, or no he is not detaining you? Any doubt goes to the cop.]

You: I object to this seizure, can you please ask a sergeant to come out? [At this point you are telling him that you feel like you are not free to leave. That should end the encounter if he knows he’s just blowing smoke up your ass.]

By not kowtowing to his verbal judo, you force him to make a major decision. Either he has to let you go immediately to derail your claim of being detained, or he has to ratchet up the bluff. The former emasculates him a little, the latter can get him disciplined or fired. This is where your voice recorder is a tremendous help. I don’t know where you live or what the law says about recording public police encounters, but here in WA I can conceal a recorder in my shirt pocket and I do not need to inform the officer that I am recording the encounter. I have a recording of a police encounter between myself and the Tacoma PD at Wright Park. The officer stopped me while I was riding my mountain bike to ‘request’ my CPL, I refused to give it to him and asked if I was free to leave. He confirms that I am and I leave. Short, sweet, and did not violate my privacy rights.

Knowing your firearms rights is great, knowing your privacy rights is priceless.
 

rayven

New member
As I said, if it was reported that you committed a crime, then you will want to cooperate and clear yourself.
Everything in the previous post by Mainsail was pretty much dead on accurate, with the exception of the quote above.

If it was reported to them that you committed a crime, you do NOT want to cooperate and clear yourself. You want to immediately invoke your rights to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning. No matter what you say to the cop, his job is to arrest and help convict -- your words will be twisted and come back to bite you in the ass.

So basically, ask if you are being detained by asking "Am I free to leave?" If the answer is no, shut up and say nothing else unless you are required to ID yourself to the cop. Then you can either show an ID or tell him your name and address (this satisfies the law in every state with a 'stop and ID' statue). After that, say nothing other than possibly "I have nothing more to say to you officer."

You have to know the law, and you have to assert your rights. Absent that, you open yourself up to a slew of legal repercussions that may not ever have been warranted in the first place.
 

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