Police respond to open carry in Walmart

"Well....Today was a first. Wow. I guess people in Marshfield, MO don't like law abiding citizens using their 2nd amendment rights by open carry. First time we had cops called on us for simply shopping in Walmart and open carrying. We're all safe & all turned out well, praise the Lord.

But, dude, any person in their right mind would realize that 5 girls together - 2 of which were open carrying - shopping in Walmart, getting food in Subway, laughing together & minding our own business were no reason to worry.

You know what? I don't open carry to cause a scene. So, to see 5 cops (one with an AR-15), a sheriff & much more storm Walmart as if a major crime had happened was quite shocking. I open carry out of love for my fellow man. Plus, maybe people will realize that a law abiding citizen carrying a firearm is nothing to freak out about.”

People who aren't threatening anyone and exercising their rights within the law should not be hassled by police.

Note that they are being detained without violating the law, and identification is being demanded from them. Note also the very hostile reaction the police officer has to being filmed and the immediate demands for ID.

The local police chief arrives later on. He is claiming that ordinary citizens peacefully exercising their right to legally open carry a firearm can be detained by police if someone else feels "alarmed" by seeing them with the firearm. Our rights don't depend on how other people feel, and an irrational reaction of fear and alarm to the sight of ordinary people exercising their rights should not be grounds for criminal charges.

Claiming that the law allows open carry, but also allows police to respond and threaten those who open carry with criminal charges if other people feel "alarmed" without cause is an abuse of due process.

All that said, there is a flaw in this scenario. The open-carrying male admits he was asked to leave by (presumably) store management. Having been asked to leave, which store management has every right to request, he did so. However, the rest of his group remained in the store -- two of whom were also carrying openly. This creates an ambiguous situation: was the request to leave directed at the man who left alone, or at the entire group? It seems likely, in hindsight, that the request was meant for the entire group and police were called when only the man left.

Carrying concealed tends to reduce those issues, because people aren't alarmed (whether their alarm would be irrational or not) by what they don't notice. While I support the right to open carry, it's important to remember that the legal high ground can shift on tiny details like these. It shouldn't be hazardous to carry openly with lawful intent, but in most communities it is anyway.

This entry was published Tue Sep 17 03:35:50 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2013-09-17 03:35:50.0. [Tweet]

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