This is how a policeman should treat an individual while open carrying. Can we get Officer Lyons a nice-paying gig training other cops in…oh…Philly?

32 Responses to Cop of the Day: Officer Matt Lyons, Oceanside PD

  1. Cop of the day?

    Is it really? He is just open carrying. Why was he stopped? Why was he searched?

    Because he was carrying…..

    • Because somebody made a call to the police about a “man with a gun.” The police don’t pick the calls, they’re tasked to respond to them.

    • this is a good cop sure, even though he held him wrongly. kind of a half detainment illegally. you can’t detain someone unless you arrest them, as that is holding someone against their will.

      the problem is off duty cop frank white around this time shot that unarmed mom and her little 8 year old boy in a road rage incident. he shot the kid a few times. i would never open carry in this town, they shoot first and ask questions later. is a statement worth risking your life? i think the video camera saved it because i have been tossed on the ground and searched doing nothing from oceanside police as they were searching the area for someone who robbed the local mexi store. we were standing in a parking lot outside a store having a cigerette, while the real crooks got away down the road and on the highway. they had their guns drawn on us, then threw us down and we were very compliant. now that was wrong. i almost got shot for smoking. oceanside cops are some of the dirtiest cops on earth, this town is screwed up i’m moving.

  2. I’m guessing this was CA and open cary is legal as long as the firearm is unloaded, that being said why would one want to carry an unloaded weapon? and herein lies the problem I (personally) have with the open carry folks, yes it is your right but is it the right thing to do?

    It creates hostility with LEO,s

    Wastes their time responding to calls of (man with gun)

    Creates fear for the person (joe public) on the street

    If you live in a state that has a CCW program GET ONE, if open carry is the only avenue open to you, then fine, open carry, but open-carrying an unloaded firearm…………. someone help me with this.

    • “that being said why would one want to carry an unloaded weapon? ”

      1. It can be loaded rather quickly by just inserting a magazine.

      2. Obtaining a CCW is almost impossible in more urban areas of CA (regardless of ‘good cause’). Sacramento has changed via lawsuit to include ‘self-defense’ as good cause, but its up to elected Sheriffs to approve or deny applicants. Most just give you a denial and tell you to look into non lethal methods. Were working on that in court but that takes years.

      3. Its ‘almost’ the only way to carry legally in CA. Impossible anywhere near a school (problematic in and of itself in urban areas) as one must put into a locked container. Schools are everywhere so I tend to think its not worth the hassle. CCWs in CA have no school limitations (one less argument later once its reformed), but again if one can’t obtain one, one is limited if they wish to carry.

      Personally I am not a big fan of open carry. I find it more as a political statement then anything else. You’re right, police get called. Often they with come lights flashing, guns drawn and one is treated automatically as the bad guy. Many need to be better educated on the issue and I think there’s potential for mishap.

      In CA, I often carry in what is often called the poor man’s method. In CA, a firearm must be stored in a locked ‘container;’ magazine not inserted. Container is undefined so it ‘could’ be a locked ziplock bag for all the law requires. Really, no joke.

      I wear a maxpedition versipack when hiking (sometimes around town). Its over the shoulder and as my wife doesn’t care for the idea of open carry (even in national forests). I keep sodas, snacks and sunscreen/water in the main compartment. Pepper spray in a side compartment. No biggy. She (and everyone else) is none the wiser for me doing it. There is a zippered pouch in the back adjacent to the padding that a holstered firearm and magazine fit into nicely and comfortably. One doesn’t even notice it. I run a gun lock from the zipper through a couple of molle loops. Legal (now in a ‘locked container’), as close to CCW as I’m going to get until my county is reformed, and with the added benefit that LE will not be notified.

      • Well, she’ll be none the wiser, until the day you say, “Honey…you oughta read what this guy wrote on TTAG.” Then she starts poking about the site, sees your post above, and (in the words of Ricky Ricardo), Luuuucy! You got some ‘splainin’ to do!

        • Oh man, bad enough I’m essentially carrying a man purse. Give her ideas and she’ll insist I buy the Jumbo versipack and carry diapers around all day along with my XD. The horror!

    • If LEOs are hostile toward it, that’s their fault. There are all kinds of things that might “create hostility with [some] LEOs”. Some you can control, some you can’t. Red cars, messy car interiors, black skin, tattoos, the type of music you listen to, the bumper stickers you have on your car (not just gun-related: politics, sports teams, colleges, anything really). If what you care about most is avoiding police attention and you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to effect that outcome, that’s fine. Your choice. Actually, that’s what I choose most of the time too. But is it so hard to understand why some people might choose instead to prioritize exercising their freedoms and expressing themselves?

      If police waste their time responding to MWAG calls, that’s the fault of the dispatcher for not asking the right questions of callers. Is it holstered? Is the person threatening anybody in any way? Does the person appear to be drunk or on drugs? Dressed like a gang member? If the caller provides misleading answers that exaggerate the danger, the police should respond by handing out citations (or at least warnings) to the callers. Idiots make frivolous calls to 911 all the time. If an open carrier is obeying the law, how in the world would any police response be his or her fault?

      As for Joe Public, it’s not guns that create the fear (any more than guns kill people), it’s ignorance and prejudice on the part of the person feeling the fear.

      There are plenty of good reasons for open carrying that have nothing to do with making a point. It’s more comfortable. It could potentially deter crime. In many states (including my own), you don’t need any permit to open carry, but you do need a permit to carry discreetly. Even in shall-issue states, why should we have to pay money for a permit as though bearing arms were a privilege granted by the state rather than a natural right?

      Still, I recognize that most people who practice open carry have making a statement pretty high on their list of reasons. And this is how they are addressing the very problems you listed. If by carrying openly they can desensitize the public and educate law enforcement, the fear and hostility will start to go away.

      I don’t OC much myself, but here’s the problem I have with the anti-OC attitude among concealed carriers: it accepts the premise that there’s something wrong with law abiding civilians exercising their right to bear arms, that we should have to sneak around to do it.

    • I agree on most counts, however I see the point of carrying in public. It is not for your protection, but to make a statement about personal protection rights and to work on desensitizing “Joe Public” to firearms. If they folks see guns more, they won’t be as scared of them. My wife was intimidated by guns. I have a few and, as they started rolling into the house, she just got used to them. Now she’s begging to go to The Gun Store in Las Vegas to shoot a machine gun. That’s what this is all about. Guns are fun. Guns are useful. But if all people know of guns comes from news reports about violent crime and violence on television and in movies, they will be intimidated by them.

      Now, open carry isn’t for me. I’m a family man, and real security is more important than making statements. That said, I’m glad there are people who open carry. People need to be exposed more to firearms in this country. Having, maintaining, and practicing with a firearm used to be a duty in this country, for anybody strong enough to use one. Now 70% don’t even own a firearm, much less use or carry one regularly.

  3. I’m with Eric. The cop was going to run the numbers (but probably didn’t due to the video) and kept badgering him for I.D. – why? All they are authorized to do is ensure it’s unloaded – period.

    • Cops always want ID so they can put it in their report. That’s true of almost any citizen contact, gun or no gun. I don’t see anything wrong with what the cop did here. He asked several times, but he never coerced. A lot of cops would get noticeably bent out of shape if you refuse to provide ID (to say nothing of the recording), but this one remained calm, polite and professional. Even kind of friendly.

  4. Officer Lyons is truly one of ours. He handled the situation perfectly. I think that sometime last year (2010) this was recorded, so it’s a little dated. That said, this should be used as training video. The fellow that was OC’ing could have been a little more forthright, a lot less uptight and a good bit more compliant under the circumstance, IMHO. He should have sensed that Officer Lyons wasn’t “one of them”.

    Semper Fi, Officer Lyons, Semper Fi. You’re my kind of American. You know the skinney and you handled yourself with grace, alacrity and aplomb. Bravo sir.

    • Are you kidding me? He approached a civilian who did nothing but have an unloaded firearm on his side. He used a control hold on his wrist while he searched him…etc…..etc. Really?

      • Under the circumstances and given the constraints of California law, I’m totally OK with how Officer Lyons approached the situation and how he carried himself. It’s regrettable that CA law is what it is but if an officer gets a call “man with a gun”, exactly what is the responding officer supposed to do? Get up on his Second Amendment high horse and ignore the call? It’s not like CA is totally void of whackos and sociopaths. And before your get too far out of joint, don’t give me any of that crap that Officer Lyons was using that Neuremburgh defense nonsense. He wasn’t. He gets it. He was doing his job and being completely straight up and righteous. He handled the situation rationally: like a man, a gentleman and a citizen.

      • For California, that’s a major step. Take every thin slice you can get, and then ask for another. This is how you end up with everything you want.

  5. CA law says you can open carry as long as it is unloaded. the magazine can be right by the gun but cant be in the gun. he was stopped because CA has a statue that says an officer can request to check the status of the gun anytime they desire.

  6. I think this video should be required viewing for every PD in the country. Laws may vary, state by state, but Officer Lyons was polite, courteous, and never did the all-too-familiar “I’m a cop, and I’m in charge here” thing, even when the guy he stopped was (in my opinion) needlessly defensive and uncooperative. Great job, Officer!

  7. I’m with the LEO on this one. He was extremely courteous, polite, patient, and amiable. To those complaining about the wrist lock, the questioning in the first place etc… in the words of Sgt. Hulka, lighten up Francis. I think the police are tasked with ‘keeping’ the peace, and not just ‘restoring’ the peace after something has gone pear-shaped.

  8. Must have been in Oshy-Bro and not O-Side. Recording, didn’t have ID, and wouldn’t give his full name?!?!?

    Whatevs. I’d say his plan backfired and I’m surprised the vid saw daylight. Hey wait, maybe it was PR for the PD.

  9. For those complaining that the man was stopped in the first place, look at it this way: He didn’t have a gun drawn on him. In this day and age, that’s progress. Now, if a SWAT team decides not to shoot a family pet, we’d be on our way.

  10. what i dont really understand is the ID thing!If the police cant see your ID,how will they know that the person who is armed isn’t a felon?A felon who bought the gun before he was a felon.doesn’t that mean that a person that should have had their weapon removed is instead sent on their way ?!.

    • Because in the U.S. we are presumed to be innocent of any crime unless there is evidence that indicates otherwise.

      That gentleman had no requirement to prove anything to the officer other than the fact that his firearm was being carried per California law (which he did)

  11. Frappe33, excellent quote.

    There was a call. Someone reported a man with a gun. The officer responded. He thoroughly investigated without escalating the situation. WIN.

    Our society is full of humans. That is both it’s greatest strength and it’s biggest weakness. Ask Agent K would say “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.” Before the 2A is respected in this country, there will be some adjustments. Society is going to have to get used to the presence of law-abiding members carrying firearms. That will come in stages. Slowly at first. Hopefully gain some momentum. Then, respect.

  12. This officer was professional and handled the needlessly defensive OC’er with respect. All he did was ensure that the weapon was unloaded, to ensure his personal safety, then simply ask for ID. When the OC’er refused to provide any (which is his right), the officer asked for his name, nothing else. And @IndyEric, using a control hold on the man’s wrist is simply good common sense, he had no idea of who this person carrying a weapon was, and regardless of it’s legality, he has just as much right as you do to ensure his personal safety. The officer explained exactly who he was and what he was doing every step of the way. Matt Lyons is an excellent police officer.

  13. I don’t know all the specifics about the OC law there, but what I saw was the officer being careful, but a good guy. The guy recording was trying for confrontation, the cop wouldn’t be baited. I don’t see that requesting ID,during an interview, is unreasonable. I wish all the police down here were as friendly and professional. I got jacked up on my car once, as the midget nervously called for backup, over a simple interview. The little hitler I was being detained by got scared when he saw how much bigger than him I was. I didn’t even get an apology afterwards. It makes you see how a troubled vet could have an abusive cop set him off. I know I wanted to knock him clear to Virginia.

  14. Who would you rather have a beer with, the guy who was carrying or the officer who braced him? Personally, I’d pick the cop, and for me that’s saying a lot.

  15. It was refreshing to see a peace officer who isn’t jaded by the “us against them” mentality that is so prevalent in law enforcement. We so need more cops like him.

  16. I thought the officer handled it nicely. I am not sure why so many people refuse to
    show an ID. Anyone know? It seems like a good way to agitate an officer for no obvious reason to me. I am open to suggestions… Thumbs up to Officer Lyons.

  17. I must admit that I just don’t get the “open carry” crowd. Its an unloaded gun and makes you a target for LEO’s and criminal types alike. But, I do have a question in response to a post somewhere above me; to wit, is it allowable to carry loaded mags while open carrying?

    If not, it is ludicrous to carry openly. If so, its still ludicrous for different reasons.

  18. I know Matt (AKA “Chowdah”) and he is an excellent American, Marine, and Cop.

    There is another detail that most people don’t know about. On his right breast pocket there are two small badges. They are commemorative badges for two of his bothers: Tony Zeppetella and Daniel Bessant. Both of them were shot and killed in the line of duty about 3 years apart. Matt worked next to both of them for years and knows their widows and children. With that kind of history and emotion he still behaves so professionally. This is because he absolutely understands and appreciates the 2nd Amendment as well as the rest of the Constitution and his duty to uphold the law as it is defined in his jurisdiction.

    Anyone who knows him is not really surprised by this video. That’s just Matt being himself… an excellent American, Marine, and Cop.

  19. Great piece of police “protect and serve” service ! Officer Lyons investigated the report with respect and honor. He did not trample the constitution nor its integrity. Most law enforcement agencies stoke the fears of liberal americans with the plague syndrom of firearms. Firearms are for ones protection. The citizen carrying was /is abosolutely correct. Firearms molded and made America. People learn to respect other people or face consequences, sometimes fatal. But, those whom diss others are not real Americans.

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