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I’d love to open carry. Strategically, it’s a big no-no. But I reckon open carry is the final frontier, the gateway to the “normalization” that would seal the deal for American gun rights. And if enough people did it, the strategic downside would diminish and the deterrence effect would be gi-normous. Yes, well, I don’t want to lose my gun or my right to carry a gun, even temporarily. Even though open carry is legal in the Ocean State, RI cops would confiscate my gun, charge with me with disturbing the peace and ban me from carrying in a New York minute. So props to PA gun advocate Mark Fiorino who wore his gun with pride and audio-taped the ensuing encounter with Johnny Law, generating some 257k views with the resulting video. And now that Mark’s left his mark, the City of Brotherly Love has settled the case . . .

A gun-rights advocate whom police stopped for openly carrying a weapon will settle his lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia for $25,000. Mark Fiorino’s lawyer said the suit was not about money but about retraining police on open-carry laws.

philly.com‘s report points out that the IT worker had a permit; Fiorino was well within his rights. What the news org doesn’t reveal: the exact deal involved. Does Fionino retain his right to carry? Can he talk about the case with the press? Is he going to open carry again? TTAG is investigating. Meanwhile,

Lawyer Benjamin Picker said Fiorino accepted the city’s offer Thursday because the city had been retraining officers. The retraining was not a condition of the settlement, a city spokesman said. City Solicitor Shelley Smith, in an e-mailed message, said the city did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement.

Now if only we could get PA firearms owners retrained as well . . .

33 Responses to Philly Pays Open Carry Advocate $25k to STFU?

  1. This was real news here, the media played it as gun nut taken down by Rizzo’s Raiders. Those in the Philly area remember that term.

  2. “Strategically, it’s a big no-no. But I reckon open carry is the final frontier, the gateway to the “normalization” that would seal the deal for American gun rights. And if enough people did it, the strategic downside would diminish and the deterrence effect would be gi-normous. Yes, well, I don’t want to lose my gun rights. Even though open carry is legal in the Ocean State, RI cops would confiscate my gun, charge with me with disturbing the peace and ban me from carrying in a New York minute.”

    RF – at least give a heads up when you’re going to post an internet meme or maybe put some emoticons in the text to indicate sarcasm.

    Back in 2000, maybe 2001 a very well known gun community author made the same statement about open carry in Virginia. Possibly other states. It just took people to do it.

  3. Scary incident! A few audio “observations.”

    #1. If the police are pissed, and pointing a gun at me, I’m officially switching gears to “How can I help you, sir?” Backup is coming, and it’s going to be Fast and Furious (sorry, couldn’t resist…)

    #2. To LEO’s: if you don’t know the law, or the exemptions to it, you are much better off with a little embarrassment in the field (Hey, anybody know about this guy’s claimed exemption to open carry?) vs. a lot of embarrassment and liability post – incident.

    #3. Given this treatment, the $25,000 settlement that Mr. Fiorino (and his lawyer) received actually seems fairly low. I hope also that the arrest was completely expunged from his record.

    I look forward to TTAG’s investigation and follow up.

  4. I would have demanded that Mayor Nutter convene a noon press conference and publicly apologize while giving me the keys to the city.

  5. “Does Fionino retain his right to carry?”

    Well, given that this is his civil case, and he only pursued it AFTER he successfully defended himself against criminal charges, the answer would seem to be a firm YES.

    Also, the fact that I ran into him at a few pro-gun events between his encounter and trial, and he was carrying both times, seems to confirm this.

    “Can he talk about the case with the press?”

    I don’t have time to read through the thread, but you might try reading here. ViperGTS19801 is Mark Fiorino.

  6. Now if only we could get PA firearms owners retrained as well . . .

    To what? Hide in a dark room with their guns while quietly chanting the four rules?

    Our Hero exercised a right, and found vindication in the law. His actions should be admired, not berated.

  7. This is a perfect example of why I think it’s important to open carry every once in a while (where it’s lawful).

    “They” are so insulated and myopic that they forget that it’s normal, reasonable, lawful, peaceful and our DAMN right.

  8. I’m completely with Fiorino. He was peacefully and legally carrying openly and got taken down by a bunch of ignorant thugs. The only reasons he didn’t cash a huge check are (i) he didn’t want a huge check, (ii) the scumbags who broke his balls didn’t actually beat or shoot him or use excessive force and (iii) all he really had was a nuisance a case. As to the latter point, hooray for Fiorino and his attorney for maximizing what they did have and using it for the public good.

    If the Philly cops were anything like the New York City cops, Fiorino would still be pulling the plunger handle out of his a$$.

    • “All he really had was a nuisance a case.” point a gun at me… That is not a nuisance its a threat on my life.

    • Hey Ralph: As attorneys, you and I both know that jury awards are difficult to predict, especially when the issue boils down to something as politically charged as gun rights. Depending on where the case gets tried, a “jury of peers” could end up looking pretty ugly for a gun rights advocate. In Multnomah County (Portland OR) , for example, the D’s typically outnumber R’s by 2 to 1, and many of those “D’s” are on the Mao end of the leftie scale. Would I want 12 vegan raw-food –eating, dope smoking, uptight-about-everything, pacifist sheeple as my jury in a gun case? Hell no. Just watch Portlandia once and you know the types of people I’m talking about.

      • a “jury of peers” could end up looking pretty ugly for a gun rights advocate

        Absolutely, Joe G. Which is one more reason why I believe that Fiorino’s case, while appealing to us, was not a strong one. Taking 25,000 apologies from the Philly PD was a wise decision on his part. Plus, he’s now police kryptonite. He could pee in the Mayor’s potted plants and not get pinched for it.

  9. I found this to be interesting:

    Mr. Fiorino is represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania

    Most of us probably don’t often think well of the ACLU because some of the civil liberties they seem to defend are w-w-w-a-a-a-a-a-y left of center. But here is a case where I can admire they take LIBERTY to heart.

  10. Actually Robert I would say that open carry is bad tactics but good strategy. Tactically you lose any sort of surprise, BG is going to shoot you first, grab your gun, etc.. But strategically speaking the more people see OFWGs carrying while grocery shopping with their kids, the more people we have who will not accept the Brady stereotyping. “Why no, that man with a gun that I saw at Aldis wasn’t wearing camo, had all his teeth, held the door for the woman with her kids and got something down off a high shelf for an old lady.”
    Downside – you have to be on your best behaviour because if you act like a jerk people will equate jerks with all gun owners.

    Amusing anecdote: I ran into a black guy with his family at the Sam’s Club near White Bear Lake (also known as White Boy Lake for it’s -um- lack of ethnic diversity shall we say). He was asking me about getting a permit, open carry etc. and I told him about the feeling that everyone is watching you and judging you (even is they really aren’t) but also judging all of your peers by your actions. I could see the light bulb come on then he laughed and said “Welcome to the club my brother.”

  11. Do the cops really think that this kind of nonsense puts the law abiding citizenry on their side? Do they really think that a law abiding citizen after seeing these kinds of attitudes is going to help, support or assist them in doing their job?

    I’ve never been arrested, and have no record. I don’t break the law. Even so, these days, I fear the cops as much as I fear the criminals, and I avoid cops like the plague as I go about my daily routine. I don’t call them, talk to them, look at them, or offer to help them. I avoid catching their attention, and if I do have to deal with them, I work to get far away from them as soon as I can. And if I see a cop getting the crap kicked out of him by a suspect on the side of the road, I’m going to look the other way, and leave the scene immediately. I’m NOT getting involved.

  12. Having said that, the guy screwed up. He should have complied with the cop’s demands, and done what he asked. Refusing the order of a cop pisses them off, and increases the chances that the cop is going to harm you. Further, it provides incentive for the cop to arrest you for resisting. Do what they tell you to do immediately, and call your lawyer to deal with the situation later on, when the cop and his fellow buddies can’t kick the crap out of you.

  13. “I don’t want to lose my gun rights. Even though open carry is legal in the Ocean State, RI cops would confiscate my gun, charge with me with disturbing the peace and ban me from carrying in a New York minute.”

    Well, boo hoo for you in the Ocean State. Here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, open carry of handguns is legal statewide – so says the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (and, I might add, the State Police in their annual statewide training for all police officers). The bozo cop that caused this hullabaloo should have known the law.

    I don’t know how those in Rhode Island have been trained to think, or not think, but we Pennsylvanians value our freedom, and will fight for it.

  14. The issue is the fact that you have POs who do not know and are not trained to know or respect the constitution and bill of rights. If you did, these incidents would not be happening. Consequently POs and others begin to believe that they can do anything, to anyone, at any time, and that’s that.

    It’s advisable to only accept candidates that understand that there is a constitution and bill of rights, which predates their arrival on the planet and their appointment as a PO. Since they don’t do this in the public schools anymore it really is up to the law enforcement academies to do it instead.

    $25,000 is rather low and I would be inclined to suspect my attorney was a friend of a friend of a friend. They got off VERY cheap indeed. It certainly was in the city’s interest not to have this go any further considering what is at stake for them. Yes sir, worked out real well for them!

  15. Read Fiorino’s reasons for settling at PAFOA, discussion forum,open and concealed carry, open carry, It finally ends, post #1. Note that the Phila PD has already instituted the training and issued unspecified directives. Fiorino was satisfied by these actions after he personally reviewed them. Philly caved and instituted the changes before they could be forced to. So now they can say they will not be making any changes (because they already did)

  16. to get my conceal carry permit in Philly, I had to submit recent photo, get fingerprinted, provide references, background check (including mental health records) and interviewed by a police officer. why would someone go through all that hassle?

    I just want to get home to my family at the end of the day!

    As of 3/4/12, 224 people have been shot in Philadelphia , 65 of which were fatal. So on average, there are 3-4 shooting victims a day in Philly and 1/4 of the victims die.

    Without a doubt, Philly is a very violent city and Police should be focusing their energy on the ones committing violent crimes. once they verified that he had a valid conceal carry permit (takes maybe what 30-60sec?) then cut him loose and get back to work. But they saw an opportunity for an easy arrest and got all excited and obviously lost their cool.

    I understand the PPD made changes to their policy and educated their officers on the matter. I hope it makes a difference in how the Police deal with future encounters with residents who legally carry.

  17. Bruce Kraft,
    While I’ve ften heard the “bad guy will shoot you first” mantra, there is no evidence to support this idea. A bit over a year ago, in Kennesaw, Ga. there was in fact an incident where the bad guys walked into a Waffle House to case the joint, saw a fella sitting with his friends eating breakfast who was open carrying. The bad guys then went and sat in their autmobile to wait for our open carry friend to leave. Other patrons then noticed some guys looking like they were up to no good just sitting in a car behind the eatery and called the cops to check it out. Sure nuff, a couple of the bad guys had felonly records, were in possession of firearms. Their story was “we saw the guy with a gun and were waiting for him to leave…” Whenever I hear this “the bad guy will shot you first” mantra, I always ask, “Got evidence”?

  18. There was a guy in the VA section of the opencarry.org forums by the handle of Danbus that got pinched by the Norfolk PD not once but twice while OCing. Both times he sued and got a payoff! He surely was the subject of several intra- and inter-departmental memos referencing the legality of open carry. As said, it took a little work, a little inconvenience, and a few civil suits, but the LEOs in VA have got the message for the most part that being peaceably armed is not a crime, probable cause, or reasonable articulable suspicion for a stop. Enough VA citizens OC often enough to keep this fresh in the minds of the police that hopefully the past stays in the past.

  19. Open carry is legal in New Mexico without a permit. We’re also a shall issue state for CCW.
    I don’t like asking permission to practice a civil right, so I’ve been open carrying for about two years; the police here are well informed about the open carry law, so I’ve never been harassed, even when I’m walking around down town Albuquerque, or surfing the web at the local Starbucks.
    Initially, it was difficult for me to open carry, I felt very conspicuous, like I had a flashing light on my head; but in two years, only one person left the Starbucks I was in after he found out I wasn’t a cop, otherwise, I get some looks from the customers when I first enter a store or business, then they go back to what they were doing and don’t pay me any more attention.

    As for the idea that a bad guy would shoot me first before doing more bad things? Has that ever happened? Criminals look for the easy, the defenseless, the sheep that can’t fight back, the visible sheepdogs,( police and open carry citizens) are a natural deterent, that’s the cowardly nature of a human predator coming out.
    z
    Of course, one must also keep a high level of situational awareness, once a person is no longer living in the land of denial, which is where most of the people who choose to be sheep live, it is easy to recognise those few who are the wolves, do a quick scan entering and exiting various businesses, watch for those that have that have the predator feel, keep a watch on those people and more often than not, those predators suddenly seem to remeber someplace they need to be.

  20. If an officer here repetitively told a non aggressive citizen to “shut the fuck up” & called him a “fucking asshole,” he’d be looking for a new job & ruing the loss of his pension. He’s also be looking at a charge of misconduct in public office.
    I hope the officer’s retraining also included some guidance on how to speak to people in a civil manner.

  21. Actually the way that guy spoke, is exactly how most cops here in philly talk… Its breed into them…. Most of them would be thugs on the streets if they didn’t carry a badge… Philly is just a negative town, and they way the officers here act is just the tip of the iceberg.

  22. Robert:

    This was a settlement of a civil-rights challenge. Mr. Fiorino’s criminal case was already closed: http://pennrecord.com/news/philly-open-carry-case-ends-with-not-guilty-verdict-civil-rights-claim-expected-to-follow/ – Googleing his name will give you all sorts of info – http://lmgtfy.com/?q=mark+fiorino

    As for what Mark has to say, I’m going to refer you to the PAFOA forum (Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association), so you can see Mark explain the settlement in his own words: http://forum.pafoa.org/open-carry-144/166130-finally-comes-end-offer-judgment-reached-philadelphia.html

    Oh, and as for if Mark will open carry again – well, both he and I were OC last night… so that would be a yes.

    What do you mean about getting “PA Firearm owners retrained as well”??? Can you explain this more?

  23. Fire the cop. And people wonder why we want guns. Stupid cops and stupid government. I dont want to shoot a cop…. hes only trying to his job. The problem is when all hell breaks loose and everyone wants to make up thier own rules it might be time to take action on your own. Both these cops think they are god and I would love to see them fired. What asses. Give the 25k from that arresting officers pay.

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