I was on a mission of mercy. A close friend needed a lady friend and her goods to be transported cross country. I found myself hauling a good-sized trailer on I-40, looking for a gas station with easy in and out. I stopped at Meteor Crater rest stop to give everyone a break. As I came out of the facility, I asked a gentleman who was uniformed as staff where the next truck stop was. He graciously told me that there was one at exit 255, about 20 miles further east. Then he said, “You are not supposed to have that here,” indicating the GLOCK on my hip . . .

“Why not?” I asked. I followed him over to a sign with a long list of rules for the stop. One of them said: Firearms must remain in vehicles.

I recognized it. It was the same bogus rule that we had fought against back in ’98, and had been removed from the Arizona rest stops. This one must have been missed, or perhaps it was a sign that was in storage, and had replaced one that was damaged. I informed the polite gentleman of the situation, gave him my card, and said that he could probably find the details if he looked up Sacaton open carry on Gun Watch. He said he would have to check with the Department of Public Safety, which I said was an excellent idea, as they would have to fix it.

From an earlier article:

It took activism by Arizona gun owners to have the signs removed.  An open carry picnic at the Sacaton rest stop on I-10 near Tucson was organized in 1998. Rick Destephens, who was there, writes about it:

Have you noticed that there are no longer any signs at Arizona rest stops that read, “Keep all weapons in your vehicle”? That was Brassroots and S.A.F.E. combine effort back in 1998. We staged a forty-man protest at the Sacaton rest stop and five TV cameras showed up. We then got three hours of time on Bob Mohan’s show on KFYI. That resulted in Hull’s, ADOT’s and DPS’s phones melting down for two weeks. The signs came down later that month.

In the hustle of getting the show on the road, I didn’t get a picture of the sign. I hope to obtain one later.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

55 Responses to Open Carry at Meteor Crater – Know the Law

      • It’s the traditional uniform worn to practice the Korean martial arts, typically Tae Kwon Do in the U.S.A. I think he meant to say “dojang” (sometimes spelled “do-chang”), which is the Korean equivalent of “dojo,” or training hall. Or it could be something completely different…

    • It’s now Constitutional Concealed Carry. It’s been Constitutional Open Carry longer than it’s been a state.

      • Jason, while there’s no legal definition of “Constitutional Carry,” we take it to mean permit-less carry of firearms openly or concealed as the carrier chooses.

        There are about 30 states where it is legal to carry openly without a permit. They are called “Open Carry” States. AZ was one of those before it became a Constitutional Carry state (like Vermont and others).

        “Open Constitutional Carry” is a contradiction in terms.

        • In New Mexico; you can OC without a permit. You can also carry an unloaded concealed weapon with a mag on your belt without a permit. Then it’s shall issue CC with a permit.

          We’re almost there; if we just go to constitutional carry, we would be the “Land of (Enchantment) Heavenly Hosannas”.

        • I was pointing out that the recent legal change was for carrying concealed without a permit. AZ has never had a law against carrying openly, regardless of permits.

        • It is a myth that “Constitutional Carry” is limited to any particular state.

          In Heller, the US Supreme Court affirmed that the basic human right of armed self-defense (which right the Court took pains to point out was in existence long before the 2nd Amendment) includes the right to have a fully-operable handgun immediately available for self-defense. Arizona and several other states have formally affirmed the fairly obvious point that this basic human right includes the right to carry a firearm on one’s person, whether concealed or openly, without getting the state’s “permission” to exercise that right.

          Every state is bound by both the Heller decision and (under the Full Faith and Credit clause) the official “acts” of the states that have acknowledged the right of law-abiding citizens to carry without getting “permission” from the state in the form of a “permit.” The states can’t enforce their own separate points of view on the permit issue because the basic human right to armed self-defense is a FEDERAL right under both the 2nd and 14th Amendments (due to the “incorporation” of that right into the 14th Amendment under McDonald), and thus must be uniform throughout the United States under the Equal Protection clause.

          In Heller, the Court also clarified the outer limits of the state and federal governments’ authority in regulating firearms as being (a) reasonable restrictions on commercial sales; (b) keeping firearms from felons and the mentally ill; and (c) keeping firearms out of “sensitive” places such as government buildings [I contend that the government and property owners determine what places are sufficiently “sensitive” by either providing adequate security, or not — if there is adequate security to keep law-abiding citizens safe from armed felons, mentally ill and other potential attackers, then a place is “sensitive” enough to justify disarming law-abiding citizens].

          While the Heller Court did say that it was NOT addressing the concealed-carry issue (because that issue was not presented in the facts of the case), nothing in the Court’s outline of the limits of governmental authority includes the right to tell us HOW we can exercise the basic human right of armed self-defense — just WHAT kinds of firearms are illegal (subject to “reasonable”), WHO can have them (anyone not a felon or mentally ill — but I would add “minors” to that list), and WHERE they cannot be used.

          In other words, “constitutional carry” is the law in EVERY state. The wacko politicians who still think that they have the right to ignore the law, facts and common sense on that issue simply have not been sued enough and paid enough damages and legal fees to understand that point yet.

          That said, I do have and carry a concealed carry “permit” — as a convenience to myself. That document officially confirms that I am a law-abiding citizen with the right to armed self-defense, which makes any encounter with law-abiding police officers very quick and convenient for all concerned.

      • Paul Wright, I agree completely, and if you happen to have a few million bucks you don’t need, you might want to press the issue, but otherwise acting on that truth may get you roughly arrested by jack-booted thugs and imprisoned for various numbers of years depending on the state.

    • Constitutional carry means carry without a permit. It does not mean that carrying anywhere and everywhere is legal. There are certain prohibited locations and locations where permit carry is legal but carry without a permit is not. Examples include a school zone (prohibited without a permit) and bars and other restaurants that serve alcohol (legal only with a permit).

      • One thing to keep in mind is the reservations. Native American Reservations are strictly no-carry(at least for anyone not a native). All those Casinos and the like have video, and you WILL be arrested if they catch you, and you will be up the brown creek…

        • I’ve got a LEO friend with one of the large tribes here in AZ. Number one, if you’re legal to carry, then your legal to carry on any state/fed roadway crossing native land, and the rest-stops that adjoin them. When you exit such road for food, gas, lodging, then your RKBA ends there.

          Thankfully, many of the tribal cops are not hard-cases, and will merely inform you, and suggest that you either move-on, or disarm while about your activities. The next level is that they will confiscate your gun, and issue you a misdemeanor citation to appear in tribal court. It’s up to you if you want to show up, LOL. Do you forsee crossing or visiting that land again?
          Either way, you can kiss your confiscated gun bye-bye. Another reason to carry an otherwise standard type of gun, that’s easily replaced.

      • “locations where permit carry is legal but carry without a permit is not. Examples include a school zone …”

        Which makes them psychopath magnets, since they don’t care about laws, and like going unchallenged. Has anyone told the hoplophobes this unsettling little fact?

  1. Just goes to show that there’s paper law and there’s practical law. Suppose that had been an uninformed police officer, as opposed to a uniformed staff member, who’d commented on the self-defense sidearm. That could have resulted, as we’ve seen in Arizona and elsewhere, in an illegal arrest and firearm confiscation, despite what the law allows.

    Brings to light two lessons:

    1.) Have some respect, LOTS of respect, for the activists who’ve struggled and suffered in the past (and present) to secure and solidify the rights we enjoy today and will enjoy tomorrow.

    2.) Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to educate, publicly shame, and/or sue everyone you meet.

    • I respectfully disagree with the demonstrations.

      There is one and only one proper place for this fight — in the courts. This is because the law is clear and settled: Heller, McDonald, and now multiple follow-on cases in lower courts upholding and explaining those decisions particularly including even the extreme-left 9th Circuit in the San Diego County case. A few out-of-touch politicians are now just playing stupid games, literally DARING us to sue them.

      Any “demonstrations” are totally ineffective, and as a political matter actually put settled rights at risk by marginalizing the rights involved.

      If any state officials interfere with your right to armed self-defense, sue the officials involved under 42 USC 1983 — they will be PERSONALLY liable for the damages and your litigation expenses. Rahm Emanuel had to stroke a large check to the winning side after the McDonald case, and that is starting to piss off the voters in Chicago — that’s about the only language these America- and freedom-hating GunNazis will ever understand.

  2. I read this and appreciated that the staff member quietly told you what he believed was the law according to the sign he looks at every day, instead of throwing you to the ground, disarming you and holding you for the police to arrive. Yes, he was wrong, but he didn’t know that. My point being that according to your post, he acted in a rational polite way, in much the same manner in which you acted towards him. This is how interaction SHOULD BE between normal polite folks. Had Bloomberg been there, you would have probably been thrown to the ground by his security team and held until the police arrived to tell his “royal lowness” that he is an idiot.

  3. Hey Dean, how tightly does that holster hold your Glock? Are you comfortable open carrying without some kind of retention system (beyond friction)?

    I ask because I’m looking for an open carry holster, and a lot of folks say you need some kind of mechanical retention (SERPA, safariland ALS, etc), but other folks OC just fine without any of that. Any advice?

    • Menger40,

      A retention method is always a great idea.

      Regardless, I am not aware of a single instance where a criminal grabbed an openly visible firearm out of someone’s holster. The analysis for criminals is simple: why risk it when you can just rob an unarmed person?

      Personally, it depends on my activity, surroundings, and environment. The only time I will not carry openly (without a retention holster) is in dense crowds anywhere or moderate crowds in urban environments. Of course you must always be aware of your surroundings when carrying openly … just as you should whether you are armed or not.

      • I wouldn’t risk using a non-retaining holster for OC regardless of what any criminal has ever done in the past. I’ll stick to my Serpas. Not to mention he’s got that thing hanging back there at about 5:00. That’s another no-no especially w/o retention. I like to be at 3:00 for OC so that the weapon is protected behind my arm. I think you need to be able to access it as quickly as possible when OC’ing considering that you have forgone the element of surprise. Almost looks like he’s inviting someone to grab it. I carry at 4:00 or 5:00 for CC only. Not that I’m an expert or anything. Seems like common sense.

        • Yeah, just like “The way she was dressed, she was just asking to be victimized”, right?

        • Not quite. That analogy would work if Dean was dressed like this and walking through a known gang banger hood. Asking for it? I don’t know but, some activities are safer than others. Just sayin’.

        • Walking down an alley at night in some (many) places alone in a miniskirt is stupid. Doesn’t mean someone is ‘asking for it’ but it’s no less dumb. Just like somebody not wearing a motorcycle helmet isn’t ‘asking’ to die in a collision.

  4. Makes me feel cowardly. I saw a similar sign at a county park in PA where I was hiking. [Only the commonwealth can pass firearms regs in PA, though many local authorities do not see themselves as bound by state law]. I ignored the sign (my firearm was concealed, anyway), but I didn’t want to take it up with the rangers.

  5. Interesting Iv been planning a trip out there and as I live in az I would never even think to look for such a sign, when I seen the tittle of the post I figured it was some rule of the park it self

  6. Didn’t happen! If I’ve learned anything from my time on TTAG it’s that open carry is only for flexing your Look-at-me-toralis!

  7. Brassroots, RIP. Man, those guys knew how to do an open carry protest. None of this wander-around-the-park-with-your-Krink-and -a-GoPro nonsense. Call the cops and tell them you’re going to break their illegal law. Bring your lawyer. Issue a press release.

  8. When firearms carry was approved for city parks it wasn’t exactly a prompt undertaking to update the signs. I fish the urban lakes around town and was keeping an eye on the signs out of curiosity.

    • Back when TX passed CC, I was fascinated by the treatment of signs where alcohol was sold, which had said possession of a firearm on the property was a violation etc, etc, two signs in two languages. A year or two after the law was changed, we finally got a change in the sign posted in Spanish (not fluent, but I can understand “sin licensia”), and a few more years went by before the sign in English was updated. Just fascinating.

  9. I live in Alabama. The firearms omnibus law passed last year restricted who could and could not prohibit carry, open or otherwise and under which constriction s. Rest Stops are places that CANNOT restrict carry. That didn’t stop AL DOT from placing conspicuous “No Weapons” signs at all of the ones I’ve seen. I still carry at Rest Stops, concealed. Repeated requests to the head of ALDOT have, of course, gone unanswered.

  10. Why would anyone feel compelled to walk around with a Glock on his ass at Meteor Crater? Expecting another surprise visitor from outer space?

    • I can’t speak for anyone else but I know that I only carry a pistol when I don’t expect to get in a gunfight. Anyone that isn’t a fool knows you either run from or bring a rifle to a fight you know about.

    • Have you ever heard the term “rattlesnake”? How about “coyote”? Might you be from an urban area in the northeast?

  11. And you think you need to carry a gun open at a rest stop, why? Tactical stupidity or just to make your penis grow to impress your boyfriend?

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