“The recent targeted attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge have law enforcement on edge,” NPR reports. “Some departments are telling officers to patrol in pairs when possible, and to be extra vigilant about possible ambush. Complicating matters is the question of how to interpret and react to the presence of a gun. With more Americans now exercising their legal right to carry firearms, police find themselves having to make rapid judgments about whether an armed citizen is a threat.”
I’m so confused! Isn’t an officer interacting with an armed citizen always a possibility, regardless of whether or not the person in question is carrying legally? How do legal carriers complicate matters, exactly?
And when it comes to open carry, the officer knows the person is armed. Wouldn’t that be considered a simplification? Apparently not.
Steve Loomis is head of the biggest police union in Cleveland — he calls himself a “Second Amendment guy,” but on Sunday he asked Ohio Gov. John Kasich to limit the state’s open-carry law during this week’s Republican convention.
Loomis, talking to a reporter from The Plain Dealer, said there are certain practical problems in having people walk around downtown carrying semiautomatic rifles.
“Somebody’s going to be watching, there’s going to be multiple police officers watching that person with that AR-15, when they should be over here watching for the guy that’s not on his meds that has a couple of handguns,” Loomis said.
Oh, so an open carrier armed with an AR — exercising his natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms — presents a drain on police resources. So we should curtail, suspend or eliminate civil rights to reduce pubic expenditures on policing. Makes sense to me. Well, not me. But someone.
Even in states with open carry, when people see someone with a gun, they tend to call the cops — and then the police get the thankless job of challenging someone who may or may not be a threat. One high-ranking officer in Texas calls it a “headache.”
“When you have all these people running around with guns and rifles, you don’t know who the bad guy is,” he says.
I call bulls*!t. Unless that quote was an actual sound bite from an actual “high-ranking” officer (this is a written report), I reckon writer Martin Kaste made it up. And even if he didn’t, it’s flat-out wrong.
First, Texas has had licensed open carry since January. If open carry was presenting such a headache for police, it’s news to me, an open carrier in the liberal heart of the deep red Lone Star State. Second, as TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia have pointed out on numerous occasions, it’s easy enough to tell the bad guy. He’s the one doing bad things.
According to Kaste, it’s not just open carry causing potential — note potential — headaches for law-enforcement. And he’s got a non-event from a Twin Cities concealed carrier to prove it (assuming the word “prove” means nothing whatsoever).
Another potential headache is concealed-carry permits, and the people who like to keep their guns secret, like Joseph Olson of Minnesota . . .
Olson says he thought Minnesota police had adapted to the reality of legal guns — until he was pulled over by an especially nervous-seeming cop.
“His voice had a tremor in it and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh, my God.’ I decided when I heard his voice that I was not going to introduce another element into the transaction,” Olson says. He decided not to mention his gun.
Huh? Concealed carry is a problem because of generally nervous cops? And while we’re examining cherry-picked or perhaps invented anecdotes, here’s the one that lies at the heart of Kaste’s article.
Minnesota law doesn’t require people to tell police they have a gun unless asked. Instructors give conflicting advice on this — but cops say they appreciate being told as soon as possible. Most of them have stories about close calls, when a legal gun appeared in the wrong way.
One officer recalls telling a gun owner, “Do you realize you almost died tonight?” The officer, whom we’re not identifying because he doesn’t have permission from work to talk about this, says he’d pulled the man over for a routine traffic stop.
“So I said, ‘I see you have a permit to carry. Do you have a firearm in the vehicle?’ “
“And … [he said] ‘Yeah, it’s right here,’ and he reaches over to his passenger seat, and I’m going, ‘Stop. Don’t move,’ and he grabs this shirt,” the officer recalls. “And I can then see a gun in it, and he’s grabbing it.”
The officer says he managed to grab the man’s arm before being forced to pull his own gun, but police have shot motorists for a lot less than that.
Yeah, we get it. Philando Castile and all that. Which is how Kaste ends his diatribe.
Dibble favors maximum transparency: “Seems like the right thing to do is to say, ‘Officer, I’m a concealed-carry permit holder, I have a firearm, I don’t want you to be surprised should you see it.’ “
Then again, [Minneapolis state senator Scott] Dibble says, that’s apparently what Philando Castile was trying to do when he got shot by a police officer.
I guess Kaste and his NPR editors want listeners/readers to think that all this legal gun carrying stuff is dangerous for cops and armed citizens in case NPR devotees in New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. start getting ideas about carrying a firearm.
Gun control. Do it for the cops! Or not.