Open carrier, Kentucky (courtesy npr.org)

“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.

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96 Responses to NPR: Legal Gun Carriers Complicate Police Interactions

  1. I seem to recall that the Dallas Chief of Police and the Mayor both made comments about the “problems” caused by the open carriers during the BLM demonstration, and that it is hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys (or some such)–despite the fact that not one of them committed a crime.

  2. The bad guys are pointing the guns at you (the police) and the good guys are pointing their guns at the bad guys.

        • Falafel
          Humus
          Schwarma

          Halal (like kosher, but for islam) food is great actually.
          Lots of carts around here sell it.

        • They sit around and eat on the floor , like dogs . >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> actually I don’t care what they eat or how they eat or when they do or don’t eat , and terrorist lives do matter , many liberals consider NRA members terrorist and like it was already mentioned , anyone can be labeled a terrorist and human life does matter . A babies life matters , in and out of a womb , a 99 year old with Alzheimer’s disease matters , a progressive socialist nationalist , they matter , blacks , reds , yellows , browns , whites , this is so obvious . The answer to all our problems in our modern world is going backwards and reaffirming Gods Commandments and observing them without altercation . Thou shalt not murder , doesn’t mean thou shalt not murder anyone but a Jew or infidel . Thou shalt not have any God over me does not mean with the exception of my smart phone or my wife or my kids or my gun . It means what it says . The people shall have the right to bear arms and it shall not be infringed means what it says too , not , ‘ bear arms ‘ , except ARs or full auto or tanks or cannons or battleships for that matter . If people would simply follow those 10 quite simple rules , all would be fine , right ? I don’t care how one chooses to do it , Christians internalize the laws through the Holy Spirit , Jews through practice and policy and others do it in other ways but if we would all just read them every morning and make an attempt to follow them during the coarse of each day , we would not be here today . I know there are those who always blab on and on about the dark deeds done in the name of God , yes , there have been dark episodes in Gods name but it is contrary to Gods laws . Who can find fault in the 10 commandments ?

  3. Robert, you keep using that pic. Please find a better one as condition 3 carry or worse condition 2 carry with a 1911 pattern auto is stupid, and that holster, well just ask Tex Grebner about what can happen with those (though clearly not with a 1911 in condition 3).

      • Serpas are horrible if you are going to carry cocked and locked. Your trigger finger should only have one job on the draw stroke. And I don’t believe it is even made from Kydex. That would be an upgrade.

    • It may not be the current fashion, but hammer down on an empty chamber is exactly how the great John Moses Browning designed the 1911. Therefore, a fine way for it to be shown.

      Don’t believe me; read contemporary military training manuals.

      JMB was very customer driven, and willingly tweaked designs for his customers. What the US Army wanted was hammer down on an empty chamber and that’s how the platform was DESIGNED.

      Perhaps Col. Cooper and his disciples have demonstrated that “cocked and locked” is safe and practicable, but it is NOT what St. JMB intended.

      (Those aforementioned manuals also use the terms magazine and clip interchangeably. Remember that before you try and straighten out some “muggle.” He may have spent many a wet cold night cleaning his “automatic” pistol (It’s what it says on the side, after all.) so that there’d be a world today for you.)

  4. Has anybody talked to ‘ old ‘ cops ? People have always been the backup to police , they still are. Lib-Tards excluded.

    • Yes-yes I have talked to old cops. Old Chicago cops. Every last one hates armed citizens. Maybe in Mayberry it’s different… I like your LOTR moniker.

      • Old NYC cops must have done some training in Chicago, because they hate armed civilians unless they wear blue unis. Hate is not too strong a word.

        • Probably the same type who hate every amendment in the constitution. And really hate that they just can’t beat a confession out of someone. And not to give cops a hard time, I bet half of Americans would like to restrict the rights of others (and not just the second)

  5. That’s because they believe that the police are the masters and we serve them. Most of Amerika believes this, including the police.

  6. You know what else complicates police interactions?…

    Miranda warnings. The right to free speech. The right to peaceably assemble. The right to have accusations aired in open court for your liberty or property can be see The right to have accusations aired in open court before your liberty or property can be seized.

    There are all kinds of things that leftists would like to get rid of.

      • Life would be so much simpler without Habeas Corpus, too; no need for all that trial & charges rigamarole.

    • Along with the 2nd amendment, we should consider making the job of police easier by getting rid of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th amendments.

  7. NPR posted this gem recently, a must see for anyone who enjoys puking in their mouth at the site of egeregious anti anti-gun propaganda. NPR, along with nearly all other mainstream outlets, are in a campaign to disarm the American public,and they produce ridiculous stories that not only downplay the need for self protection, but actually try to portray being a helpless victim seem the cool thing to do.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/15/485843453/it-was-a-mellow-summer-dinner-party-then-the-gunman-appeared

  8. Well, said, Robert. This is typical “us versus them” cop talk. In times of crisis like this we can expect there to be more—and not less—armed citizens present at a mass shooting. I will note that the presence of armed citizens was not a problem for Austin police in 1966 when Charles Whitman climbed the tower at UT and beginning killing people. At that time armed citizens played a significant role keeping Whitman penned down and thereby reducing the numbers of people killed. Reportedly, Austin cops appreciated the help. Today, that would not be the case at all.

    Today’s police forces tend to operate under discrete rules of engagement that only they are privy to. The rest of us are only made aware of these rules when somebody gets shot. I think an obvious solution for a active-shooter-armed-citizen-police situation is for everybody, both the public and the cops, to have a clear understanding of what rules are in place and how they’re going to be used. Denying gun-right, turning citizens into victims, is a poor way to reduce ambiguity.

    • Garrison Hall,

      “Today’s police forces tend to operate under discrete rules of engagement that only they are privy to.”

      The rules of engagement for police are quite simple: anything goes as long as they get home safe at the end of the day.

  9. Look, I don’t think this report seems far from the mark. We all know and discuss that some police get nervous around even the mention of a ‘gun’? That’s why the venerable Massad Ayoob suggests to more carefully phrase our disclosure to officers when appropriate without mentioning words, such as ‘gun’, to which they may key off of and react. So is it spin, or is it discussion of the same topic we’ve had?

    With the current climate, I expect most cops are understandably going to be a bit more anxious. Heck, I probably would be. Just like open and concealed carriers have to be mindful of their actions, police training will likely need to change to accommodate the newer climate. Legal carry of firearms is certainly far more popular today and this may be a genre shift for officers working locations where legal carry has not historically been exercised.

    • “We all know and discuss that some police get nervous around even the mention of a ‘gun’?”

      This is not, and should not be, a private citizens problem. Competent police officers are always a couple of steps ahead of an unfolding situation while less competent cops tend to be jumpy at “even the mention of a gun”. In combat, it’s the guys who are nervous that are the most dangerous—to both themselves and others—because they can’t get themselves out in front of the action at hand and, instead, become captured in that one scary moment. The military works hard to identify guys who are prone to doing this. One hopes this also extends to police forces.

      • The military enjoys the advantage of being able to weed out those who are unsuited to the job without interference from a labor union…

      • “is not” and “should not” are entirely two different things – as is reality and philosophy. For those who would like to go home to their families and not be the topic of a posthumous court case, I can say this “is” a topic whether or not it “should”.

    • Best joke of the day. The police are experts, with help from legislators, at shoving the fourth amendment so far up your ass you have to read it with the backside of your eyeballs.

    • Exactly, Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we don’t do it, at least that’s what every law enforcement instructor I’ve had has said in class.

  10. I’ve disclosed to my local cops twice. Hey, why not? They’re the people who issued my license in the first place. The police reaction — total boredom. They almost yawned.

    And BTW, if it’s on National Pubic Radio, it’s nuts.

    See what I did there?

  11. I don’t see how OC makes the job of the police more difficult.

    I spent a portion of my life living in some truly bad neighborhoods. From that experience one thing I can tell you I noted was that criminals don’t OC. Full stop. They just don’t. The specific reasons for this may vary from criminal to criminal but they NEVER OC a gun.

    Criminals CC exclusively in my experience and usually do so without retention.

    On top of that, OC or CC don’t matter. As the article points out bad guys are identified by the fact that they do bad things. The guy/gal who informs you that they’re carrying (or doesn’t) but follows instructions to a T is a good guy. Good people don’t run from the police, pull guns on the police, brandish guns at random people or fire on innocent people. A few moments of observation by a person with an IQ above 80 will tell that person if the gun owner/possessor they’re seeing is a good guy or a bad guy. The guy crouched down behind the engine block of a car with an AR can be observed for just a few seconds to determine if he’s a bad guy or a good guy. The guy telling or motioning for people to stay down rather than rattling off rounds is a good guy. The guy shooting at police or innocent folks needs to get plugged.

    • The reason why concealed carry was made illegal in the first place (100-ish years ago) was because of the belief that only a criminal would want people to think he wasn’t armed while he was actually carrying a gun. While it’s not true that anyone who wants to keep their gun a secret is a criminal, it is definitely true that criminals don’t want you to know they have a gun until they attack.

      • Certainly there are arguments on both sides of legal OC vs legal CC and you are correct that not everyone who wishes to conceal a gun is a criminal.

        My point here very simply was that cops in those neighborhoods didn’t care if I walked around with a 9 strapped to my hip or my black neighbor had his long barreled .357 on his hip. In fact, we had an incident where my roommate and I (both white) were sitting on our porch playing cards and chatting with the neighbors (two black folks and old lady and a middle aged man) while everyone was armed. The idiots across the street did some things idiots often do and the police showed up to calls of shots being fired into the air (alcohol was most certainly involved, drugs probably were too).

        After they arrested a couple people they came over to us. We’re sitting there, everyone has a pistol OCed on their person and leaned up against the various walls/railings are an AR, SKS, 12 gauge pump and an M1A. The cops don’t bat any eyelash at our “scary and dangerous firepower” even though it’s all loaded and they can clearly see the mags in the M1A and AR. They don’t care at all. They know from the jump that the fact we’re not trying to conceal them makes it 99.9999999% likely that we’re law abiding and no threat to them. If we were we’d have been shooting at them a long time ago.

        A conversation about what we had seen happen ensues, statements are given and signed and the cops go on their merry way.

  12. They have about 5,000 cops in Cleveland for the RNC, about 2,000 in riot gear. They have about 300 who are from out of state who were sworn in as special officers. Add to that supposedly untold thousands of Feds, pulled from many different agencies. How long is it going to be before some crazy or terrorist figures out you can buy black tactical gear online and you can buy a computer controlled embroidery machine that would print any logo, badge or letters on it and that you could Photoshop ID from some obscure department?

    What an ideal way to get in a position to wreak havoc, much better than being an open carrier. I think they are focusing on the wrong thing. If someone were a crazy or a terrorist, the last thing they would want would be to draw attention to themselves.

    • Hmm … a spree killer masquerading as a law enforcement officer, complete with realistic uniform … nah, would never happen. Oh, wait … (reference Anders Breivik)

  13. And? Nobody said their jobs were easy, or were going to be easy. Stripping LEGAL people of their rights because life is “too hard” for the whittle babies is bull.

  14. “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.”

    Typical attitude from many (not all) cops I’ve met. “I like guns, until people without badges can carry guns. That makes me feel like this badge doesn’t make me special, and I DON’T LIKE IT!”.

  15. “off his meds”

    That’s a hilarious deflection to the reality that there is a problem with intentional mass killing sprees by openly radical political lefties in our country right now.

    What a fart that guy is.

  16. This can ALL be fixed with proper use of — Secret No Fly Lists —- H.R. – 5611 , + others are still trying to be ” attached ” to a bill when we are not looking …… stay woke !

  17. It complicates police interactions? Constitutional rights are like that. Even if it’s true of the 2nd Amendment, it’s also true of the First, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth, the Eighth, and the 14th.

  18. Maybe they should have a seminar or something and explain to the jittery officers that most people carrying guns are just law abiding citizens.

  19. This is all a matter of perspective.

    NPR being who and what they are (a bunch of effete and sallow fascists in soft suede shoes and bow ties), sees OC (or CCW) as complicating police interactions.

    I, on the other hand, see the potential of police interaction as complicating my daily life, part of which is packing a piece.

  20. I have informed 4 times since I started carrying concealed. 3 times I was in a “duty to inform” states NC and AZ. Once not FL. In each case I said “I have a concealed carry permit and I’m armed.”
    The reaction in the outback of AZ was “Everybody and their dog has a gun around here. Stay out of the middle of the road on a blind curve.”
    In NC where I live, I got a call at 3AM to collect my car when my son was arrested. The LEO who called me said “probably a good idea in this neighborhood”, the other was in a coffee shop at 10PM. She said, “keep it well covered in here”.
    In FL I had called the police to report a theft. When I informed, his eyebrows shot up and he said “Now? Right now?”. “Yes”. He disarmed me, cleared my pistol and put it in the kitchen while we talked in the living room.
    It’s impossible to predict the reaction.

    • “It’s impossible to predict the reaction.”

      This.

      It can be a problem here in Florida, since moving to Florida seems to be something cops in cold northern states aspire to do.

      From a local LE, I’ve heard it can take them some time to de-program them from certain ‘conditioned responses’ on seeing citizens with firearms, things like screaming “GUN!”.

    • Charley, about the Florida incident:

      Was it in your own home and he did not have a warrant for you or the premises?

      I can’t imagine disarming under those circumstances to suit his whims.

  21. Dear NPR,

    This statement is complete BS: “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.”

    Regards,

    Arizona

    • Also, NPR is a government financed, Democrat Party run propaganda outlet. So, why does anything they say matter to anyone but the mindless drones in our society?

  22. It’s interesting that game wardens deal with people who are armed all the time and usually don’t get their Under Armor tactical skivvies all in a wad over it. A different breed of LEO perhaps?

  23. “Minnesota law doesn’t require people to tell police they have a gun unless asked.” Wow, you only have to forfeit your right to remain silent, your right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty, and your right to NOT be summarily executed without trial like Philando Castile if a cop asks? Who is the NRA lobbyist for Minnesota? Let’s thank them for creating this paradise of gun freedom!

    Wait, that’s what we have in Illinois, Duty to Inform if a cop asks. But since there are criminal penalties of 6 months or 1 year in jail for DTI, and since it’s the cop’s word against yours, and since the cop can order you to stop recording if you even are, and since it’s not a crime for cops to delete or alter video or audio evidence, the Duty to Inform in Illinois is legalized execution for cops, just like Minnesota.

    Let’s thank NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde for placing Duty to Inform in Illinois’ 2013 concealed carry bill and taking Philando Castile style policing nationwide! How much do Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham at NRA/ILA pay Vandermyde for this “work?” It’s not every day you can be an accessory to murder and keep your job.

    • Demo boy-my duty is to inform everyone you’re a troll with a goofy vendetta against poor Todd. And you hate Chatsworth( you get raped there?)

  24. Last weekend we were eating in a Cracker Barrel restaurant outside of Raleigh NC. One of the customers was OC’ing a 1911. He was there with his family. OC is pretty rare in NC. Yet no-one cared. Probably few noticed. As I think about it, I haven’t seen many No Weapons signs at restaurants here. Just occasionally in artsy-fartsy districts where they would make excellent terrorist targets like in Paris and Orlando.

  25. the public exercise and display of most of our civil liberties create convenience issues for law enforcement.

    I don’t care.

  26. Seems to me that all of our protected rights under the bill of rights tend to complicate interactions with Police.

    America, simple is for suckers.

    And the French.

  27. For some reason, I’m reminded of a certain dwarf who also needed to learn a lesson about the difference between “dangerous” and “bad guy”.

    “Perhaps he also thought that you were Saruman,” said Gimli. “But you speak of him as if he was a friend. I thought Fangorn was dangerous.”

    “Dangerous!” cried Gandalf. “And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Glóin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion. Certainly the forest of Fangorn is perilous—not least to those who are too ready with their axes; and Fangorn himself, he is perilous too; yet he is wise and kindly nonetheless.”

  28. So, because the police apparently have a hard time with ROE, every legal firearm owner should disarm. That the gist?

    To be fair, criminals don’t advertise they are criminals. So yeah, you can’t tell good guys from bad before the bullets go flying.

    And it seems a lot of the consensus with POTG and reacting to threats when there is police around seems to be get out of the area when the bullets go flying rather than engaging the threat.

    I can see how that would be a negative for the police that would have more perceived threats to vet through rather than a manufactured ROE shortcut of gun = criminal if no one law abiding would be allowed to have guns.

    However, I argue the 1-2 seconds of ROE verification is a small price to pay for all the thousands of DGUs that happen every year, not to mention the crime deterrent that comes with armed citizens.

  29. In other news, blacks who sit in the front of the bus are complicating the job of Montgomery bus drivers…

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