*unless you carry a badge.
I found this article in my Facebook feed: Vice Principal Sues Police for Arresting him While Lawfully Concealed Carrying. At issue is a school vice principle, Kent Williams, who was arrested by the Bakersfield 5-0 for carrying a firearm within 1000 feet of a school. The cops were apparently ignorant of the law’s exception for law enforcement and those licensed to carry a firearm in California . . .
The man illegally arrested plans to sue the department for an illegal arrest. He states:
“It was an illegal arrest. They say, ‘Hey, we get a free pass, because we made a mistake. We were ignorant of the law.’ Ignorance of the law is not a defense. The same goes for the police.”
On one hand, cops aren’t lawyers. On the other hand, arresting a person is a big deal, no matter what the charge. Let’s say the man wasn’t a holder of a concealed carry license and had simply been carrying a long arm in a case within 1000 feet of a school – perhaps on the way to his car to go lawfully shooting – and was picked up by Bakersfield’s finest. Would he get off with a simple. “Oh, sorry…I did not realize”?
Similarly, there’s the case of Shaneen Allen, a Philly mom with a lawful CCW who’s facing charges in New Jersey, and 3 1/2 years in jail because she was ignorant of the laws of New Jersey when she crossed the state line. A simple ‘sorry’ and and ‘I wasn’t aware of the law’ hasn’t helped her at all.
I think we need to limit laws that can lead to an arrest to a number in which a police officer can reasonably be expected to remember and understand. I also think that sovereign immunity – in which a public official can escape civil responsibility so long as what they do is part of their official business – may be working against keeping the proper balance between authorities and the people. You?