Connecticut Cops: Remove Probable Cause From Search of Open Carriers

Connecticut is an open carry state. Like Rhode Island, it’s a practice that’s about as common as public handstands. Even so, Constitution State cops are unhappy that they can’t stop open carriers just because guns. And so the Police Chiefs Association is seeking a change in the law so that cops no longer have to have “reasonable suspicion of a crime” before asking open carriers to produce their [required] gun permit. In fact, they want Connecticut open carriers to . . .

display their carry permit on their person when they carry openly. Yellow star much? Anyway, gun owners — and the NRA — are opposing House Bill 5408. Like that’s going to do any good. We’ll see….


  1. avatar Alex waits says:

    No. Wrong on so many levels.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      One of which is that all such permission slip laws are unconstitutional to begin with, whether or not the SCOTUS has the balls to come right out and say so.

      Second, hunting and fishing licenses must be displayed (while hunting and fishing), but there is no Constitutional protection for hunting and fishing rights.

      Third, “because cops don’t know what to do…” (!) Do nothing. It’s a Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. If the firearm is not being brandished (out of holster or off sling or at low ready) then either move on or observe the carrier’s behavior a little more closely. When and if the person gives legitimate probable cause to believe they are preparing to commit an actual crime, whether or not that crime involves the firearm, THEN the LEO can intervene.

  2. avatar Another Robert says:

    “Reasonable suspicion” is not the same as “probable cause”; it is a significantly lower standard. The Conn cops are asking for even more of a free rein (not “reign”–not yet, anyway) than the headline implies.

    1. avatar Mr. 308 says:

      What am I missing? Isn’t reasonable suspicion one of those 4th amendment things, that is to say, things that the state cannot do?

      I mean, that’s the very literal exact meaning and reason why there is a 4th amendment, so the state cannot just go around terrorizing and harassing whomever they please, because they are the state and you are not?

      Isn’t thing plainly, blatantly, literally, and in-arguably a violation of the 4th amendment?

      I must be missing something, you know, not being a lawyer or a cop or anything, just a simple citizen with what I thought were natural and constitutionally protected rights?

      What has happened to the constitution? Does no one read the thing anymore?

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        The operative word seems to be “license”. Same thing applies to driving (except, of course, that driving isn’t specifically enumerated as a separate constitutional right ); the idea is that if the state can license an activity, it can ask the licensee to produce the license without running afoul of the 4th. Some states, like Texas, have decided that their respective state constitutions require at least “reasonable suspicion” for a cop to stop you even just to check for your DL. It’s kind of up in the air whether the same will be required to ask for a CHL.

        1. avatar DaveL says:

          Except that the mere fact of operating a motor vehicle is not actually sufficient to justify stopping a person to check their license.

        2. avatar Cliff H says:

          DaveL definitely got this right. While the state may require you to have a license to operate a motor vehicle (on public roads), the fact that you are operating a vehicle on public roads does not give them the authority to stop you and ask to see your license. In all cases they must have some reasonable suspicion that a crime is or is about to be committed or that there is probable cause that you have already committed a crime. And those restrictions do not necessarily have to have anything to do with the driver license itself or the proper operation of the vehicle.

        3. avatar Sean in MT says:

          As for the driving comparison, they CAN and DO stop you for your papers! DUI checkpoints, whether they call them “safety inspections” or whatever are in fact exactly what the cops in CT want to do: Stop and search free, law-abiding citizens to determine if a crime is being committed without first having any reasonable suspicion, let alone probably cause. Since the vast majority of people are free, law-abiding citizens and not criminals (yet) their actions disproportionately violate the rights of us good guys.

          I think it sucks.

        4. avatar Another Robert says:

          JR–you caught me, I think you are right that cops can’t stop you individually just to check for a license. How in the world do “checkpoints” pass muster?

        5. avatar Mr. 308 says:

          ” avatarSean in MT says:
          March 5, 2016 at 16:43

          As for the driving comparison, they CAN and DO stop you for your papers! DUI checkpoints”

          Of course cops would never do anything that wasn’t fully constitutional right?

          Yes they suck… I believe this is a violation of 4th amendment protections, as do many others.

          Regardless as to whether or not I am right, just because the police do these things does not make it constitutional.

      2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        {Edit: Robert beat me to it, so consider the below stuff just adding detail to his comment}.

        It may be that what you are missing is the long-established case law from the Terry v Ohio decision.

        In that case, the court essentially applied a “balancing test” to the “reasonableness” standard mentioned in the 4th Amendment. That is, what is at issue is what is a “reasonable search and seizure” vs an “unreasonable” one?

        The Terry case is important because it establishes the “reasonable suspicion” standard for “field investigations.” These are not “arrest” (so not “seizures” under the 4th Amendment, not technically anyway).

        Actually, the case goes a step further than that. It defines “Reasonable Articulable Suspicion” and gives a short list of generalized guidelines (not “bright line” rules) police officers can use to conduct an investigative stop, aka a “Terry Stop.”

        Reasonable Articulable Suspicion has to meet the first two adjectives: the suspicion must be ‘reasonable’ (often contested in court) and ‘articulable.’ Saying “my gut says he was up to no good’ is not an articulable suspicion. Saying “he was walking with his hand on his outer garment like he was gripping something concealed inside” is articulable.

        That alone does not mean it will pass muster in court. It merely means it IS an “articulable” suspicion.

        “Reasonableness” in any Fourth Amendment issue in nearly all criminal cases is hotly debated…at least that has been my observation.

        But, to your question specifically, it all hinges on that one pesky word in the 4A…”reasonable.” Terry v Ohio established something of a standard for what that means in practice, to cops on the street.

        It should be noted that having an OC’d handgun where legal to do so is not, and cannot ever be, grounds to claim “suspicion.” A person conducting a lawful activity is, by definition, not “suspicious,” even if that active “requires” (for the time being) a State issued permit.

        I hate to use the driving analogy, but it fits. Cops generally have to have PC to stop you and check your license. They can’t pull you over JUST for the sole purpose of seeing if you have a DL. (Check points are a whole other matter….). The analogy holds because a person is doing an lawful activity with or without the permit to do so, yet the cop has to have some other cause to check if the permit is possessed.

        An OC-er holding his hand on his firearm? That’s another matter. Maybe that would cross into “suspicious” territory.

        Hope that clarifies. Not a lawyer, but was a cop at one time and spent a lot of time studying this stuff and seeing it play out in court.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          ” Cops generally have to have PC to stop you and check your license. They can’t pull you over JUST for the sole purpose of seeing if you have a DL.”

          Yes, but they *can* get cute and make something up that is effectively non-provable, as in, ‘driving erratically’, or in the case of the OCer, ‘looking around strangely’ or some such BS.

          If they want to, they *will*, and they will have a good idea as to what will fly in front of the local judge…

        2. avatar Chip Bennett says:

          Yes, but they *can* get cute and make something up that is effectively non-provable, as in, ‘driving erratically’, or in the case of the OCer, ‘looking around strangely’ or some such BS.

          Oh, you mean, like my favorite (non-specific, non-articulable) cop-speak descriptor: furtive? Such as a furtive glance or a furtive gesture?

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          The law is what the local gendarmes, municipality, legislature, courts say is is, until overturned by the SC (after which, the lower courts are free to ignore). “Due process” is simply a set of recognizable procedures which must be followed, the outcome of those processes does not define “due process”. Point is a citizen/resident can be restrained/constrained from doing something that should be lawful, but is not. It is up to the detained/arrested to right the “wrong”. During that time, the “due process” stands, the citizen/resident suffers the consequence of violating “the law”.

        4. avatar Mr. 308 says:

          Thanks for that – and yes I am familiar with the Terry case.

          But isn’t this request from the CT po po that they be able to search anyone OCing for no reason at all – bypassing the reasonable suspicion criteria? That was my point, is doesn’t this basically mean violating the 4th amendment?

          Or am I reading this wrong?

        5. avatar jjimmyjonga says:

          ok, all fine so long as those charged with determining probable cause are held just as accountable as the rest of us if harm or damage results when in fact no probable cause existed. If you cannot point to actual, reasonable and real probable cause, the stop is an illegal detention. This is really turning into an “us vs them” scenario.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    Hunters and fishers have to display their license?

    The Statism is high in CT.

    1. avatar Mk10108 says:

      Hunters & fisherman licensing although a tax, contributes to conservation and enforcement.

      The horror here is law enforcement actively lobby’s, writes legislation to create laws which they want to enforce. Law enforcement has no business making laws.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        So … you are onboard with having to display your CHL On your person?

      2. avatar Demo Man says:

        Here in Illinois after FIFTY years of no citizen carry, NRA contract lobbyist Todd Vandermyde put up an “NRA backed” HB183 carry bill in 2013 that was totally written by police unions: criminal penalties of
        6 MONTHS or 1 YEAR in jail for hundreds of gun-free zones, an unelected Star Chamber review board where any cop from any jurisdiction can ANONYMOUSLY smear an applicant and they cannot face their accuser, plus of course Vandermyde’s crowning “achievement” of Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties, so police criminals have an excuse to use force and kill armed citizen at will.

        Off-duty cops don’t have to tell on-duty cops that they are armed. Duty to Inform is legalized execution, and NRA pays backstabbing scum like Vandermyde to advance the legal infrastructure of a systematic criminal police state.

    2. avatar Pascal says:

      Hunters and fishers in fact do not have to display anything since the state put the licensing online some time ago. But, prior to that, yes.

  4. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Well, the last thing they want is citizens expecting to take care of themselves, or to be on equal footing with the enforcers. It is the wrong message.

    It’s like the yellow stars and upper classmen hazing plebes on demand; it is all about de-normalizing the oddballs to reinforce the pecking order. “I may not be much, but I’ m better than those dirty, dirty gun owners.”

  5. avatar Shire-man says:

    Oh CT. Best cops in the country. Openly ignoring rights. Proudly proclaiming their blatant racism on social media. Thumbing their noses at any state legislature attempt to slap their wrists. Taking every time the feds shut depts. down and mandate “reorganization” as a badge of honor.

    CT cops are 100% made up of retarded apes. Given the direction of fecal flow you’d swear CT was sitting right at the bottom of the hill.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      So, what did they bust you for?

      (The venom in that leads me to believe there’s a story there…)

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Geoff, when I lived in CT I never got busted for anything, but I can tell you that Stamford cops fit Shire-man’s description to a T.

        It’s also worth noting that Dan Malloy was once the mayor of Stamford. I guess that birds of a feather really do flock together, because Malloy is a total thug.

        1. avatar Matt says:

          Wallingford cops are also known to be MONSTER dicks although I’ve never experienced it personally.

          For what its worth Shire, the 3 CT cops I know personally are very bro.

      2. avatar Anonymous says:

        I think it was for money. He had some – they wanted some.

  6. avatar Tom W. says:

    Your Paperz Pleaze…..

    It’s honorable to resist the multiple anti gun encroachments that already exist in the still named Constitution State.

    However, The CT political class no longer adheres to it.

  7. avatar Sam I Am says:

    At least we are winning the battle over gun rights, and the vast majority of the country supports us. We’ve got the Supreme Court behind us. Connecticut doesn’t stand a chance.

  8. avatar DetroitMan says:

    Tearing up the Constitution one right at a time.

    1. avatar Caveman says:

      Im thinking we are only going to get to say “constitution” for a short time. What would John Hancock do?

  9. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Legal arguments go…

    – So, cops make the laws now, for their benefit or preference? I assume this top-cop.association is a registered special interest lobbyist, right?

    – Due process, summary judgment, totality of circumstance, etc.

    – Let’s amend the law. What other legal activities do we want the cops to roust, for their benefit? I’m thinking wearing spandex in public. That’s either an esthetic crime of staggering proportions, or a nice break in officer friendly’s day. Win either way.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      I am definitely on board with licensing those who wish to wear Spandex in public. Licenses should be limited to natural born females within certain specified body proportions and punishment for wearing Spandex in public without a license should be SEVERE.

  10. avatar Michael says:

    Sure the cops are your friends….just another example of how the system has corrupted those who are supposed to uphold our rights

    1. avatar Demo Man says:

      Lots of retarded hicks from southern Illinois think the police are your friends, if you’re “one of the good guys.” Richard Pearson of IL State Rifle Association, the NRA state affiliate, actually tells ISRA members, “there is no Duty to Inform in Illinois carry law, it’s only if the officer asks.” Yes, ISRA members are that stupid.

      NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde put Duty to Inform in Rep. Brandon Phelps “NRA backed” carry bill in 2013. Phelps is the “pro-gun” guy backed by NRA. The ONLY IL state Reps. who opposed DTI were the Chicago Democratic black caucus Reps. like Will Davis. Davis challenged Phelps about DTI in the House floor debate, and Phelps said, “It hasn’t been a problem in other states.”!! I am not making this up. NRA is in bed with anti-freedom police unions.

  11. avatar TomD says:

    Perhaps they want a new State slogan – “Connecticut: The Police State”…

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      That’s pretty good.

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      That’s pretty accurate.

  12. avatar Bob321 says:

    Our country has fallen so far in these recent years. Can we honestly claim to be a free country anymore? It doesn’t seem so as long as states like California and Connecticut are still a part of the US.

    1. avatar Caveman says:

      It seems the bill of rights is just letters on a piece of paper. Im pretty sure when an officer is sworn in they swear to uphold the constitution? Guess thats another lie,grrrrrr, makes me angry. You lie to “them” big trouble, they lie to you nothing happens. Fckin dictatorshit ship

  13. avatar Caveman says:

    If it wasnt give an inch take a mile, I see nothing wrong with it. But do to “them” and there give n inch take a mile attitude. Well “they ” ask for our attitude

  14. avatar Katy says:

    Speaking of yellow stars, I suspect they wouldn’t be too happy if someone made custom ID holders that were in said shape.

    Could be fun to watch the fallout, though.

  15. avatar samuraichatter says:

    This tends to happen more when you have a guy OCing by himself and w/ a handgun. A bunch of dudes w/ rifles? Not as much. I wonder why.

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    Open carriers will also be subject to an impromptu colonoscopy so the cops will know what they’re really packing.

  17. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    Unconstitutional. See, e.g. US v Black:

    Being a felon in possession of a firearm is not the default status. More importantly, where a state permits individuals to openly carry firearms, the exercise of this right, without more, cannot justify an investigatory detention. Permitting such a justification would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed individuals in those states.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      I agree, but the ability of the state to license the activity is an opening to require that you produce the license on demand (yes, I also agree that the states should not have the ability to restrict firearms carry to “licensees”–but at this point, the courts have upheld that perogative).

    2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Thanks, Chip.

      I mentioned above that merely OC-ing a handgun cannot be considered “suspicion” in a Terry v Ohio sense. Thanks for the case cite to back that assertion up.

    3. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      CT police to the Supreme court:

    4. avatar Anonymous says:


      Connecticut Legislators and Connecticut police don’t care about that old piece of paper. Circuit judges agree with the them and the Supreme Court won’t want to see the case.

  18. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Sounds reasonable and sensible. I think all gun owners and other undesirable Untermenschen should be required to wear a special badge. Yellow would stand out well. We need to pick an unusual symbol. Hmmmmm. I suppose some sort of multiple pointy star might work.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      “We don’t got to show you no steenkin’ bahjez!”

  19. avatar jjkak says:

    It appears the proposed amendment does not only apply to OC. They are deleting the existing reference to observed by LEO. On a separate note the law refers to carrying the permit on your person but I can think of at least one CT gun range that asks you to leave the permit with them at check in. Illegal under a strict interpretation of this law?

  20. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    Sooooo…why praytell is THIS a whole lot different than “stop and frisk”? Only you’re not black/spanglish/young. Just a gun owner bein’ legal. Welcome to the Warsaw ghetto…

  21. avatar GusMac says:

    When it comes to opportunities for additional power grabs not only are their hands no longer tied, they become legislative gropers.

  22. avatar Ditto says:

    This kind of thing makes me livid. And terrified about the future of liberty in America. We have our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. We also have our 4th Amendment right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure. Does it not concern these folks that they are demanding that people give up one fundamental right in order to exercise another?

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      You must be kidding. Making the society feel safer and less burdened by archaic political notions and laws is a “compelling” reason to allow government to take whatever action necessary (federal circuit court). Rights are nice, but we can’t let the constitution stand in the way of doing the right thing (BHO).

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      “Does it not concern these folks that they are demanding that people give up one fundamental right in order to exercise another?”

      The ultimate goal of statists is that people not have either of those rights in the first place.

  23. avatar Ditto says:

    This kind of thing makes me livid. And terrified about the future of liberty in America. We have our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. We also have our 4th Amendment right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure. Does it not concern these folks that they are demanding that people give up one fundamental right in order to exercise another? Shame on them.

  24. avatar Frank in VA says:

    “Yellow star much?”

    That actually sounds like an interesting protest angle for this proposal in CT. Open carriers could all wear yellow stars that say “Lawful Gun Owner” or something like that on them. Get the JPFO on board for good measure. Shame the cops and raise awareness.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      I smell a lucrative T-shirt market. Combine those T-shirts with the graphic of a pistol that appears to be IWB and a very nice yellow star on the left upper breast area. Before long the public would get used to seeing them and ignore both the T-shirts AND people who were actually carrying and the cops would get tired of harassing everyone who looked like they were open carrying due to too many false positives.

  25. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    If “It” starts it will more then likely be in Connecticut. LEOs there are asking for trouble from the public in general. How many OCers are there on a daily basis that they are wetting their pants over it?? Ridiculous. How is this handled in 45 other states?? Since we got the shaft here in Florida yet for another year. I haven’t a clue how it works. But it doesn’t seem to be a problem anywhere else in general.

    1. avatar Idaho Bob says:

      In Idaho, nobody cares. OC doesn’t require a license. I’ve interacted with sheriff deputies on occasion and they don’t seem nervous or defensive.

      OC around here is just another normal behavior.

  26. avatar Jim in Conroe says:

    In Texas with the passage of open carry that became effective January 1st, anyone openly carrying is required to have his License to Carry in his possession. The police may ask anyone carrying openly to sees their LTC In order to verify that they have it.

    With open carry came certain responsibilities. This is one of them. I have no problem with this

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      I can understand complying with this law, given the repercussions of failing to do so, but that should never preclude you from working actively to repeal and resist an unconstitutional law.

      “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” does not include the authority for the state to license and restrict the exercise of that constitutionally protected right.

  27. avatar Surivordude says:

    For the record, as a CT resident and someone who interacts with cops all the time (in a good way), I can tell you for fact that whoever in the State Police wants this is more than likely someone who’s high up the totem pole. Regular beat cops I interact with, State and Local, are pro freedom and hate all the bullshit as much as the rest of us.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Did you watch the video?

    2. avatar Demo Man says:

      The idea that “the street cops are on our side” etc. is nonsense. Ever see cops quitting their jobs because they “refuse to follow an unlawful order?” It doesn’t matter who promotes the laws, once they are on the books, the cops have an excuse to use force against armed citizens. They will not be expected to use non-lethal force such as pepper spray. If you are armed, they can escalate immediately to lethal force, and they will.

  28. avatar syzito says:

    This is another example of why to never vote for another Democrat. In fact remove them all from office the next election cycle.

  29. avatar JMike says:

    “They want Connecticut open carriers to display their carry permit on their person when they carry openly.”

    Like a police badge? That’s interesting.

  30. avatar Stratajema says:

    Connecticut license plates proclaim it is “The Constitution State”. So I totally trust them and not any of you. With my busy life I don’t have time to think and so I must rely on slogans to make decisions.

    92.6% of Americans

  31. avatar James in AZ says:

    I thought a licenced activity automatically warrants a licence check just because? Somebody educate me.
    Not saying it should be licenced

  32. avatar Demo Man says:

    Don’t let NRA get anywhere near this if Connecticut residents want to keep what’s left of their rights. NRA contract lobbyist for Illinois Todd Vandermyde put Duty to Inform (Duty to forfeit your right to remain silent and your right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty) in Rep. Brandon Phelps HB183 “NRA backed” carry bill in 2013. Illinois Duty to Inform is criminal. The anti-gun police unions wanted to be able to shoot down armed citizens at will, then have legal cover to get away with it, so Vandermyde handed it to them on a platter.

    Orland Park police chief Tim McCarthy was president of the IL Chiefs of Police when Vandermyde cut the deal for DTI. That’s the same Tim McCarthy who was a Secret Service agent when President Reagan was shot, and the same Tim McCarthy who does press events with Jim & Sarah Brady to promote gun control. NRA “teamwork” in action!

    NRA pays rats like Vandermyde to advance the criminal police state, it’s good for “business.” Dead gun owners means the cops, courts & lawyers make money, then lobbyists like Vandermyde have job security to fix the garbage bills they wrote. Feasting on the blood of armed citizens, backstabbing their own members & promoting legalized police murder. That’s “your” NRA!

  33. avatar Hannibal says:

    Last time I checked a state legislature may not override the US Supreme Court.

    They cannot, for example, ban abortion.

    Yet the same thing seems hardly to apply to the Bill of Rights, or at least one of those pesky Amendments…

  34. avatar Wilson says:

    What a load. When’s the last time you saw a criminally minded person OC a gun?

    Pretty much never.

    Criminals want the ability to surprise people, but on top of that most people who are the type to carry a gun for criminal purposes already have a conviction that bars them from carrying a gun or are pretty well known to the police as a shady person. They don’t go around advertising that they’re breaking the law or about to.

    Someone OCing a gun doesn’t bother me UNLESS they’re the type of moron to walk around with a rifle at the low ready in which case I try to avoid them because they’re likely tacti-tard-mall-ninjas. Sling that long gun on your back when around other people.

  35. avatar Henry says:

    “Yellow star much?”

    Not the most appropriate argument, since I’m already voluntarily displaying my Star PD. 🙂

  36. avatar BDub says:

    Perhaps a bit of tit for tat? What if any ordinary Joe can detain Police to call in their badge and ID to make sure they are not just some asshole impersonating a law enforcement officer. I mean, If they can just presume my guilt why can’t I presume theirs, right?

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