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Sgt Patrick Hayes writes:

YouTube is filled with videos of openly armed citizens interacting with the police. Some open carry advocates make the videos to capture a negative or unlawful police reaction to a legal practice. Some record an incidental interaction. The progress and outcome of these armed encounters usually depends on two key factors: geography and the officers’ attitude. In some states (e.g. Arizona) the police are comfortable with the practice. In other states (e.g. Rhode Island and Connecticut) open carry is so rare the police assume it’s illegal – or at least indicates an illegal activity. That’s the general picture. More specifically, though, bad things can happen . . .

There are two ways police come into an open carry situation. First, a police officer sees someone with a firearm. Second, an officer is dispatched to investigate “a person with a gun.” In Georgia, the person-with-a-gun calls usually come from citizens concerned about folks carrying rifles or shotguns in public (which requires no license in GA). Just like everywhere else, some of our citizens are either anti-gun, don’t understand gun laws, or scared by nature.

When a police officer is dispatched to a person with a gun call they have to investigate – even if it’s just to determine that the law is being followed. Usually, it is. But not always. As I’m sure you can understand, those of us charged with defending the thin blue line have to assume that a person-with-a-gun situation is at least potentially dangerous – for us, onlookers and the person possessing the gun. We have to be careful.

Ideally, a police officer encountering a fellow citizen openly carrying a firearm should be wary AND friendly AND respectful. The officer should recognize that the open carrier may be nervous; fearful of arrest or intimidation. The officer should not raise his or her voice or act in a physically aggressive manner. The officer’s word choice shouldn’t be combative or authoritarian. He or she should spend more time listening than talking.

As with any profession, there are good cops and bad cops, pro-gun and anti-gun police, law enforcement officials raised/trained to respect gun rights and those raised/trained to fear them. Anti-gun cops are a nightmare for open carry advocates or practitioners. These are cops looking for an excuse to arrest, intimidate or at least hassle citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights.

So how should you react when the police approach you when you’re openly carrying a firearm (in accordance with the law)?

First, PLEASE stop looking to create encounters where you can “out” a fascist cop. Intentionally provoking police officers is a dangerous game. If you do it to me, no problem. I’m happy to discuss your legal rights, I know how to talk and make sure you’re practicing gun safety at the same time and I love to talk about guns. If you do it to some cop who thinks he’s God, you can easily find yourself in a negative feedback loop. Which can lead to a ride downtown. Or worse.

Cooperate as much as you can. Do not under any circumstances unholster, unsling or touch you weapon in front of the officer unless he or she asks you to do so. If they do move slowly. You don’t have to bow and scrape to the officer, but do not escalate a confrontation by becoming aggressive.

If the officer is negative, obnoxious, ill-informed, generally unprofessional or acting illegally you can deal with that later, when it is safe to do so. If the officer is ignorant of the law, ask for a supervisor. Breathe easy and relax as much as you can; police pick-up on signs of stress (e.g. rapid breathing and body language) and can misinterpret your discomfort as aggression.

Take your time. Armed citizens who constantly demand “may I go now?” and “are you detaining me?” are forcing officers out of their comfort zone. You are perfectly within your rights to do so. Police are public servants after all. But they’re also people who have a job to do. A job that requires slavish attention to procedure where a mistake can derail their career. Also in the back of their mind: “what if I let a killer walk?”

Citizens approach me all the time, armed, to ask about a gun law they are not clear on, or ply me with gun or ammunition questions. As I said, I can talk guns all day. And I love it when an anti-gunner sees a cop and an armed citizen “talking shop” in public. But just as we can’t count on an armed citizen being harmless you can’t count on the police being polite and friendly. There’s no other way to say this: the open carrier’s best insurance against the worst case “bad cop” scenario is to keep your powder dry, in every sense.


Sgt Patrick Hayes is a 10 year Army veteran and a 20 year police veteran. He is a strong supporter of the right to Keep and Bear Arms and has actively been involved in gun rights issues for more than 20 years.

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  1. Great post, Sergeant. but oh, I forgot… some “People of the Gun” think open carry is “icky”. And will criticize you for your excellent judgement.

    • The problem we have now is unfortunately many police officers are not properly trained out not properly disciplined. Military members are able to do what they do with much more dangerous equipment and have a better success rate because of mind and body discipline. When you give someone a dangerous weapon without proper vetting and training you end up with this situation. Many police officers like to wear uniforms and carry guns but you can usually tell by their appearance uniform weight etc that they aren’t very disciplined. Also if you are so nervous that you can’t take a question from someone without feeling threatened you are in the wrong job. When you see someone with a concealed weapons permit, you know they have at least passed a background check .

  2. Open carry is arguably a bad thing tactically, but its a great way to inform people around you that you’re willing to talk about that nifty firearm gizmo they’ve been dying to brag about.

    • Yes – open carry is such a bad thing tactically that’s why all LE and military only conceal carry or stash their rifles out of sight…

      The mythical “bad guy will target the open carry guy” argument doesn’t hold much water. Why are more cops not killed by said bad guys if they are found open carrying alone? Mostly it deters criminal behavior to see a gun because most criminals are cowards looking for an easy score on weak prey.

      Secondly, if more “people of the gun” were more serious about really exercising their right and not this concealed mumbo jumbo then you wouldn’t have much of the “people with a gun showing” stupidity calls. Do you think people ran to the Sheriff constantly in the Old West if they saw a gun? Heck no! Everyone had a six shooter on their belt and more than likely a shotgun or rifle…it was the culture. Right now we have a culture of pansies who have been trained to believe that guns are inherently scary or dangerous in and of themselves.

      • You realize that it is pretty hard to conceal a soldier so he doesn’t look like a soldier right, same thing goes for a cop, if he is going to carry all of his gear baton, radio, cuffs ect ect. No real way around it, open carry gives up surprise for a small increase is speed. And you do realize a lot of towns prohibited carrying weapons inside of the town back in the old west.

        • I carry open (Obviously) on duty and concealed out of uniform. That is my choice……of course

      • “Yes – open carry is such a bad thing tactically that’s why all LE and military only conceal carry or stash their rifles out of sight…”

        In fairness, even if police and military actually did conceal their weapons, I am pretty sure the uniform, gear, and badge/insignia would still be dead give aways…

        So, any of the advantages of conceal carry are guaranteed to be negated.

        Not a very good analogy. I applaused the sarcasm though.

        • Well, maybe not necessarily–think unarmed cops (as in England); think unarmed security in police-type uniforms here. Which is to say uniform does not necessarily equal gun. In fact, I can recall a time, long long ago, when there was a bit of a fad for outfitting cops in a more civilian-looking uniform, with the weapons, etc concealed beneath a civilian-style sports jacket with a sewn-on fabric badge. The idea obviously didn’t gain traction; the cops, reasonably enough, wanted the intimidation/deterrence/whatever element inherent in military-style uniforms and openly-displayed weaponry.

      • Also, if you look at officer fatalities, a huge chunk of them are in fact from weapons retention scenarios, someone seeing where a weapon is and using the ensuing chaos to hoist the officer on his own petard. Nor do police entirely dismiss the notion of concealed carry, besides the obvious answer of plainclothes officers, keeping a BUG available to potentially preform a New York reload has always been popular.

      • Shotguns really were the guns that tamed the west. Most people, even townies, in the west owned a shotgun or a rifle. Owing to the economy of the time handguns were not nearly as common as hollywood would have you believe.

        A large number of the handguns sold in the west weresold thru catalogs, Sears mostly. A large portion of these handguns were what we’d refer to as pocket models. .22, .32, .38, were very much the common calibers of the old west.

        With a recently ended civil war there were a large number of serviceable cap and ball guns that did duty for homesteaders and townies as well. Self contained cartridges were more expensive and unless you were a man that used a gun to make a living having the latest and greates simply wasn’t a priority.

        Hollywood depicts every westerner walking around with a low slung Colt 1873 on his hip. Colts were very expensive by the standards of the time and it simply didn’t happen with much regularity.

        • Great piece on history! Hollywood does a great job of distorting history. I was also considered bad manners to carry a gun in some places. The “Show scene” in Tombstone is a great example. In reality few if any would have been armed in the theater. Certainly no long guns.

        • It’s funny you mention that… I keep trying to inform the anti-gunners that the Old west was not the “Wild West” that Hollywood tries to make it out to be. Tombstone and Dodge City were exceptions to the rule. There were very few actual gunfights. Those were about as common as things like the West Hollywood Shootout. While Hollywood makes it out like those are everyday occurrences, the reality is pretty tame.

      • Open carrying on the part of the police isn’t about speed of presentation. Open carry on their part is about degree of intimidation. It’s about controlling the population with that ever present, if silent, threat of lethal force resting on their hip. All of the scary officialdom of their uniforms, badges and Batman utility belts further reinforce the overlord image that these are people not to be messed with.

        That’s the same effect open carry by the general population has, too. That’s why the shoot-me-first myth is, well, a myth. It’s funny, as quickly as the POTG will swat down silliness like blood in the streets predictions and Wild, Wild West characterizations, they’ll turn around and propagate the shoot-me-first open carry myth themselves.

        Really, there’s a reason why open carrying armored truck drivers are attacked disproportionately less frequently than clerks at retail stores. It’s because they’re armed, trained, and willing to fight back, as evidenced by their open carrying. Criminals, too, know that the best way to win a gunfight is not to get in one. Any potential advantage of first strike surprise against an open carrier is still inferior to attacking a known unarmed victim.

        That combined effect of the intimidation factor and the guaranteed gunfight if attacked is why open carrying is a perfectly legitimate option, and it’s why the police do it.

        Rain was on to something here that the rest of you not only missed, but dismissed. Tsk tsk tsk.

        • I would actually like to open carry. It would be nice to have my 1911 in a “Wild Bunch” style western holster. The problem? TOO MANY DARN PLACES HAVE THE NO GUNS SIGNS! So really it comes down to the practicality of hiding my gun in my truck or not going anywhere.

    • A bad idea tactically?

      Let me guess, you’re going to say that the concealed carrier can strike from concealment and have an upper hand?

      Nope. You’re wrong.

      Striking from concealment supposes that you are initiating the attack. You are the one taking the initiative. If you are doing that, YOU are the aggressor. YOU are the criminal, performing armed assault. YOU are the one who will be shot by a carrier for being a criminal.

      If you have to draw your gun while carrying it concealed, you are responding to a threat. You do not have the initiative.

      • If you are using pistol to begin with, you never had any initiative, otherwise you would have brought a rifle. Pistols are defense pure and simple. Most of the time you are going to have somebody(civilian side) come at you when you are not ready. I rather have my gun concealed so he will drop his guard, versus him knowing I am armed to begin and never getting a chance.

        • That answers exactly why police use long guns. If you expect a gunfight, bring the right gun. Handguns are purely defensive in nature.

  3. Great article!!!! So much good old-fashioned common sense. Unfortunately, some among us choose deliberately to act like royal jerks and think that they are “teaching” everyone about open carry by doing so.

    Brace for open-carry fanatic impact, Sarg.

    • Paul, Paul, Paul; antagonistic, provocative and insulting; it’s called transference. You are describing yourself when describing people being a “royal jerk”.

      From an Open Carry “fanatic”.

      I’ve OC’d here in New Mexico now for five years now, pistol, not a long gun. Nothing but professionalism from the cops. None have tried to approach me; one mentioned passingly as we crossed in a parking lot. “nice gun, what caliber?”. The citizens have been 99.9% fine with my OC’ing, it’s been nothing but a positive experience. I do keep a recording device handy though: just so I don’t get Zimmermaned or I run into some transplant cop from the slave states.

      • I can tell I touched a nerve … good!

        I do not however set out to “make a statement” or sling a long gun over my back and take a stroll with my video camera in hand just waiting for the police to come over so I can tape them. I’ve made this point crystal clear but for those whose reading comprehension appears to be somewhat lower than a bag of hammers, and have such blinders on, I get accused of being “anti-open carry” because I advocate smart, wise, responsible open carry, not the kind of stupid grandstanding we see on YouTube.

        The OC Fanatics around here are apparently so devoid of reason, common sense and even a modicum of intelligence, they simply can’t comprehend that the key to any controversial issue like this is winning over the “mushy middle” not going out of their way to antagonize those who otherwise would be persuaded.

        • “The OC Fanatics around here are apparently so devoid of reason, common sense and even a modicum of intelligence, they simply can’t comprehend that the key to any controversial issue like this is winning over the “mushy middle” not going out of their way to antagonize those who otherwise would be persuaded”

          Ok,I’ll use your choice of words.. Anyone with a “modicum of intelligence” and if someone’s intelligence wasn’t “lower the a bag of hammers” would understand that hiding in plain view doesn’t change a persons or societies perspective. That this fight is on many fronts. This is to change back to a time when the OC’ing of weapons, whether pistol or long gun was the norm. You do that by carrying said weapons so that it BECOMES the norm.

          Why this point is so hard to understand is incomprehensible to me.

        • Let me try this again.

          I fully support open carry. You want people to accept open carry.

          I’m AGAINST grandstanding, taking a stroll around town with a gun slung over your back and a camera just waiting to have a confrontation with the police, and in general, behaving like the sort of buffoon we have seen all too often on YouTube.

          You want to win people over to your point of view on open carry? Then we need to stop condoning the jerks out there who only antagonize the public with their oafish behavior.

          Just read the comments here already piling on the police officer for his perfectly appropriate approach to these issues.

        • But Paul it clearly states in the Second Amendment the right to bear arms. So who cares what people think. Either those people learn to like guns or not. What can they do, vote? We got the NRA on our side. Its not like laws can be changed or Amendments amended for the worst. I mean the Constitution is written in stone.

        • And I disagree with your perspective Paul; most of the OC videos that I’ve seen; especially the long gun videos; most of the citizens were polite but firm in their interactions with the police. IF there was any antagonism going on, most of it was from cops that didn’t like a citizen practicing a right.

          I did say most; there were one or two that I’ve seen where the citizen was being a jerk; but he was still with in the law; and the cop is supposed to be the one to be the “professional”; so even if the citizen was a jerk; as long as he was within the law; then the cop just needs to deal with it.

          So, Paul; in the end; we’ll just agree to disagree.

        • As an aside; I thought the cop was fine in the video; and what I read in the editorial; he was just doing his job. If I ran into this same cop; we would have a good discussion on guns and civil liberties. I know the young men in the video were some what “green” in their approach to dealing with the cop; but they are young; they will learn.

          • It seems to me that the cops, the professionals, are the ones who need to learn to deal with the public, seeing as they do it daily. The kids, or general populace, should not need to get used to dealing with cops. The typical citizen is unlikely to have to deal cops with any regularity.

    • It’s a sad truth that most of the videos on YouTube of open carriers tend to have the open carriers acting like genuine douchebags to the cops. I don’t mind open carrying every now and again for education purposes but you can count on me being polite and courteous with an officer of the law should the situation present itself. This despite me being a punk with visible tattoos.

  4. I was willing to give Officer Hayes the benefit of the doubt right up to the point he stated, “a mistake can detail their career.” Where is that happening? Please, tell us.

    From what I see officer involved bad shoots, heavy handedness, illegal searches, puppy-cides etc. do not derail careers as much as they garner a tax payer funded paid suspension, a tax payer subsidized pay out to wronged party, and an all but guaranteed tax payer funded pension for said derailed career.. .

    Until the boys and girls behind the thin blue line hold one another to a higher standard than they hold the public they serve, I’ll continue to view every officer encounter with a wary eye. My current view is that a majority of our police equate at best to armed, tax-collecting gangsters.

    We are, whether fairly or not, professionally defined by the worst of our associates.

    • I have had too many run ins with crooked, I am God cops. I have had them outright lie in there police reports but I was smart enough to record the whole conversation and got the case thrown out. I am always armed but I carry concealed even here in Arizona. Open carry can just cause too much trouble to be worth the risk.

  5. Once again Sgt. Hayes proves that there are much more good police officers out there than there are bad ones. My hat goes off to you, sir.

  6. I would just like to say that the guys who made that video think they are considerably smarter than they actually are.

  7. I don’t quite understand, how is a person with a holstered gun any more dangerous than a person riding a bicycle down the street?
    Why would you question the actions of one, but not the other?
    I do understand some officers are well-informed on the legalities, why aren’t all officers? Ignorance of the law is no excuse for citizens, why should it be for law enforcement? You would think that if anything, officers should be held to the higher standard, especially so in regards to the rights of the people.
    Officers are always expecting people to “regard their feelings” in these affairs, yet we are not hired to police them. It is exactly the opposite, and they should regard our feelings. It is they who are intruding in our affairs, not the reverse.
    The law is not subservient to the officer’s feelings or needs.

    • “how is a person with a holstered gun any more dangerous than a person riding a bicycle down the street?”

      I’ve never seen anyone use a bike to hurl bullets at people and kill them, but then again, I’m not familiar with the latest in bike technology.

      Eye roll.

      • In all of the occasions that I have walked in public with my firearm holstered, never once has it jumped out of the holster and started hurling billets at anybody. You must have some really special guns. Funny eyes too, if they roll so easily.

      • Other than a couple wars, I have never seen anybody use a gun to hurl bullets at anyone either, leading back to the initial question, “what’s the difference?”

        Another eye roll.

    • Generally, a bicycle cannot kill or mortally injure dozen of people in quick succession. At best, they can only do it one or two at a time and it usually destroys the bike.

      • Substitute “car” for “bike”, then and try to stay so deliberately obtuse. Far from speculating, that has happened several times recently, some due to alcohol and some due to malice.

        So “what’s the difference?”

  8. I was with him until I got to this part

    Second, an officer is dispatched to investigate “a person with a gun.” In Georgia, the only calls we get are usually from citizens concerned about folks carrying rifles or shotguns in public (which requires no license in GA). Just like everywhere else, we have some citizens who are either anti-gun, don’t understand gun laws, or just scared by nature.

    Can a officer explain to me why dispatch or whoever takes the call does not notify the caller that the action is perfectly legal and that they should only call if they think a law is being broken or if they have a reasonable fear of danger.

    I don’t understand how you can claim a action is legal but then say oh the officer has the right to investigate a legal action to see if it is or isn’t. Nip it at the call.

    • It is highly likely that the 911 dispatcher does not have the authority to simply ignore the call. They may attempt to educate the caller as to the open carry laws, but in all likelihood they still have to dispatch an officer to investigate the report.

      You can just imagine what would happen if 911 brushed off a “man with a gun” call and shortly thereafter that “man with a gun” shot up a theater, mall or school.

      • In Michigan, 911 operators are instructed to make further inquiries when “man with a gun” calls come in, and to inform the caller that open carry is perfectly legal. This was done to reduce the number of frivolous police responses to someone legally open carrying.

        • Sorry, folks, I have to differ. Here in TX (and I think most areas, participating LEO can confirm or deny), when a 911 call is made, an officer is dispatched, REGARDLESS of the complaint or lack thereof. And should be, since by the time the operator answers the caller might not be the one in control of the phone anymore, and simply answering “never mind” or “I saw a gun” to cancel all response is not a good answer.

          Informing the caller the complaint is about a perfectly legal action and “why are you calling, dummy?” is real fine, but the response needs to happen anyway, just as it does if there is no one on the line when the operator answers.

          Happened to me once, my wife and I were waiting on the porch when the officer showed up 5 minutes after we misdialed and explained that to the dispatcher, who (again correctly) thanked us, wished us a good day, and did not mention that an officer was being dispatched. We invited him in if he remained concerned, he just laughed and wished us a good day as he left. But he needed to come.

        • Hold it! Read farther, and my response above needs to be altered to read that the response needs to be to the CALLER, to assure that person is not in jeopardy, whether any response needs to be made to the “man-with-a-gun” complaint or not.

          But a 911 call requires a physical response, “eyes on”, etc.

    • Many 911 calls are made by people who are in a state of panic, at the very least heightened emotion. The callers are not always making the most sense, giving complete and detailed accounts of the situation. When someone is calling 911 about seeing a man with a gun the police need to investigate to see what is really happening.

    • In my experience, it’s because once you explain the law to the caller, they start to embellish the nature of the open carrier in question. At the beginning of the call, he’s “just walking around doing normal stuff”. Once the caller starts to get a sense that you might not send anyone to hassle the guy, they start to use phrases like “acting suspicious” and “looking around and touching his gun a lot”. By the end of the call, they’re making it sound like a mass shooting is imminent. Of course the caller refuses to give any info on themselves, so we know what’s really going on. It’s just that most PDs are not at the point where admin is willing to let us disregard the anonymous man-with-a-gun calls for liability reasons.

    • Well..First the dispatcher doesn’t always know what is legal or not. They are not police officers. Second, many dispatch centers do not allow dispatchers to handle calls. The cannot disregard a citizen call. The responding officer can and often does end the call when it is obvious that no law has been broken.

      • Some assert that only the courts know what’s legal or not and an Officer’s job is to apply the Dept policy of the law. That’s why lawyers say that questions relating to law should be asked to lawyers rather than Police. Also, they get to charge a couple-a-hunnderd bucks an hour to answer that question, so….

        • When I had questions about the legality of the carry of certain less lethal defensive items in my town, I first contacted the district attorney’s office. The DA promptly replied that they were not qualified to answer my question and referred me to the police department.

        • @vhyrus – kinda wierd that the people that perform the prosecution say they are unqualified to tell you if something is prosecutable.

        • Yeah–I mean, I’ve been a prosecutor, that response from the DA was just bizarre.

        • Maybe it depends where you’re from?
          Here they have signs on the window that the DA’s office is prohibited from giving any legal advice.

  9. Cops shouldnt be assuming something is illegal just because its uncommon, infrequent or because they dont like it and definitely shouldnt be acting on said assumption.

    Remember those heroes who sprayed dancers at a football game?

    Damn neanderthals acting on ignorance and fear. If we still burned witches police would be lighting the kindling.

  10. Agreed great post as a 11 year vet and 23 years as a Texas Peace Officer he is right on the money.

  11. The officer also lost me at the “determine that the law is being followed” part. What does that mean? Does that mean the officer detains the person, demands identification, and then runs that person’s ID, which is functionally the same thing as a Terry stop? I don’t know if that flies in Georgia, but here in Pennsylvania our Supreme Court held in Commonwealth v. Hawkins, 692 A.2d 1068 (Pa. 1997), that a “man with a gun” report—without anything more showing involvement in crime—does not create the reasonable suspicion of criminal activity necessary to perform a Terry stop because it is not illegal to openly carry a gun in Pennsylvania. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Pennsylvania) held the same thing in United States v. Ubiles, 224 F.3d 213 (3d Cir. 2000). The Ubiles court said that a phone call to police reporting that someone was openly carrying a gun where it is perfectly legal to do so was “no different than if the informant had told officers that Ubiles possessed a wallet … and the authorities had stopped him for that reason.”

    If seeing someone doing something perfectly legal were grounds to stop someone to check and see if they are legally prohibited from engaging in that activity, then the police could stop anyone driving a car at any time. Since you need to have a license to drive a car, then under the same logic you could stop any driver at any time in order to see if they have a valid license. Obviously, that isn’t the case, but the police somehow want to apply that rule when it comes to people who are openly carrying in places where it’s not illegal to do so.

        • Windows too tinted, driver failed to dim headlights, windshield was cracked, one of over 30 light bulbs on the exterior of the vehicle was not working, vehicle was going 2 miles over the speed limit, car was weaving in its lane, driver was driving aggressively, car was going considerably under the speed limit, vehicle exhaust was loud, vehicle looked modified and no longer met all DOT requirements, license plate was faded or obstructed…..

          Want to know what all of these have in common? They are all probable cause to stop a vehicle, and they are nearly impossible to disprove after the fact.

          I had a police sergeant tell me to my face (and I quote) “I can find a reason to stop any car at any time, even one that just came off the showroom floor.”

        • I had a police officer tailgate me so close that, since I couldn’t tell it was a police officer, I decided to pull off the road to let him pass. He pulled me over for driving erratically. My girlfriend happens to work for the Public Defender’s office, and knew it was BS. I still maintained my polite nature, and treated them with the same respect I would expect. I had my three pit bulls in the back seat, and they were less cordial to the officers… But they were fishing for drunk drivers, and I was out late. And I hadn’t had a drop of alcohol for a couple months.

        • Thanks for your participation, officer! What I believe you meant to say here was “to stop a car LEGALLY… etc” You got the lights and sirens and a big gun? You don’t need no stinkin’ probable cause until you get to court, at best.

      • There is a big difference between “police can stop anyone at any time” and “police can fabricate a reason to stop anyone at any time”.

    • That is where juridictions differ. In GA any pistol carry requires a license. Ga is a “Shall Issue” state.
      Georgia had a bill that just stalled in the GA House, that would prohibit independant police stops just because someone has a gun. basically the same as a traffic stop. Additional probable cause would be required.
      In many gun control states you would likely be put on the ground at gunpoint. ( ie NY,IL,CA,NJ ). It isnt right, that is just how it is in this day and age.

      • Does the Georgia CCW law authorize you to demand to see a permit or other identification at any time for any reason? If not, what permits you to automatically assume that someone openly carrying a holstered pistol *does not* have a valid permit? Is there caselaw supporting your view, or are you simply asserting that Georgia is “different”?

        I am also disturbed at your description of Terry as “an old case that doesnt match the times as it did when written.” Terry and its progeny address the core protection of the Fourth Amendment—to be secure in your own person against unjustified and unreasonable searches from police officers like you. And you left out the part that the “specific and articulable facts” the police must be able to articulate must be facts indicating that the person in question has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

        If you wrote this article to extend an olive branch to suspicious gun owners, dismissing a landmark case on the Fourth Amendment as old and outdated isn’t helping.

        • What i meant was “Terry” was written at a time when open carry was uncommon in many parts of the country. Open carry in urban areas was extremely uncommon in the north and east. “Terry” referred to concealed or hidden weapons. Open carry kinda removes “Terry” from the equation. If the cop knows you have a gun there is no need to search for one. I doubt Justice Douglas had open carry in mind when he wrote “Terry”

          GA requires a permit to be carried whenever a handgun is carried. Some states have open carry without a permit. GA is trying to put it in the law that simply carrying a gun is not a reason to stop someone. We will see if the politicos in Atlanta pass that. I am a constitutionalist so I hope they do.

          I did mention articulable suspicion more than once….

          These articles are not an “olive branch”. I am a gun owner. It is just what it says….a perspective.

          • I feel sorry for drivers in Georgia, now the police have legal reason to pull over every driver just to see if they are licensed. I am willing to bet many more people drive without a license than carry without one.

  12. Open carry aside…….my question is this: Why should the “average” citizen be required to purchase the NFA tax stamp and other “required” paperwork to be able to possess the same guns that the LEO carries? I bet dollars to doughnuts that he has none of the things required for the “average” citizen to have the same gun, just because he is a Law Enforcement Officer. THAT is in direct violation of what the Second Amendment stands for. Just sayin’

    • Exactly….I can carry any Class 3 firearm my department issues. Any M-16, MP-5 or whatever.
      BUT..If I want one for myself I have to jump through the same hoops as everyone else.
      Granted most departments, mine included, prohibit any type of automatic fire. Still…..I have NEVER in 20 years worked a crime where a class 3 weapon was used……

      • Got some family that did LE, Game Warden, etc, and not only did their departments not have any super cool select fire stuff for their officers, they were also responsible for buying their own with an allotment- and I doubt there’s many that paid their class 3 permission tax and then waited a year to get their $7000 AC556. And that would probably be the most economical choice.

        • Most small departments don’t have the budget to buy class 3 weapons. The feds “Loan” some but that is about it.
          Most officers that carry long guns use Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 shotguns that they buy or M4/AR15 rifles that they buy.
          Larger departments issue these items. Except for special ops, almost no officers carry full auto firearms.

      • Look folks, law enforcement officers
        are kinda like our school teachers
        they don’t get paid enough for what they do day by day. There family’s go
        through hell daily worrying if their spouses are coming home after his or hers shift is over at the end of the day. Everyone has a job to do. Show a little respect for our law enforcement officers they are humans also. Please cooperate with them cause it could be in your favor after all is said and done. ..and NO I AM NOT A POLICE OFFICER. THE LAW IS LAW they didn’t write them,
        they were sworn to uphold them and enforce them. It’s their job and livelihoods. Hopefully they will be able to make it to their retirement day safe and alive. ..Amen.

        • They swore to uphold the Constitution as well. It seems that law should trump any local law they get saddled with, ya think?

  13. Thank you Mr. Hayes for writing.

    If I am out in public and have a visible handgun in a holster or a long gun strapped on my back, I expect to interact with law enforcement officers the same way that I would interact with any other stranger. Along the same lines, I expect any law enforcement officer to interact with me the same way. And that means being respectful, polite, and pleasant to the maximum extent possible. It does NOT mean yelling at someone, demanding anything, detaining them against their will, pointing a gun at them, or shooting them.

    We have to get something straight here:
    Where “legal” (about 38 or so states), a visibly armed citizen in public is not breaking any laws and police have no basis for a Terry stop. While the police, just like any other person, are welcome to engage in a consensual encounter, they have no legal authority to detain someone or point their firearms at them, period. Respect and manners are a two way street and the rules of the road apply to everyone … yes even police officers.

    For those of you that do not know what a Terry stop means, it specifies proper and legal police conduct when police want to detain or arrest someone. Police need a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a person of interest just committed a crime or is about to commit a crime in order to legally detain or arrest someone. Since being visibly armed in public is NOT a crime in the 38 or so states where it is “legal”, it is not a sufficient basis for a police officer to detain or arrest someone.

    • Some states, Like GA are trying to put that into code. Nothing more than gun carry does not constitute a stop.
      But, Terry v Ohio is specifically a search for weapons….by definition. Its an old case that doesnt match the times as it did when written.

      “Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court which held that the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated when a police officer stops a suspect on the street and frisks him or her without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and has a reasonable belief that the person “may be armed and presently dangerous.”

      “For their own protection, police may perform a quick surface search of the person’s outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on “specific and articulable facts” and not merely upon an officer’s hunch. This permitted police action has subsequently been referred to in short as a “stop and frisk,” or simply a “Terry frisk”

      The officer needs whats called “articulable suspicion”, in other words he must be able to explain why he stopped the person. It does not rise to the level of probable cause to arrest. Like it or not, a dispatched call meets that burden. The officer can end the encounter when he sees no law has been broken and he doesnt see that one will be. If an officer self initiates an encounter then the burden is on him.

      • if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and has a reasonable belief that the person “may be armed and presently dangerous.”

        The key word there is and

        Clearly an officer can see that I am armed, because I am openly carrying, however he has no justification to stop me for any reason to initiate a Terry because reasonable suspicion does not exist. Walking is legal, walking with an openly carried firearm is legal( where it is in fact legal), and the presence of a firearm can not in and of itself raise a reasonable suspicion that a crime, has, may or will be committed. Both criteria must be met.

        And as much as you can say that a call to dispatch is enough to justify reasonable suspicion, it does not if it went something like “Hey there is a guy with a gun walking down 7th street” a guy with a gun is not doing anything illegal so you haven’t met the AND part of Terry

        If the call was “There is a guy with a gun on 7th st. and the alarm at the liquor store on the corner is going off” would justify a Terry since it meets the AND part of the ruling.

        • I have never answered just a “Guy walking down the street with a gun” call……

          Remember who makes those calls…..Anti gun folks and fear ridden citizens….
          There is always something else…..Peeping in windows…..hiding in the ditch…..waving the gun around..talking to himself….near a school….etc.

          None of which is true of course…But in Rural Georgia…Just carrying a gun doesn’t trigger much of a police response. Now..if you were on Michigan ave in downtown Chicago……..

  14. n other states (e.g. Rhode Island and Connecticut) open carry is so rare the police assume it’s illegal – or at least indicates an illegal activity.

    What happen to presumption of innocents? I thought assuming was a bad thing.

    If the officer is ignorant of the law, ask for a supervisor.

    I hope not! He/she is the one enforcing them.

    Also in the back of their mind: “what if I let a killer walk?”

    So if I think in the back of my mind “this cop, is picking on me for no reason ’cause I’m legal”, that ok, right?

  15. Government employee Hayes, you can only be provoked if you allow yourself to be provoked. If a government employee can be provoked by a citizen, then that government employee should be unemployed post haste.

          • That a few modern definitions have been revised to include police in their definition only exacerbates the problem of police thinking they are not civilians. The paramilitary attire may fool some who write definitions, but paramilitary is not military, and non-military is civilian.

    • When I read that kind of tone and the comments of some others here, I am so glad (as a Brit) we lost the War of Independence! Sadly Freemen are trying their nonsense over here but no real traction with us Royalists!

  16. My brother the attorney and my sister-in-law the former prosecutor say: “The only way to ensure a good interaction with law enforcement is to avoid interaction with law enforcement.” (These include our cousins, especially the judge.)

    I can’t see how open carry walkabouts score points for our team.
    It would be different if he were walking to the range or to his house. (The fact that one has a right doesn’t mean one must insist on it: Expecting someone with a yield sign—or even a redlight—to give way is not a way to avoid car crashes.)

    These young people are risking more than they know. (Video changes the equation, but I grew up in the Deep South in the ’60s and ’70s, so my experience is clouded by bad cops.)

    Tell, me, please, how did this push forward our cause?

    • (The fact that one has a right doesn’t mean one must insist on it:

      Gotta disagree with you on that Doug, In todays world where wrongs are right, and rights are made wrong. If you don’t actively exercise your rights and prove you have an interest in them, they will be up on the auction block.

    • This is a fight for our civil rights just like the fight for black civil rights; the blacks didn’t get their rights by staying in the back of the bus; it was by forcing the issue, exercising their rights and not giving in to peoples fears.

      The thing is; we KNOW it can be done; because the open carrying of weapon WAS the norm; it can be again.

    • A right that one feels afraid to exercise is no right at all. You have already ceded your right it seems. Some of us are not so easily cowed.

      • You failed to tell me how open carry helps our side.
        Be pragmatic. Work to convince the middle, the fence-sitters, that we are the good guys: Closer to Roy Rogers than Rambo.
        Let’s try to convince the middle that self-defense (whether from robber or tyrant) is a natural right…that is often best served by standard-capacity magazines, semi-automatic weapons, and concealed carry.
        Search out such folks and take them to the range.
        Call it realpolitik if you want.
        Provoking confrontation with law enforcement, especially since a large number of LEOs are on our side, will not convince the middle that we’re the Sons of the Pioneers but will cause us to lose allies.
        P.S. I recommend avoiding comparisons to the civil rights struggle. I lived through that in the Deep South: It ain’t near the same. (If you insist on using comparison without looking foolish to the middle, you’d best be able to say how you helped, say, an LBGT group gain the ability to defend themselves. Now that I think of it, I would support an open-carry group in a gay pride parade. You could be their token straight guy.)

        • Staying at the back of the bus and talking about how nice it would be up front does nothing to make the seating chart different.

        • Doug what you said makes perfect sense and is entirely correct, but in the minds of the F.O.C.C. [fanatical open carry crowd] you are a coward and a traitor to the cause. You are in fact ant-Second Ammendment. You are simply a cowering fool who will not stand up for his rights. They are so fanatical in their point of view they will not even consider how the fanaticism they advocate and cheer on actually does deep harm to the cause of safeguarding Second Amendment rights.

  17. If the officer is negative, obnoxious, ill-informed, generally unprofessional or acting illegally you can deal with that later, when it is safe to do so

    Good Luck with that. While my experience with the CT State PD has been always professional, I find many local PD “negative, obnoxious, ill-informed, generally unprofessional or acting illegally” at a simple traffic stop and complaining after words really does not seem to do anything. I even had a lawyer tell me about one incident to not drive my car and perhaps rent one for a while.

    Yes, there are good and bad cops, but the unions seem to protect the bad cops like teachers unions protect bad teachers and NOTHING ever changes. Put another way, I get it, you do not know who I am so in a stop you cannot trust me, but being rude and obnoxious means I don’t trust any police — ever!

    Unless something is done to weed out bad cops (and bad teachers) nothing can ever change.

  18. Meh.. I dont trust any of em..and the old adage that says they are not all bad, there are some good cops and some bad cops. That doesn’t do it for me .. To that I reply, Then you should work harder to cull the bad ones from your herd, If you expect the public to turn on themselves, then you should be expected to do the same.. To Cops: see a bad cop?? a bad cop

    The public shouldnt be used as practice subjects for your training.
    The public isnt your whipping boy when you are having a bad day.
    Some “Excuses” are not excuses.. they are reasons… there is a difference.
    Treating the public like criminals gets you exactly what you sow..

  19. Born and raised in CA, I’ve now been in AZ for 9 years – carried concealed for 8 years. Here is the contrast. Met my fishing buddy in San Diego Monday, he is a retired sheriff from Orange County. His assumption is if he spies a gun, it is attached to a bad guy. You are prone and it goes from there. North of Phoenix 2 weeks ago, I was waiting inside an El Pollo Loco for my dinner order. In comes 4 cops, from 2 different directions. Manager had mistakenly dialed 911 and then hung up! Of course I start to sweat (can’t completely get rid of those CA roots). One of the cops comes over to me and asks “What am I carrying?” I tell him and he says “cool.” Next, he asks me “what’s for dinner?” That was it…..

    After 30 years on the street, I can’t fault my buddy. It’s just a different mind set, neither good, nor bad.

  20. Any time your stopped by a cop, for most any reason, BE POLITE! I got stopped doing 70 in a 55. The first thing I said when the officer approached was ” Good morning officer”. No ticket.
    If you are rude and belligerent, you are much more likely to be placed under arrest, if not for an unlawful act, then something the officer can make up, usually preceded by the words “suspicion of”

    • One of the funniest stops I ever made was a female who ran a red light. She was driving a pink Mary Kay Cadillac, so I expected the “pink happy bubble” as a female friend once called it. I approached the car, but before I could say a word, she screamed at me “What the FU^% DO YOU WANT?” What do you think she got, a ticket or a warning?

    • Meh… I can beat that! Going to my 30th HS reunion during the national 55 speed limit, a 1500 mile trip, on an extreme performance motorcycle, I was stopped TWICE in the first day, once in TX and once in LA, going 90 on backroads (I didn’t use the highway the whole trip). Both officers told me I better slow down or I might hurt myself and let me go, one without even checking my license.

      Thought about it that night in a motel (my plan was 90 the whole way!), altered my plan to 85 for the rest of the trip and had no more trouble. For the whole round trip (3200 miles), no ticket, no warning.

  21. “When a police officer is dispatched to a person with a gun call they have to investigate – even if it’s just to determine that the law is being followed.”

    No, you don’t. You can resolve a whole lot of issues by having the dispatcher who answers the call ask questions. If they’re in say Ohio or Kentucky where you can OC without any permits, they can ask “Is the gun on a sling over their shoulder or in a holster? Are they acting angry or violent?” etc. Then if the person describes a completely legal activity, they say “Well sir / ma’am, they are not breaking any laws and we will not send an officer to harass someone performing a legal activity just because you’re scared of an inanimate object.” Not only do the cops not waste their time, but the law abiding citizen doesn’t get harassed and the person who called gets educated. Eventually, they’ll stop calling once they realize that they won’t be able to use armed men to intimidate the gun owner peacefully and legally going about their business.

    “Armed citizens who constantly demand “may I go now?” and “are you detaining me?” are forcing officers out of their comfort zone.”

    And the comfort zone of the law abiding gun owner being threatened by an armed person doesn’t mean jack?

    “Police are public servants after all. But they’re also people who have a job to do. A job that requires slavish attention to procedure where a mistake can derail their career.”

    I’d love to see some evidence of “a mistake derailing an officer’s career”. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen reports of LEO’s actually being punished for committing a crime (intentional or accidental) – the usual “punishment” is a paid (sometimes unpaid – the horror!) vacation. There’s a reason every other profession punishes misconduct with things that would hurt them (loss in career advancement, fines, firings, etc) – only with Law Enforcement is extra vacation time considered a “punishment”.

  22. Excellent article. I am frequently frustrated over the apparent eagerness of some 2A supporters to attack law enforcement. As a 20 year law enforcement veteran and a vocal 2A supporter, I find it hard to understand why some in this community want to make the police the enemy. Yes, there are some bad apples, as there are in any profession. However, I can honestly say that the vast majority of LEO’s that I am familiar with are true supporters of the Constitution. If you want to open carry, no problem. I just think it is juvenile to strap on an AR and walk around town, waiting for people to call the police, so you can shoot more video for your YouTube channel.

    • I just think it is juvenile to strap on an AR

      Think whatever the hell you want. Just don’t put somebody on the ground because you don’t like what he’s doing. The law is the law, not you, and what you like means exactly squat.

      And you wonder why some of us don’t trust cops. Amazing.

      • Your attitude is exactly what I was referring to. I said I personally found it juvenile. I did NOT say I would “put you on the ground”.

        • Well, excuuuuuuse me. But having practiced law for almost 40 years, I kinda have guys like you figured out.

        • You wouldn’t be putting anyone on the ground, if you didn’t know you could get on the radio and call in 20 of your fellow gang members. You harrass people who pay taxes and produce something for society, unlike yourself, and to add insult to injury, these people have to subsidize you with their taxes.

        • Ralph and Jughead, your obvious hatred towards law enforcement makes any meaningful discussion futile. Ironic how one of our mantras is that we want to be judged individually and not by the actions of a few crazy mass shooters, but some of us appear to be unable to dispense that same courtesy. Alas, you had me all figured out. Quite a feat since you have never met me…

    • I wrote for years as a citizen…Some disagreement but no attacks.
      As soon as I start as a cop…here they come. They are few and are easily ignored.

      • Yeah that happened to me too.. I finally quit the club after it became apparent that the only ppl in my life came from the same club, It hurt for a while as I was weaning off the exclusivity,But life is much better among the peasants.

      • Mr. Hayes,

        Again, thank you for writing. I hope this helps to clear up some of the comments that you have read.

        The overwhelming majority of verbal “attacks” on law enforcement officers fall under three categories:
        (1) Police utterly and completely fail to police their own. The public views “good” police officers who refuse to police their own the same way that prison inmates view child molesters. Yes, it really is that bad.
        (2) Prosecutors rarely charge much less convict police officers who negligently assault, beat, shoot, and sometimes even kill completely innocent people.
        (3) Most if not all police departments’ policies designate officer safety, career, and retirement superior to the rights of the people. Their attitude is that the people are beholden to the police. This is wrong and very disturbing. What is even more deeply wrong and disturbing is how most if not all police officers fail to realize much less understand how and why this is so disturbing to the people. (Hint: the people entrusted and empowered to serve and protect instead abuse the public and view them with disdain.)

        Any one of those points are utterly appalling. When you realize that many police departments and officers exhibit all three, it is beyond appalling. I can only imagine that there is a special corner in Hell for those types.

    • I am frequently frustrated by people that claim to be cops and claim to not understand why a 2A supporter might be eager to “attack” law enforcement. It is either dishonest or a severe mental disconnect.

      • It’s quite simple. I judge everyone as an individual, regardless of profession, race, religion etc. There are good and bad in every group. Just because some of my fellow 2A supporters hate the police, doesn’t mean that I think the whole group is that way. The vast majority of the “gun guys” that I know or have talked to are great people. I don’t let the few who hate all cops distort my view of the group. Sorry you don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept.

    • It’s even more juvenile to think that because you’re wearing a clown suit, you get to impose your will on the populace and act out your aggression on them.

  23. Great write up. The only thing I might add is that If you feel
    the need to request another officer consider asking for one
    from a different department. For instance, if you’re having
    an issue with a sheriff’s deputy, ask for a state trooper; or
    vice versa. Someone from the same dept is more likely to
    backup the 1st LEO rather than stay impartial. Also, a LEO
    from another dept may have different training allowing
    for more clarity on the issue at hand. This can be of benefit
    to LE as well. If 2 different agencies can corroborate events
    they’re less likely to have legal issues with their decisions.

    • That can and is sometimes done. Remember…Only a supervisor has authority over the officer. A State Trooper cannot tell a deputy what to do, No more than a police Sgt can tell a Trooper what to do.

      • What I was trying to get at was that a LEO from another dept
        could act more like a mediator between the two parties,
        particularly if tensions are high.

        As far as issuing or countermanding authority, it’s a bit more
        situational dependent. For instance, much of my experience
        with LE takes place on the fire ground. In my state during an
        active fire response the FD is given overriding authority. This
        includes local and state LE. While I don’t have the authority
        to countermand any orders, I can have a LEO removed from
        a scene, even arrested, if they countermand mine and/or
        create an unsafe situation. This scenario has happened to
        me twice: the first I called the PD CO and the LEO was
        changed immediately; the second I had to call a trooper to
        remove both the LEO and their supervisor. So, in my
        experience anyway, calling for a supervisor only helps to
        situation 50% of the time.

        • It is common to call another officer if the situation has become irreverably negative with the first officer.
          I have done it on a number of occasions, esp domestics. ” Wait right here..another officer will talk to you” or something…

          Fire scenes ( and accidents) are under fire command here as well. It would have to get real bad for an officer to be removed and in GA a trooper probably wouldn’t be the one to do it. I can’t recall it ever happening, but we have a great working relationship with the fire guys.

  24. If it is alright and “normal” for the government to open carry, it should be just as alright and normal for the rest of us to open carry. Maybe we should all start calling 911 every time we see a Cop open carrying?

    Let’s turn the tables on them and clog the system with just as ridicualous calls of completely legal and normal behavior to show them how it feels. Like Rand Paul recently said, someone needs to watch the watchmen!

    • You are placing 100% of the responsibility for the open carry contacts on the police. As the author stated, many if not most jurisdictions require the officer to investigate the call. Yes, there are some officers who need to learn how to handle these calls with more diplomacy. I wonder though, for every bad interaction that makes it to YouTube, how many are handled professionally that we never hear about. I think some type of public awareness media campaign would be beneficial in lowering the number of, “Oh my God, that guy is carrying a gun!” calls that we are forced to respond to.

  25. I’ve been OC’ing in AZ since the mid-’70’s. Back then it was very common, and noone batted an eye. There was no CCW until decades later.

    Now we have Constitutional Carry, and I usually go concealed, but every once in a while, I like to take one of my bigger pistols out for an open-carry walk.

    In the last 7 years, I’ve had the police called on me two times while minding my own business in public and open-carrying. (no doubt by a Pelosi/Feinstein-type paranoid)

    Both times, the responding officers were polite and aware of carry laws. The first one took my 1911, my DL, dropped the mag, ejected the chambered round, and called in the serial number. The second one asked “what the hell is that?” (HK P9s .45) , ran my DL for warrants and sent me on my way without ever disarming me.

    I know the laws regarding carry in my location, and I could have been an ass about my rights, but I fit somewhere between sheep and martyr. Answering a few questions and having my identity verified (persuant to a 911 call) didn’t make me feel emasculated at all. The officers were duty-bound to respond, and I generally try to avoid escalating tensions with armed individuals.

    I would like to see open-carry accepted everywhere, but I doubt that being purposely contrary will achieve that end. I guess that’s why I don’t carry a shotgun into QT when I’m only there to get $50.00 on pump #17.

    • Cool story, slave. “I liked being disarmed for no reason while minding my business, and didn’t want to be an ass about knowing my rights”.

      You have no rights.

        • In what way is my nom de screen apropos of what I wrote? This site’s posters claim to rail against 2A transgressions, then they fawn all over an “LEO” when they post here. “I like being detained and disarmed”, I don’t want to inconvenience the “officer” with my rights, etc.

        • Your arrogance. Pronouncing someone a slave simply because of a single statement. You’re, at heart, no different than the people you claim to be making slaves of us. 2a needs the support of all, including the good cops that post here.

          If you want to cop hate there’s probably sites just for that. Here, we discuss.

        • Nice try. Find any “cop hate” in anything I’ve written. I’ll wait… your lips are done moving, so you must be done reading.

          If you want to go “LEO”-fellate, I’m sure there are sites for that. Here we (ostensibly) point out facts. The fact is, this guy states that he doesn’t mind subjugation at the hands of a municipal security guard.

        • Municiple security gaurd. No cop hate there. And the fact remains, you pronounced him a slave simply cause he will comply with a cops orders on the street.

          Which returns me to the fact that you’re every bit as dictatorial as those you speak against. You pronounced him a slave, inferring the cops are his masters.

          Again, knocking cops.

        • You appear to either have a severe reading comprehension issue, or you’re just trolling. First of all, who is he to give “orders” to a citizen who has done nothing wrong? That doesn’t sound like a free society or citizen to me.

          Secondly, I called him a slave because of his mindset, not because of him complying with “orders” from the aforementioned municipal security guard who lives off of our tax dollars, but because of his mindset.

          Go ahead and get the (non sequitur-filled) last word, then declare yourself the “winner”, while getting Cheetos dust all over your keyboard.

      • Jughead, I don’t know how anyone could read your comments and come to any conclusion, other then you hate cops. Name calling, snide remarks, the old “I pay your salary” line of thought, etc. If you have had some bad experiences with the police, sorry but there is nothing I can do about that. However, to judge all law enforcement based on your contacts with a fraction of a fraction of 1% of them, doesn’t make much sense to me. But hey, this is America, feel free to hate me all you want. It will not effect the way I do my job.

  26. “A job that requires slavish attention to procedure where a mistake can derail their career. Also in the back of their mind: “what if I let a killer walk?””

    Why should that question be in the back of a cop’s mind? That is a question for a jury, not for a cop. A cop is there only to arrest someone if PC has been met. If PC has not been met, then they do nothing. Period. They can ask that question all they want, but it should NEVER influence their jobs. At that point, they’re trying to act like both police and a jury.

    • You don’t think it is the job of law enforcement to try and prevent crime? A guy dressed all in black, wearing a black mask is seen out late at night. He hasn’t committed a crime, so you think the police should just drive on by?

        • Really? Ok, I’ll play along. It’s warm. That still doesn’t make the persons behavior illegal. So, I guess the police should just drive on by. Smile and wave, boys, smile and wave. We’ll just come back after the crime has been committed and take the report.

  27. Ideally, a police officer encountering a fellow citizen openly carrying a firearm should be wary AND friendly AND respectful

    Which NEVER, EVER happens. The word “cop” and “respectful” in the same sentence is a sick joke.

  28. There are a lot of comments on here telling Sgt. Hayes that he’s wrong or that he’s no better than a government flunky etc. The truth is, he’s not here to debate conlaw or argue over the validity of a Terry Stop. He’s here telling us what it’s like from his side of the fence and how he knows that other cops treat these issues. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s a valuable perspective. People way smarter than us will continue to debate what SHOULD happen, Sgt. Hayes is just telling us what DOES happen. I, for one, appreciate it. Thanks Sgt. Hayes!

    • Some meekly accept the status quo. Others, when confronted with attempts to have it foisted upon them, reject tacit acceptance and critique the methods and techniques being discussed. It isn’t a discussion without sharing of information in both directions. A one-sided discussion is called a lecture. Discussions offer the chance for both sides to learn something.

      • Some also deny reality. I’m not saying don’t work to change the status quo, but to do that, you have to first acknowledge that it is the status quo.

  29. That’s our oregon cops. There might be some bad apples out there, but I’ve never once had a negative interaction with them. These guys were kind of douchey honestly lol, but they weren’t jerks, and the cop was very cool. Now, if you are in some places (Portland) and carrying a loaded handgun (open carry) you do have you provide your concealed carry permit (it’s the law). But yeah. Cop was just doing his job and did it well, responded to call, was polite. Guys were a bit douchey, but meh. <3 Oregon.

  30. What a rational and informative piece. We’re really lucky to have this guy sharing his insight. And some city somewhere is lucky to have this particular cop working his beat. Clone him! Clone him now!

  31. “A job that requires slavish attention to procedure where a mistake can derail their career” WHen exactly has this EVER happend to a cop. People are shot/beat to death on a daily basis in cirumstancles that would see citizens charged with murders, got get a couple weeks “admistrative leave” (paide vacation) while the police clear, er “investigate” themselves.

    Please, cops act likes dicks because they know theyknow they are 100% unaccountable.

    • Agreed. I thought this was an extremely well-written piece that did a good job of affirming our natural rights while still acknowledging the reality of the situation.

      • Jug- I’m with jwm on this.

        You don’t do any of us 2A rights defenders any favors acting like a jerk, or calling names. I’ve said this enough times its probably tiresome, but the fact is there are needy people out there who go to forums to start fights to get attention. There are probably some in the anti-gun world who feel its ok to misrepresent themselves to do same- to stimulate the circular firing squad. Trolls, IOW.

        TTAG is generally not that place. IMHO most here are pretty tolerant of those who have strong opinions, but we sort of like to see facts and respect given back and forth.

        If you dont get that, then theres a lot more bat-$hit crazy places on the innertubz you can go to get your roks off. Kos Kids, HuffPO, you get my drift.

        Please do go, away.

    • Well Paul; not EVERYONE bashes police or police written articles on TTAG; I thought the cop did a decent job in the video and in the article; but you do the human thing and remember the bad and don’t remember the good; I do the same thing.

      Personally; in my direct interactions with cops; I’ve had good experiences; when I’ve clearly broken a traffic law, more often than not; I’ve just gotten a warning and then waved on my way. Then; of course; my good experiences in OC and cop interactions.

      But; (you knew a but was coming) people on this site are more aware than most; for most of us that bear weapons; our only real danger are not from common street thugs; (they look for the helpless, the weak and unaware); our only real danger are from the bad cops that hate our ability to bear weapons in public and might create a confrontation to give them a reason to “take us down”; the swat teams that might pick the wrong house in a no knock warrant; or because we know if a National gun ban was ever passed; the cops and the government that pays them; would be the front line in breaking down gun owners doors.

      I don’t automatically place all cops in the JBT list; they have to show themselves to be such; (except for the BATFE= JBT), but I also know who is the most POTENTIALLY dangerous to me and mine.

      To my life, to the lives of my fellow Americans and our freedoms.

      • ThomasR:

        You wrote: “not EVERYONE bashes police or police written articles on TTAG”
        I did not say EVERYONE bashes police or police written articles. You however are, again, choosing, quite deliberately, to not even read what I’m writing. Just read the comment stream here and notice how much bashing of Officer Hayes is going on. It is simply a fact that EVERYTIME there is an article about police or written by police here on TTAG it leads to a police bash-fest.

        You continue to reflect the F.O.C.C. crowd’s anti-productive attitudes and thinking.

  32. I think a lot of “person with a gun” calls could be screened by dispatch or handled with little more than a visual while driving.

  33. Cops are like apples, good ones and bad ones. Unless you live in a really small town, how the hell will you know which one is approaching you? Too many cops with itchy trigger fingers, ask Bobby Canipe.

  34. Rainhaven, what you forget sir is that in the military your average grunt has only his M4, they do not open carry to deter aggression. As for the po po, they open carry because most of them are in uniform and carry a bunch of stuff on their duty belt, which is not actually the belt holding up their pants. Open carry is not tactically sound, I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now and I think if I pulled my firearm people would be genuinely surprised based off how I am dressed. Speed, surprise, and violence of action, carrying concealed is better to preserve surprise.

    • But it would be so much nicer if people weren’t surprised when seeing a person with a firearm in public. Hence, open carry advocacy.

  35. Sgt Hayes, thanks again, good advice from an experienced source.

    These kids were at least polite. Doofus-y, to the point of being nitwits, IMHO.
    But at least not provocative to the point of being aggressive.

    Thats my point on Open Carry- its how you do it.
    If you want to educate people, dont be a jerk.

    Here- let me help some of you all- you are going to need a label if you cant argue facts. The fact is being a OCJerk got Open Carry long gun taken away in CA.

    The good news is that helped the Peruta case- but please dont try to persuade me that was some secret strategy by the OCJerks…only due to the stupidity of CA legislators, which we see is still a limit thats being stretched beyond what one might expect.

    signed, FUDD.

    • Ronald Reagan did away with open carry of long guns in CA with the Mulford Act. Reagans anti RKBA statements and actions are the reason he cannot be considered a true Conservative in my book. His liberal roots always showed through on guns, and illegal alien issues.

  36. When trying to do informative videos, it’s best to know EVERY law that pertains to guns and your rights. When it came to NFA, the guy with the AR sounded like an idiot. Way to go Officer Estes.

  37. Paul G., it would be nice, if that were the case, however their are situations that I don’t want people to know I’m armed. It would also be nice if I could find a dang holster that wouldn’t cause my board shorts to droop, any suggestions. My carry gun is typically a sig 220 carry, or hk45c. I’ve been thinking about getting a revolver.

  38. My spouse works in the largest volume 911 center in Georgia. She always asks when people call to report someone with a gun if they are engaged in any actual illegal activity before dispatching officers.

  39. Mr. Farrago, you are usually right. But with respect to OC in CT, you are exceedingly wrong. The police in CT are well aware that OC is perfectly legal in CT. With hundreds of people doing it every day there has not been an arrest for OC in about 3 years.

    Here is a CT State Police training memo re OC:

    Here is where it started. The DPS memo to the “troops” not to hassle OCers at a rally:

    Here is a Torrington, CT training memo that has been circulated throughout the state:

    Here is the Wethersfield, CT memo. Wethersfield was a named defendant in the infamous “Goldberg

    As many of you know, the BFPE is the ultimate arbiter of handgun law, short of going to the courts. They can and do regularly side with the citizenry of CT. Here is a nice audio clip from a public hearing.

    • Thanks, Don- those are really helpful.
      What the heck happened in CT, then, with the assault weapon decision,

      if citizens and cops are so well educated on open carry
      not to get worked up about it?

      I realize its two separate issues, but it goes the heart of the being smart about guns rights in general.

      Was this an “urban liberals control more votes than rural conservatives” type dynamic? Thats part of the problem in CA, btw.

      • What happened is that the politicians felt that they had to do SOMETHING. Whats scary there is that this could have happened anywhere. Prior to the 4/4/13 gun ban, CT was actually not that bad. You got your pistol permit and if you wanted evil features, you bought pre-ban.

        If you did those two things you could pretty much do what you wanted and be within the law.

        CT is actually still pretty good from a carry perspective. People don’t realize it but many “pro gun” states like Texas limit where you can bring your gun more than places like CT. Many of these pro gun states don’t allow you to carry into restaurants and/or bars, or even places of worship.

        Thats all legal in CT. In fact, the max BAC for carrying a loaded gun in CT is .1%. So that means that if your BAC is between .08 and .0999%, it is illegal for you to drive, but legal to carry a loaded gun.

        Also, CT is a de-facto shall issue state. Some local PDs jerk you around with respect to time, but you will get your license.

        One other hint. The ridiculous part of the new law that prohibits carrying a large capacity handgun outside the house with more than 10 rounds in the magazine, its pure political grandstanding. If you actually read the law, the first offense is a civil infraction. A parking ticket, basically. After that, its a felony. So if you do’t burn up your “get out of jail free” card at something stupid like an open carry rally, then you can carry you standard cap mags fully loaded.


  40. Great post and great points. None of which are unreasonable. And if every other officer out there followed these guidelines/points, there wouldn’t be half the issues there are with legally armed citizens. Often it is the officer’s attitude that escalates the situation, and that is a bad thing when the guy with the responsibility to enforce the law is an unabashed jerk.

    This doesn’t mean, however, that legally carrying citizens are exempt from being reasonable as well. I can’t stand the “gotcha” crowd that have a point to prove by open carrying. If you are open carrying to initiate a confrontation you are carrying for the wrong reason and need to grow up. You’re actually undermining the pro-rights effort by acting like an immature kid with an axe to grind.

  41. Good stuff by Sgt. Hayes who appears to be one of the good guys. My question, however, is this: If there are so many “good” cops still in the profession, why are they not purging the “bad” cops from their ranks and working to restore the honor that once attended the office? It very much appears that the ratio is ever tipping in favor of the “bad” cops. Additionally, if we ever get to the point where we, as a community, are forced to take up arms against police lost to corruption and drunk on power, how do the “good” cops plan to keep from being targeted along with the “bad” cops? No one wants such a scenario so I am begging good officers everywhere to clean up your house lest we be forced to clean it up for you.

  42. All selfish men posting on this site….its pathetic. If I was a mother walking the streets of my neighborhood with my children and saw a man with a gun holstered to his body, I would feel an immediate intimidation and threat!!!!!!! The only way I could combat that threat ( a little ) is to go out buy a gun of my own and carry it on my person. I already know how to shoot…father taught from a young age… But don’t want to be put in that position…a nervous woman scared for her children and under your law is allowed. Just like its allowed for plenty of incompetent men that don’t have to get a thorough mental health evaluation. This is NOT the wild fucking west!!! This is not a BATTLE FIELD!!!! The constitution is COMPLETELY out dated!!!! What if it was your wife…your children being afraid of who the person is behind the gun????? I think we can ALL agree that there are plenty of wolves dressed in sheeps clothing out there! WE NEED MORE GUN LAWS NOT LESS!!!! There are plenty of less scary and intimidating ways to defend ourselves and our property. If you want to hunt…be a REAL man and use a BOW!

    • Sounds like you are the selfish one, wishing to impose upon others to quell your neuroses.
      If you fear small dogs, should people refrain from walking them in public? Men with beards bother you so all should shave?
      The world need not cede it’s rights to cater to you.
      Sadly, you have no idea how many around you are carrying every day, albeit concealed. That should really get your nerves twitching!

  43. Fantastic article Sgt Patrick Hayes!!!

    Please read this next question as simple “food for thought”, I am truly not trying to be a d-bag, I’m just trying to understand this.
    I’ve always wondered, when a police officer says that he is going to temporarily seize your gun for “officer safety”, why does the officer get to put a law abiding citizen’s life in danger by disarming him, infringing on his second and fourth amendment rights simply to make himself feel more safe when the officer has no reasonable suspicion the citizen is involved in any crime?
    I don’t think the officer would react well if I told him I’m temporarily taking his gun for “citizen safety”.

    The bottom line is that the officers wield a great deal of power in our society because we, the people, have entrusted them with a sacred duty, to faithfully execute the laws of the land, to quell disturbances and if need be, to protect citizens from each other, sometimes by forceful arrest. Because of this awesome responsibility, I believe that we need to cut the police a break and make it very clear in law that yes, the police have the right to disarm you temporarily while you are under investigation of a crime, but the fact of the matter is the police do this even when there is not even reasonable suspicion (no where near probable cause) that a crime has been committed, just a report of what the witness thinks is unusual activity even though it is completely legal activity. What is the limit to the infringement of personal property seizure, even temporarily?

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