Telephone Call to Cops on Open Carry Arrest

09 Dec

Open Carry Demonstration at the Alamo [courtesy Google Images]

Open Carry Demonstration at the Alamo
[courtesy Google Images]

The government regulates the concealed carrying of semi-automatic pistols and revolvers.  “Open carry” refers to the right to openly carry a firearm–especially a loaded rifle or shotgun–in a public place.  In general, this right is protected by the 2nd Amendment.  A number of groups have been demonstrating their “open carry” right on Texas and other states by walking around in public, openly carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun.

Below, I’ve got a 7 minute audio of the president of an open-carry organization talking to the police department about an open-carry demonstrator who was arrested and jailed for “disorderly conduct” and “disturbing the peace” by walking around with his rifle.

On the one hand, I understand that seeing a stranger walking around with a rifle can be alarming to a lot of people.  For example, if I see some stranger walking on the sidewalk outside my house with with a rifle, my impulses will (in decreasing levels of probability) be: 1) get my own rifle; 2) keep a close eye on the man outside with a rifle; 3) photograph the man with the rifle; and 4) call the cops to ask them to find out what that guy’s doing with that rifle.

On the other hand, I also support the 2nd Amendment and the right of open-carry.   I therefore understand that the stranger has a right to openly carry that rifle–even on the sidewalk outside my home.  So, I’m not calling the cops to have this guy arrested.  If I call the cops at all, I’m calling them to have this guy investigated to see if he’s some nutcase with a rifle who might harm me or my neighbors.   I think it’s reasonable for the cops approach this guy and ask what he’s doing with the rifle.  If the stranger seems rational and has a credible explanation for his conduct, let him go about his business.  On the other hand, if he seems irrational or unstable, maybe it’s time to arrest him and chat further down at the police station.

This isn’t an easy issue for the police (or the public).  On the one hand, Americans have the right to keep and bear (openly carry) “arms”.  On the other hand, so few Americans exercise the right to openly carry their “arms” that, when they do, most other Americans view that conduct as so unusual as to be alarming.  If the cops don’t investigate, and the armed stranger shoots somebody, the cops will be blamed.  If the cops investigate, and the demonstrator is reasonable and without malicious intent, everyone can go home happy.  But if the cops investigate, turn the guy loose and then he shoots somebody, the cops will be blamed.  If the cops investigate and the demonstrator or the cops are belligerent, the demonstrator will probably be arrested and the cops will be blamed for falsely arresting of a man exercising his constitutionally-protected rights.

I’m no fan of the police state and therefore no fan of the police.  But I recognize that open carry demonstrators put the police in a rock-vs-hard-place position where it’s virtually certain that somebody is going to blame the cops for something.  So, it’s incumbent on all three sides–the demonstrators, the police and the public–to be reasonable and not succumb to fear or belligerence.

The open-carry demonstrators’ ultimate purposes are:

1) to remind Americans of their right to keep and bear arms–even in public; and,

2) cause law-abiding Americans to feel fairly comfortable in the presence of men or women openly carrying a rifle or shotgun.

But those demonstrators must know that, for now, their conduct is unusual and, for some, alarming.  These demonstrations are intended to achieve a positive political effect.  Therefore, the demonstrators must appear to beas reasonable and non-threatening as possible.  Open-carry demonstrations aren’t the place to wear your camouflage clothes and Rambo-headband.  Demonstrators would have a more positive effect if some of them showed up in a suit and tie.  With good clothes, the demonstrators indicate that they are not merely the “great unwashed” but include some members of the middle- and upper-middle class.  The cops will feel a lot more comfortable arresting a man carrying a firearm who looks like a bum, than they will about arresting someone who dresses like a man who can afford a lawyer.

More, open-carry demonstrators must expect to be investigated by the police and must be determined to remain reasonable during that investigation.

In fact, open-carry demonstrators should even look forward to being investigated because–if the police investigate and “approve” of the demonstrator’s conduct, that sends a positive message to both the police and the public that it’s OK to openly carry a rifle or shotgun.

Similarly, the police must be understand that, because openly carrying a rifle or shotgun is a constitutionally-protected right, they must not only be vigilant to discover if the stranger with the rifle poses a danger, but must also behave in a very professional, highly reasonable manner.  Real confrontations with open-carry demonstrators should be avoided wherever possible.  Investigations should not be allowed to turn into ego contests.  Arrests should not be made except where no other option remains.

Which leaves the public.  Who’s going to convince Joe and Sally Six-pack that it’s OK to see several people walking around with rifles?

Maybe the courts.

In the audio below, some one or more members of the public were allegedly alarmed by the sight of an open-carry demonstrator with a rifle. Therefore, the cops arrested that demonstrator based on allegations (maybe from the public; maybe from the police) that the demonstrator had “breached the peace” and alarmed the people by openly carrying his rifle in public.

By itself, that allegation is a bunch of crapola.  Unless the demonstrator was acting in an otherwise unreasonable manner, you can’t convert a constitutionally-protected right into a “breach of the peace” and expect that conversion to stand up in court.  (At least you couldn’t do that before this country turned into a police state–and you still might not be able to do it, legally.)

Assuming the demonstrator behaved in a reasonable manner, the question becomes, who alleged a breach of the peace–the public or the cops?

If it’s the cops, sue ’em–they should know better.  They’re guilty of false arrest.

If it’s one or more members of the public, sue him (them) in order to make an example of their ignorance.  Sue and show the world that if someone interferes with the right to keep and bear arms, and causes a man or woman to be jailed based on a false accusation of “breaching the peace,”  it’s going to cost him $25,000–maybe more.  Once a couple of private citizens are successfully sued for causing people exercising their constitutionally-protected rights to be arrested, a lot more people will start reading the Constitution and lot more people will begin to recognize the right to openly carry rifles and shotguns as established and fairly unremarkable.

Personally, I doubt that I’ll ever be comfortable in a room (say, a restaurant) where one guy has a firearm and I don’t.  If that S.O.B. goes crazy, we’re all in big trouble.  On the other hand, if I were in a restaurant where half a dozen strangers sitting at different tables had firearms, I’d be a lot more comfortable.  I’d know that if any one of those guys was crazy enough to start shooting, the other five would gun him down in fairly short order. Not many people are crazy enough to pull a gun in room full of others who are also armed.

It seems counter-intuitive, but the more guns there are, the less murders take place.  When we see stories about some lone gunman shooting a bunch of children in a school, we can reasonably wonder if the gunman is simply such an evil S.O.B. that he chose to shoot innocent children–or if he’s such a cowardly S.O.B. that he only had balls enough to go shooting at the one place where he could be sure he wouldn’t run into any return fire.  In other words, do the lone gunmen shoot kids because the kids are innocent, or because kids are sure to be unarmed?

A lot of people might dismiss that question as absurd, but there’s plenty of evidence to support the principle that killers prefer to murder the unarmed.

For example, I recently received an email that compared the homicide rates in Chicago and Houston.  The two cities have similar populations and demographics, but according to the email, Houston is full of gun stores and firearms, while Chicago has no gun stores and no concealed firearms:

Chicago, IL

Houston, TX

Concealed Carry gun law



# of Gun Stores


184 – Dedicated gun stores plus 1500 – legal places to buy guns- Walmart, K-mart, sporting goods, etc.

Homicides, 2012



Homicides per 100K



Avg. January high temperature  (F)



(Liberal conclusion: Cold weather causes murder.)


According to that email, the homicide rate in “gun-free” Chicago is four times the homicide rate in “gun-plentiful” Houston.

Implication:  Most killers are cowards who may be willing or eager to shoot the unarmed, but unwilling to be shot themselves.  Therefore, the killers don’t kill very much when they know their victims or the people around their victims may be armed.

In any case, here’s the 7-minute audio of the phone call to the Harlingen, Texas police asking why an open-carry demonstrator was arrested.  If I were making that call, I’d follow up by asking who decided to charge the demonstrator with “breach of the peace”.  If the demonstrator acted reasonably, I’d encourage a lawsuit against either the cop or the member(s) of the public who claimed “breach of the peace” and thereby precipitated a false arrest.  It’s not enough to play defense in these matters.  If someone causes a false arrested, don’t shoot ’em, sue ’em.


Posted by on December 9, 2013 in 2nd Amendment, Dissidents, Resistance, Video


Tags: , ,

15 responses to “Telephone Call to Cops on Open Carry Arrest

  1. EarlfromOregon

    December 9, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    A Treatise on the Right of Personal Liberty

    Rollin C. Hurd

    Rollin C. Hurd [1815-1874] was a prominent lawyer,
    Judge of the Ohio Court of Common Pleas
    and the President of the Cleveland, Mount Vernon and Columbus Railroad.

    BOOK I. The Right of Personal Property
    I. General Nature and Limitations of the Right
    II. Limitations of a Public Nature
    III. Limitations of a Private Nature
    IV. Constitutional and Statutory Guarantees of the Right of Personal Liberty in England
    V. Constitutional and Statutory Guarantees of the Right of Personal Liberty in America

    BOOK II. The Writ of Habeas Corpus

    I. Nature of the Writ of Habeas Corpus,
    and Sources and Extent of Jurisdiction over it
    II. Practice in Procuring and Serving the Writ
    III. The Return
    IV. The Issue
    V. The Hearing
    VI. Jurisdiction in Respect to the Validity of Legal Process when Asserted as Cause of Detention
    VII. Validity of Legal Process
    VIII. Right to Bail
    IX. Claims for Private Custody Founded on the Domestic relations
    X. Statutory Provisions Relating to Prisoner’s Discharge
    XI. Section I. Writ of Error

    Pub 2010| ISBN-10:1584773227
    Hardcover: 710 pages

    A Treatise on the Right of Personal Liberty


  2. Joseph LAmarca

    December 9, 2013 at 10:30 PM


    Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 00:13:21 +0000 To:

  3. Jetlag

    December 9, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Unfortunately, “breach of the peace” is a legitimate charge to bring, and expect to see it used early and often by the gun-grabbers, as long as the public’s first reaction to someone openly carrying a firearm is fear.

    You fix this by taking the fight to the source of this and most other public fears: the infotainment media. Let them know you’re on to the anti-gun propaganda game they’re playing, and demand they end their campaign to re-brand a right as a villainy.

    Secondly, you can see to it that people sympathetic to the open carry cause are elected to offices where they can change the law so that this right is explicitly protected.

    Otherwise, if you choose to ignore these two strategically critical areas of the fight, you’re obviously not serious about restoring America’s gun rights. In which case you can forget about open carry becoming much more than an emotionally charged, and ultimately ineffective, gesture of protest against the inevitable: the bad guys’ favorite way for We the People to seek redress of grievances.

  4. Yartap

    December 9, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Al, from your words, I get the feeling that you (and maybe others) are falling for the national media’s propaganda about guns.

    Let me demonstrate with the irony joke: “Not all Moslems are nut-cases, but All Gun Owners are nut-cases.” Are you demonstrating this also? Because, this belief is what is happening in our nation. Parents’ greatest fear is the lack of protection for their/our children. So, where is the call to have teachers and administrators armed? Where is the call to have parents home school their children? Where is the call to replace “Gun-free Zones” with “Gun Zones?” Are the shootings in Colorado and Sandy Hook staged to scare us? There is no evidence in these cases to convince me of a lone gunman in each, but the lack of evidence convinces me that they are staged cover-ups (Show me the video evidence).

    Open-Carry? I call B.S! on open-carry. Never show your hand to the government – keep hid – carry concealed. Where is the call to carry concealed weapons WITHOUT a PERMIT granted from the state? I have the 2nd Amendment right to conceal my weapon to sneak up on a government actor, who commits tyranny. Where is the call to stop all the “infringements” on firearms, like taxes, mandatory gun classes, registration, and permitting?

    “Oh dear – God! We cannot allow a crazy person to get a gun!”

    Who decides who is crazy? The government (with Obamacare)? I think not! But, that is what is coming.

    I believe that a “crazy person” has the right to have a gun and that a “crazy person” can be put to death for a capital crime. But, it is the government that says that a crazy person cannot have a gun nor can be put to death for their capital crimes. What say you?

    If we lean so hard to protect our 1st Amendment right of freedom of speech by allowing a woman to shake her boobs in front of others (which I disagree with); shouldn’t we lean just as hard to allow the mentally retarded or crazy people (even felons) to have the right of self protection? I think so!

    I don’t fear the crazies. I KEEP MY EYES ON A TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT and its allies, the people who fear guns!

    It is the people who have been taught to fear guns – that are the CRAZIES!

    Hey! For you gun-fearing crazies out there, here’s one for you; in Georgia, one out of every ten adults are “legally permitted” to carry concealed. So, that means, in every McDonalds that seats 40 people, there are 4 guns in the restaurant. And guess how many are not legally permitted in the restaurant! Ha! Ha!

    • Rog

      December 10, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      Here in Montana if someone is seen carrying a gun, the only questions asked, if at all, are more likely to be something like: “is that an xdm? do you like it? Where can I get a holster like that?.” You know, shop talk. I love where I live!

      Oh, and gun crime here is nearly nonexistent and when it happens it is usually committed by those from somewhere else.


      “We estimate about 90 to 95 per cent of households contain firearms and the average number per household is around 27.

      “When my wife’s mother passed away a few years ago we found 13 guns in this little old widow lady’s home.”

      Despite the number of guns in Montana the state had low crime rates, saw 40 per cent of the national average of gun-related injuries in children and had never witnessed a mass shooting, said Mr (Gary) Marbut.” From the Telegraph.

      Put that in your pipe and smoke it gun controllers.

  5. Anthony Clifton

    December 10, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    simple solution…

    get a beanie with a hexagram…white & light blue…

    look meshugginah…and say oy vey…!

    name drop…

  6. CJ

    December 11, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    We are going to protest outside the Harlingen Police Department (the same way we did in front of the McAllen Police Department when they pulled this crap) on 4 Jan at noon. It will be a peaceful demonstration that we will not allow the police to create violations of law out of thin air and we won’t allow our rights to be trampled upon. I’m the guy that made the phone call. For the record, the Chief has not yet called me back.

    • Adask

      December 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      Good. It’s vital that the police be “educated” that there are LIMITS to their powers. Those “limits” will be imposed by the PEOPLE. Your demonstration will help to remind the police of those limits.

    • Yartap

      December 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      Hi CJ,

      I visited your web site, Open Carry Texas. I commend your organization’s point of making the public to not fear seeing guns in the open. That is a worthy cause. Keep up the good work.

      Have you all considered the call for “unrestricted carry” (constitutional carry/ concealed without permitting). There now exist 5 states with unrestrictive carry.

      • CJ

        December 12, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        We are seeking constitutional carry. however, all the legislators keep telling me that’s not a reality. We continue to fight for Constitutional – or as we put it “personal” – carry, but will support any legislation that moves us in that direction. If they pass what they are talking about which piggybacks open carry on the back of the CHL process, we will file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of that law. When the only way to lawfully carry a firearm is through government permission and a second amendment tax, we think that law is unconstitutional and should be challenged.

  7. emtvalerie

    December 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    I would not recommend calling the police just to “investigate” someone who is legally carrying a firearm. Because the person is not breaking any law, you may be cited for making a nuisance call. Or the police will arrest the person based on the assumption that you would not have called the police unless some law was broken.

    • Adask

      December 12, 2013 at 6:59 AM

      I said calling the cops would be my last and least-likely choice. But what would you do if you saw a couple of blacks wearing red bandannas who were wandering around with Uzi’s on the sidewalk in front of your house? Make sure your single-shot .22 was loaded–or call the cops?

      • CJ

        December 12, 2013 at 1:56 PM

        I wouldn’t feel any more or less safe if it were a black guy with a red bandanna, a white guy with a blue bandana, or an Asian guy with a yellow bandana. At our events we have all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.

      • emtvalerie

        January 18, 2014 at 8:18 PM

        You’re putting forth a couple of straw men. First of all, assuming that the Uzis I see are capable of automatic fire, they are practically illegal in all fifty states and difficult to obtain- although Uzi does make semiautomatic as well as submachine guns. So I’m unlikely to see anyone walking down the street with one. Second of all, people with criminal intent are not likely to give themselves away by carrying openly, but are more likely to illegally carry concealed. Third, and most offensive of all, you’re assuming I’m racist.

  8. nonwo

    February 19, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    I know the mandate (Bill of Rights, 1791) as written guaranteeing the right to arms was intended to be clearly and implicitly understood by Joe sixpac on the street. Further, I know the original drafters did not intend someone else, notably an official, to interpret the clear meaning of this mandate. When it indicates right to keep and bare, it means to also carry this arm as the bearer sees fit. The author is fundamentally mistaken in reading into the law and limiting for everyone else. The author is perfectly right to limit himself as to bearing an arm. For everyone else in the jurisdiction (where the fed. Constitution applies), it means handguns, inter alia, as well as long arms. Further, it means not only open carry. If Joe sixpac allow “authorities” to arbitrarily dictate their personal interpretation then, we have the conditions for this police state to begin with. Emtvalierie is on the mistaken premise “. . . are more likely to “illegally” carry concealed”. I won’t, in this instance, speak to the other side of this regarding the man’s duty as a militiaman. After all, isn’t the intent of the Framers important as to the reason to exercise this universal right? Has it something to do with a “free state” and the “militia”? Has this spirit of liberty been effectively bred out of the people today?


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