Forums / Gun Discussion / Local views clash on carrying guns in public

9 years 5 weeks ago, 8:39 AM


samD's picture

Join Date:
Aug 2008
Green Valley, Free State of Arizona, United States

Local views clash on carrying guns in public
Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/14/2009 08:09:52 AM PDT

The guns hooked on their hips are a symbol of freedom and constitutional rights for some. To others, they represent a conundrum cloaked in fear and the unknown.
A national "Open Carry Movement" has landed in Redlands, bringing local attention to those who openly carry a firearm to exercise their second amendment rights.

Other law enforcement officials in San Bernardino County say they are unaware of their officers encountering open carriers, but some are passing out pamphlets and briefing the rank-and-file members on how to handle them.

State law allows adults who are not prohibited by law to visibly carry an unloaded gun in public places, excluding school zones, government buildings, state and national parks and secured areas like airports.

Police are permitted only to ensure the weapon is not loaded. They cannot run the gun's serial number, ask for the carrier's identification or detain them.

There are no statistics about how many citizens openly carry weapons, but their reasons range from self-defense to getting the public accustomed to seeing guns on people other than cops and criminals.

"It becomes a message, not of intimidation, but that we're here and we have rights," said Mike Stollenwerk, a gun rights activist and co-founder of

"People shouldn't treat people carrying guns openly any different than you would treat a person carrying their cell phone on a belt."

Law enforcement officials



vehemently disagree, arguing that open carriers pose a potential danger and nuisance to police and could frighten residents.
"They are creating an environment that is exceeding dangerous for them, the officers and innocent bystanders," said Redlands Police Chief Jim Bueermann.

"I think this is absolutely reprehensible behavior. Not only is it dangerous to carry a gun in this day and age, but that they would attempt to goad the officers into behavior that would then allow them to sue or put them in a position where someone could get hurt."

Yet, a 2006 FBI report finds that would-be cop killers "show signs of being armed that officers miss" and do not regularly use holsters, which is in direct contrast to the rules of open carry.

Gun rights activists and at least one constitutional law expert said it is usually better if citizens openly carry their guns, although it may initially disturb Californians.

"Seeing people with firearms has an effect of terrorizing the community in some way," said UCLA School of Law professor Adam Winkler. "I don't think it necessary should. There are plenty of people with guns that you can't see."

It's not just guns that open carriers have on hand.

They often keep a recorder and pamphlets explaining gun laws with them at all times, which is strongly encouraged by various open carry Web sites.

That was the case in the March 7 encounter in Redlands, which started when a passer-by called police to report seeing two men with guns in a Carl's Jr. parking lot.

An officer responded to the scene, where both men were hanging out at a fundraiser car wash for a local youth soccer team. Both men were in their mid-20s and had .40 caliber handguns slung on their hips in holsters, said city spokesman Carl Baker.

After the open carriers explained that they are carrying unloaded guns, they gave their names and birthdates to the officer.

Here's an excerpt from the exchange, which was recorded:

RPD: So what's uh, you guys trying to make a point or what are you doing?

Carrier 1: Just going about our lawful business, that's about it.

RPD: You guys part of a movement or something?

Carrier 2: We have a right to be armed and we're exercising that right. There are a lot of crazy people out there and we'd like to have some protection.

"Often we think about carrying firearms as a means of self defense but `open carry' in California is really more about political protest," said Winkler.

It's unclear whether the Redlands' officer was aware that he was being recorded during the exchange.

When the open carriers from the Redlands encounter ask how they did on the forum, some recommend filing a complaint because the officer allegedly detained them for 20 minutes while checking the serial numbers on the gun. They also suggested not sharing the recording with the Police Department.

No complaint had been filed by late Friday.

Stollenwerk said run-ins like that could possibly prompt lawsuits against police, who he said are only entitled to "say `Hey, I need to check your gun and make sure it's not loaded."'

He acknowledged that open carriers usually record encounters with law enforcement as a "precaution."

After hearing that Redlands police had come across open carriers, watch commanders in several cities patrolled by the Sheriff's Department said they would again brief deputies on open carry laws.

Fontana police officials said they haven't yet seen open carriers, but they hope that they don't because it could mean an increase in calls for service.

"If you start carrying a weapon around in the open, we're going to get called on it," said Fontana police Sgt. Jeff Decker. "And we don't have the option not to investigate."

Open carry is banned in six states: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and New York.

Eleven states allow `total carry,' which means residents can carry a loaded weapon in public.

But California's gun laws are still among the strictest, law experts say, and it's very difficult to get a concealed weapons permit.

Legislation passed on July 28, 1967 that Californians could not carry a loaded weapon in public, even openly. It was prompted after a group of Black Panthers led a protest march into the California Legislature fully armed in May 1967.

"I call it fraudulent `open carry' because you can carry your gun but it can't be loaded. The whole purpose of a gun is to fire a bullet," Winkler said.

Metro editor George Watson contributed to this report.

9 years 5 weeks ago, 10:45 AM


marten2nd's picture

Brigadier General
Join Date:
Mar 2009
Murdock, Lennox

Carrying A Gun Is An Absolute Right

The framers of the Constitution were under no pressure from the NRA when they wrote "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
D samD

give the devil his due
9 years 5 weeks ago, 4:28 PM


dave329's picture

Join Date:
Jan 2009

I agree whole heartidly!

9 years 5 weeks ago, 4:43 PM


Mark3030's picture

Lieutenant General
Join Date:
Mar 2009
Damn Right

its about time this starts happening, it should be done nation wide all at the same time according to the law

"the thrill of the hunt"
9 years 5 weeks ago, 5:02 PM


Schuyler's picture

Join Date:
Nov 2008
Bainbridge Island, Washington, United States

I was talking with Chris, Lt. in our local PD who carries three guns at all times. He's got a couple of Glocks on his belt and a J-frame S&W in a pocket holster. He said that it is perfectly legal to open carry in Washington State, BUT all a person has to do is say they 'feel intimidated' to lodge a complaint that a) must be investogaed and b) a report must be forwarded to the local D.A. he said that he is often stopped by Joe Citizen when he is not in full uniform, but is obviously packing. Here's his account of a recent conversation. Chris had stopped at the local convenience store.

Citizen: Why are you carrying a gun? You're not in full uniform." He shows her his badge, dangling obviously from his neck.

Chris: "Ma'am, I am on official duty."

Citizen: "But you're not in uniform."

Chris: "Ma'am, I just stepped out of an official police car. It's right over there."

Citizen: "You're carrying a gun and you're not in uniform." Chris is wearing a sweater. He turns around to show that it says 'POLICE" in big white letters on the back.

Chris: "Can you read what's on the sweater, Ma'am?"

Chris' point, of course, was that citizen who are gun phobes hassle anyone who is carrying, regardless of the fact that it is legal. In Washington, you do not need a permnit to open carry. This Lib would have really freaked out had she known she was only seeing one of Chris' three guns he had on him.

Chris is one of those cops who supports a citizen's right to carry. He's a member of our local Sportsmans Club, an RSO, and a certified NRA instructor.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
9 years 5 weeks ago, 9:46 PM


zx12rmike's picture

President Pro Temp
Join Date:
Dec 2008
commiefornia, United States

The only people it frightens are the friggin tree huggin, global warming, same sex marrying libs!

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home" Thomas Jefferson
9 years 5 weeks ago, 3:55 AM

Lyle Hutchins 1

Lyle Hutchins 1's picture

Lieutenant General
Join Date:
Feb 2009
Cee-more, Ok., United States
Open Carry

Just what the HELL good is a empty weapon? My grand father was born in Texas 1886. He would tell all us kids that a gun unloaded was nuthin but a pipe with a handle on it. Grand Dad was an engineer on the Denver & Rio Grande Rail Road. As a young man he was in a saloon in, Baird, Co. Texas, when a gun fight erupped. Then Years later helped catch a bank robber in Chama, New Mexico. Grand Dad always carried a Smith & Wesson 38 Spcl. Relvolver in a sholder holster under his vest. He slept with it under his pillow. Loaded Yes LOADED you Calif. pussys. Bad guys dont use holsters, and they Damn shure keep their weapons loaded.

Lyle Hutchinson
9 years 5 weeks ago, 10:25 PM


raffycanlas's picture

Join Date:
Nov 2008
New England Territory

i had an old lady ask me once why i carry a gun, and i said well, how do i know youre not gonna rob me?

I'm just another damn yankee with a loaded gun looking for some fun!
9 years 5 weeks ago, 4:40 PM


runawaygun762's picture

Vice President
Join Date:
Nov 2008
Richland, MO, United States

Sure, open carry is not a sound idea, especially if you have to keep it unloaded, but it shows people there are guns around. I can see an opportunity for pro-freedom groups to use the fear of open carry to make concealed carry permits easier to get. "You people are afraid of seeing me with my gun? My gun is going to be on me no matter what. Make it easier to get a CC permit and you'll never have to see it again.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.

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