30 March 2008

State LEOs In The Dark About Open Carry in Ohio

The Ohio Supreme Court noted that it is legal to openly carry a firearm in an opinion regarding CCW several years ago.

State LEOs are just now learning this?

"As long as you haven't been convicted of a felony, if you want to wear a pistol on your belt or walk around town carrying a shotgun, Ohio has no law against it. But if you do, don't be surprised if you get some unwanted attention from police officers. Philip Turner, 30, discovered that in July when he walked from his Hilliard apartment to his parked truck wearing a gun on his belt. At the time, Turner worked protecting banks' ATMs as they were serviced and delivering diamonds to jewelry stores.

"An undercover agent with the Ohio Investigative Unit -- the police agency that enforces the state's alcohol, tobacco and food-stamp laws -- saw the gun and quickly ordered him against his truck with his hands on his head. "He came up and treated me like a felon for absolutely no reason at all," Turner said. "There wasn't even a suspicious action on my part to warrant him taking this action against me. Had I been out waving a gun around the parking lot, (then) yeah." After being detained for about 30 minutes, and after Hilliard police arrived at the agent's request, Turner was released without charges. An internal investigation that concluded this week found that neither Agent Timothy Gales, who had stopped Turner, nor his partner, Betty Ford, did anything wrong.

"However, it also revealed that Gales did not know it was legal for Turner to carry a gun openly, said Lindsay Komlanc, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety. As a result, more than 100 agents in the unit are to attend a mandatory refresher course on Ohio's gun laws over the next couple of months, she said."

Troubling. Very troubling.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The problem you have with this is that an individual dressed in street clothing who is “supposedly” an officer is attacking you at gunpoint. You have no real way of knowing if he is a true offices or some one impersonating an officer attempting to rob you. IF he was a true officer he would know its legal for you to open carry and would not be assaulting you. Now you have to decide if you are going to get into a gun fight with them.

A more responsible action would have been to observe the unknown open carry and call in the uniforms… you know are the good guys cuz they got a couple of cars with lights and stuff

That undercover is lucky he didn’t get his ass capped acting irresponsible like that.

SMM Associates said...

To echo the first comment, there's a major danger to Law Abiding Citizens here. If you do anything to resist what may easily appear to be an attack, you run a good chance of being killed by an Officer who will have the entire weight of his "Agency" behind him. Should you kill him, without really good witnesses, you're toast.

Law Abiding Citizens are expected to know the law inside and out (some of which is sufficiently vague that our Attorney Generals have often fallen back on "we'll let the courts sort it out"), and can lose everything if we so much as bend one, but an Officer can jack us up by not knowing the law, and go home that night without a thought, or risk of punishment.

I suppose this is really "everywhere" when an Officer acts, whether its a gun, knife, baseball bat, or cream pie, but guns are such a "hot button" that some kind of enforcement seems to be mandatory if an Officer even sees one (nevermind the silly mess of Criminal Protection Zones where Law Abiding Citizens are not permitted to defend themselves, including buildings we paid for) that, well, if we have to know the law, the Officers should too, or be personally liable....

Philip's case is an excellent example of an Officer with no knowledge of the law acting outside of the usual scope of his job. While being "eyes and ears" is a good idea, and I fully support the Officer calling for knowledgeable backup, this was nonsense, and the Officer should have personal liability....

Just IMHO, of course....

Anonymous said...

This is why we need a government that is policed by the people and not the other way around... There's way too many wanna-be hard asses with a badge and a gun that go out everyday with a hero mentality looking for trouble... I find it ridiculous all the little things and ins and outs of the law CCW citizens and OC'ers have to know but half the cops don't know the what law is at all but you can't do anything about it in that situation, makes you want to carry around the ORC book so you can point the law out for the officer and tell them they are wrong...