The 9-12 Project of Central PA

"You Are NOT Alone!"

I was told that I should not post any more details than I already have on the attached link but since this info is already out there to be found.....

I know we must have a wide range of experts in our group and maybe they have some input. If you read through the complete thread you will find suggestions and opinions of what I did right and wrong as well as the thoughts/opinions of others from a Constitutional point of view.

I have and will continue to OC as a law abiding citizen.

I do not know if you have to be a member to read the thread. I think it is worth it though because there are many other examples of interest there as well.

http://forum.pafoa.org/open-carry-144/58395-detained-while-ocing-st...

Cork

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Replies to This Discussion

Cork,

I have been following your discussion on PAFOA, and I saw the original post you made here the evening of the incident at the theatre.

I have thought about your situation a great deal. I want to make it clear that I support your efforts. I think it is a courageous thing you are doing, and I respect that you are willing to experience difficulties in your personal life, in an effort to pave the way for others. I am not a lawyer, and I am pretty inexperienced in issues of firearms, so please forgive me if I say something stupid or naive. Here is what I have considered:

First, I think that the polite and curteous way you handled the situation was correct. Most of us recognize that that police officers are in a difficult position - they must be cautious when dealing with armed people, but they must balance this fact with respect for our civil rights. I think we should show respect for any person who has chosen a profession where they may have to put their own lives at risk to protect others.

I don't think it would help anything if you were beligerent, or tried to assert your rights in that situation. Too many negative incidents with someone who is OC'ing, might cause someone in the state legislature to start acting to remove OC in Pennsylvania. Positive incidents, like yours, serve to educate the public, and the police, even if they aren't that pleasant for you.

If we assume that the owner of the theatre, as a private property owner, has the right to impose a "no guns" policy on his property, then the police were just there to enforce the property rights of the theatre owner. On the other hand, if the theatre has that policy, they should be required to post a sign to that effect, before calling the police on somebody who unknowingly violates it.

By the way, don't construe this to mean that I agree that the "no guns" policy is wise.

The police may have crossed a line, when they removed your property from you. At most, they should have been able to escort you off the property, as they would for anyone who (for example) started smoking, in violation of the theatre's "No Smoking" policy, and refused to stop. It seems to me that taking your gun (or taking the cigarettes away from the smoker) would constitute a "search and seizure", in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

So the next question is whether or not you can sue the theatre, or the police over this incident. That must be answered by a lawyer, but the more important question after that is: if you do have grounds to sue, should you sue?

I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, if either the theatre owner or the police have violated your rights, a lawsuit would certainly punish them for doing so. On the other hand, it is also possible to lose such a case, which could set a precedent. On the third hand, even if you won a case, too many legal battles over OC situations might cause pressure in the public against the right to OC.

I have only recently become involvled with firearms. I have always supported the second amendment, but only recently decided to assert my own rights to own a gun. I have not yet been trained, and feel that I must learn much more before making any decision to actually carry a firearm, open or concealed. But, I have thought that should I ever get to the point of making that decision, I would approach it thus:

I would contact the local police in any jurisdiction where I might be OC'ing, and inform them that I was going to do so. I would probably show up in person, and try to engage them in discussion about the topic, and provide a copy of the OC memo I have seen mentioned on the PAFOA site. I have read that a copy of that memo was sent to the Centre County Sheriff's department, but I am not sure that guarantees it has propagated to the local police.

I don't know whether doing this individually would do any good, or not. However, if enough people did this, maybe the police departments would recognize that they must establish a policy to deal with OC situations, which respects everyone's rights.

Some might say that there is nothing in the law that requires such a notification to the police, and that to do so is in itself a violation of your rights. I would view it more as a courtesy to the police. If they have been informed that someone is OC'ing in their jurisdiction, and they have seen you personally, they might feel that much less threatened when they encounter you on a call.

At any rate, those are my thoughts. Again, thank-you for choosing this courageous course of action. If handled correctly, this could lead to positive change in our society.
You handled the encounter admirably and represented responsible gun owners in a positive light. You are on the pointy end of where the "Letter of the Law" meets "In Real Life". Stay safe.

Did you see this yet?
Cork,
I assumed this would happen when I saw your plans to OC. As I'm sure you did. It sounds like you handled it very well, as did the Police. Taking your weapon was crossing the line, unless you consented before hand. But it sounds like things went as well as can be expected. However, I think the theatre is in the wrong here. If they have a "no gun" policy, but don't have anything to that affect posted, how can you be expected to follow it. I found Peter's comments to be thoughtful and I tend to agree with him. You should probably consider talking to a lawyer, but be careful. Good luck to you, you are really standing up.
Dan
UPDATE:

I spoke with the General Manager today.

After speaking with the General Manager at the Premier 12 Theater at 3:20PM this afternoon I was told that I and other law abiding citizens were welcome in the Theater.

There was not a company policy up to this point because I was the first person to have openly carried (who was seen OC) in one of their buildings. The General Manager called corporate and this was the decision that came down.

OBVIOUSLY suspicious behavior (which I was not engaged in) may call for some course of action.

REMEMBER: I will still always look for signs (not starting aq sign/no sign thread here PLEASE) and abide by a businesses wishes. I will continue to frequent businesses who welcome me, and THANK THEM for recognizing my rights.

I would also suggest that others who feel the urge, ask to speak with the General Manager or Manager on duty when you go in next time and tell them that you welcome their decision to welcome our business.
This is the post at PAFOA after I went to the movies this past Tuesday. Again I would like to stress - It can only help our cause to ask to speak to an acting Manager and let them know we are glad for their decision to welcome both OC'ers as well as CC'ers. Positive reinforcement is a powerful thing!


This should be the final chapter for the movie part of this thread. Gothelder and I went to see Star Trek tonight - one week after this all began. And the good news is I have nothing to report. ZERO, ZIP, NADA!

Guess the GM was good to his word and the staff got the message. Chalk this one up as one for our side.

Should anything else come from the police side of this issue I will update as I can. Thanks again all!

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