unlawful carry conviction in Washington state

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by squirrelpotpie, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. squirrelpotpie

    squirrelpotpie Premium Member

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    this thread grew out of a thread i saw on the soapbox,
    https://www.steyrclub.com/vb/threads/7703-Open-carry-incident-Member-s-opinions-please
    so my apologies if this is old news.
    in the article on Mr Kirbys plea deal they referenced Mr Watsons conviction for unlawful carry in an open carry state.

    Basically Mr Watson was hanging around outside a pizza shop with his holstered handgun on display and when approached by officers who had been dining there and asked to conceal his weapon he refused. Not only did he refuse but he called 911 and complained of harassment insisting it was his right to carry openly. He apparently did show the officers his ID and concealed carry permit prior to calling 911 and demanding to speak with the police officers supervisor. Sgt Alie the responding supervisor also advised Mr Watson that the pizza shop had been recently robbed and that employees were uncomfortable with his openly displayed firearm and encouraged him to conceal it, Mr Watson refused and was eventually cited.

    http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/sep/30/student-convicted-in-open-carry-gun-case/

    Mr Watson was ordered to forfeit his gun, given 5 days jail time and 10 days community service for this misdemeanor.

    it will be interesting to see what happens on appeal.

    should Mr Watson have been more considerate of others and concealed his weapon when asked to do so by the police? yes.
    should Mr Watson have been convicted of unlawful carry, lose his firearm, his lifetime carry privileges and spend time in jail for asserting his right to bear arms? no.

    but what do you think?
     
  2. babj615

    babj615 Premium Member

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    NO! WA state is an open carry state. Should we so easily give up all our rights when they make some one uncomfortable?

    Agreed!
     

  3. ETH77

    ETH77 Premium Member

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    On conviction, major NO!
     
  4. Il Cattivo

    Il Cattivo New Member

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    In a world where someone will literally cross the street to ask me to put out a cigarette because "it bothers" them, I'd say you can find someone anywhere to be bothered about anything. Someone will make a point of being uncomfortable with an openly carried gun just because it makes them feel like they're in control of all them stupid rednecks. Screw 'em. The buisness owner can control his premises, and that's all the control the buisness gets.

    Personally I'd love to see a false arrest case brought.
     
  5. squirrelpotpie

    squirrelpotpie Premium Member

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    "NO! WA state is an open carry state. Should we so easily give up all our rights when they make some one uncomfortable?"

    I understand the desire to stand on principle.
    But now that we know it could lead to arrest, conviction by a jury of our peers, loss of a firearm, permanent loss of carry privileges and jail time;
    wouldnt it be easier to untuck the jacket from behind the holster and allow it to provide cover instead of arguing with police officers for an hour or more until they arrest us for what should not be a crime? In my experience nothing good ever comes out of arguing with cops, it may not be right but sometimes its better to just shut up and move along.

    I really hope this is overturned on appeal.
     
  6. Il Cattivo

    Il Cattivo New Member

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    Yes, it would be easier. But at some point you have to plant your feet and make a point of exercising a legal right, or, as a practical matter, it's no longer a legal right. The point of fighting for a law is to not have to gamble on the tolerance of whoever happens to be in sight.

    Come to think of it, the down side you cite is pretty much what a lot of people are going through now with open carry, isn't it?
     
  7. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

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    :rofl:

    I'm confused - he was open carrying in a pizza shop... I know the police started barking orders, but was the kid ever asked to leave by the pizza shop folks for failing to comply? The synopsis above makes it sound like the pizza shop folks were siding with law enforcement, and this dude just ignored them both?
     
  8. squirrelpotpie

    squirrelpotpie Premium Member

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    the article is a little confusing in that it references the Kirby case, neither individual was actually in a store/restaurant at the time of the arrest. in mr kirbys case i think someone called because he was hanging around outside with a gun visible under his tight tshirt and one of those witnesses alleged Mr Kirby was "giving everyone the eyeball with his hand on the gun" - which is very likely untrue.

    Mr Watson had apparently gone to the mall, but the store he was planning to shop at was already closed and he was hanging out waiting for a ride when the officers exited the pizza shop and asked him to cover his weapon. Mr Watson was never reported to have made any threatening remarks or actions but was still convicted by a jury of gun owning peers for unlawful carry in an open carry state. He basically was arrested for asserting his right to open carry and refusing to cover his weapon when encouraged to do so by police officers.
     
  9. xthexheadx

    xthexheadx New Member

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    sounds to me like he needs a better lawyer...
     
  10. squirrelpotpie

    squirrelpotpie Premium Member

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    unfortunately the conviction was based on a loose interpretation of a vague WA statute making it unlawful:
    "for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons."

    If Mr Watson's conviction is upheld on appeal, it basically means that if someone sees your gun and feels intimidated you are guilty of intimidation with a gun and subject to arrest. Given this statute and a successful precedent all the prosecution will have to do is convince a jury of your peers that you were in fact carrying a gun and that it caused alarm. In Mr Watsons case the previously robbed Pizza shop personnel saw Mr Watson hanging out in the parking lot with a gun on his hip and allegedly felt uncomfortable enough to close early. (the restaurant personnels alarm is a little suspect given the presence of the 3 presumably armed police officers in the pizza shop at the same time who left to confront Mr Watson and encourage him to conceal his weapon but hey some people are afraid of spiders and if you had a spider on your hip....)

    Here is a link to a prescient article from 2006 that provided some history for this statute and argued that it effectively banned open carry:

    http://www.claytoncramer.com/popular/WashingtonOpenCarryBan.html
     
  11. khoff

    khoff New Member

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    squirrelpotpie is a million % correct on everything here. argueing with a cop is a no win situation. but the guy should not lose his carry rights. maybe he thought he was on an anonymous venue like a computer forum and could express himself without recourse. then the cuffs went on and reality hit home. that was the most expensive arguement he ever had. bet next time its yes sir no sir anything you say "SIR ".and no i am not a cop, i just know they have the most difficult job allways dealing with lowlifes and incredible stress and the rest of us should be thankfull they are there and not make their jobs any more difficult. this is a case of " he got what he asked for. tacticly speaking-why open carry when you have ccl . concealed carry is always tactically more prudent. what people don't know they can't complain about.
     
  12. squirrelpotpie

    squirrelpotpie Premium Member

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    Hi khoff,

    thank you for commenting, but i do not think this is a case of the young man "getting what he asked for". given my personal life experiences and 20/20 hindsight i would have very likely complied rather than argued with the police officers. however, the more i looked into this case the more i realized the significance of this unfavorable ruling and its impact on anyones ability to open carry in washington state. i sincerely hope this young man is successful in hs appeal and i don't believe he should have been found guilty of a crime.
     
  13. babj615

    babj615 Premium Member

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    BINGO!

    Glad you have looked deeper into this one, SPP :)
     
  14. tofubento

    tofubento New Member

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    I am about to go get my app finalized to carry in WA, happy I found this article. I had a long response to khoff, but judging by his post anything I say will just be met with a defensive response. So, to shorten it...khoff, there is a time and place when going along with whats been told is okay, but there are far more instances where its okay to plant your feet and say no. A right that isnt exercised is a right lost...and all those other great quotes.
     
  15. RetiredNYPD

    RetiredNYPD New Member

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    Having been on the other side of the equation, where I have had to ask and sometimes tell people what to do in regards to their behavior I can identify with the officers here. Some people inherently have a problem with authority. You can ask politely and with respect and some people just feel the need to argue. For Mr. Kirby to not comply with the request seems like he was just doing it to prove a point. Who in their right mind wouldn't just cover up when asked by a uniformed cop because the general public was alarmed? Sounds to me like he got arrested for being stupid in a no stupid zone. He could have avoided all this nonsense by just doing what the cops asked. Just my $.02.
     
  16. khoff

    khoff New Member

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    Yep," STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES". IT is allways way more intelligent to avoid arrest, jail, court, prison. an old man once told me "smart people stay out of court", my personal experience is there is no greater truth. some people have never been arrested and locked up, it generally CHANGES their perspective. just my personal wisdom. no argument is worth my second ammendment rights. Cops will lock you up. it is their job.
     
  17. Narsil

    Narsil Premium Member

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    Does it at all matter that the man was actually breaking no laws; simply "making people uncomfortable?" At what point is it better for the sheople to be uncomfortable than to abridge everyone else's supposedly guaranteed rights?
     
  18. khoff

    khoff New Member

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    we live in a police state . that has been VERY obvious to me since ron-old ray-gun was elected. got worse under bush senior and even worse under clinton who went on a prison building spree the likes of which the world has not seen since the nazis. and ultimately bush junior and the patriot act. we live in a police state. wake up and act accordingly. vote indepedent and against all incumbant political canidates. our founding fathers NEVER intended america to have proffesional politicians, and that is americas main problem.
     
  19. Talyn

    Talyn New Member

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    As people who carry, cops our are friends, not our enemies.

    To openly defy somebody who is there to defend your life, just because you want to be an ass, is just stupid.

    As somebody posted the law as well, the cops were addressing the issue because of the law, not because he was carrying at all.

    While I love the idea of open carrying, I also Love the idea of Concealed Carrying far better. Out of sight Out of mind.

    This situation could have easily been resolved by Kirby by following correct steps while dealing with Officers of the Law.
    Their duty is to protect us. As Weapon Carry Permit Holders, we do not reserve the right to openly defy an officer unless it is unlawful, but even then... Think about it. I'd go along with it. I'd rather deal with it in a court of law then on the street with a boot on my head and loss of my weapon.

    So.

    you are open carrying.
    Officer asks you about your gun, You tell him you are a Permit Holder and offer to show him.

    If the officer asks you nicely to conceal the gun again and gives you a reason.
    I'd comply.
    To openly defy a request of something that is a "permission" now and no longer a "right," you should comply with the request.

    Remember, if you gotta pay for something to get a "permit," it's not a right.
    Even though we have the right to bear arms, somewhere it was missed in the law books when they wrote laws to supersede it.

    We all know here to not do anything stupid to get any sort of bad press against Carrying a weapon.

    If only the other jackasses knew that too when they got on the news for resisting a stupid request like "please conceal your weapon."


    Here's to hoping I don't look like an ass for a post.
     
  20. Doc

    Doc New Member

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    So what do you do when "please conceal your weapon" becomes "please leave your weapon at home?" This guy DID deal with it in a court of law and lost because the court often will side with those who uphold the law and their various interpretations of the law rather than the law itself.

    I'm not saying it was the wisest choice, nor do I dislike police officers just for being police officers, but suddenly saying it's "no longer a right" when requested otherwise is a very slippery slope.