Texas – -(Ammoland.com)- Texas Peace Officers who oppose the “Dutton/Rinaldi/Huffines” amendment that forbids law enforcement from demanding to see the papers of Texans lawfully open carrying a holstered handgun have been wrong on basically every major piece of gun legislation over the past several decades.
They have predicted doom and gloom. They have predicted blood in the streets. They have predicted the death and wholesale slaughter of peace officers. And now, they are doing more of the same in their opposition to open carry legislation and the “Dutton/Rinaldi/Huffines” amendment that would protect the 4th amendment rights of Texans by asking how they “are supposed to know whether a person open carrying is a felon or even licensed to carry.”
We find it necessary to educate both these law enforcement unions and the liberty-loathing politicians in Austin about the fact that this law IS needed and does NOT change what is really already established case law. Our members have witnessed firsthand what happens with an overzealous police officer stops a law abiding citizens who is peacefully exercising his right to keep and bear arms and does not want to engage in a consensual encounter. Our members have been handcuffed, stuffed in police cars, and even had loaded firearms pointed at them for doing so, which highlights the need for this legislation. Several court cases underscore why we support this amendment that only seeks to codify existing court precedence.
In U.S. v. Nathaniel Black, the Court of Appeals in the 4th Circuit held:
“Being a felon in possession of a firearm is not the default status. More importantly, where a state permits individuals to openly carry firearms, the exercise of this right, without more, cannot justify an investigatory detention. Permitting such a justification would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed individuals in those states.”
Seems plain and simple to even the most layman among us. But, we have more recent caselaw (as if 2013 was so long ago that we need a refresher) in the Shawn Northrup v. City of Toledo Police Department case in the Court of Appeals in the 6th Circuit, which held:
“If an officer engages in a conversation with a person who is carrying a gun openly, but otherwise is not committing a crime, the person cannot be required to produce identification.” Additionally, the court found that police departments have “no authority to disregard this decision—not to mention the protections of the Fourth Amendment—by detaining every “gunman” who lawfully possesses a firearm. And it has long been clearly established that an officer needs evidence of criminality or dangerousness before he may detain and disarm a law-abiding citizen.”
We can't help but ask what is the problem with Senator Joan Huffman, senior Texas law enforcement officials, and bigger gun rights organizations that they think the 4th Amendment of the federal constitution and Article I, Section 9 of the Texas Constitution doesn't apply to Texans?
This amendment (which is actually now a part of the bill that both chambers of the legislature have passed) merely makes it clear to all parties involved what is existing law to protect citizens from unreasonable and unconstitutional searches and seizures and law enforcement from expensive and embarassing lawsuits.
Open Carry Texas has been an unflinching proponent of this amendment and will continue to be so. Those that are seeking to have it removed need to be removed from positions of authority and power.
Open Carry Texas has been an unflinching proponent of this amendment and will continue to be so. Those that are seeking to have it removed need to be removed from positions of authority and power. I have placed links to the court decisions in the notes below.
Referenced Court Cases.
- U.S. v. Black – http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/115084.P.pdf
- Northrup v. City of Toledo Police Department – http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/15a0092p-06.pdf
Open Carry Texas
About Open Carry Texas: Our purpose is to 1) educate all Texans about their right to openly carry rifles and shotguns in a safe manner; 2) to condition Texans to feel safe around law- abiding citizens that choose to carry them; 3) encourage our elected officials to pass less restrictive open carry legislation for all firearms, especially pistols; and (4) foster a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement in the furtherance of these goals with an eye towards preventing negative encounters. www.opencarrytexas.org