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Old May 11, 2012, 02:13 PM   #1
Addicted2Shooting
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Former active duty Marine openly carrying handgun turned away from poll location

This is my first post in the Law and Civil Rights forum, but I think this deserves some attention.

The story can be seen here:

Source

My response:

I believe this is 100% a question of principal. Despite whether or not the man could have placed his firearm in his vehicle and come back and voted, is in my mind beside the point.

If in fact there is no legislation or signs prohibiting the carrying of a firearm on the premises, then government officials blatantly deprived this man of one if not two of his rights: 1) Legally carrying a firearm into an establishment that does not prohibit firearms, and 2) Denying an individual the right to vote because he was legally carrying a firearm into a polling station.

As most people are aware, there are various places where firearms are known to be prohibited (courthouses, schools, bars, private properties where posted, etc) and by all means the legislation has been established to make this known.

I find it troubling that an individual would be harassed and denied the right to carry without proper justification. Being as how the polling station was in a fire department with no signs indicating firearms were prohibited, or any legitimate statutes to support the claim that the individual could not carry, I believe the man’s rights were clearly violated.

Again, despite the fact that the man could have disarmed himself and voted is a matter or whether or not he is a man of principal and stands up for what he believes in, or whether allows his liberties to be stripped on false pretenses.

Reports indicate that the man regularly open carries and therefore was not intentionally looking for trouble, but exercising his rights as he does every day. I believe instances like this are what allow the groundwork to be laid for further disintegration of gun rights.

How do you all feel about this?

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; May 11, 2012 at 02:52 PM. Reason: Copyright Violation
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Old May 11, 2012, 03:07 PM   #2
Pond, James Pond
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How do you all feel about this?
I feel only he can decide whether what he did was the best option or not.

Ultimately, were his aims best served? Which choice would have had the most positive effect?

For me the more important would have been exercising my right to vote, rather than carry.

Yes, he made a statement, but he paid for it by losing his chance at the ballot box, and I'm not sure how many will have noticed this gesture.

For me, it would have been simpler to go back and stow the gun in the car, or even a bag, then voting, making sure that the fact that the issue of OC had been raised and restricted by the polling station. Get the names of the officials, etc.

Then, once I'd have voted (I'd have got what I went for), I could have written a letter of complaint outlining the problem. Or better still, local press to highlight the fact I had been in the right. Then people may have taken more notice, poling officials may have subsequently educated staff to greater effect...

I'll walk away on principle for some things, but I won't lose my vote for a technicality that could be addressed at a later stage...

But if he felt he did the right thing...
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Old May 11, 2012, 03:26 PM   #3
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+1, Pond. Having raised the issue, and brought attention to the incorrect information put out by local and state officials, I think he accomplished a reasonable goal. After that point, choosing not to vote was only damaging to his ability to protect or promote his views.
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Old May 11, 2012, 03:28 PM   #4
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My opinion:
  1. Respect the wishes of the polling place personnel.
  2. Place the firearm in a vehicle.
  3. Vote.
  4. File or make known your grievance to local and state voting boards.
  5. Cite, to the voting boards, appropriate statutes dealing with carrying firearms.
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Old May 11, 2012, 03:28 PM   #5
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Like it or not some people find firearms intimating legal or other. What about the rights of the poling officials if they feeling intimated by someone openly carrying a firearm, they have no way of telling if he has a permit or not. To me open carry is more about macho man or making a point than self defence. PS Was he that concerned about getting assaulted going into the poling station that he couldn't of concealed his firearm or left it in the car. You have to have a bit of common sense just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean its the right thing to do.

Last edited by manta49; May 11, 2012 at 03:43 PM.
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Old May 11, 2012, 03:28 PM   #6
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It seems to me this is perfect grounds for a legal case. There's probably more than a few of the NRA's attorneys that would love to jump in on this.
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Old May 11, 2012, 03:45 PM   #7
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I will bet his sole intent was to be turned away and make a case of it. Sounds that way to me, but I wasn't there. It seems some Oc'ers love that kind of attention. Maybe this will cause a California like reaction and they will ban OC. Maybe it will not.

That being said, we have a saying around my agency of no MSU. Meaning, no Making Shiz Up. If its not illegal, its not illegal. Such if life. The rules are the rules and we play by them. If I get called to a situation where I can't find a statute that covers that sutuation, so be it.

I wonder of the fire chief just decided that he, acting as the chief, decided he didn't want the guy in the building with a gun. If thats his decision to make, this guy can cry all he wants, and he will lose. Property owners/occupants rights are just as important as ths guys rights.
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Old May 11, 2012, 04:24 PM   #8
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I agree that if it were me, I would have just placed the firearm in my vehicle, voted, and then went about my way...potentially bringing it to the attention of authority through the appropriate channels; that is if I felt it were worth the time and effort in relation to any beneficial outcome that may arise.

Additionally, I agree with you on the whole image of open carry...some people do seem to strut around like look at me with my gun. To me that's not what its about at all. I carry concealed for self defense purposes only.
I don't want people to know I'm carrying or draw any attention.

Causing a big scene only makes you look like a 'gun nut' that wants political attention.

Nonetheless, if there were no signs posted and no legal statutes in place, he should have been able to cast his vote with the gun on his hip and go about his business.

If the establishment doesn't want people carrying in their building or on their grounds it should be posted. If the law doesn't want people carrying in certain places, it should be documented.

I'm sure something will come from this, even if its a no firearms sticker slapped on the door of the fire department.
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Old May 11, 2012, 04:39 PM   #9
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I too probably would have put my firearm in my vehicle. But the bottom line is, the man was breaking no laws and was deprived of his right to vote. I would love to see the ACLU and Justice Dept. look into this.

I can imagine when we get concealed carry here in Illinois there will be a lot of this, cops and officals making decisions based on what they "think" the law is when in fact the law prohibits, restricts or limits no such thing.
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Old May 11, 2012, 04:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
What about the rights of the poling officials if they feeling intimated by someone openly carrying a firearm
They can feel any way they want. Feelings don't trump rights.
Unless there was an explainable reason why they felt threatened, they have no basis for denial unless there is a statute in place or they are the owner/operator of the property. (Generally speaking, of course)
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Old May 11, 2012, 04:58 PM   #11
Pond, James Pond
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But the bottom line is, the man was breaking no laws and was deprived of his right to vote.
I don't feel he was deprived of that vote.

He opted to let this issue take precedence over his right to vote, IMHO.
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Old May 11, 2012, 06:08 PM   #12
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I think we can all agree that his right to carry was violated.

His right to vote was limited by the restrictions placed before him, but not altogether denied. He did have the option to vote, but it would require that he give up another right to do so.

As long as there's nothing set in stone that says your right to vote is guaranteed free and clear of all restrictions, then I guess you can say he was not denied the right to vote.
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Old May 11, 2012, 07:33 PM   #13
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The principle of the thing is, Carry, be turned away, take it to court. I voted in the primary caucus this year, my OC was not an issue, nor should it have been for this guy.If we do not stand up for our rights, they will be discarded...and rights no longer.
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Old May 11, 2012, 08:28 PM   #14
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Question regarding the title of this thread: How does his being a "former active duty Marine" have any bearing at all? Does he get extra 2A rights for that?

I'm former active duty Army (closing in on 40 years ago now, but we don't need to dwell), do I get extra 2A rights too? Is it 2A+? 2A²?

Do former Marines get 2A++? 2A³?

Me personally, given the choice I'd have left my gun in the car and exercised my right to vote.
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Old May 11, 2012, 08:43 PM   #15
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Conn. Trooper, if it was a public building, how do "property rights" come into play?
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Old May 11, 2012, 10:49 PM   #16
Gary L. Griffiths
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Quote:
How does his being a "former active duty Marine" have any bearing at all? Does he get extra 2A rights for that?
My thoughts on the matter exactly. I've apprehended both active duty and former marines for rape, robbery, and murder. OTOH, one of my former partners was an ex-marine. He was a fine investigator.

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Old May 11, 2012, 11:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conn. Trooper
That being said, we have a saying around my agency of no MSU. Meaning, no Making Shiz Up. If its not illegal, its not illegal. Such if life. The rules are the rules and we play by them. If I get called to a situation where I can't find a statute that covers that sutuation, so be it.
Really?

The law in Connecticut is that you can't carry without a permit. Once you have a permit, there is no law, statute, ordinance or regulation that says you must carry concealed, yet people all over your state have been arrested when open carrying. Typically, once the officer figures out that he can't use the carry statute, he defaults to that old standby: "Disturbing the peace."

Are you prepared to tell us that no Connecticut State Police troopers have ever done this?
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Old May 11, 2012, 11:02 PM   #18
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Question regarding the title of this thread: How does his being a "former active duty Marine" have any bearing at all? Does he get extra 2A rights for that?
Noting he was in the Marines previously or that he as active duty in the Marines previously has nothing to do with the issue. However, the supposed anti-gun "liberal" media that many gun owners think (and often state on this forum) is trying to make gun owners look bad by pointing out transgressions maybe isn't so anti-gun. The anti-gun issues often in the media seem to be sensationalized quite a bit. Gun ownership and the 2A are hot button topics. The more sensational the story, the better for the media.

In this case, the media is sensationalizing the event by noting that the gun carrier was previously in the Marines and/or previously active duty in the Marines. That aspect was noted in many of the versions of the story available online, but why is this mentioned? Simple - the notion of a person being deprived rights when that person served his country to protect them is a great angle to play. How dare the polling officials and cops turn away an American hero? But they weren't turning away a hero. They were turning away some guy with a gun. Having been in the Marines wasn't even part of their consideration.

----

I realize that the guy tried to cover the bases with both the cops and polling officials by carrying a copy of the state's law in hopes that if there was a problem, then he could allay their concerns once they saw what the law actually was. However, in this case and a few others that I have seen like this, I can't recall any of them being successful that once the laws were shown that the people (usually cops) claiming there is a problem then changed their minds. If anything, providing those folks with a copy of the law only seemed to have deepened their resolve at that time and letting the gun carrier take the issue to court.

If I believed as those polling officials, fire chief/LEO, and officers believed, I would likely dismiss the information provided by the gun carrier as well given that I could not assess the validity or authenticity of the information being provided.
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Old May 12, 2012, 12:04 AM   #19
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Give someone a hand and they want your arm. The gun could've been concealed, but no that's not good enough, like he's the only marine vet around? Did he get an honorable, or general?

It's lovely how he had to show the world that it was his right to let everyone see that he had a gun in a polling place where people under stress are thinking about how things are so screwed up in the country and get ticked off while voting. Think a dentist would be a little upset if his patient was holding a gun in his hand while getting a root canal?

I'm retired LE and only carry exposed while hunting. Remember those panthers in Ohio that were cut loose by the AG for standing around with nightsticks? Anybody like seeing them packing on their hip? I don't think anyone normal would. This ain't no 3rd world nation. Leave the damn gun in the car, or stick it under the shirt and only a moron would get insulted and cut off his nose to spite his face by not voting. The NRA would run the other way before they would take on a case like this. Just my opinion.
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Old May 12, 2012, 12:08 AM   #20
johnwilliamson062
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hmm I am a proponent of open carry but would not choose a polling booth as the place to be an activist. Making someone uncomfortable at a store, festival, etc., is a little different than when they want to vote.

I don't mind seeing the Panthers open carry. Well, maybe if they OC hipoints, Tauruses, or Glocks, but as long as they OC something that isn't offensive to the eyes...
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Old May 12, 2012, 12:30 AM   #21
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I've personally dealt with the panthers and don't want them carrying opened or concealed.
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Old May 12, 2012, 07:53 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by gunsmokeTPF
This ain't no 3rd world nation. Leave the damn gun in the car, or stick it under the shirt and only a moron would get insulted and cut off his nose to spite his face by not voting.
While I agree that he should have voted and then pursued a complaint that his 2A rights were violated, that's his call. However, open carry IS legal where the incident took place, so why should he be expected to leave the gun in his car? The Supreme Court has ruled that the 2A is a "fundamental" right and that a "core purpose" of the 2A is self-defense. Rights that are not exercised are lost. If he has a right to open carry, the choice of whether to carry openly or concealed should be completely his option.

I would carry open if I were allowed, especially now that Summer is approaching. It gets hot, and always having to wear a cover garment gets uncomfortable.
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:18 AM   #23
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I am not big on OC, but sometimes when I see the attacks on OC from TFL members, all I can picture is black people worrying that Rosa Parks might get the white folks all riled up if she doesn't move to the back of the bus - her insistence at keeping her seat could cause repercussions...
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:25 AM   #24
Rifleman1776
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I have just completed poll worker training for my state. This issue was not mentioned. But my state, Arkansas, does not have an open carry law. So open carry might be considered suspicious. If someone came in wearing openly and did not have a badge I would call the Sheriff pronto but would not challenge the individual.
BTW, why is it that only "former Marines" are so identified in news accounts?
Never do you see "former Airman" or "former Seaman" or "former Soldier". Just Marines.
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:28 AM   #25
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For me the more important would have been exercising my right to vote, rather than carry.
No one in this country should have to set aside one right in order to exercise another.
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