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I am part of a Democracy for America (DFA) group that meets monthly at a local pizza place. We eat pizza and salad and some of us have a beer or some wine, while discussing politics.  We sometimes invite a speaker or candidate to address the group.  Last night, we listened to a local police officer speak on the problem of gun violence in our community and the chaos caused by "open carry" laws.  This officer, a criminal investigator with over 30 years on the force, is also a Democrat and serves as a PCO.

Andy (I'll call him that, although it's not his real name) stressed that he was speaking to us as a private citizen, and not as a member of the city police force.  He began by saying that our city is in good shape, compared to others in the area.  Our city's culture is such that prosecutors regard gun crime as worthy of prosecution and citizens tend to call the police anytime they see someone carrying a gun.  The problem lies with the state's "open carry" laws and groups that use that law as a way to create confrontation.

He reported that these trouble-makers will go into a bank or store and stand there, looking belligerant.  Sometimes they will rest a hand on their weapon.  When the police are called, they can do little.  When the police department made arrests in the past, they were sued and lost. Andy stated that they had a situation recently where a person carrying an assault weapon was spotted walking near a trail that led to a school.

An officer arrested him, fearing that another school shooting was going to take place, but it turned out that it was another of this group that was just trying to cause trouble for the police. Now, the officer is waiting to see if he will lose his house in the upcoming lawsuit.

We talked about the local situation for well over an hour, but eventually frustrated DFA'ers demanded, "What can we do?  How can we get some laws passed?"  Andy stated that he believes we have a better chance of getting something passed this year than we've had in a long time. He said that the best thing we can do is keep the issue alive.  Keep it on everyones' minds.  Keep writing your senators, congressman, and your newspapers.  Don't just do it once; do it several times and have all your friends do it.

We got kind of fired up, and started throwing around ideas to get publicity for the issue. I remembered that our Republican legislators are having a town hall meeting this month and suggested that we picket it with gun-related signs.  Another member offered to make the signs.  So, in a little over a week, we will be picketing a state senator and two representatives at their townhall meeting.  We may end up in the newspaper; we may end up in jail, but we are doing our part to keep this issue alive.  (I also plan to write letters, but this sounded like more fun.)

Originally posted to wackoliberal on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:16 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Don't just stand outside with signs (6+ / 0-)

    Go INSIDE and make your voices heard.  Unless they hear you loud and clear by voice they will ignore you.

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011)

    by Rosalie907 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:28:45 PM PST

  •  I don't know what state you live in, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prof Haley, LilithGardener

    but you've got to give me a link to your state law that allows

    He reported that these trouble-makers will go into a bank or store and stand there, looking belligerant.
    that to be legal or I don't believe it.
    •  I'll look it up and get back to you (4+ / 0-)

      To be honest, I had no idea before last night that this was going on around here. I've lived here (Washington)for several years and had no clue we had open carry laws.

    •  The Law Says nothing about banks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kentucky Kid

      Since banks are private property, it seems like they could post "no guns allowed" signs.  Maybe there is some other reason they don: do this.

      Washington State follows British legal tradition, which states that anything that is not proscribed as unlawful is lawful (also called the "Rule of Lenity," which stands for the proposition that whatever is not prohibited by law is allowed.)
      So the real question is; where can you NOT carry in Washington? There are four main state statutes that one must be cognizant of: RCW 9.41.050 (Carrying Firearms), RCW 9.41.280 (Carry on School Grounds), RCW 9.41.300 (Weapons Prohibited in Certain Places), and RCW 70.108.150 (Firearms in Outdoor Music Festivals). It is your responsibility to read and understand the definitions and exceptions in the law. RCW 9.41.050 is the primary law which affects gun carrying on a day to day basis. This law makes it unlawful for one to conceal a pistol without a concealed pistol license (hereinafter called CPL), and also makes it unlawful for one to carry a loaded pistol in any vehicle, whether it be openly carried or concealed carried unless a person has a valid CPL(see RCW 9.41.060 on Exceptions). Loaded is defined as having ammunition inside of the gun itself (magazine inserted with ammunition with semi-auto, ammunition in cylinder for revolvers). Localities may also prohibit the carrying of handguns in the stadiums and convention centers that they operate, however they MUST exempt those who possess a concealed pistol license. There are also federal statutes you must be cognizant of: 18 USC 922 (q), which prohibit the carrying of a handgun within 1000 feet of a school unless you are licensed to carry or meet another exemption to this law. The constitutionality of this law is questionable in light of United States v. Lopez and District of Columbia v. Heller. To our knowledge, there has been no prosecutions of this law where this is the sole charge. 18 USC 930, which prohibit the carrying of firearms in any "federal facility" or any "federal court facility."

    •  Here's a link to Washington State laws (0+ / 0-)

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 12:43:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Note - From the gun enthusiast perspective (0+ / 0-)

        it's a compilation of law and advice about where the boundaries are and when NOT to push the boundary.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 01:02:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So, your citizens' POV is anyone carrying a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    noway2, ban nock, Patrick Costighan

    firearm is a criminal?

    And what does one have do do with the other in this representation:
     

    Our city's culture is such that prosecutors regard gun crime as worthy of prosecution and citizens tend to call the police anytime they see someone carrying a gun.
  •  Open carry Into a bank? I doubt it. (0+ / 0-)

    Banks are Federal gun free zones. Every gun-rights advocate knows that.

    In WA there is some movement to try and enable the state to increase punishment or juveniles who commit gun crimes.

    Currently, a first offense typically results in a suspended sentence and a few hours of community service. There are no significant consequences for the crime until the fifth conviction.

    Some kids graduate to murder before that ever happens.

    Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/...

    •  Incorrect (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh, Patrick Costighan

      Banks are not off limits by federal regulation.  Some states prohibit carry in banks, other states don't.  Some just prohibit open or concealed carry but not the other.

      This was an question in my state not too long ago, with the passage of NC HB-650, which amongst other things allowed concealed carry in banks.  Prior to its passage one was only allowed to open carry in a bank.  Now, carry is allowed either way unless the bank posts against it.  While posting "no guns" is enforceable in NC, in most states it is not.

  •  The guns-for-fun crew consider every gun (3+ / 0-)

    fair play.  Well except for the oopsie, then society has to pick up the tab.

    They have no clue how to legislate sane handling of guns because of their complete hysterical paranoia that someone is going to take away their hobby.

    Maybe a campaign like the Rich People for Bush.  Remember them.  Gun Zombies from the NRA or something.

    guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

    by 88kathy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 12:13:49 AM PST

  •  Those who use open carry as a means to intimidate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patrick Costighan

    or make a scene are amongst the biggest idiots around.  They are highly condemned even by the pro-2A community.   Here is an example of what I mean.

    A few of the first comments about a man confronted by the cops for open carry and being a dick about it:

    dude was being a hard headed punk
    What a moron...
    Exactly what we don't need.
    video is all about the numbskull with the camera
    The site above has strict language restrictions, otherwise I am sure the statements would be a lot more course.  There are pages of rebuke.
    •  Kind of ironic how gunnies turn on their own. (2+ / 0-)

      Since the Window has shifted, open carry nuts are the new Todd Akins of the 2A  crew.

      •  Not all of them are (2+ / 0-)

        anti open carry.

        sidenote - hasn't been an original RKBA diary for well over a week now. Guess its getting a bit warm in the kitchen.

      •  Re (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        noway2

        I think it's cute you think the Window has shifted.  

        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

        by Patrick Costighan on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:15:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Open Carry is fine. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener

        The problem is acting like a tool with a video camera in order to get your 5 minutes on Youtube.  That kind of behavior benefits nobody.

      •  They turn on their own for using open carry for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peterfallow

        intimidation, but will fight forever to make using open carry for intimidation a crime.  No they are just upset it is on youtube.

        They think shooting a gun accidentally is an oopsie.  I think it should be a felony with gun possession rights either permanently surrendered or lost for a long time.

        They think I should be responsible if their 'good enough' storage isn't good enough to keep guns out of the wrong hands.  They just say oopsie, and go to the store and buy a new one.  No worries.

        They think guns are toys.  I think they are deadly weapons.  They have no idea how to make gun owners control their own guns.  They clutch their pearls and tell me how they are so good at controlling their guns, at the same time the papers are full of people who lose control of their guns.

        I can't wait till the pendulum swings the other way.

        guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

        by 88kathy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:36:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  As we keep pointing out (3+ / 0-)

      You are all responsible gun owners until you are not.

      and

      a bullet from one of their guns is exactly as deadly as the bullet from one of yours. Why should an innocent suffer just so you can carry on practicing your hobby?

      •  Why should someone else have to be a victim (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patrick Costighan

        just because of your irrational fear?

        At least gun owners are recognizing the need to take responsibility for their own safety and doing something about it other than throwing a temper tantrum on the Internet.

      •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        noway2

        Could you explain how a round fired by somebody else's gun is my fault?

        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

        by Patrick Costighan on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:16:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well you see, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Patrick Costighan

          [sarcasm]
          You "hobby" is bolstering an industry that wants to get guns into the hands of as many criminals as they can because ultimately more crime equals more guns.  Since your buying products from these companies your also contributing to the NRA's coffers.  So you see how, you are indeed responsible...
          [/sarcasm]

          •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

            Thanks!  That clears up a lot.  And truly a company that can mysteriously profit when their product is resold and resold and stolen and resold again.  Unfortunately, they use that same money making magic to bend me to their will.  So I buy more guns, comforted only by the knowledge that I never had a choice.

            When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

            by Patrick Costighan on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:47:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  TCA 39-17-305. Disorderly conduct. — (0+ / 0-)
      TCA 39-17-305. Disorderly conduct. —

      (a) A person commits an offense who, in a public place and with intent to cause public annoyance or alarm:
      (1) Engages in fighting or in violent or threatening behavior;
      (2) Refuses to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard or other emergency; or
      (3) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.
      (b) A person also violates this section who makes unreasonable noise that prevents others from carrying on lawful activities.
      (c) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

      I suggest we should be focusing on (a)(3)

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 12:57:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It takes more than simple open carry (0+ / 0-)

        My state is unique on this issue in that it has an (obscure) law specifically oriented towards the concept of carrying a gun to intimate.  It is called Going Armed to the Terror of the Public.  The courts have ruled that simply openly carrying a gun is not a suitable offense and that it must be accompanied by other factors that make it a deliberate attempt to cause a panic.  This is this states equivalent of a brandishing law.

        Here is a link to an archived discussion on this subject that covers the salient points, including the court case that settled the issue.

  •  Thank you for the diary. Consciousness of the pro- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, LilithGardener

    blem is a key part and we must make everyone aware.

    When one American is shot every 5 minutes it is incomprehensible that anyone can be opposed to regulating the very objects that the shootings are done with.  Sure there are many societal issues that contribute, but these are second order - the first/clear issue is that more guns = more shootings = more deaths.

    Here on Daily KOS we have a few regular features that are trying to help create that awareness:

    Greg Dworkin's many diaries on the 12/14 massacre. Here in one example - Newtown changed everything.

    Stories by survivors of gun violence.  Here is a great diary by MsSpentyouth that personalizes gun violence from the point of view of the survivor of a mass shooting.

    The Sandy Hook Ride on Washington - March 9-12 is starting to get coverage.  Here is link to petersolson's Day 3 Schedule update.  There will be more diaries by him and coverage of the ride at Shut Down the NRA and RASA.

    Even some with a humorous bend like David Waldman's Gun Fail Series - latest installment is here, Bob Johnson's many snarky diaries mocking the idiotic excuses against any reasonable and effective regulations - here is my personal favorite (warning - no drinks as your screen may get splattered! and don't miss the comments), and we even have a Bingo game going mocking all the NRA talking points that get regurgitated even right here.

    There are many many more worthy diaries by others (sorry if I didn't name yours or your favorite, but there are so many) trying to raise the awareness right here among us.  We then have to take that to the politicians as is being done by the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington and many other events, but first we must wake up Kossacks as many of us have been numb and avoided this horrendous public health crisis for too long.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:01:57 AM PST

    •  Re: Go for it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      noway2

      We'll be doing the same from the other end of the pool. Let's see who wins.

      When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

      by Patrick Costighan on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:17:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The battle for gun control has historically been (0+ / 0-)

      a stalemate.  The core R's are going to be against it (control / restrictions), and the solid D's will be fore it.

      Despite some claims, I think that gun ownership and especially concealed carry is clearly on the rise.  Each individual who has decided to obtain their permit is someone who is likely to take support of 2A right seriously.  Consolidated national permit statistics are hard to obtain, which I attribute to being a state centric system.   Here is a link to Kansas, which has data for the last 6 years.  The reporting goes halfway through FY2013 (which began in June 2012) and the numbers show a distinct trend of increasing permit issuance year over year.

      Given the strong ideological divide between the core right and the core left, the battle for gun rights / restrictions will be won or lost with the more moderate individuals, especially those who consider themselves to be of Liberal persuasion.  

      Many members of this site, have gone out of their way, to belittle, insult, denigrate and in every way make unwelcome fellow liberals who also happen to support gun rights.  In essence, rather than engaging individuals from within their own ranks to help bring about positive reform, they ostracized them and attacked and ridiculed them.  Instead of strengthening their cause, they have weakened it.

      While the current congressional battles are not quite over, gun control is losing at an increasing pace.  What remains to be seen is how things will go in the following months.

      So while you, DOC, may be stupefied at how anybody "can be opposed to regulating the very objects that the shootings are done with." you need to take a serious look at your actions and understand how sentiment has turned against your cause with such force because clearly you just don't get it.

      •  Democrats have an unfortunate habit of demanding (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, noway2, Glen The Plumber

        100% idealogical purity and fighting amongst themselves over individual issues.  I am sorry that you've had the experience of being belittled and insulted.  That is unfortunate.  

        On this issue, I'd say 95% of all Democrats are going to be against you.  It would be nice if we could agree to be civil, but politics tends to become a blood sport.  

        This is how I see it:  When we say:'gun regulation', you hear "they want to take away my guns!!" When you say gun rights, we hear "I am not willing to have any regulation on my right to own guns, even if it would lead to a safer society, fewer accidents, suicides, and murders,  even if it would make our children safer."

        Those positions are pretty far apart.  I don't know if there is a way to come to any kind of agreement.

        •  Poster is a libertarian on gun rights (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber

          It gets tiring dealing with people who claim to be a liberal Democrat, but have to be libertarian re guns.

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 01:00:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Which DFA group was this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, WakeUpNeo, LilithGardener

    Alex here with DFA.  We would love to promote this, and wanted to know what chapter do you meet with?

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