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Open Carry In Washington?

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by BobSigP229R, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. BobSigP229R

    BobSigP229R Enumclaw, WA Member

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    Is open carry legal in this state? I have a CPL, but when I am less than discreet a few buddies say "cover that up."
     
  2. t.huynh

    t.huynh vancouver, wa Active Member

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    Perfectly legal. I sent an email to my countys sheriffs department asking about it. here was his response.

     
  3. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it's legal BUT there is a case here in Vancouver where a man carried into the local mall, he was escorted off the premises (even though its not posted "no weapons allowed"). The next day he went to another location, someone phoned the police because they were afraid for their children. The local prosecuting attorney is pressing charges under the "causes alarm" loophole. Some witnesses say he was just standing around, others say he went down into a "firing position". This only happend a week or so ago so we're waiting for more info.
    Personally I'd never do it. I have a CPL in WA and OR and I don't want to be a test case!
     
  4. bcp

    bcp SW WA Member

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    The WA law says "warrants alarm" but many interpret that as "causes alarm," as in the sheriff department quoted above.

    Bruce
     
  5. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    Yes it is legal to open carry in Washington. And if another is alarmed that does not become an illegal carry. The way in which you behave must 'warrant alarm.'

    RCW 9.41.270


    "(1) It shall be 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."

    Also:

    1) Where can I carry in Washington?
    Washington State follows British legal tradition, which states that anything that is not proscribed as unlawful is lawful. So the real question is where can you NOT carry in Washington.

    1.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. Loaded is defined as having ammunition inside of the gun itself (magazine inserted with ammunition with semi-auto, ammunition in cylinder for revolvers).

    RCW 9.41.300(3)(b) Localities may also prohibit the carrying of handguns(OC or CC) in the stadiums and convention centers that they operate, however they MUST exempt those who possess a concealed pistol license. OC without a CPL and you are in violation of the RCW.

    There are also federal statutes you must be cognizant of:
    18USC922(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.

    18USC930, which prohibit the carrying of firearms in any "federal facility" or any "federal court facility".

    Because of the possible myriad legal issues that may arise, in terms of the possible accusation of concealment, carrying in one's car, as well as 18USC922(q), it is highly recommended that any person who open carries in the State of Washington acquire a CPL.

    2) How do I acquire a CPL?
    If you are a resident of Washington, it depends on whether or not you live in a city. If you live in an incorporated city, you can apply either to your city police department, or your county sheriff. If you live in unincorporated territory, you must apply to the sheriff only. They have 30 days to issue or deny a license.
    If you are NOT a resident of Washington State, you may apply to any jurisdiction that you choose.
    If you do not possess a Washington Drivers License, Washington State ID, or have proof that you've been a resident of Washington for at least 90 days (such as a utility bill), the issuer may take up to 60 days to issue.
    The license cost is currently $36 dollars plus the FBI fingerprint check fee (currently $19.25), which adds up to $55.25. A Washington State CPL is valid for 5 years. Renewing the license costs $32, and a late renewal (within 90 days of expiration) is $42. If a renewal is more than 90 days late, it must be filed as a new application.
    We understand that there is some substantial compliance issues with the police departments (though not any sheriffs that we've heard of) in accepting applications during normal business hours. This is unlawful, however this has not been challenged. We do not know of any sheriffs office that is currently restricting the application times for CPL's, and we recommend going to the Sheriff's office if you have any issues with your police department.
    If you are a non-citizen of the United States (such as a permanent resident alien), you must have an Alien Firearms License to apply for a CPL. An AFL is required to even possess a firearm in Washington, however these are not currently issued by the Department of Licensing due to a background check issue with the FBI. This law is likely unconstitutional, and should be challenged.
    Washington also has a reciprocity law for non-residents of the state. For an updated list, please refer to:
    http://www.atg.wa.gov/page.aspx?id=7772
    Of the states listed, the State of Utah is the only state which issues entirely by mail. Please go to Utah BCI at:
    http://des.utah.gov/bci/concealedfirearms.html
    SOURCE: RCW 9.41.070, RCW 9.41.073

    3) What is "Warranting alarm", why do people (firearms instructors, police officers, gun shop employees) say that this law makes it illegal to open carry?
    This law, codified in 1969 as RCW 9.41.270, was passed in light of the intimidation actions of the Black Panther Party in both the State of California and in Seattle. Analysis of the legislative intent behind the bill and final law indicated that the Washington State Legislature never intended this to be a gun control bill, and stripped out in committee provisions of the bill which would have prohibited carry within 500 feet of any "public building" for fear it would ensnare a peaceable open carrier walking nearby, thereby violating a persons rights under Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution.
    This is not to say that all forms of open carry is lawful. The key word is "peaceable". If your pistol is in a holster, and you're generally not touching it or making gripping movements (except of course, in an actual act of self defense), or opening a coat to expose your pistol to intimidate someone to do something, then the current body of case law generally makes such carry lawful.

    4) Is there a gun ban in Seattle?
    Despite Mayor Greg Nickels' blustering and media blitz on the issue, there is no "gun ban" in Seattle currently in effect. The nature of the "gun ban" is the use of trespass law, which Seattle city officials, as the "owner of the property" would demand that a gun owner leave and be trespassed, and if they refuse to leave, charge them with armed trespass. Though there is the drafting's of an administrative rule currently being made (as stated by a recent article in the Seattle Times), Mayor Nickels has NOT signed on to any administrative rule. It is well assumed that if any administrative rule is signed to that affect, it will trigger legal action, but not a moment before.

    5) What does Article 1, Section 24 of the State Constitution actually say? SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

    6) Is there a list of businesses that are pro/anti gun/OC?
    Yes, it is located here http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum55/3630.html

    7) Can I carry on a bus?
    You may carry loaded either openly or concealed in any bus or light rail vehicle if you possess a CPL. The law states that you must have a CPL to carry loaded in "any" vehicle. RCW 9.91.025 (Unlawful bus conduct) protects the right to carry a gun or ammunition in a fashion not otherwise prohibited by law on a MUNICIPAL TRANSIT VEHICLE (Greyhound is not a municipal transit vehicle).

    8) Can I carry a loaded long arm in my vehicle?
    As a general rule, no. See RCW 77.15.460.

    9) Do I have to register my gun?
    Washington State has no registry at all for long arms. It does, however, have a dealer pistol sales registry. However, there is no requirement that secondary sales of pistols be registered with the Department of Licensing. You cannot sell the firearm to anyone you know is ineligible under state or federal law, nor can you transfer a firearm (whether by a sale or a gift) to a person who is a resident of another state (this violates federal law).

    10) Where can I see a list of all available training bulletins from law enforcement agencies?
    http://forum.nwcdl.org/index.php?action=downloads

    11) How old do you have to be to carry a loaded handgun?
    Under RCW 9.41.240, you must be 21 years of age to carry a loaded handgun in public.

    12) Do I have to use a certain type of holster?
    The law does not demand certain types of holsters. We do however recommend that your holster choice have some form of retention, and we recommend that if you use a shoulder holster, that you use a vertical position one rather than a horizontal one (per firearms safety rules).

    13) Can I carry with a round in the chamber?
    There is no Washington or Federal law which prescribes carrying with a round in the chamber other than the normal "loaded" definition and the laws that regulate loaded carry. In other words, yes you can carry with a round in the chamber if you choose to.

    14) Can I carry at or near a school?
    See Question #1 which as a general rule lists where a person can and cannot carry. The short answer is if you have a valid CPL and are picking up and dropping off a student you can carry on the grounds of grade schools.

    15) What about colleges?
    There is no law against it, but the individual schools set their own policies, most of which seem to conflict with a stated desire to honor all constitutional rights of the students while then going on to ban lawfully carried guns. South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia is the only college in this state I know of that does not specifically ban lawfully carried guns from their campus.
     
  6. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    15) Can I carry in a bar? (RCW 9.41.300)
    No. You cannot carry in a place where alcohol is consumed AND is off limits to persons under 21.

    16) Does Washington have an assault weapons ban.
    No. With the sunset in 2004 of the Clinton ban the ban no longer exists. Some states have adopted similar bans, but not Washington.

    17) But someone told me folding stocks and high capacity mags are for cops only.
    NO! NO! NO! They were wrong. There IS NO ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN IN WASHINGTON.

    18) I saw a sign in a city park saying no firearms. Is that legal?
    No. Washington State has preempted all firearms laws regarding possession. If you see such a sign, it is illegal and overridden by state law. Period. End of discussion.

    19) Can I carry in a bank?
    There is no law prohibiting carry in a bank. Like any private property the bank may impose their own rules. It is up to you to find out if your bank allows lawfully carried firearms.

    20) With the Federal Government buying parts of banks does that make them Federal property and off limits to carry?
    No. They own shares of the bank, and are merely another shareholder, and cannot make the bank property function as Federal property.

    21) Who am I required to show my CPL to, and when?
    The law is somewhat vague, and the wording even worse, but essentially if you are required to have a CPL in your possession, you are obligated to produce it to qualified persons (such as law enforcement) if they demand it. Also since you have to have a CPL to carry loaded on a vehicle, regardless of OC or CC, I would argue a transit vehicle operator might also want to see a CPL before allowing you on the vehicle. There are no firm rules or laws on this matter that I am aware of though. Essentially I would produce to people such as cops or transit operators if the CPL is required by them to verify my legal status to carry the gun.

    22) Can I carry on the Washington State Ferry System?
    Yes. The Ferries are not one of the off limits place to lawful carry. They are an extension of the state highway system, and are state owned. Like any vessel they are also operating under Federal laws, and sometimes are escorted by, or have Coast Guard officers on board. The US Coast Guard is not in the business of enforcing state laws, but are only concerned with Federal laws. Generally the Washington State Patrol provides law enforcement on board the Washington State Ferry System.

    23) Is there an Open Carry pamphlet?
    Yes. A copy can be downloaded here: http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/attachment.php?id=10415


    Join us at opencarry.org
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum55/
     
  7. SonicBlue03

    SonicBlue03 Snohomish Well-Known Member

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    If you have your license to concealed carry, what would be your reasoning for open carry?
     
  8. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    Any law that leaves the law abiding at a disadvantage to the criminal, and / or is contrary to the constitution is utter foolishness. That said, The right of the [people], to keep (own) and bear (carry) arms (weapons) [shall not be infringed].

    1. Unloaded open carry. I know some states have this requirement. I understand that people do this to protest unjust laws, but carrying an unloaded firearm is, well, stupid. Something akin to russian roulette. If you need to make this statement, better to carry an empty holster.

    2. Baiting police into an unlawful stop/arrest. Or a civil suit. There are jerks out there who do this, and with the right lawyer, they can win. This blatant contempt for law enforcement is inexcusable. It is an abuse of both the LEO, and the system. And is IMO, counterproductive to the support and promotion of the second amendment.

    3.Criminals do not open carry. They have a predatory impulse to hide until they strike. They do not want LEO to stop them before they do whatever it is they are up to.

    4.It has been said, that OC (open carry) makes one a target, the one taken out first. There to my knowledge has never once been any documented proof of this. And the criminal is usually hyped on adrenaline, too confident, too stupid, high or jonesing, to ever notice the gun on my hip. Most innocent people never even notice. The OCer should have enough situational awareness to overcome this even if it were true.

    5. It scares people. Again, most never notice. Some think Im a LEO, I would never impersonate, but if it makes them more comfortable to think so, then so be it. Finally, I am not going to put someone else's irrational baseless fear above my personal safety.
     
  9. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    6. OC is an advantage for the LEO. The LEO can observe the OC in question at a distance safe for the LEO before making the initial contact. Any LEO worth his/her stripes should be able to conduct surveillance, and make a determination as to whether they have a problem, or a lawfully armed citizen.

    7.I can carry more effective caliber, and a higher capacity magazine. This could come in handy for suppressive fire, multiple threats, or non human threats. Both gangs and dogs tend to be pack animals.

    8.OC is a deterrent. If an armed criminal attacks an unarmed person, the criminal will succeed, and possibly kill the person. If the same criminal attacks a permit holder, the permit holder will likely have to shoot the criminal. This causes legal and emotional issues. The same criminal may see the OC and pick an easier target, Avoiding the shooting/standoff altogether. This is different than exsample 4, above, in that a mugging is usually in the open, and the victim is usually observed. A holdup is different in that the criminal enters, and tries to gain control, not knowing where the civilians are.

    9. We have a bill of rights, not a bill of needs. And there is nothing in the constitution that has anything to do with a persons use of a weapon for their employment.

    10. Yes, it is enough to say simply. "Because it is my right." You were sworn to uphold those rights, if you cant handle that, you should not be in this business. It is above all other things in the course of your duties, the single most important thing that you will ever do.

    11.I can draw faster that someone with a concealed weapon.

    12. I can draw with one hand. I may need the other one to shield/ hold a child. My other hand could be injured. One hand on the gun, the other defending my weapon. One hand for the gun, the other for the call to 911.

    13.OC is ok only in a rural area??? What? There are feral animals in the city too. Sometimes in packs. And the hardened criminals (usually) are in the city. Better to have your guns where you will most likely need them.

    14. This is my country. Not the criminals. They should be afraid to come into my neighborhood, not the other way around.

    15. Somebody made a remark about us, OC, marching on Washington if we want a "movement". We are! This summer. Ill have to look up the dates.
     
  10. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    16.I dont mind a LEO investigating a legitimate complaint, as long as if I am doing nothing illegal, the officer explains this to the complaintant. I do not expect to be disarmed, unless there is a strong probability that I am a threat. ie. MWAG @ a playground. I could be there with my kids, or I could be a freak. You dont know, so I wouldnt blame you for a "felony stop" in such a situation. Again, observe, then decide how to handle it.

    17. Properly training 911 would eliminate most of the problems. This was addressed very well earlier. If the MWAG is doing nothing illegal, then inform the caller about A2, and drive by to observe. I have had several positive encounters with LEO over OC, as a result of a 911 call. Handled properly, it is good for PR. Handled improperly, could land you in court, or on youtube. Remember, you are not in the military.

    18. A permit = permission. Some who would qualify for a permit refuse to get one. It is an infringement, and immoral to be required to get a permit. One should not have to ask permission, or have to pay for their rights. If a permit is given, then you have not a right, but a privilege, as the permit can be then taken. The government diddnt give the right to self defense, the A2 only acknowledged that pre existing right.

    19 OC is NOT a "privilege".

    20.I cant use mace/pepper spray as a deterrent or defense. I have asthma, this could kill me.

    21. The second amendment says nothing about personal private property. It says nothing about the action, capacity, or number of weapons. It says nothing about weapon free zones.

    22.What if I shoot an innocent bystander? Fair point. Just because a man has a piano, does not make him a musician. You need to practice. I would rather hit someone accidentally, maybe two or three innocents than to have a gunman, unimpeded, taking aimed shots at peoples vital areas. Those stray shots are seldom fatal, while gunman have been known to shoot many people at point blank range at their will, Sometimes reloading.

    Its better to die on your feet, than your knees
     
  11. SonicBlue03

    SonicBlue03 Snohomish Well-Known Member

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    So your answer is, "there really isn't a good reason except people want to." Which is fine. And if the general public decides to be offended by that and cause hassle by reporting those individuals who insist on it as a nuisance, I'm fine with that too.

    I got my CPL many many years ago because whether or not I'm carrying is my business, not anyone else's...unless they are attempting to inflict fatal harm on me and mine. Then I'd like for them to be unpleasantly surprised.

    Plus of the people I've met that insist on open carry, 100% of them have been jackasses. That doesn't mean all are, just the sample group of 40 I've met over the years.
     
  12. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    I choose to educate. I choose to undo the damage that the anti gun people have done demonizing gun owners. I choose to live my life openly and not hide things that are not wrong, not illegal, not unethical, not immoral. If the general public is offended then my behavior will assure them that gun owners are not a nuisance.

    I have had my CPL for 15 years. I choose deterence. Surprise is an offensive measure, if you are attacted then you have already been surprised and you can only hope to react. I carry open and concealed. Open 90% Concealed 10%.

    I would invite you to have coffee with me and others that open carry, I don't think you will find me a jackass. (Name calling really undermines your statements) I am a father of two daughters, a businessman, a high school basketball referee, a former PTA president. I assure you that your impressions are incorrect.

    I support all that carry, I do not call names of those who conceal carry (and there are plenty who fit your description). I support those who open carry. (and there are less polite and professional people in every bunch)

    Again, if you would like to have coffee then let me know.

    nick
     
  13. SonicBlue03

    SonicBlue03 Snohomish Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you're necessarily helping to undo perception of gun owners by open carry. If you have data points that emphasize how open carry have helped change perception of gun owners, it would be valuable to share.

    To reiterate my earlier statements, I have no problem if people choose to. Just like I have no problem if the public reacts in a way as they have a right to do to complain about being uncomfortable. I accept that there is a significant contingent of gun owners in the U.S., but not all of those are comfortable with plain-sight displays unless by authoritative people such as LEOs. My perspective is better to earn trust and respect by staying under the radar and not aggravating the sensibilities of the sensitive.

    Would be fine having coffee some day. Wrt name calling - I would point out that I did not specifically call you or anyone that posts here a jackass for open carry; I stated that the 40 or so individuals I have spoken to that are open carry proponents (in person - I should have clarified if I did not) have been jackasses. And whether or not that's name calling, that is in fact what they were. These were the, "My right! MY RIGHT! SCREW HOW UNCOMFORTABLE THE REST OF YOU ARE! SHEEP!" people. I'm pretty sure you know the type I'm referring to.

    And regardless of whether or not they're in the minority (I would argue that they're not, and think you'd be hard-pressed to prove that position) it only takes a select few to taint the perception of many. Perception equals reality. Example in point: a lot of people think Union employees are shiftless and lazy based on stories they hear of a few cases where that was the case. Yet most Union employees I know are hard-working, highly skilled individuals in their trades. But they labor under the impression that they're greedy and lazy.

    As it is with open carry proponents.
     
  14. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    Let me provide an analogy for your first paragraph refering to changing perception. Many years ago swearing and sex on TV was not allowed and indeed shocking to most Americans. Over time, regular exposure, cable tv, slowly buy surely the American public has become desensitized to what was once shocking and alarming. I see properly holstered and carried handguns over time having a similar effect.

    I think everyone should think about the difference between a concealed handgun and an open handgun, properly holstered. I can earn as much trust by wearing it openly as you can by having it concealed. Perhaps I can earn more because mine is not hidden. Remember, for 15 years I carried concealed. I believe that most people should carry it how they are comfortable.

    Now here is where I will take great measure to point out something that for years I believed and now realize I was wrong. The concealed, keep it hidden, fly under the radar 'pro' gun groups have allowed are right to become restricted. Focusing on the sensibilities of those who oppose us has not done us any favors. The Rights of Man, unalienable rights, the right to life and the ability to protect it are not subject to the sensibilites of those who wish to take those rights away. I will not 'stay in the closet' or 'ride in the back of the bus' because others are sensitive to an inatimate object.

    I do not get in anybody's face about it, as a matter of fact 99.99% of the time when I go about my business, NO ONE notices (kind of ruins my deterence argument). I let people come to me and I answer questions. I do respect your right to keep your gun concealed, it is your privledge.

    Yes, I do no the type you are refering to, and I would say there are in the minority. Again, (is there PM on this site?) join me for coffee or a group of us that OC. Join us at the next Puyallup WAC gun show.
     
  15. JumpWing

    JumpWing NK WA Member

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    I can't side with the "logic" of appeasement. And failure to appease does not equal abrasive or confrontational behavior. I know people who insist that every cop they've ever met is a jerk. After a few minutes of talking it isn't hard to figure out why they cling to that conclusion. If you expect someone to be a jackass, don't be surprised if you only see what you're looking for.

    Regarding 9.41.270, the key is here:
    "...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."
    This is a series of combined elements that must exist (1.manner, 2.circumstance, 3.time, 4.place, 5.manifestation of intent to intimidate/warrants alarm). "Warrant" cannot be interpreted as "cause" because "warrant" means "logically supports."

    LEOs sometimes make erroneous or whimsical interpretations on the spot, but that's not a courtroom.
     
  16. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    Correct. And in two Washington State Supreme Court cases (state v Spencer and State v Casad) the court has supported an openly carried handgun does not violate the 'manner' and 'circumstane' and 'time and place' and has said while it is unusual and may even alarm the attorney in one of the cases it does not meet the criteria set forth in the law.
     
  17. zeezee

    zeezee nowheresville Member

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    I agree 100%! We carry in the off chance, praying we never have to, use a firearm as SonicBlue03 so aptly said "unless they are attempting to inflict fatal harm on me and mine." Firearms make people uncomfortable and I sincerely doubt more people carrying openly will ever change that. Why create a ruckus, just because you can? Maybe you are number 41? I carry concealed because I do not want EVERYONES attention, I do not want some smart *** stopping me wanting to talk about my gun, or worse a cop wanting to know why I've a firearm strapped to my side nor making the guard at the bank nervous enough to hit the silent alarm. IMHO.
     
  18. Decidion

    Decidion Washington county, Oregon Member

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    Wasn't there some state supreme court ruling about the implications of this and that you (or I or anyone else carrying) cannot be held responsible for the sensitivity or emotional imbalance of another person?
     
  19. bcp

    bcp SW WA Member

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    Yes, but you may have to go through the another costly citation/court process to get there again.

    Bruce
     
  20. JumpWing

    JumpWing NK WA Member

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    I think you're referring to WA State v. Casad. Although the judge's remarks were favorable (paraphrasing: "open carry, being legal, does not warrant alarm in and of itself") the case was less than ideal in that Casad was pushing the envelope of what most of us would call mature, responsible behavior.

    There's also some legal mumbo jumbo about his remarks being "published" but not citable as a precedent? You'd have to ask someone smarter than me for the details on that one.