In the interest of full disclosure, I have held a CCW permit for 12 years and I exercise it frequently. I live in Virginia where open carry is lawful, much more so than in Florida. Many times I find concealing my weapon to be so awkward that I open carry, especially in the warmer months. However, I have several loved ones in law enforcement and I want all LEOs to be safe.
The Palm Beach Regional Fusion Center released an advisory that the Armed Citizens League (ACL), a pro Second Amendment group, was sponsoring events throughout Palm Beach County to highlight an obscure aspect of Florida law that permits open carry while transiting to and from one’s car while fishing, camping, or hunting. Members were encouraged to arm themselves with handguns and video cameras. They were further requested to exercise the Fourth Amendment right and refuse to provide a photo ID. The advisory included a link to a YouTube video by Ethan Traub of the Armed Citizens League documenting his encounters with two LEOs during the event.
While viewing the video, I felt extremely embarrassed while I watched a smug provocateur goad a law enforcement professional into violating a Fourth Amendment provision. Unfortunately, the officer did take the bait by demanding photo ID to call in for wants and warrants. Adding to the situation, Mr. Traub repeatedly ignored the officer’s instruction to stand fast, all the while claiming his intent to portray the police “in a good light.” Traub defines the term “disingenuous.”
I believe in political discourse. I spent 21 years in uniform defending the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances and the rest of the U.S. Constitution. However, there is a point at which you can press your issue past the point of being right… you can be dead right. What if the officer was on his way to a “shots fired” call when he sees your smug mug
walking down the street with a Glock on your 3 o’clock? Want to make your point? Write your elected official. Picket, lobby, protest to your heart’s content. You don’t like the law? Work to have it changed.
Part of changing the law is changing the attitude of your fellow citizens. The video below shows a couple pushing a baby stroller in the midst of Mr. Traub’s (aka Martin Scorsese) “documentary.” The unarmed couple looks very uncomfortable to me.
Where does this leave the LEO reading this? Know the law and who is trying to jerk your chain. Don’t buy into their agenda. Chiefs, give your officer guidance that will hold up in court and stand by them when they do what you tell them to.
Finally, where does this leave provocateurs who want to push the Second Amendment envelope with law enforcement? Maybe dead. Over the 48 hours around New Year’s Eve, several officers died in the line of duty. Florida had more line-of-duty deaths in 2011 than most states. LEO’s are on high alert for danger and this is probably not the time to push the envelope with them. Remember that you’re dealing with people who routinely stand in harm’s way to protect your right to protest.
Bruce Bremer, MBA is LET’s technology contributor. Bruce retired from the Submarine Service after 21 years of in-depth experience with complex electronic technology. Since then, he has been involved in fleet modernization and military research analysis. He teaches electronics and alternative energy at at a Virginia college. Besides his MBA, Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer networking. He has been volunteering in public safety for many years.
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