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Openly Carried Long Arms in Virginia – VCDL’s Position ^ | 3 September, 2013 | VCDL

Posted on 09/04/2013 6:30:52 PM PDT by marktwain

Brandon Howard Protest Obama while open carrying his AR15 in Virginia

Brandon Howard Protest Obama while open carrying his AR15 in Virginia

Virginia Citizens Defense League

Virginia Citizens Defense League

Covington VA --( Let me start with making the following key point:  VCDL is NOT a gun-control organization.  Period.

We support the right of gun owners to do whatever they choose as long as they are not breaking the law.

Keep that at the forefront of your thoughts as you read on.

VCDL member Brandon Howard recently open carried an AR-15 at three different Tea Party protest events held at different locations and on different days.

(The rifle  was strapped on his back and had a loaded magazine in the gun, but did not have a round in the chamber.)  

At those events, Brandon and the other Tea Party members would simply hold signs on an overpass so that those on the expressway below could read them and honk in support of their message.

The police showed up at each of three locations, but at only one of those locations, Hopewell, was there any kind of issue over that rifle.  What happened in Hopewell was inexcusable.

Brandon’s first encounter with the police was on a bridge in Colonial Heights.  In that encounter two Colonial Heights officers simply inquired what the group was doing.  Once told it was a protest where everyone would be holding signs for those driving underneath to see, the officers told the protesters to have a good day and left.  Hats off to the Colonial Heights PD.  They did their job, followed the law, and acted professionally.

Brandon’s second encounter was very different.  There the police showed up – eight of them – lights flashing, guns drawn, and pointing at Brandon!  Without any civil discourse, the police proceeded to do a “felony stop” having Brandon walk backwards towards an officer’s voice and with his hands fully in the air.  He was handcuffed, his rifle literally thrown into the trunk of one of the police cars, was taken to the PD headquarters, and “detained” for 2 hours!  Let’s be clear here – when a officer, or anyone else, points a gun at you, you are in immediate danger of death or grievous bodily injury.  Police pointing guns at you should only occur if YOU are threatening THEM with death or grievous bodily injury.

Brandon was NOT a threat at all.  His guns were holstered and both of his hands were occupied holding a sign.  

He made no quick or sudden moves and complied with all commands.   Yet the police intentionally put his life in grave danger.  That was shameful behavior by those entrusted with public safety.

I was able to view a video of the third encounter, this time with a solitary Prince George police officer.  I really like this officer – he’s incredibly patient, but professional at the same time.  He is not concerned with the guns carried by Brandon and others at the protest.  He had already summed up the situation and did not feel threatened, nor did he call for backup.  No drawn gun, no felony stop.  Instead he politely engaged the protesters in conversation at first, repeating his name so it can be recorded on the video.  His sole concern is with the particular bridge they picked.  He pointed out there was no sidewalk and, hence, no really safe place to stand on the two-lane bridge.  In the video he tells the protesters that if they pick a different bridge that has a sidewalk, he wouldn’t have any other issues with them and would be on his way.

One of areas where police have authority is in a situation where the general public is in danger.  In this case, not only might the protesters be in danger from vehicles topping the bridge, but also the drivers of those vehicles might be in danger if they have to swerve away from a protester who might inadvertently be standing too close to the traffic lane.  That could cause a car wreck, even a possible head-on collision with a car coming in the opposite direction.

In the video, one of the protesters decides to debate the officer’s authority in asking that they move off the bridge, while still standing on the bridge!  That is NOT a good idea.  A lawful order was given to move off the bridge.  MOVE OFF THE BRIDGE.  Once you have complied with his order, then continue the debate, if you and the officer are so inclined.  What’s funny in the video is that Brandon had picked up on that very point and can be seen in the video (standing to the left of the officer) desperately trying to give the person holding the camera a “cut it” sign to stop arguing with the officer and just comply.

(In the captions the protester put in the video, he said Brandon was making that sign because he was fed up with police abuse – not so.  Brandon assured me on the phone that my interpretation is the correct one.  This misinterpretation probably explains what happens next.)

But the protester either misunderstands the important signal from Brandon, or is too involved in arguing with the officer to notice or heed it.  The officer repeatedly and calmly asks the protester to move off the bridge, but the protester continues his verbal barrage of questions.  Finally the officer puts the protester (in the red shirt) in cuffs and places him in the police car under investigative detention.  I think in this case it was more of a “time out” to get the protester to calm down and stop arguing and just comply.  The officer is bending over backward not to arrest him.  Based on that video, I believe he had the authority to do an arrest at that point for failure to obey a lawful order.  Also the officer removed the protester’s gun, which was in a paddle holster, holster and all and did not take the gun out of the holster, unloaded it, etc.  More kudos to the officer for avoiding any unnecessary gun handling.  I wish more of his colleagues would do the same.

In the end, the officer takes the handcuffs of the protester in the red shirt and returns his gun, ending the detention.

That is a top-notch officer in my books and speaks well for the Prince George police force.

Jimmy Barrett had an excellent interview with Brandon on Friday morning.  I was surprised earlier this week when Jimmy went on the attack without sufficient details on what happened in Hopewell.  On Friday, Jimmy took the high road and did the interview.  Hats off to Jimmy for giving Brandon a chance to give his side of what happened.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: banglist; guncontrol; opencarry; secondamendment; va; vcdl
Maybe I should have excerpted this, I am sure that VCDL wants it out to a wide audience.
1 posted on 09/04/2013 6:30:52 PM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

I am a member of VCDL and applaud almost all they do.

I take exception to this kind of stunt, though. There is absolutely no need to put a military-looking rifle on your back while trying to influence drivers going by, knowing full well that that kind of gun scares many of the sheeple. What the hell was this guy thinking?

2 posted on 09/04/2013 7:33:20 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: OldPossum

Rights not exercised are lost.

Most people say there is absolutely no need to carry any kind of arms around.

Once you start arguing “need” when rights are involved, you have lost.

You can argue whether the tactic is positive or not. I think it is positive. It puts backbone in many that think all is lost. The same people who might be “afraid” of a black rifle dare not critique an agent of the state with one.

I really do not think that we make enemies this way, even thought the MSM tries to assure us that it is so.

3 posted on 09/04/2013 7:37:43 PM PDT by marktwain (The MSM must die for the Republic to live. Long live the new media!)
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To: marktwain

He could have just as easily carried a pistol in a holster but instead he goes all out with an AR-15 slung over the back macho-like. It makes the point just as well and without the unnecessary “scare” factor.

As regards the rights exercised argument, open carry does not seem much of a right to me; it seems more like an attention-getting approach to me. I live in Virginia and I cannot recall the last time I saw anyone open carrying. Totally unnecessary since conceal carry is quite sufficient.

I suppose we just disagree but the whole approach the man is taking is not helpful to our cause...IMHO, of course.

4 posted on 09/04/2013 8:00:32 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: OldPossum

No permit is required for open carry. Big difference.

You are making a lot of assumptions for the reason’s why he carried the AR15. Project much?

5 posted on 09/04/2013 8:11:01 PM PDT by Henry Hnyellar
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To: marktwain
Rights not exercised are lost.

That is correct and lost on many of us. The concept hearkens back to our founding era. Rights are not secured just because they are written down.

At the state ratification debates, Anti-Federalists demanded a declaration of rights. James Madison opposed, because such a document would admit or strongly imply that sovereignty resided in government and not in the people. Since we did not grant power in the constitution to restrict gun ownership, or curtail press and religious freedom, etc., it was illogical and dangerous to itemize them.

Instead, said the federalists, the constitution's very structure promoted natural rights, through separation of powers. The first separation was vertical, as reflected in a senate of the states. THAT was the primary reason the late 19th century progressives could not implement most of their loony ideas; the senate stood in the way.

Anyone who takes a stroll through the first ten amendments can see they are largely ignored. The major violations of them occurred since the 17th amendment.

6 posted on 09/05/2013 2:56:44 AM PDT by Jacquerie (To restore the 10th Amendment, repeal the 17th.)
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