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Sticky: Open Carry - And What You Should Know Before You Do It
#1
I'm re-writing this for this forum, and I don't want to just copy and paste the original post without permission, and the original poster hasn't been active for a year so I'm going to re-write it the best I can and hopefully add to it. If anyone else has any additions please feel free to post and I will add them.


To begin with, I Am Not A Lawyer; this is just information and advice provided from one individual to other individuals. In Pennsylvania, Open Carry is legal and largely legislation, with a notable exception being "cities of the first class" (currently Philadelphia is the only one), where you must have a License To Carry Firearms (LTCF) to legally Open Carry. (Note that this also gives Philadephia PD the right to accost you for your license if they see you Open Carrying). People have many different reasons for Open Carrying, whether to flex their rights, for comfort, for safety reasons, or other, but regardless of your reasons, you have to know and be prepared for any potential consequences that could arise from this decision. If you do want to prepare, please continue to read this thread; if you feel like you can just take your chances, then feel free to disregard it.

First of all, lets mention the age topic. Yes, it is legal to Open Carry at the age of 18, just like its legal to OWN a handgun at the age of 18. However, obvious problems will arise from this: you CANNOT get into any vehicle while carrying because you do not your LTCF (the only exceptions to this are if you are going DIRECTLY to or returning from a place where you are engaging in target practice and have unloaded the firearm and separated it from the ammunition). In other words, don't bother getting in ANY kind of vehicle with it if you don't have your LTCF; the exceptions are few and specific and its not worth taking a chance. You can't just go to a store, unload the firearm while in the car, then load it up and go into the store; its not legal. Stay away from vehicles if you're carrying without your LTCF.

Secondly, there are a number of recommend things that you should possess/do if you do choose to open carry:

Equipment:
1. A good retention holster; although you can carry in a non-retention holster, this is not recommended as this would leave you with little to no defense if someone else tried to grab your firearm. Make sure that the retention method is strong and that you are comfortable using it and you can manipulate it quickly. PRACTICE USING IT.
2. A voice and/or video recorder. Always use it during any LEO encounters to protect your rights, its perfectly legal to do so. If you carry a cell phone, you will likely have either a video or voice notes recorder which will work; most smartphones have apps specifically for this purpose (example: Cop Recorder II), although I would recommend an app like UStream which will stream it live to a server and save the video so that it cannot be deleted even if the seize your phone (link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/detai...am.ustream) The benefits of specific applications designed for this purpose is that they usually automatically upload the recording to an external server so that even if your phone is confiscated, you will still be able to access a copy of the recording. If your phone does not have these features, you can pick up a simple voice recorder at Wal*Mart, just make sure there are always working batteries in it.
3. The PA Open Carry Gun Rights Flyer (which you can find attached to this post), which has specific references and listings of relevant statutes, case law references, and good general information. Make sure you read and learn it; it also has a secondary purpose in that you can give it to someone else to help educate them on their rights and gun rights in PA in general. It is full of links to good places to learn more.
4. Your LTCF if you have it. While it is not required to Open Carry in Pennsylvania, it is required to be able to get in a vehicle with your weapon, Open Carry in the city of Philadelphia, carry in a declared state of emergency (and these declarations are not always obvious), carry in a Gun Free School Zone, and you should have it in case you should accidentally cover your weapon, since you cannot conceal without your LTCF.
5. The 2009 MPOTEC update that was added relating to Open Carry; you only need the first page to carry with you as it is the one that relates to OC specifically, but its not bad to print the whole thing out as it has all relevant firearm statutes on it. Carry the Open Carry page with you in case you encounter an LEO who tries to tell you that it is illegal, as it is difficult for them to maintain this position when you are able to put a page from their own training manual contradicting that under their nose. If the ask where you got it, tell them that it came from PSP's Right To Know unit.

Training:
1. Any professional training courses relating to the carrying of a firearm.
2. Training that specifically covers retention; it should at the very least include retention training drills to help you become more comfortable with both using your retention system; another useful thing to learn about would be defending yourself and weapon while you draw. Gun grabs against non-LEO's are not a common occurrence, but they can occur and you should try to be ready to defend against it if it does happen. If you cannot afford/find retention training, do your best to learn on your own, and practice using your retention holster with your UNLOADED firearm whenever you can until you are completely comfortable and confident with it. Another idea would be to have someone try to come up on you unaware and try to get your UNLOADED firearm out of the holster and away from you, which would help you develop your own defensive techniques.

Awareness:
1. You should always be aware of your surroundings.
2. You have a firearm displayed on your body; you need to be super-aware of your surroundings because any number of things could happen: a curious child could touch it while you are not paying attention, someone could see it and come up behind you and make a grab at it, there might be suspicious individuals in the general area, ect... You should always try to be extremely aware of your surroundings, but it is even more important when you have your weapon in plain view. This concept really goes along with the retention training listed above.

Knowledge:
1. Places that you cannot carry your firearm:
    - Court Facilities
    - K-12 Schools (Elementary or Secondary schools that are publicly funded) You also cannot carry anywhere within 1000 feet of a school unless you have a LTCF issued by the state of Pennsylvania.
    - Casinos 
    - Any federal building, unless specifically authorized.
    - Any detention facility, correctional institute, or mental hospital.
    - Any private residence or business where the owner, tenant, or authorized personnel have asked you to leave or where there are signs posted prohibiting the carry of firearms (See subsection §3503)
    - Military installations (with a few exceptions for hunting), federal government facilities, areas past security checkpoints, ect... i.e. anywhere prohibited by FEDERAL laws.
    - Specific to OCing, almost ALL malls have a policy against carrying weapons, even if they are not posted, OCing at a mall will almost always get you escorted out. Don't bother.
2. Know the laws that apply and if you don't, find out. Post on here and ask a question, do internet research, read case law, whatever you need to do.
3. A suggestion would be to do research about the policies of places you may be going to so you are aware of their policies before going in there and know them in case you are confronted.
4. Do your research BEFORE you go out and OC. If you go out OCing and get in trouble due to your own ignorance of the law, you will probably not be well received here if you request help, but if you have done your homework and abided by all the laws, you will find an unlimited amount of help.assistance from the people on this forum.
5. Respect private property policies. If you get asked to leave, leave. Even if they are a business, and you know they are in the wrong, leave anyway. You can get it straightened out over the phone either with the manager or with corporate, but staying on the property and arguing about it after you've been asked to leave is asking for trouble; obviously if its a regular employee that asks you to leave you can ask for the manager to clarify the policy, but if the manager asks you to leave as well, GO. They are within their rights.

Interactions:
When you start carrying your firearm, you will likely be hyper-aware of it and expecting interactions. The truth of it is that a lot of people OC everyday without a word said to them, mainly because most people do not even notice and of those that do, it's a small number that care enough either way to actually say something to you about it. You may have to deal with curious individuals, people who tell you that its illegal, people who are pushing their opinions on you, people who are hostile to you because you are carrying, police, and just people in general. Be prepared to deal with all types and all situations.

Police:
Police are required to undergo annual training updates, and the fact is that Open Carry has been specifically addressed in there since at least 2009, so every police officer SHOULD know the law; that doesn't mean that they do. The fact of the matter is that openly carrying a firearm in a holster does not constitute reasonable suspicion to stop you (US v DeBerry), seize your weapon (Terry v Ohio), or demand your ID (Hiibel v Nevada).

All that said, please keep in mind that just because that is the law, that does not mean that that is what is practiced. There are plenty of cases of people being illegally detained and having their weapon seized illegally, but knowing your rights and the specific cases related to those rights can help you avoid this. Here are some general rules when dealing with the police:
1. If you have a voice recorder (and you should) immediately start it as soon as there is a police presence.
2. DO NOT EVER TOUCH YOUR FIREARM IF THE POLICE APPROACH YOU
3. Be firm about exercising your rights; be polite, but DO NOT consent to any searches or seizures; if they want to take your gun and run it or disarm you at all, make sure you make that point clear. If you were not doing anything illegal, the police have no legal right to demand anything from you; do not volunteer anything, and avoid providing anything that you don't have to. If they are under the impression Open Carrying is not legal, show them the page from the MPOTEC stating otherwise.
4. Try to have a firearms attorney's information on you in case you should need it for any reason.

Excellent example of a police encounter:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfdEbe7e9GE 

Curious People:
Once in awhile you are going to encounter someone curious enough to start up a conversation with you regarding your Open Carry of a firearm. While some people believe that if you are Open Carrying you represent all OCers and pro-2A individuals, not everyone shares that view. Nevertheless, it helps the situation to remain polite and friendly. Remember to only pass on information that you are SURE of and not information that you aren't 100% clear on, be knowledgeable if you are going to engage in a long conversation, and invite them to do their own research; remember in any situation like this, its always best to give them your side and then invite them to do independent reading and make their own decision. If you have one, provide them with a PA Gun Rights flyer to help them do that.

Hostile People:
As above, once in awhile you are going to encounter someone who, for whatever reason, thinks you should not be open carrying. They will probably be vocal about it and engage you. The first thing to remember is try to be as polite as possible during this situation. Attempting to convert them will probably be a pointless exercise so don't attempt it, but try not to rant or act like an ass, or start yelling as that will only serve to re-enforce their views.
1. Try to be polite for as long as possible.
2. If you need to engage in a pissing contest with an individual like this, use a calm and dry tone, use facts, and do so as calmly as possible.
3. DO NOT, EVER, reach for, or imply that you are going to reach for your firearm in this, or any, type of interaction, as this is a good way to lead to an arrest or negative LEO encounter.
4. Keep it as short as possible.
5. Try to just ignore them if that is an option; anything you say is going to be wasted time anyway.


GENERAL ADVICE (ShaulWolf)

On our demeanor and attitude:
-Be confident. This shows that you can handle yourself and you know what you're doing.
-Be casual. This shows that this is a normal thing for you, even if it may be odd for others.
-Be yourself. Don't change yourself just to suit others.
-Don't be a douche. No brainer there.

On legal issues:
-Know your rights and the laws. This will keep you in the right, and keep you out of trouble
-Don't get into a vehicle without a LTCF. Part of knowing the laws.
-Don't OC during a state of emergency without a LTCF. Again, part of knowing the laws.
-Don't OC in Philly without a LTCF. Part of knowing the laws. Even the ones that sound ridiculous.

On interacting with the general public:
-Few people actually notice you're OCing.
-Of the few who notice, even less really care.
-Of the few who care, even less will say anything.
-Of the few who say anything, even less will say anything negative.
-Of the few who say anything negative, most are idiots.
-Most folks are just curious when they ask, and are don't mean anything negative.
-Most folks don't realize that OC is perfectly legal.
-Most folks can easily be swayed to supporting carrying with confidence, politeness, and sound logic.
-Your demeanor will generally determine how encounters go.

On interacting with LEOs:
-Be polite. This tends to set the mood for how LEOs interact with you.
-Be civil. This tends to keep interactions positive.
-Don't take bullshit. Being civil doesn't mean being a doormat.
-Know your rights and laws. This helps spot bullshit and improper procedures.
-Speak up if they're wrong. Again, don't take bullshit, and stand up for your rights.
-Don't get aggressive. It's never a good idea to start a fight, verbal or physical, with LEOs. Seriously.
-Your demeanor will greatly determine how encounters go.

Original Post: http://forum.pafoa.org/open-carry-144/59...ou-do.html


Attached Files
.pdf   Pennsylvania_Gun_Rights, OC flyer.pdf (Size: 279.26 KB / Downloads: 14)
1776 or 1984? - You Decide.
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#2
Quote: In Pennsylvania, Open Carry is legal and largely legislation, with a notable exception being in the city of Philadelphia, where you must have a License To Carry Firearms (LTCF) to legally Open Carry.


Just want to touch on this, the law, as written, states you need to have a LTCF (or reciprocal license/permit) in "cities of the first class" for carry of any kind. Currently, and it will probably never change, Philly is the only city in Pennsylvania that fits the description. (cities of the first class are determined by population, and no other city in PA comes close to fitting that population requirement)

Just wanted to put that out there for clarity.
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#3
(09-15-2012, 06:48 AM)soberbyker Wrote:
Quote: In Pennsylvania, Open Carry is legal and largely legislation, with a notable exception being in the city of Philadelphia, where you must have a License To Carry Firearms (LTCF) to legally Open Carry.


Just want to touch on this, the law, as written, states you need to have a LTCF (or reciprocal license/permit) in "cities of the first class" for carry of any kind. Currently, and it will probably never change, Philly is the only city in Pennsylvania that fits the description. (cities of the first class are determined by population, and no other city in PA comes close to fitting that population requirement)

Just wanted to put that out there for clarity.


Fixed and thank you.
1776 or 1984? - You Decide.
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#4
(09-15-2012, 06:39 AM)AK47sForAll Wrote: I don't want to just copy and paste the original post without permission, and the original poster hasn't been active for a year

The OP is already a member here. Wink
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#5
(09-15-2012, 06:59 AM)gnbrotz Wrote:
(09-15-2012, 06:39 AM)AK47sForAll Wrote: I don't want to just copy and paste the original post without permission, and the original poster hasn't been active for a year

The OP is already a member here. Wink


Must have missed tha...WTF smileys over to my left here are broken now. Anyway, must have missed that, I saw he wasn't on PAFOA since last September so I guess I assumed he wasn't here either.
1776 or 1984? - You Decide.
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#6
Please, feel free to copy and paste it, in it's entirety. I would, but I refuse to give them the traffic.
headcase, bitch-slapping gun myth perpetuators since 2006.
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#7
Saw that video and I'm impressed. The OC individual performed very well ...

while the casual arrogance of the policeman, acting under "color of law" was and is nothing short of infuriating.

tyc
tyc, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#8
I just wish I could memorize statues and many of the cases that have gone before courts that proves the cops are not following the laws they swore to uphold.
I always get a kick out of videos like this where the OC says they do not authorize search or seizure but the cops always say yeah ok and do what they want anyway. I know there are plenty of good cops that know the laws and they need to teach their fellow officers .
Gilbert1976, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Jan 2013.
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#9
One thing I would add. I would post some but I can't find any right now.

Would be the court rulings, and case law for people open carrying or stopped for the only purpose of open carrying.
The Unknown87, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#10
Does anyone else have a copy of the rights flyer PDF. Tried to access it, and it says the account has been suspended.

ETA: Nevermind, I found it. And this time I saved a copy on a flash drive just in case.
This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins. -Ben Franklin
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