January 9, 2010

Regarding those gun-totin' guys coming to Walnut Creek: the police chief responds and a member explains why they're holding it in a certain downtown restaurant

In response to my post about a planned exhibition in Walnut Creek next month by gun owners who support the open display of handguns, some readers asked how the City of Walnut Creek or the police plan to respond. Members of this loosely organized group, who call themselves Bay Open Carry, plan to be at downtown's California Pizza Kitchen on February 6, with their unloaded weapons in full display.

Police response to such an open display of handguns became something of an issue in Livermore earlier this week. This was when one member was giving an interview to an ABC7 TV reporter. Walter Stanley, who carries an unloaded pistol on his right hip and two full ammunition clips on his left, raised alarm when someone called in a report to police of a man with a gun seen in downtown. Officers pulled up, just as Stanley was talking to the reporter, ordered him up against a wall and to raise his hands. The officers checked to see that his weapon was indeed unloaded.

Open Carry members say that it is legal to carry a weapon as long as it is out in the open and unloaded. The gun carrier also has to be at least 1,000 feet from a school.

Okay, so I'm assuming that Open Carry members plan to act within the law if they do make it to Walnut Creek. However, they will be gathering in CPK, which is centrally located in Broadway Plaza. Talk about trying to get attention! Also, as some readers pointed out, CPK is known as a family restaurant.

So, would the presence of guys (or gals?) walking around with guns openly displayed--even if they are unloaded--be upsetting to the clientele? And do the police have any plans to intervene, respond to calls of concern, or to be present.

Here is what Chief Joel Bryden had to say in response:
"Our officers will respond to any calls for service relating to this issue and take appropriate action based on what we find at the scene. Appropriate action could include checking a weapon to make sure it is unloaded."
And, here are some views an Open Carry member, writing on the organization's message board, about why he participates, about the planned event, and about the choice of California Pizza Kitchen for their display::

--About why he participates:
For me, it's to remind people that we live under the Constitution and we all have rights that cannot be taken away from us. I think here, in California, a lot of people dismiss the second amendment as being antiquated and rather useless in today's society. I can understand how somebody can come to that conclusion, but I feel that if more law abiding citizens owned and carried firearms, we would have far less crime and criminals would be afraid of committing crimes.
--Would CPK have a right to ask these gun-totin' guys to leave?
Businesses absolutely have a right to ask us to leave, and sometimes they do. I'm unaware of any case where an open carrier has refused to leave after being asked. We respect business' property rights and we comply with their wishes. If a place of business such as CPK doesn't want our money, someplace else will.
--As for whether the presence of Open Carry members, with their weapons, would upset other CPK diners:
I've eaten at restaurants where uniformed police officers came in and ate there, I wasn't afraid of anything bad happening. I've been in a restaurant where a group of non-uniformed police officers came in to eat too. At least, I thought they were police officers. But how could I tell? I wasn't going to ask them for ID if they were behaving perfectly normal. Why should the presence of a uniform make any difference?

Quite simply, criminals do not walk around with guns in openly displayed holsters. If somebody is open carrying, then they are on the up and up. When I open carry, I'm especially on the up and up because I'm trying to paint gun owners in a good light and be a "model citizen."
Another member is warning that there will be a strong LE (as in law enforcement) interest in the Walnut Creek Meetup. That being the case, the member has some strong advise for making sure their weapons are secure.  He suggests the acquisition of "a retention type holster (Blackhawk or similar) for your rig prior to the Walnut Creek Meetup if at all possible."

"I know these can be a bit pricey for some ($35-$60),," he continues, "but are great for that extra little bit of insurance that your gear cannot be easily removed or fall out."



Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be cute if they brought their weapons to the Walnut Creek Ice Skating Rink?

It would kind of like a rodeo.

Bet it would hurt when they fell down, though.

Jason Wheeler said...

I wouldn't be surprised if there were little or no problems. Groups like these tend to be well educated on how to safely handle a firearm. I support them.

Anonymous said...

Right-wing insanity on parade. These guys are the poltical equivalent of flashers.

Keep a gun at home, fine. Just don't wave your gun under my nose. I don't want to see your willy and I don't want to see your Smith & Wesson.

I hope the restaurant tells these reactionary throwbacks to take their toys and go home.

Anonymous said...

How am I meant to know if an open gun is unloaded?
At what point does intimidation become terrorism?
It seems strange to me that open handguns are legal but open containers are not.

LeftCoast said...

Their hiding behind the constitution is a rationalization of the real reason they carry--insecurity. It makes them feel big and tough. If they were asked if they felt naked or less secure without the firearm the truthful answer would be yes. But you won't get a truthful answer because they don't understand the difference.

Am I against gun ownership? No not at all. Do I wonder about the individuals that frame this as a constitutional right? Absolutely.

This makes all the sense of a Karate expert walking around with a black belt all day long just to let people know how good he is and don't mess with him. Thing is they don't do that because they know how good they are, they aren't so insecure that they have to put it on display like our open carry friends here.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I see the point of carrying an unloaded firearm, concealed or otherwise, but I respect their right to do so. What California really needs is shall-issue CCW in all counties.

Anonymous said...

---I'm not sure I see the point of carrying an unloaded firearm, concealed or otherwise, but I respect their right to do so. What California really needs is shall-issue CCW in all counties.

this is one big reason i that i open carry, the sheriff depts. in most of CA make it nearly impossible to get a CCW. if given the option, 99% of the time i would chose concealed carry, i dont want to scare anyone or disturb people, but the simple fact is that i can not get a CCW. open carry is my only option in my eyes to most effectivly preserve my life.

---Right-wing insanity on parade. These guys are the poltical equivalent of flashers.

im deffinantly not right-wing. im sure you can agree that the government is turning into an over-protective nanny state. things like "the patriot act", and D.C.'s "free speach zones" show how much american citizens will no longer stand up to protect their rights, frankly, its BS. you go ahead and feel free to bend over and take what the government gives you, i will not.

---How am I meant to know if an open gun is unloaded?
At what point does intimidation become terrorism?
It seems strange to me that open handguns are legal but open containers are not.

ask if the gun is unloaded...
lol at your second question. but i guess the answer would be once the weapon is "brandished" or of someone threatens you. the indimidation factor you will have to deal with on your own. 50% of cars on the road have a gun in them. criminals dont open carry, you are within a few feet of a firearm a lot more than you know. i would think that seeing it and knowing what its doing would be an advantage to you.
i agree with the open containers thing, not vs. hand guns, but in general, i dont understand why im not allowed to have an other wise legal substance open and in public.


i dont "hide behind the constitution". if someone tried to take your freedom of speach away, or if any government official could search you, your home, or your car at anytime, im pretty sure you would say "wait, the constitution says otherwise" and you would probably not think you are "hiding behind it". the constitution is being trampled on, not just the 2nd amendment... this movement has little to do with guns and much to do with american rights. as far as these karate masters or ninjas you speak of... you need to understand that they HAVE AN OPTION to not walk around wearing their costumes. most people that wish to carry a gun DO NOT HAVE AN OPTION other than open carry. if you have a problem with it, write to your sheriff and ask them to issue CCWs.

sorry for the rant here guys, i hope i answered some of your questions!

oh, jason wheeler. this is the case most of the time, out of the 80-100 times i have open carried, i have had about 4 or 5 law enforcement encounters, maybe 3 bad looks or negative comments from people, and 0 people injured. i have had years and years of firearms training and never seen anyone get hurt by one. (except for smashing my finger in a rifle bolt once)

Anonymous said...

The meaning of this is to point out the second amendment right, in which every law-abiding U.S. citizen is born with. The question should be "Are the police present during a burglary or crime on a regular basis?". I think we all know the answer to that. They are usually there to clean up the aftermath. I wonder if they even teach children the Constitution in school these days. Why be nervous? Are you nervous when you see a police officer with a firearm? Is there any difference? I would feel safer with 100 armed citizens! Guns deter violence when the second amendment is exercised. Crime is random.. meaning it WILL happen anywhere! 911 doesn't work very well when you or your family has been taken hostage by a criminal in your own home. The chances are greatly increased now days.. be prepared.. the police cannot be everywhere at one time! YouTube the Suzanna Hupp story, this might change your thinking.