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Was Openly Carrying A Gun Enough For Police To Stop Keith Scott?

Thursday, September 22, 2016 14:44
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(Before It's News)

Food for thought?

CMPD said Keith Lamont Scott had a gun. Was that reason enough to order him to drop it?


Gregory Wallace, a law professor at Campbell University in Raleigh, said the city’s statement raises questions as to why police ordered Scott to drop his gun.

In North Carolina, the open-carry of a handgun is legal. Concealed carry is also legal, so long as you have a permit.

He said the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2013 that someone carrying a handgun does not give the police the ability to stop and search them or someone with them. (snip)

“The mere possession of a handgun does not give the police probable cause or reasonable suspicion to briefly detain you for stop and frisk,” Wallace said. “The mere fact that you have a handgun isn’t enough – it’s legal in N.C.”

I’d recommend reading the article for the full effect, but, is this correct? Were officers wrong for taking notice of Mr. Scott for carrying a firearm and then telling him to put it down?

Here’s what is missing: Mr. Scott was holding the gun in his hand. It was not holstered, as is proper open carry. States that allow open carry, whether loaded or unloaded, dictate that you aren’t supposed to be just walking around with the gun in your hand.

Mr. Scott got in and out of his vehicle with the gun in his hand.

That is improper, and is certainly going to cause a response from law enforcement. Carrying a firearm requires responsibility. Keep the gun on your hip when out and about unless it is needed (for a rifle, keep it on a sling over your back or dangling from a strap. Not in your hands). If you’re walking around with it in your hand, law enforcement has every right to approach you and ask your intentions. If they tell you to put it down, put it down.

If you feel law enforcement is wrong, still put it down. You can worry about the legalities later. Do not give someone reason to pull their gun on you.

Which leads this from WTVD, despite the misleading headline

(Charlotte Police Chief Kerr) Putney said he has reviewed video of the shooting and what he saw does not give absolute definitive proof that Scott was pointing a gun, but Putney said it does support what has been reported that Scott was armed and did not follow repeated commands to put it down.

If Scott did not raise the weapon, then why shoot him? This is an extremely important point. If he started to raise it or point it at the officers after all the warnings, well, he received what he was asking for. But, if it was never pointed at an officer or anyone else, then there is a potential threat, not an imminent threat. Simply holding the weapon is legal excuse in this situation to fire upon the suspect. I’m getting battered in a few different places for point this out, but, I will stand by this opinion. For the sake of Charlotte, the police best resolve the question as to why Scott was shot. Simply holding the weapon is not enough.

And, a bit of an addendum, even before I post this. I talked to a former Sheriff’s deputy who said there is no law requiring an officer to wait for the gun to be raised. They have the right to shoot if the person is not following commands after a period of time, if they think the person is a danger.

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