Soft Air Guns and "Political Carry"


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Bill St. Clair
July 11, 2003, 09:36 PM
Almost two years ago, I proposed in a letter to the editor of The Libertarian Enterprise an idea I called "Political Carry (http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe140-20010924-01.html#letter3)". It was patterned after L. Neil Smith's Political Smoking (http://www.lneilsmith.com/niccers.html). The idea was to make a political point in places where open carry was not allowed by carrying an empty holster.

I live in New York state (upstate, near Albany), where a license is required to possess a handgun, and all of your handguns must be registered and printed on the license. Possession of an unlicensed handgun is a maximum one year misdemeanor. Possession of a loaded unlicensed handgun is a maximum seven year felony. Pistol licenses come in two flavors: 1) possession in home/business or 2) concealed carry anywhere that's not explicitly excluded. Which one you get is up to the disgression of the local judge. Some judges go outside the law by giving a license that is good on premises or on the range or hunting (or traveling to one of those). Open carry, except while hunting, is not allowed (in most counties).

I do not have a New York handgun license. I refuse to apply for one on principle.

I recently discovered the world of Soft Air guns, replica firearms that shoot 6 mm plastic BBs. I ordered a pistol (which my kids love to shoot) and a tactical holster, and a new Political Carry idea was born: wear the Soft Air gun in its holster in public, and tell anyone who asks that I'm trying to make a point that open carry should be legal with no license or permit of any kind, as a matter of fact, barring unconstitutional hence null and void laws, it already is. That's what the Second Amendment means.

I mentioned this on the SCOPE NY mailing list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scopeny/), and the folks who responded thought I was in for quite a ride with the local constabulary. I might even be at risk of getting shot. One way to mitigate this would be to use an ASP Red Gun, a red plastic replica used for retention drills, instead of the soft air gun. This is more expensive (around $40 vs. $20 for the soft air), but more obviously fake.

I don't mind having a few run-ins with the police. They'll fairly soon learn that I'm carrying a toy gun, and many of them might like the point I'm trying to make. I'd rather not get arrested or shot, however.

Opinions? Other ideas?

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pax
July 11, 2003, 09:41 PM
I think you'd be in for some LEO attention regardless of whether the gun were visibly fake.

That's not necessarily a Bad Thing, if you were prepared to deal with it.

Moving this to Legal and Political.

pax

Don Gwinn
July 11, 2003, 10:25 PM
A Blue Gun or Red Gun might be a better choice from the Not-Getting-Shot point of view.

dksck
July 12, 2003, 01:16 AM
Please reconsider your position, especially if you value your life and your family. While I am not a lawyer, it is clear that any law enforcement officer who has probable cause to think that you are commiting a crime and/or pose a danger to the community is justified in taking action. In your case, when a LEO spots you carring a toy gun, he/she will respond in one of three ways: 1) he/she will calmly take you aside and ask you what in the hell you think you're doing after which he/she will give you a citation for creating a public turmoil or disturbing the peace; 2) draw his/her weapon pointing it at you while screaming and yelling to assume the position after which you will be arrested for inciting panic; 3) draw his/her weapon and shot you. Based on all the LEOs I've known, I predict the last option is the most probable. Please reconsider.

MAKOwner
July 12, 2003, 02:22 AM
It's incredibly strange, but I had this exact idea just the other day without having read anything about it or similar ideas online.

I just thought it would be interesting to gauge public and police response to perfectly legal open carry (here), and would have the side effect of making a political statement. But the idea of the cops overreacting pretty much got me off of the idea...

NukemJim
July 12, 2003, 08:42 AM
Overall impression:

I am not a lawyer but my understanding of the law in NY State ( as well as most others) is that it does not matter whether or not the gun is real. What matters is whether the person believes it is real. Almost all states rely on how a (hypothectical) "Reasonalble and prudent" person would react to a set of facts known at the time . There was a recent court case in which a bank robber who carried a gun was ruled not guilty of the greater charge of being armed while commiting a robbery because the gun was not shown till the robber was on his way out, and it was accidently exposed ( Please no flaming I am just the bearor of insane news NOT the originator ). There have been a number of cases over the years where LEO and Non-LEO have shot and killed people pointing object that was a toy gun or even was handled like a gun ( there was a vid clip floating around on this board a few months ago of police shooting a person pointing a silver cell phone in a two handed firing grip at LEO ) Many were ruled justifiable. Carrying around in public and while not on your property an artifact that looks exactly like gun will normally get you treated "Legally", in todays society, like it IS a gun. They may not charge with with full firearms charges but I have read incidents of AirSoft playes being charged with lessor charges.

Carrying a AirSoft in your holster is IMHO "Not a good idea" . As always I could be wrong.

As far as carrying the empty holster I like it. Pehaps, to avoid any possible confusion one made out of clear plastic. It is interesting, I have no idea of the legality of it. You would need to consult a lawyer about many facets of the possible reactions by the police ( possible include but not limited to Creating a public disturbance/nuisance, Refusing the reasonable request of an officer and whatever ). Sort of like the civil rights distubances of the 60s. But I would be willing to bet you that just like the civilrights workers of the 60s you will wind up lawyer bills and probable arrest and or jail time. Theoreticly you could argue it as a 1st ammendment case about the 2nd ammendment, you might be able to win eventually:) .

But I strongly belive you would lose if the State argues that anyone could believed you had a real gun in the holster.


Good luck and please see a lawyer BEFORE you try this.

NukemJim

answerguy
July 12, 2003, 08:56 AM
3) draw his/her weapon and shot you. Based on all the LEOs I've known, I predict the last option is the most probable. Please reconsider.


...do you really think this is the most likely outcome?

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