NC Open carry and "Going Armed to the Terror of the Public"


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ChristopherG
June 15, 2004, 03:32 PM
Last week, I saw a non-Leo citizen (apparently) open-carrying in our local Walmart. This is the first time I've seen this in my several years of living in North Carolina (in the Durham/Chapel Hill area), and I was frankly surprised. I was under the impression that the grotesquely vague statute concerning 'going armed to the terror of the public' rendered open carry basically illegal--or at least made you liable to a misdemeanor charge if someone decided they were 'terrified' by your safe, holstered handgun. Here is the only state publication I can find concerning this law:

By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himself with any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public highways in a manner to cause terror to others. The N.C. Supreme Court has said that any gun is an unusual and dangerous weapon for purposes of this offense. Therefore persons are cautioned as to the areas they frequent with firearms.

Pardon my French, but what in the hell does that mean? Does anyone know how this law is actually played out on the ground? Is it legal to open carry in NC, or just legal until someone decides they don't like it, or what???:confused:

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abrahamsmith
June 15, 2004, 03:41 PM
Interesting!

Which Wally World was this?
(I live near the one at Breier Creek, near Hwy 70 and I-540)

ChristopherG
June 15, 2004, 03:46 PM
The new mega-superwalmart at exit 165 off I-85, in Hillsborough.

Waitone
June 15, 2004, 07:00 PM
Pardon my French, but what in the hell does that mean? Does anyone know how this law is actually played out on the ground? Is it legal to open carry in NC, or just legal until someone decides they don't like it, or what??? That sir is precisely why I cut a chogie to get my concealed carry permit. The law for open carry is just entirely too vague to be interpreted by reasonably intelligent bipeds.

A guy at the range I frequent had a really ugly incident directly related to the vague law on open carry. He was shooting an AR look alike and finished. He cleared the weapon and threw it in the backseat of his car for a trip home. Someone standing on a sidewalk saw the firearm in the seat and whistled up the police. He was pulled over by LE and had a shotgun stuck in his left ear until he could prove the LE that it was not a machine gun.

I've talked to gunshop owners, NRA instructors, LE, and anyone else associated with firearms and the law and their advice is the same. Do not screw around with open carry in NC simply because the laws is asininely vague and imprecise. It is a pathetic law that the legislature has no interest in fixing it. The worst place in the state to live if you frighten blissninnies is Berkley on the Muse (AKA RTP or Research Triangle or Tobacco Road or Chapel Hill).

Getting your concealed carry permit will virtually guarantee you will not be harasses because you have a gun nearby. Just don't bait the bear.

MacPelto
June 15, 2004, 09:21 PM
cut a chogie

Not to hijack, but what does that mean ?

LAR-15
June 15, 2004, 09:37 PM
This dumb statute could apply to anything- even carrying a chainsaw or stick or baseball bat or Leathernman tool.......

All it takes is one blissninny...........

ChristopherG
June 15, 2004, 10:06 PM
I actually have and use a Concealed Carry permit; I just find it incredible that the situation concerning open carry could be so legally muddled and open to subjective interepretation as this. If I were independently wealthy and heedless of my reputation in professional circles, I'd love to start wearing open and provoke a challenge to this obviously ancient 'statute'. Anyone who fits that description wanna do it for me? ;)

Langenator
June 16, 2004, 12:28 PM
You know, it's been a while since I took Constitutional Law back in college, but I seem to remember a bit about laws being "unconstitutionally vague" i.e. laws where a reasonable person wouldn't be able to figure out what was illegal.

This NC law would seem to be ripe for a challenge on those grounds, but who wants to get arrested to do so?

IMHO, most income tax codes are in violation here as well.

David Roberson
June 16, 2004, 02:12 PM
MacPelto, "cut a chogie" is slang for "hauled ass."

Waitone, I hadn't heard that term in probably 20 years. Are you by any chance ex-USAF?

Cheers,
DR

fletcher
June 16, 2004, 05:02 PM
I'd also like to know about this - I had determined (in my mind at least :p) that open carry was essentially illegal in NC. It would be great to know otherwise...

The surrounding cities/towns in my area have laws concerning open carry I believe, but I don't know if there's some small thing in the state law that could affect that.

Guntoatin
October 16, 2007, 11:18 PM
I came upon this thread through google , looking at the laws of NC. my concealed license is recognized in NC as well.

In VA open carry is leagal. infact its a normal thing to see people with guns on their side , in the Richmond Area. cops don't give you crap about it either. my buddy had his apt broken into so I went to help him out while the cop was there doing a report, I walked in with my springfield XD fullsize 9mm on my side in plain view. never even got a wierd look. as my friend was freeking out because he thought the cop would sure do somthing to me.

anyways it looks like from what has been said that "terror" could mean the same thing as a brandishing law? where someone who feels lagitimatly threatend by a weapon.

if you have your gun on your side that is not brandishing, if you pull your gun off your side and hold it in a manner which could be threatening or is blatent. then that is brandishing or causing terror as stated in the NC law.



here I found some more info for you guys from the NC rifle association.

Q: I don't want to get a Concealed Handgun Permit; I just want to carry a gun openly in a holster. Is this legal?

A: In North Carolina there is no State law specifically prohibiting the open carry of firearms. Under the theory that if it isn't specifically prohibited it's not illegal, open carry is possible. There are some glaring exceptions to this. They are:

Private property owners and businesses can post "no guns."
Firearms are strictly prohibited on state-owned property, except rest areas and state lands where hunting is permitted.
Local governments can (and do) enact prohibitions against "display of firearms" in cities and/or specific areas within cities or counties, which means they can't be visible. Under this statute there is absolutely no requirement for the city or county to post notice of the display ban.
Local governments can (and do) enact firearms bans on local government property and in parks and recreational areas.
Any federally-owned property or federally-regulated property like banks and Post Offices is of course a prohibited area.
Much of the Outer Banks is "National Seashore," and firearms are prohibited in those areas.
So in theory that leaves everywhere else in the state - except for one more thing. There is a common-law offense in NC called "going armed to the terror of the people." Basically what this means is that if someone sees you carrying a firearm and calls the police to report "person with a gun," you can be charged with this offense. It's not often used in rural areas, but has been used in populated areas. If you are an out-of-state visitor who is not here lawfully hunting or engaged in some overt firearms-related event such as a competition, it will be hard to talk your way out of it.

So is open carry legal in NC? In theory, yes. In practice, maybe. It seems to us like a very good way to get arrested.


here is the link to the full page.

http://www.ncrpa.org/ccwfaq.htm

the best way to find things in concrete is to go to the city courthouse you live in or contact them.

rantingredneck
October 16, 2007, 11:28 PM
I've open carried on occasion with no hassles. Even have had police drive by and nod while a holstered firearm was on my hip. It all depends on which area of the state you are in. The Chapel Hill/Durham area is one where I wouldn't want to be a test case in. I live a bit west of there where the politics are a bit more right of center. I will say though that some of those folks seem to be infiltrating lately.

Guntoatin
October 16, 2007, 11:31 PM
just remember if you dont exercise your rights they go away very easily.

orionengnr
October 16, 2007, 11:35 PM
By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himself with any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public highways in a manner to cause terror to others.

Prove the above.

That will make an interesting court case. I don't live in NC, so it won't be me, but if our TX laws were written similarly, it might be me next week or next month...

Guntoatin
October 16, 2007, 11:41 PM
you can't really terrorize anyone without touching your gun can you? if so it would be a new one on the common sense books lol

scout26
October 17, 2007, 12:10 AM
Quote:
By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himself with any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public highways in a manner to cause terror to others.

Prove the above.

That will make an interesting court case. I don't live in NC, so it won't be me, but if our TX laws were written similarly, it might be me next week or next month...


Well I'd definitely be trying to terrify anyone who would wish to do me harm......

scout26
October 17, 2007, 12:14 AM
Quote:
By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himself with any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public highways in a manner to cause terror to others.

Prove the above.

That will make an interesting court case. I don't live in NC, so it won't be me, but if our TX laws were written similarly, it might be me next week or next month...


Well, I'd definitely be trying to terrify anyone who would wish to do me harm......

LAR-15
October 17, 2007, 12:40 AM
Open carry of firearms is legal in NC.

Nobody is arrested for just open carrying.

wheelgunslinger
October 17, 2007, 12:42 AM
That bad part about NC law is that individual counties, and sometimes cities, get to interpret this how they want.
Which means that the officer can decide you're "going armed to the terror of the people" by simply wearing a gun "just to get attention" or "cause a scene." And, if you've been using your google fu on open carry, you've no doubt seen the videos where o/c types get harassed and accused of attention seeking.

Bottom line is: You could get cuffed and stuffed, processed, and then get the opportunity to have the ultimate "reasonable man" decide whether or not you are indeed going armed to the terror of the people.

However, we recently had a guy here in Huntersville open carry in Target. The people who finally noticed his weapon freaked out and the management called the fuzz. The fuzz didn't arrest him. They just escorted him off the premises and searched him/checked his ID. Which, in NC is very fair considering our messed up laws.

Autolycus
October 17, 2007, 01:03 AM
Did you realize this thread is 3 years old?

LAR-15
October 17, 2007, 01:06 AM
So what?

That common law statute is still law in NC.


There is a specific statute that allows NC counties and cities to ban the display or wearing of firearms in public.

They don't use the 'armed to the terror of' statute cause they can't.

kurtmax
October 17, 2007, 01:16 AM
It's similar here in Alabama. There are no laws prohibiting the unconcealed carry of pistols and long-arms.

You will get arrested and charged with disorderly conduct though. Then you have to either:

A. Fight it in court, spend 30kUSD, sue the police department in civil court and get a 2USD judgment and another 30kUSD in court costs.

B. Prosecutor drops the charges if you sign a waiver to make the police department immune to civil lawsuits. Still have 5 or 6k USD in lawyer fees.

Either way you have an arrest on your record, and even if expunged, will prevent you from being employed by about 50% of the businesses in the US (Even though it's illegal to discriminate due to arrest record.... who is gonna catch them?).

Oh.. and pretty good necro. A few years at least :P

Well Regulated
October 17, 2007, 01:24 AM
What's interesting is the common law quoted with the Supreme Court backing, would make all police officers guilty of that crime.

I made a check of the North Carolina Declaration of Rights. There is a section that the people have a right to keep and bear arms. This normally overrides any common law. I don't know why the NC Supreme court said what it said except that many parts of the NC Declaration of Rights is filled with Yankee Carpet bagger language. Virginia Jettisoned this laguage in 1904. What's wrong with North Carolina? The Declaration of rights is the natural rights of man. Citizenship and forced allegiance to the United States or to North Carolina is not a Natural Human right anymore than citizenship and forced allegiance to Russia is.

"Sec. 4. Secession prohibited.
This State shall ever remain a member of the American Union; the people thereof are part of the American nation; there is no right on the part of this State to secede; and all attempts, from whatever source or upon whatever pretext, to dissolve this Union or to sever this Nation, shall be resisted with the whole power of the State."


"Sec. 5. Allegiance to the United States.
Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force."



The war is long over, you are a sovereign state. How long will you be Yankee whipped?

Elza
October 17, 2007, 06:15 AM
Guntoatin: you can't really terrorize anyone without touching your gun can you? if so it would be a new one on the common sense books There you go trying to equate common sense and logic to the ludicrous ravings of anti-gun blissninnies. Never the twain shall meet.

Bartholomew Roberts
October 17, 2007, 12:01 PM
If it is a "common law" provision then that means it is judicially-made law, not legislative. You would have to look at the cases describing the law to understand where the boundaries were and even then, that is no guarantee that the officer who says hello has the same understanding of the case law.

In statutes, the word "purpose' is typically used to show the highest intent standard possible. Under that standard they would have to show that you intended to cause terror. Of course since this is a common-law rule and not statute, the actual intent necessary may be a lot looser than that.

30 cal slob
October 17, 2007, 12:49 PM
Open carry of firearms is legal in NC.

gotta check local ordinances, for which there is no state pre-emption.

for example: town of Carey. Open Carry is illegal there.

BridgeWalker
October 17, 2007, 01:07 PM
I find pro-abortion bumper stickers terrifying, and a weapon. Wonder if that counts? I'm guessing not...

romma
October 17, 2007, 03:06 PM
Apparently here in CT there are no laws against open-carry but they will make up a charge for you. Even if you win in court, you will lose your permit at least until a hearing that may take up to 18 months to get...

Citroen
October 17, 2007, 07:05 PM
My very old guide issued to law enforcement personnel more than 20 years ago states:

"Elements - A person is guilty of this offense if:
(1) he arms himself with unusual and dangerous weapons
(2) for the purpose of terrifying others
(3) and goes about on public highways
(4) in a manner to cause terror to others."

In the Notes section is added

"Element (4) For this offense to be committed, it is not necessary that the defendant actually assault anyone, and it may not be necessary that anyone actually be terrified as long as the defendant acts "in such a manner as will naturally cause a terror to the people."

Under Element (3) is the comment, "It appears that the offense would not occur if the defendant remained on private premises."

The guide also states that this offense has been rarely charged.

Open carry is legal in NC.

John
Charlotte, NC

Blackfork
October 17, 2007, 08:07 PM
That we have let the states and local governments, along with the Feds, grow their buracracy until the laws are totally out of kilter.

Blackbeard
October 17, 2007, 08:42 PM
"Terror of the Public"

Sounds like a good name for a band.

eliphalet
October 17, 2007, 08:49 PM
I propose we have a National Open Carry Day in States where legal.
Wouldn't the news media and the anit-gun types love it.

Guntoatin
October 17, 2007, 11:08 PM
a open carry day would be great! it's interesting that people get worried about citizens open carrying guns although they think its fine to burn American flags in the middle of NY and call it freedom of speech/expression. anyone else notice this problem?

gc70
October 18, 2007, 12:09 AM
Here is the North Carolina Supreme Court ruling in State v. Huntley (http://www.guncite.com/court/state/25nc418.html) which introduced the infamous quotation from Blackstone into North Carolina firearms law:

STATE v. ROBERT S. HUNTLEY.
[Cite as State v. Huntley, 25 N.C. (3 Ired.) 418, 40 Am. Dec. 416 (1843).]


1. The offence of riding or going armed with unusual or dangerous weapons, to the terror of the people, is an offence at common law, and is indictable in this State.

2. A man may carry a gun for any lawful purpose of business or amusement, but he cannot go about with that or any other dangerous weapon, to terrify and alarm, and in such manner as naturally will terrify and alarm a peaceful people.

3. The declarations of the defendant are admissible in evidence, on the part of the prosecution, as accompanying, explaining, and characterizing the acts charged.

Appeal from Settle, J., Spring Term, 1843, of Anson.

The defendant was tried upon the following indictment:

The jurors for the State upon their oath present, that Robert S. Huntly, late of the county aforesaid, laborer, on the first day of September, in the present year, with force and arms, at and in the county aforesaid, did arm himself with pistols, guns, knives, and other dangerous and unusual weapons, and being so armed, did go forth and exhibit himself openly, both in the daytime and in the night, to the good citizens of Anson aforesaid, and in the said highway and before the citizens aforesaid, did openly and publicly declare a purpose and intent, one James H. Ratcliff and other good citizens of the State, then and there being in the peace of God and of the State, to beat, wound, kill, and murder, which said purpose and intent, the said Robert S. Huntley, so openly armed and exposed and declaring, then (p.419)and there had and entertained, by which said arming, exposure, exhibition, and declarations of the said Robert S. Huntley, divers good citizens of the State were terrified, and the peace of the State endangered, to the evil example of all others in like cases offending, to the terror of the people, and against the peace and dignity of the State.

On the trial it was insisted on the part of the defendant, that allowing all the facts charged in the indictment to be true, they constituted no offence for which the defendant could be punished as for a misdemeanor. His Honor instructed the jury, that if the facts charged in the indictment were proven to their satisfaction, the defendant had been guilty of a violation of the law, and that they ought to render their verdict accordingly. In the investigation before the jury it appeared, among other things, that the defendant was seen by several witnesses, and on divers occasions, riding upon the public highway, and upon the premises of James H. Ratcliff (the person named in the indictment), armed with a double-barrelled gun, and on some of those occasions was heard to declare, "that if James H. Ratcliff did not surrender his negroes, he would kill him"; at others, "if James H. Ratcliff did not give him his rights, he would kill him"; on some, that "he had waylaid the house of James H. Ratcliff in the night about daybreak, and if he had shown himself he would have killed him; that he showed himself once, but for too short a time to enable him to do so, and that he mistook another man for him, and was very near shooting him." On one occasion, that "he would kill James H. Ratcliff if he did not surrender his negroes, and that as for William Ratcliff, he was good for him anyhow on sight; that there were four or five men whom he meant to kill." All these declarations were objected to by the defendant's counsel, but were received by the Court, as accompanying and qualifying and explaining the defendant's riding about the country armed with a double-barrelled gun. The jury having found the defendant guilty, his counsel moved for a new trial upon the grounds, first, that the declarations of the defendant before mentioned, were improperly (p.420)received; secondly, because the Judge should have told the jury, that supposing all the facts charged in the indictment to be true, still the defendant was entitled to their verdict. The motion was overruled, and judgment having been pronounced, the defendant appealed.

Attorney-General for the State.

Winston for the defendant.

Gaston, J. On the trial it was insisted by the defendant's counsel, and the Judge was required so to instruct the jury, that if the facts charged in the indictment were all true, they nevertheless constituted in law no offence of which they could find the defendant guilty. His Honor refused this prayer, and instructed the jury that if the facts charged were proved to their satisfaction, it was their duty to find him guilty. The same ground of defence has been taken here by way of a motion in arrest of judgment; but we are of opinion that in whatever form presented, it is not tenable.

The argument is, that the offence of riding or going about armed with unusual and dangerous weapons, to the terror of the people, was created by the statute of Northampton, 2 Edward III, ch. 3, and that, whether this statute was or was not formerly in force in this State, it certainly has not been since the first of January, 1838, at which day it is declared in the Revised Statutes, ch. 1, sec. 2, that the statutes of England or Great Britain shall cease to be of force and effect here. We have been accustomed to believe, that the statute referred to did not create this offence, but provided only special penalties and modes of proceeding for its more effectual suppression, and of the correctness of this belief we can see no reason to doubt. All the elementary writers, who give us any information on the subject, concur in this representation, nor is there to be found in them, as far as we are aware of, a dictum or intimation to the contrary. Blackstone states that "the offence of riding or going armed with dangerous or unusual weapons, is a (p.421)crime against the public peace, by terrifying the good people of the land; and is particularly prohibited by the statute of Northampton, 2 Edward III., ch. 3, upon pain of forfeiture of the arms, and imprisonment during the King's pleasure." 4 Bl. Com., 149. Hawkins, treating of offences against the public peace under the head of "Affrays," pointedly remarks, "but granting that no bare words in judgment of law carry in them so much terror as to amount to an affray, yet it seems certain that in some cases there may be an affray, where there is no actual violence, as where a man arms himself with dangerous and unusual weapons in such a manner as will naturally cause a terror to the people, which is said to have been always an offence at common law and strictly prohibited by many statutes." Hawk. P. C., B. 1, ch. 28, sec. 1. Burns & Tomlyns inform us that this term "Affray" is derived from the French word "effrayer," to affright, and that anciently it meant no more, "as where persons appeared with armour or weapons not usually worn, to the terror of others." Burns' Verbo "Affray." Dier do. It was declared by the Chief Justice in Sir John Knight's case, that the statute of Northampton was made in affirmance of the common law. 3 Mod., 117. And this is manifestly the doctrine of Coke, as will be found on comparing his observations on the word "Affray," which he defines (3 Just., 158) "a public offence to the terror of the King's subjects, and so called because it affrighteth and maketh men afraid, and is enquirable in a leet as a common nuisance," with his reference immediately thereafter to this statute, and his subsequent comments on it (3 Inst., 160), where he cites a record of 29 Edward I., showing what had been considered the law then. Indeed, if those acts be deemed by the common law crimes and misdemeanors, which are in violation of the public rights and of the duties owing to the community in its social capacity, it is difficult to imagine any which more unequivocally deserve to be so considered than the acts charged upon this defendant. They attack directly that public order and sense of security, which it is one of the first objects of the common (p.422)law, and ought to be of the law of all regulated societies to preserve inviolate--and they lead almost necessarily to actual violence. Nor can it for a moment be supposed that such acts are less mischievous here or less the proper subjects of legal reprehension, than they were in the country of our ancestors. The bill of rights in this State secures to every man, indeed, the right to "bear arms for the defence of the State." While it secures to him a right of which he cannot be deprived, it holds forth the duty in execution of which that right is to be exercised. If he employs those arms, which he ought to wield for the safety and protection of his country, to the annoyance and terror and danger of its citizens, he deserves but the severer condemnation for the abuse of the high privilege with which he has been invested.

It was objected below, and the objection has been also urged here, that the Court erred in admitting evidence of the declarations of the defendant, set forth in the case, because those, or some of them, at least, were acknowledgments of a different offence from that charged. But these declarations were clearly proper, because they accompanied, explained, and characterized the very acts charged. They were not received at all as admissions either of the offence under trial, or any other offence. They were constituent parts of that offence.

It has been remarked that a double-barrel gun, or any other gun, cannot in this country come under the description of "unusual weapons," for there is scarcely a man in the community who does not own and occasionally use a gun of some sort. But we do not feel the force of this criticism. A gun is an "unusual weapon," wherewith to be armed and clad. No man amongst us carries it about with him, as one of his every day accoutrements--as a part of his dress--and never, we trust, will the day come when any deadly weapon will be worn or wielded in our peace-loving and law-abiding State, as an appendage of manly equipment. But although a gun is an "unusual weapon," it is to be remembered that the carrying of a gun, per se, constitutes no (p.423)offence. For any lawful purpose--either of business or amusement--the citizen is at perfect liberty to carry his gun. It is the wicked purpose, and the mischievous result, which essentially constitute the crime. He shall not carry about this or any other weapon of death to terrify and alarm, and in such manner as naturally will terrify and alarm a peaceful people.

Per Curiam. No Error.

The facts of the case sound a lot like disturbing the peace or terroristic threatening.

lonewolf2810
December 3, 2009, 10:26 PM
I know this has more than likely posted some where and I am way behind on the post but go to this site and you will learn a lot about the laws of NC OC'ing, it is neat.


http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/

CooperThunder
December 4, 2009, 08:15 AM
Here in Missouri, it is not the whole state that can open carry. Some counties you can and in some you can't. Learning about this, I once asked our local sheriff about the varied interpretation of our law on CCW and he said the law doesn't actually mean "really concealed" but try your best to conceal. If it prints, then it prints, why worry about it? What I failed to ask was that if it print, can someone call the authority and tell them I am brandishing?:confused::confused::confused:

Killermonkey21
December 4, 2009, 07:33 PM
Just to give you a quick heads up, www.opencarry.org has a great forum for discussion such as this. Even ones for each state. Check by there for more advice and personal experiences with law enforcement.

I had a run in with the local SD when I was stationed at Fort Bragg. Long story short, the Deputy thought that open carrying was illegal, arrested me, and tried to charge me with "Going Armed to the Terror of the Public". The magistrate told him in no uncertain terms that open carry is legal and that I was not breaking that law, so they charged me on some trumped up trespassing charge, which got dismissed because, lo and behold, they didn't have a case.

YMMV.

Seriously, though, check on opencarry.org and you can get a lot of useful info.

FrozenAsset
April 26, 2010, 03:23 AM
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/25/armed-man-arrested-airport-obama-departs/

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- An armed man spotted at a North Carolina airport parking lot just after Air Force One departed Sunday told an officer he wanted to see the president and had a car equipped with police gear, including a siren and flashing lights, authorities said.

Joseph Sean McVey, 23, of Coshocton, Ohio, is charged with going armed in terror of the public, a misdemeanor, said Asheville Regional Airport Police Capt. Kevan Smith.

Security was heightened at the airport because President Barack Obama was leaving after spending the weekend vacationing in Asheville. He was headed to a memorial service for 29 West Virginia coal miners killed in an explosion.

At about 2 p.m., airport police saw McVey get out of a maroon car with Ohio plates and that he had a sidearm, Smith said. Both airport police and the Secret Service questioned him and he was taken into custody. The suspect was nowhere near the president's plane, which had just departed, and was in a rental car return lot that is open to the public, Smith said.

His car was equipped with clear LED law enforcement-style strobe lights in the front and rear dash, Smith said. The car also had a mounted digital camera in the front window, four large antennas on the trunk lid, and under the steering wheel was a working siren box. Smith said McVey was not in law enforcement.

April 25: Joseph Sean McVey is seen in this mug shot provided by the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office.

When McVey got out of the car, he was listening to a handheld scanner and radio that had a remote earpiece, Smith said. Police said he was monitoring local agencies and had formulas for rifle scopes on a note in his cup holder. Police did not immediately elaborate on what the formulas might mean and Smith was not available to comment late Sunday.

McVey gave authorities an Ohio driver's license, but a computer check failed to show the number was valid, police said. His hometown of Coshocton is about halfway between Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.

When Officer Kaleb Rice asked him what he was doing, McVey told him he heard the president was in town and wanted to see him.

Rice removed the firearm and took McVey into custody. He was being held at the Buncombe County jail on $100,000 bond.

The investigation into what McVey was doing with a gun, with formulas for rifle scopes and why his car was equipped with police gear was continuing, Smith said. The Secret Service had no comment on the arrest, deferring to airport police.

A jail officer said it didn't appear McVey had an attorney.

Art Eatman
April 26, 2010, 10:50 AM
Shoulda stayed as a newspaper story...

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