On February 5th, Senior Assistant State's Attorney Timothy Sugrue published a memorandum to the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office detailing first what everyone in Connecticut should already know: The unconcealed carry of a firearm with a valid Permit to Carry Pistols or Revolvers is 100% lawful, and that police cannot stop a person carrying a firearm unconcealed (Open Carry) to demand their permit absent Reasonable Articulable Suspicion of a crime.Here's the link to that "memorandum".
And here are some of the sneaky tricks that Law Enforcement Officers in Connecticut are encouraged to use in order to harass legal "open carry" citizens.
(Note that all of the tricks are designed to require a permit holder to .... present his or her permit upon the request of a law enforcement officer who has reasonable suspicion of a crime for purposes of verification of the validity of the permit or the identification of the holder, provided such holder is carrying a pistol or revolver that is observed by such law enforcement officer.)
Note that "reasonable suspicion of a crime" is the central theme which is used to justify unconstitutional searches:
Which is to say, a cop may ask you to show your permit, but you are not required to do so.
It is important to note that an officer does not need reasonable suspicion of a crime to conduct a consensual encounter. So long as the officer does not "seize" the person by a show of authority or physical force, he may approach a person observed carrying a gun, engage the person in conversation, and ask him to show his permit. Without more, however, the officer cannot demand the permit, lawfully seize the person if he wishes to leave, or arrest him for interfering if he refuses to produce the permit.
SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS!
These approaches are based on the concept of "Disorderly Conduct" (aka:"Creating a Public Disturbance"); if an officer can establish that a person is engaged in disorderly conduct, a search and demand for identification is legally justified.
Part 1: . Prior to making a demand for production, the officer should speak with the complainant and gather any other pertinent information, including that relating to events that occurred before the officer(s) arrived on-scene, and to watch the person carrying the gun for any signs of nervousness, inappropriate sweating, lack of eye contact, and evasiveness, among other indicia of suspicion. Pertinent information to note in a report also includes, where applicable, the high incidence of criminal activity, especially crimes of gun violence, in the area or at the specific site in question.In other words, if you're a "Bad Guy", the police may require you to produce identification and explain why you are carrying a firearm.
YOU MAY BE A BAD GUY IF:
- when a cop questions you for ANY reason, and you demonstrate signs of 'nervousness', you may be a bad guy
- if you are confronted in a 'high crime area', you may be a bad guy
- if you make an obscene gesture in a public place, you may be a bad guy
- if you use abusive or obscene language in a public place, you may be a bad guy
- if you carry your pistol in your pocket, instead of in a holster .. good guys always use holsters, so you may be a bad guy
- if you carry in a public or private place which has a "no guns" sign on the door, even though that sign has no force of law, you may be a bad guy
- if you appear to be 'young' (under 21), you may be a bad guy
- if the officer decides that you may have been drinking, you may be a bad guy
- if you are accosted by an officer on a 'school grounds', you may be a bad guy
NOTE that being a "bad guy" doesn't necessarily mean that you will be arrested. What it DOES mean is that you will be required to provide identification, possibly submit to a search, and from that point on the police will know that you have a firearm in your possession. Under certain circumstances, the police may seize your firearm.
That doesn't mean that you will have your property confiscated, at least not right away. If you carry and have a 'permit', no action is justified. Today.
WORST CASE: the officer may seize the firearm and prevent the citizen from leaving the scene ... or arrest the firearm owner if he refuses to show his permit. If the citizen cannot produce a permit, he or she probably will be arrested.