Well, it’s happening again: police officers are overstepping their boundaries and college students are pushing back (and edging them on). Gun rights has come to the forefront of the American debate after the more recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School with people on both sides digging deeper into their trenches. Anti-gun activists are calling for widespread bans on firearms including rifles and handguns. Pro-gun activists are the exact opposite- gun education and familiarity will decrease gun accidents. Regardless of the issues, more and more videos are popping up on the popular video sharing site, YouTube.com that show officers abusing gun owner’s rights to carry their firearms in public. Some of these officers are overzealous while others are simply responding to calls from other concerned citizens. The video below is a mix:
What is unique about this video and a bit different from others is that the (supposed) student seems to know his law. Several times in the video he cites court cases referring to laws that have shaped gun owner’s rights- US v. DeBerry, Delaware v Prouse, Hibel v Nevada, and Terry v Ohio. The ‘student’ is open carrying (meaning he is, in open and plain view, carrying a legal purchased firearm) a handgun while walking down the street. Someone has seen the student and called the police to which the officer responds and illegally takes the gun from the student. The student is not committing any crime and video tapes the whole exchange.
Several times in the video he tells the officer that he needs to be told what he is being charged with and that he is not doing anything wrong since he is a registered gun owner and has had given no reason to be stopped. The student also refuses to hand over any identification. The officer also (inadvertently) points the gun at the student while he attempts to disarm it.
While no one should go looking to make trouble, part of what is extremely disturbing is that the student has done nothing wrong and is being stopped and searched for no reason. That is in violation of the law. The fact that the officer cannot effectively disarm the weapon without pointing it at the student however much he does not mean to, highlights police ineffectiveness. The officer who first stopped the student does have a superior officer join him who lets the student go and has the first officer return the student’s gun. The superior officer definitely knew that the first officer was in the wrong and seemed to not want to cause a scene, especially since he probably figured he was being recorded on film.
Police officers need to stop looking at gun owners as criminals- they have not done anything wrong by purchasing and carrying around a firearm. The real trouble comes from the mentally ill who are not getting the help they need who are having access to firearms and the criminals who are getting their weapons illegally- those are the ones you need to look out for. Violating a person’s rights is unacceptable by any law enforcement officer. The officer should have given the weapon back as soon as he realized he had nothing to charge him with. Below are several other videos with police officers having issues with the law themselves: