Thursday, September 1, 2011

Accountability: It's for the little people.

When selective enforcement isn't enough the State will simply punish you, even if it's legal.

Here’s the problem: If you have a permit, it’s perfectly legal to walk into a McDonalds in Connecticut while plainly carrying a firearm. As Gideon notes, the problem is that too many cops in Connecticut simply don’t know the law. Lawlor’s solution isn’t to educate them, but to come up with creative (and baseless) applications of other laws that allow cops to continue to violate the rights of Connecticut citizens who exercise their right to carry. Gideon’s analogy to the camera issue is spot-on. Because exercising this particular right tends to upset police officers, and because police officers aren’t aware of the law, the state officials in charge of law enforcement have chosen to simply not give a damn about protecting this particular right. If a citizen exercising his rights combined with a cops’ ignorance of the law results in a “breach of the peace,” Lawlor’s conclusion is that the proper thing to do is charge you for breaching the peace. It’s an abhorrent and lazy mindset that forgets everything about who serves who in a free society. In a just world, Lawlor would be resigning over it.

And he isn’t alone. Law enforcement officials in Milwaukee and Philadelphia have expressed similar sentiments, and without much consequence.

I suppose if there’s an upside to all of this, it’s that when someone in one of these jurisdictions does inevitably sue, they’ll be able to show that the violation of their rights was systematic, and part of an ongoing policy. Unfortunately, when they win, the payout will come from taxpayers, not from the pockets of clueless public officials like Lawlor.

Massachusetts does this too. If you open carry, despite it being legal, you run the risk of losing your carry permit and your permit to merely posses firearms.

This is a repeated theme of Robb Allen's. For instance in Ohio the police take a woman's firearms, and refuse to return them. Despite not charging her with a crime, let alone her being convicted.

Until you make cops, politicians, aldermen, etc. personally responsible for their actions, this kind of crap will continue until the sun runs out of fuel. Until then, they’ll get a sternly written letter and a few weeks paid vacation instead of prison time for breaking & entering and theft.

Speaking of personal accountability Robb Allen does have some good news on that front.

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