GCO Asks Paulding County to Stop Detaining Armed Citizens

GCO attorney John Monroe wrote a letter to Paulding County Attorney Jayson Phillips to reconsider his conclusion that Paulding deputies may detain anyone seen carrying a firearm for the sole purpose of determining if they have GWLs. The discussion follows an email from GCO member Robbie Massie, who complained to Phillips when a deputy detained Massie when Massie was riding a bike on the Silver Comet Trail while openly carrying. Phillips told Massie that there is reasonable articulable suspicion to detain an armed citizen for the purpose of checking to see if the citizen has a GWL or is a fugitive from justice. A copy of the letter may be viewed here.

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6 Responses to “GCO Asks Paulding County to Stop Detaining Armed Citizens”

  1. Bob Says:

    I guess I could be wrong, but when, in that letter, it is stated, …..”I am mindful that you also cited to the GWL licensing starote, OC.G.A. § 16-11-129, for the proposition that a person with a GWL must carry the GWL on his person when carrying a weapon. There is, however, no penalty for failure to do so.”

  2. Bob Says:

    “I am mindful that you also cited to the GWL licensing starote, OC.G.A. § 16-11-129, for the proposition that a person with a GWL must carry the GWL on his person when carrying a weapon. There is, however, no penalty for failure to do so.”

    Does not 16-11-129 state that failure to carry the GWL whem carrying a weapon mean that a Prima Facie case of violation of 16-11-126 has occcurred?

    And is there not then, in 16-11-129, a penalty cited for violation of that Statute?

    Seems that logic ( and the Codes) dictate that when carrying one must also have on their person their GWL, or be in violation of 16-11-126, and thus would be guilty of either a misdemeanor or felony.

    However, I do agree that a LEO simply seeing a person with a gun, especially one in open carry, with no other indicators giving rise to reasonable suspicion of carrying without a license, does not give an articulable reasonable suspicion of carrying without a license, as required in OCGA.

    A LEO may not use a NON reasonable suspicion (as in a hunch, or unsupportted belief….which is what was used in this case) to seize a person, and then require of them they produce evidence or a document(GWL) that disproves that hunch.

    Further, I see nothing in the Codes that dictates that one must produce a GWL on command of a LEO ……..it is not there, that I can find, and by inference, appears that LE, if they wish to proceed in charging the crime of carrying w/o a license per the Codes, THEY, Law Enforcement, must do their investigation, and acquire EVIDENCE that no such permit has been issued, nor that you had such on your person when stopped.

    In fact, as there is no articulable reasonable suspicion of a crime, there is question as to legality of the stop (seizure) of the person, and if there soes exist RS, a Terry Search of the person can ONLY be made for weapons, so there would be no legal way for a LEO to look into a stopped persons wallet, to serch for a GWL.

    Since then they cannot, legally and constitutionally, determine whether or not one has a GWL, they could then only take/escalate the seizure from “detention” to “arrest” based on absolutely ZERO evidence of no present GWL possesion on the seized person.

    They would be making a detention seizure, a search, and an arrest, ALL completely based on an unsupported belief?hunch, which is a direct violation of law and constituional rights, IMO.

  3. David James Says:

    I was stopped by Paulding County in a McDonald’s once. They tried to escort me outside the restaurant, but I refused because my daughter was inside playing. They then demanded I produce my Driver’s License and my GWL. They ran my DL, and ran my name through GCIC, and NCIC. During this time, my daughter, who was four, was very scared. She thought I was being arrested, and didn’t understand why the police were talking to me. Three officers arrived on scene, and didn’t leave until I did. I did get all the records, including radio traffic. The original call came from the manager. In the call he stated that if I were not doing anything illegal, then the deputy did not need to respond. When they arrived, they used the call from the manager as an excuse to detain me, saying that I was suspicious since I was carrying a weapon, and someone called.

    I asked the officer, if I call telling you someone is driving down the street, but not doing anything illegal, then do you have the right to stop and check if the driver is licensed? He said no, but a gun was different. I said it isn’t different, and that he had violated the 4th amendment, and in doing so created a scene that was uncalled for. My daughter was very scared.

    I obtained the records from Paulding County, but never pursued any action. I intended to, but time passed and I travel frequently. I think Paulding County needs to recognize that they can’t continue to stop people like this. If there is anything that my encounter can do to help this cause, please let me know. I still have the recordings.

  4. jrm Says:

    Bob, a prima facie case is not a penalty. All you’d have to do is prove in court that you did have license, and you you would be acquitted.

  5. chwparker Says:

    As a resident of Paulding County, I am curious as to how this went and if there’s anything that I can do to help.

  6. AR15DCM Says:

    I wonder how this finding of the 4th Circuit will impact this issue?

    http://www.fedagent.com/columns/case-law-updates/784-fourth-circuit-finds-that-carrying-a-firearm-in-an-open-carry-state-does-not-create-reasonable-suspicion-and-provides-thorough-analysis-of-the-free-to-leave-standard-of-seizure