Published on Sep 13, 2013

Four young ladies went for a quick bite to eat in Marshfield Missouri at a local Walmart. Two of them were open carrying not knowing they would be confronted by a Nazi-styled “show-me-your-papers” local police officer.

The police responded to the call armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a bad attitude. So instead of enjoying their lunch, they spent their lunch hour verbally engaged with police. This could have very easily, and very quickly escalated to detainment, confiscation of their guns, arrests, or worse.

Pick me! I have a free gun right here...

From Potomac News Police Briefs...

A 21-year-old Centreville-area man was robbed while walking on Newton

Patent Drive in Centreville, Fairfax County Police said.  About 4:10 a.m. Sunday, two suspects approached the victim from behind, and placed a metal object up to his head, said police. The robbers took

the man's handgun, which he was openly carrying, and ran away. He was not injured. The robbers were described as black males wearing dark clothing.

Anyone with information about this incident or the robbers is asked to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or the policenon-emergency number at (703) 691-2131.

Open Carry Guy Held Up for his Gun...

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee man found out the hard way that open carrying a gun for protection doesn't always keep you safe. In fact, it may have made him a target.

The 34-year-old man legally owned a handgun and carried it out in the open in his holster for protection.

The victim didn't want to go on camera but said he carried the gun because he had been jumped and held up at knife point in the past. He believes, in his case, open carry made him a target and he will no longer do it.

He said his case proves gun owners should have the right to carry concealed weapons.

Man Arrested & Detained For LEGALLY Carrying A Firearm...

Police in Rutland, Vermont arrested 26-year-old Joshua Severance for walking around town with a registered handgun clipped to his belt.

What Severance was doing was perfectly legal. But apparently, Rutland police forgot the law.

Severance, a veteran of the National Guard, was walking to his father’s house when police approached him. He said he feels his personal rights were violated and that he is disturbed by the incident.

As he should be.

He said, “There was a cruiser sitting there parked, and it saw me. I had my firearm on my side, had my shirt off because I was hot, minding my own business just walking along, cops saw me. I can see pulling somebody over and asking them to look at the firearm or check the serial number to see if it comes back stolen but putting somebody in handcuffs and throwing them in a cruiser and treating them like a criminal from square one– I don’t agree with.”

After discovering that Severance’s possession of the gun was in fact legal, police continued to justify their actions. They played down the arrest by explaining their response was due to recent shootings in the neighborhood (unrelated to this incident).

Police Sgt. John Sly of Rutland said, “In this particular neighborhood it is not commonplace to have people walking down the street with firearms, either rifles, shotguns or handguns. It was suspicious; it was out of the ordinary.”

So what? Severance did nothing to break the law. Just because something is uncommon doesn’t mean it is illegal.

Although Sly claimed it is “uncommon” to see someone walking with firearms, he also said these types of stops are “not out of the ordinary and are routinely conducted.”

The reasoning is laughable.

Philly cop hassles, arrests open carrier with valid license...

A Keystone resident is stripped of his carry permit and firearm, detained and issued a city citation for possession of cutting weapons on a highway.

“The officer did not have the legal right to confiscate my firearm.  He also had no grounds to revoke my license to carry firearms,” said Edward Yealey, a professional audio engineer and production manager.

Yealey  said Oct. 8 at or around 11:30 a.m., he was standing outside a diner owned by a friend on Philadelphia’s East York Street, when he was approached by a city police officer concerning the .45 caliber Glock 30 he was open carrying.

Although a permit is not required to open carry a firearm in the Keystone State, it is a crime to open carry within the city of Philadelphia without one, he said. “That day, and whenever I open carry in the city of Philadelphia, I wear my open carry permit around my neck.”

Yealey said even the permit was irrelevant in this instance. “I was invited on the property legally – technically I do not need to carry a permit on private property.”

The police officer asked him whether he was a security guard with a valid “Act 235″ identification card, he said.

“I replied no, but this is after he already sees I have a permit dangling from my neck,” he said.

“He spun me around and took my firearm,” he said.  “He was obviously harassing me at this point.”

The citation report describes the offense (in part) as follows:

While having a brief conversation I asked the white male if he was working as a security guard the male responded what it is to you?  I tried to tell the male that I had to ask in case he was going to hurt someone.  The male refused to listen. I then removed his firearm and belt.”

Yealey said the video he compiled shows the accusations to be untrue. “He was not able to arrest me for open carry with a lawful permit, so he tried to push me to admit that I was working as a security guard without a permit.”  In Pennsylvania a permit is required to be employed as an armed security guard, he said.  “The police officer wanted to charge me with something.”

Thirty more minutes would transpire on East York Street before Yealey was taken to the precinct to sit chained to a bench for two hours, he said.  “The officer said he was arresting me for being a nitwit (not a chargeable offense in PA, although it probably should be). I was never booked or completely searched.”

Yealey was issued a city citation for possession of cutting weapons and summoned to appear in court on Nov. 18.

“In order for me to travel in my vehicle in Pennsylvania, I must obtain a separate conceal carry permit for the vehicle,” he said.

“In Philadelphia, we cannot carry a knife, pepper-spray, mace, stung-gun or a Taser unless one has an armed security guard license,” he said. “With no non-lethal or less than lethal alternatives, the only recourse for personal protection as a Philadelphia resident is to go and buy a gun and carry.”


This is a subject that is constantly being debated, and is a bone of

contention with those who feel the need, for whatever reason, to carry openly

at times, and in places, that may cause them to have to explain their actions to

Law Enforcement. 

The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America is,

contrary to what the anti-gun zealots would wish you to believe, quite clear in

both its wording and intent;

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,

the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania predates the Second Amendment and is equally clear,  leaving no room for discussion, unlike the Constitution of the United States;

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. 

Article. 1, § 21 (enacted 1790, art. IX, § 21). 1776:  That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination, to, and governed by, the civil power.  Declaration of Rights, cl. XIII. This provision predated the US Constitution and is contained in Pennsylvania’s Constitution of 1776 and has been the basic law of Pennsylvania since that time.

It does NOT say, IF they have a license to carry.

Problems arise for several reasons. The first being the lack of training of police officers in regard to the law pertaining to the carry of firearms by the citizenry. The second has to do with Cities of the First Class, of which there is only one, Philadelphia. Under Pennsylvania law, Cities of the First Class may promulgate laws that apply to their jurisdiction only, and said laws may conflict with the law of the land (the rest of the Commonwealth). 

Such is the case where open carry is concerned. Philadelphia law requires anyone carrying a firearm openly, to also have a current, and valid license to carry a firearm (concealed). This law in contrary to the law of the land, and negates a citizens natural, God given right to bear arms in defense of themselves without the ‘permission’ of the State, as is required for concealed carry.

I am a proponent and supporter of open carry simply because it IS a natural, God given right. However, I also have a license to carry concealed because I really don’t want anyone to know I’m carrying a gun in public. That is simply a common sense, personal decision on my part.

Open carry will cause hassles with other people and eventually the police. Unless you live in a western state,

open carry isn’t very common. When the uneducated populace sees someone carrying a gun (without a badge),

they assume that a law is being broken. They panic and call the cops. What they tell the dispatcher when they call generally has no basis in truth. It usually ends up being something like: “There’s a man with a gun running around the grocery store scaring people!” If you were a cop, how would you respond to that call?

If the caller would have been honest and said “There’s a person walking around the grocery store who has a gun on his hip.  He isn’t threatening anyone and appears to be shopping.”  As a cop, I wouldn’t even approach you.  Hopefully, I’d educate the caller that no laws were being broken and leave.

But that’s just not how it happens in real life.  Blame it on whomever you like, but reality dictates you’ll get a police response. The police response may be positive, or it may be negative. Who wants to deal with that when you can simply cover your gun?

Walking around in a high population, urban environment with an exposed firearm may be legal, but is it prudent? I think not. I have much better things to do with my time, than spend a part, or all of my day interacting with police when a citizen has called them reporting ‘a man with a gun.’ and I happen to match the description of the alleged perpetrator. If the responding officer, or officers are ignorant of the law, are having a bad day, decide they don’t like the way I look, or my attitude when I try to explain the law to them, I’m going to be harassed, or possibly arrested on an unrelated charge, or charges. The fact that I’m being detained, or arrested unlawfully on trumped up, or irrelevant charges will be of little of solace to me when I’m handcuffed in the back of a patrol car for doing nothing more than exercising my God given rights.

In its winter 2011 bulletin, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association published the following: “Regardless of your opinion on open carry, recognize that it is a constitutional citizen right. Law enforcement officers remain permitted to engage in a mere encounter with someone who is open carrying. If they choose not to speak to you, and you have no articulated reasonable suspicion of a crime, you do not have a reason to detain them further. Give them a nod and wish them a good day.”  Sounds great! Unfortunately, it would seem most officer’s missed that particular memo.

Even with the foregoing edict being issued, police will continue to respond to calls of, ‘a man (or woman) with a gun,’ (as they should) and they will interpret the law, rightly or wrongly, as they see fit under the circumstances and based on their perception of you. Just like everything that has to do with gun control, the powers that be will find a way around the law and Constitution, if only temporarily, if it serves their agenda. Even when you eventually prevail in this misunderstanding, you will have spent a great deal of time, and possibly a considerable amount of money, on blood pressure medication and legal fees to make your point.  Do you really want to go there?

In my experience, most police officers do NOT like to have the law explained to them, since most think they know everything there is to know on the subject, or believe they can simply make it up as they go along. If they decide you are being belligerent, argumentative, or adversarial, I can assure you, they will provide you with a very unpleasant and very memorable day.

Criminals may not be deterred by openly carried guns. A criminal need only wait for the gun carrier to look the other direction and he will attack, trying to rip the gun out of the holster. Any serious violent criminal who has been in the game for a while knows how to check the crowd before he commits the crime. He’s looking for witnesses, cops, security guards, and anyone who will likely intervene (like a citizen who obviously has a gun).  If he finds one of those people, he deals with them FIRST, then he goes on to commit the crime

The armed robber (who has his gun concealed) could just shoot you in the back of the head before moving on to take the cash. Or he might do worse…what if he takes your child hostage and orders you to give up your gun?  Most people don’t think about these possibilities.

Having your gun taken away is always possible. Most people who carry guns will usually say, “I never let a criminal get within 10 feet of me. I’m constantly aware of my surroundings.”  Sorry, but that’s not going to fly.  They are deluding themselves. Regrettably, it’s physically impossible for one human to simultaneously scan 360 degrees at the same time. You always have to turn your back to something. Especially in a crowded public area, you simply can’t process all of the information fast enough to decide who is a threat and who isn’t.

Every year about 10 percent of the cops who are killed in the line of duty are killed with their own firearms (and that’s discounting the other 10 percent who accidentally shoot themselves, or each other).  Cops are trained to be alert, they often work with partners, and they have the best retention holsters money can buy. Yet they still get their guns taken from them. Do you think you can do better? Understand reality. You can’t see everything and you can’t win every fight. Your gun can be taken and used against you IF the bad guy knows you have it.

Most people who carry guns have crappy holsters and no weapon retention skills. I teach weapon retention skills in my courses. I teach my students what to do if someone grabs their holstered gun. Even after this training, the students still have trouble retaining their firearm in a surprise attack. Most people carrying a gun don’t have the benefit of this kind of training.

Think about this for a second. You are open carrying a gun on your right hip. I walk up to you and engage you in casual conversation (distraction)…something like “Hey!  Didn’t we go to school together?”  As you are trying to figure out who I am, I move closer and I grab your right hand with my right hand and pin it to my chest. You struggle, but because I have the element of surprise on my side, and you’re working through the startle response, you can’t free yourself fast enough. As soon as I have the arm controlled, I grab your holstered pistol with my left hand and turn it on you. Or, I can come up behind you, or next to you and snap that Kydex holster right off its paddle or belt clip with a simple twist. I don’t care how well you’re trained, or how good your holster is, if I see you gun and decide I want it, I’m going to take it. How are you going to stop those things from happening?

Keep your cards close to your vest (that means keep your weapon hidden from view). That gives you multiple response options. Once an armed criminal knows you are armed (and if you’re open carrying, he most certainly will), and you are the most obvious threat to him, I promise, you’ll be the first one getting shot. Just like you were trained to do, he will take out the greatest threat to him first.

Why a License to Carry Firearms (LTCF)?

Pennsylvania is a ‘Shall Issue’ State. The Commonwealth makes it extremely easy for law abiding citizens to acquire a License to Carry Firearms concealed (or open in Philadelphia). Individuals who are 21 years of age or older and are Pennsylvania residents may apply for a license by submitting a completed Application for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LTCF) at their Pennsylvania County Sheriff’s office (or issuing authority in Cities of the First Class) along with the required fee. A Pennsylvania license cannot be issued to a resident of another state who does not possess a current license, or permit, or similar document to carry a firearm issued by their home state if a license is provided for by the laws of that state (no license to carry open, OR concealed is required in Vermont, Wyoming, Arizona, or Alaska), as published annually in the Federal Register by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of the Department of the Treasury.

What is the definition of ‘Concealed’?

Hidden, not visible, out of sight, invisible, covered, disguised, obscured; private, secret.

Transport of Firearms - Federal Law: § 926A.

Applies to the transport of firearms interstate and intrastate if no LTCF or reciprocity agreement is present. Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

Intrastate Transportation of Firearms with a LTCF...

A License to Carry Firearms is issued and necessary to carry a firearm concealed on one’s person or in a vehicle within the Commonwealth, or within any state with which the Commonwealth has an agreement of reciprocity (laws vary from state to state. Make sure you are in compliance with the laws of the state you’re in).

A handgun being transported in a vehicle without a license to carry must be unloaded and must be carried under one of the exceptions listed above under Federal Law. Rifles and shotguns may be transported in a vehicle as long as they are unloaded.

While transporting a firearm without a license, it is up to the person transporting said firearm to demonstrate that one of the exceptions applies. A law enforcement officer may demand such evidence.

Places off-limits when carrying:
Prohibited areas include, but are NOT limited to, K-12 Schools, Court Houses, and Casinos. Post offices and federal buildings are prohibited areas under federal law.

Do “No Gun Signs” Have the Force of Law in Pennsylvania?

No. However, it is highly recommended that you not enter a place that is posted "No Firearms" no matter what the state laws read/mean on signage.  Signs represent a notice of intent posted by the property owner.

We recommend you print out, or acquire our ‘No Guns = No Money’ Cards and give one to the owner of the establishment that has the signage. As responsible gun owners and upholders of the 2nd Amendment we should, and must also honor the rights of property owners to control their own property even if we disagree with them.

“No Firearm” signs in Pennsylvania have no force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in State Law as being off limits to those with a Permit/License to Carry. If you are in a place not specifically mentioned in the law that is posted (and you shouldn’t be if it’s posted) and they ask you to leave, you must leave. If you refuse to leave then you are breaking the law and can be charged with criminal trespass, and/or some other charge or charges depending upon who the responding officer is. Even if the property is not posted and you are asked to leave you must leave. Always be aware of the possibility that responding Police Officers who may have been called without your knowledge and may not know the laws on trespass etc. could (and often will) arrest you even if you are within the law.

Open Carry...

In Pennsylvania, persons 18 years of age and older whom are not prohibited by law from owning firearms may openly carry a firearm uncovered, in plain sight (openly) with no license except in vehicles, Cities of the First Class (Philadelphia) and where prohibited specifically by statute.

So, if you’ve spent the day parading around town with a hogleg hanging off your belt for all the world to see, simply for the shock value, or to make a point, and you get into your car to go home to tell everyone about your adventure, you had better have a valid License To Carry a Firearm in your wallet, because once you close that car door with a loaded firearm strapped on, you’ve broken the law if you don’t.  If a police officer sees you get into that car with a loaded gun being carried openly, he has every right to ask for your LTCF. If you can’t, or won’t produce it, you’ve just signed up for a very unpleasant, and expensive evening.

I suppose the only question left to ask is, if you have that LCTF in your wallet, why are you carrying open and asking for trouble, when you could have gone about your business unnoticed and without the attendant aggravation?

I do understand the motivation for open carry. I also condone the value of educating both law enforcement and the general public pertaining to our collective God given, Constitutionally affirmed rights, but my personal choice is to maintain as low a profile as possible, for a myriad of reasons. I don’t want you to know I have a gun until I have to. And if I have to, I want it to be the LAST thing you see.

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Both Open Carry and Concealed Carry are legal in Pennsylvania with the following exceptions...

Open Carry & Concealed Carry...
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Nothing presented on this website is offered as legal advice, nor should it be construed as such. It is however, offered to acquaint you with the more important factors that are involved in the use of deadly force, and why you need to consult with your Attorney and a Certified Instructor, for both advice and training on this issue BEFORE you find yourself in an encounter, much less court.  Ignorance of the law, especially when it comes to using lethal force, is not a defense... Anywhere... Ever.