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Are anti-gun groups encouraging “swatting” against open carriers?

Are anti-gun groups encouraging “swatting” against open carriers?

“Gun-toters who are truly law-abiding and mentally competent have nothing whatsoever to worry about.”

Some Second Amendment advocacy organizations are putting their members on alert among concerns that anti-gun organizations are using social media to encourage members to target open carriers with police action.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has posted a series of messages on its page encouraging its followers to immediately call police if they feel uncomfortable in the presence of an openly-carried firearm.

The Buckeye Firearms Association caught a screen grab from the Coalition’s Facebook page:

swatting

This is a screenshot taken today (9/2/2015) of the Coalition’s Facebook page, doubling down on their original call to action:

coalition gun violence swat facebook post

This isn’t a new trend. Gun control advocacy groups have a habit of asking their followers to target gun owners and carriers:

It is not the first time supporters of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and other gun control advocates have pressed for the public to call cops on legal gun owners. An October 2014 National Review article found that the Facebook pages and websites of groups including the coalition, Moms Demand Action and GunFreeZone.net included numerous comments from the public advocating that people call the police and intentionally exaggerate what they see in the hopes of getting cops to stop those open-carrying guns.

The Coalition in particular has a habit of advocating for one thing, and then walking back that advocacy when challenged on it. After Second Amendment advocates called them on the carpet for their tactics, the Coalition offered this statement to Fox News:

“In an era in which individuals are being allowed to carry loaded guns on our streets with no permit, background check or required training, it is common sense for concerned citizens to call 911 when they see an armed individual whose intentions are unclear,” Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “These [open carry] laws guarantee that we—and law enforcement—will have no idea about the criminal and/or mental health background of these individuals until they actually commit a crime; and by then it could be far too late. We have full confidence in our men and women in blue to assess these situations.

“Gun-toters who are truly law-abiding and mentally competent have nothing whatsoever to worry about. Their conversations with law enforcement will be brief and professional,” he added. “As for those who are dangerous and have something to hide which would not withstand the scrutiny of a background check or permitting process, they should expect to face some tough questions as a result of these 911 calls. And that makes us all safer.”

Are they inciting their members to act maliciously against open carriers? The tone difference between the Facebook posts and the official response to Fox is striking. The problem with both statements is that they flow from a “guilty until proven innocent” premise that encourages paranoia about people who choose to carry firearms.

“Gun-toters who are truly law-abiding and mentally competent have nothing whatsoever to worry about”—except when they do. Police inquiries into improper or threatening displays of firearms are no joke; using “I was nervous about this person’s actions” as a premise for complaining to law enforcement could have dangerous consequences—especially if the complainant stretches the truth.

Will every anti-carry advocate stretch the truth? No, I don’t think so; I also think there are valid reasons to ask for help from the police if you see someone menacing the public with a gun. But there exists a fine line between protecting yourself from deadly assault, and protecting yourself from the very idea of legal gun ownership.

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Comments

““Gun-toters who are truly law-abiding and mentally competent have nothing whatsoever to worry about. Their conversations with law enforcement will be brief and professional,” ”
Like the one law enforcement had with John Crawford when he was SWATed in a Walmart?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/25/mass-shooting-hysteria-and-the-death-of-john-crawford/
Like the one they had with his girlfriend?
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/14/john-crawford-girlfriend-questioned-walmart-police-shot-dead

Anyone who calls the police and is later found to have had no reasonable grounds for concern should be charged with wasting police resources.

Let me propose a dirty tactic, but I think an effective one: Gun rights activists should threaten that if these campaigns continue they will start advocating that anyone who sees a black man, and has ANY doubts about his intent should call 911. Neither possession of a black skin nor possession of a gun is a reliable indicator of criminal intent, but the former is far less unreliable than the latter.

    DINORightMarie in reply to Milhouse. | September 2, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    I think they need to be charged with terrorism against a law-abiding citizen.

    Their goal is to make people too scared of being shot, arrested, etc. for just exercising their right to open-carry.

    That is the very definition of terrorism.

      It’s really no different than if I made up allegations against someone in order to get various government agencies to come down on them because I disagree with what they say or write. I wonder how these prog morons would feel if their 1st Amendment rights were infringed in such a manner? Progressives like this are really little fascist bitches at heart. And they wonder why we “cling” to our guns. Jeesh.

    I’d go a bit further than that if the person the cops are called in on is shot and killed. There’s a limit to what cops can be expected to know in a given situation, so it doesn’t have to be their fault; indeed the less it’s their fault, the more it’s the fault of someone bearing false witness.

    I imagine there’s a belief that even in the most horrid, egregious cases, prosecutors would only harm the public if they went after someone making a false report, but that leads to unjust results…

    Mannie in reply to Milhouse. | September 3, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Anyone who calls the police and is later found to have had no reasonable grounds for concern should be charged with wasting police resources.

    More than that. It is aggravated assault.

“Black me who are truly law-abiding and mentally competent have nothing whatsoever to worry about when the police are called on them.”

    DINORightMarie in reply to Milhouse. | September 2, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    That is a true statement.

    Even if they are open-carrying, they are treated like anyone else in most cases.

    The lies of a caller – anonymous or not – can get ANYONE arrested under false pretenses, or shot/killed, regardless of sex or skin color. The danger is when the false accusation results in a SWAT team coming to your door, or a heavily armed force geared for a violent shootout, all because a terrorist calls in a false report.

The NRA sent their “NRA-ILA’s 2015 Gun Rights Survey” to me yesterday. The long survey listed the MANY pending bills meant to constrain legal gun owners. I “opposed” all such legislation.

Right out of the Socialist and Fascist play book, nothing new here!

I’m not alone in wondering if that was the case in the following situation, where LEOs were searching with drawn guns:
http://wtnh.com/2015/08/27/7-year-old-causes-gun-scare-with-toy-police-swarm-new-mexico-chilis/

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | September 2, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Are anti-gun groups encouraging “swatting” against open carriers?

You Betcha!

Pogo Hears a Who | September 2, 2015 at 4:45 pm

“Will every anti-carry advocate stretch the truth? No, I don’t think so.”

I disagree.
SJWs always lie.
It’s who they are.

Have problem with people carrying guns.

Call more people that carry guns to deal with problem of people carrying guns. Heh.

They are too cowardly to deal with the risks, the legal liabilities, the consequences, etc. So they call a flat foot to take it all on for them.

Most of these morons who are advocating calling police if they see a gun in public wouldn’t actually have the courage to do it themselves so they try to get the uneducated frightened believers to do it for them.

Also, if you are someone who thinks this is a good idea I would contact this group of nut jobs and ask them if they are going to pay for your defense when you are charged with filing a false report.

Let me put on my snappy, Wehr-issue Grammar Nazi hat for a moment.

Open carry is a very specific term relating to a gun that can be easily viewed that’s carried in a holster. Straying from this term, and saying “anyone carrying a firearm in public”, easily makes the mind imagine someone wielding a firearm in the hand, which is a very, very different thing.

If there was a really good reason to expect criminal behavior from someone with a holstered but visible weapon, any good citizen should call the cops. As written, though, this is clearly rabble-rousing for no good cause…

    Not just rabble-rousing, a time honored tradition in my family by the way, but truly putting innocent people’s lives at risk. Making false 911 calls should be a serious crime that is seriously prosecuted.

In a perfect world, the 911 call would go like this:

Dispatcher: 911, what is the nature of your emergency?
Caller: There’s a man with a gun, and I don’t know his intentions. Send a police officer, please.
D: Is this man waving or pointing the gun in any way?
C: No, he’s carrying it on his belt in a holster.
D: Is this man verbally or physically threatening you?
C: No, he’s ordering lunch at this McDonald’s.
D: Is this man touching or handling his gun?
C: No, he’s handing cash over to the cashier.
[pause]
D: Ma’am (or Sir), I need to inform you that openly-carried firearms are legal in this state, and if you don’t have an actual emergency I’m going to end this call. If you call about this again and the person with the gun is not behaving threateningly, you could face criminal charges for filing false police reports. Do you understand?

End of conversation. The 911 dispatchers should have a basic grasp of the law, if they’re going to be sending officers to investigate possible crimes.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Archer. | September 2, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Append, furthermore those charges can be felonies, and if some sort of miscommunication occurs when the police arrive, and someone dies, YOU can be charged with murder.

    redc1c4 in reply to Archer. | September 2, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    yeah they should know the law, but the average 911 operator is your garden variety government employee…

    there was a woman being beaten, in broad daylight in front of my home, so i called 911.

    the operator refused to dispatch a patrol car, because i could not see a license plate, nor could i give her a model of the car. the fact that it was the only black car stopped in front of my house with a woman being beaten wasn’t enough for this genius.

    however when she heard me open the gun safe and chamber a round in the shotgun, she demanded to know what i was doing: i told her i was going to get a plate number & vehicle id, not to mention stopping the attack.

    *THAT* she was willing to dispatch cops for, to arrest me.

    911 is a joke.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Archer. | September 2, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Exactamundo!

    jcarter50 in reply to Archer. | September 3, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    If you’ll look on the website of any large police department, you’ll find encouragement for citizens to report any kind of suspicious activity. More than just a few define that as “anything that seems out of place” or “anything that just doesn’t seem right.” They aren’t looking only for “actual emergencies.” So insert this at the (pause) in the dialog:

    C: But it’s not any of those things, he just looks funny.
    D: How does he look funny?
    C: It’s hard to say. There’s an odd look on his face and his posture is peculiar.
    D: What do you mean odd and peculiar?
    C: I don’t know how to describe it, it’s just weird, like maybe he’s tense or angry or stoned or something. Or maybe it’s just nothing, maybe he looks like this all the time or maybe he’s just concentrated on the menu or upset with the clerk or the smell of grease or something. Maybe his ulcers are bothering him. But there just seems to be something off about him and I’m concerned about him with all these kids here at McDonalds. I know we have open carry here, and it’s not just that he’s got a gun, it’s the way he looks.
    D: Is he looking at the kids or doing something with them?
    C: No, no, it just seems to me that there’s something off about him.

    You think that the dispatcher will go into a open-carry defense at that point? Nope, there will be one or more units dispatched. When the guy with the gun turns out to perfectly legally carrying and looks like Mr. Rogers on tranquilizers do you think that they’ll be able to hold the caller liable? Not a chance: everything the caller has said is a subjective evaluation and he’s plainly said that even he isn’t sure about it.

    But the PD can’t take the chance that the caller is oversensitive or seeing something that’s not there: maybe the caller is right and has just happened to catch the early warning signs of someone who’s about to be the next big mass murderer. And the existence of the gun, legal open carry notwithstanding, makes it a really big risk to just ignore the caller.

I know liberals aren’t very good at math and logic but certainly they can understand that frivolous police calls reduce the efficacy of the police force against real criminal actions.

    You’d think, but remember that liberals are pro-criminal and anti-freedom. To them, YOU are the criminal (or they feel you should be, which is just as good) for bearing arms, while the real criminals are just “unfortunate products of broken homes/societies”.

    Therefore, calling the cops out on YOU for exercising your rights is a valid use of police resources.

All anti-gun folks need to put signs in their front yard proudly proclaiming that “This house is a gun-free zone”.

These anti gun hysterics are criminals and should be prosecuted as such.

The other thing I’ve seen on line, from anti-gun criminals is the threat to mace and disarm legal carriers. The message has to go out that a disabling-disarming attack is a deadly force incident that justifies a deadly force response.

If you try that with me, I will kill you in self defense. If I see you try that on someone else, IO will kill you in their defense. If you succeed, you will be prosecuted for Assault With A Deadly Weapon and Armed Robbery. I hope you enjoy prison food.

Be careful out there. Remember your Safety Tripod, Situational Awareness, Profiling, and rapid use of firearms.

I know that this will be controversial. But bear with me.

In the first place, the anti-gun people stressed that people should make a MWG call, if they were uneasy with regard to the intent of the firearm carrier. This seems to be pretty reasonable. This would be the standard for calling the police in reference to anyone engaged in an unusual or suspicious behavior. Every single day, police all over the country respond to a variety of suspicious or unusual incident calls. The vast majority turn out to be unfounded because the activity is innocent or not unlawful. But, no one is demanding that police stop responding to such calls.

The follow-up remarks by the anti-gun group is brilliant PR. They get to point out that there anyone can strap on a pistol and walk down the street. If such carry requires a license and the carrier does not have one or belongs to one of the classes of people who is barred from possessing a firearm under law or is mentally incompetent there is no way to determine this unless a LEO contacts the person. See, it is not lawful for everyone to carry a firearm under all circumstances.And, they pint out, correctly, that a person who is lawfully carrying a handgun has nothing to worry about. Again, a reasonable and accurate statement.

To top this all off, the pro-gun activists attempt to make this look bad, or even illegal, but calling it SWATTING. We could give them the benefit of the doubt and say this is just hyperbole. But, this is not swatting. Swatting requires two things the first is a heavily armed, aggressive police response based upon erroneous information. The second is that the erroneous information is provided to cause the heavily armed, aggressive response. There is no indication anywhere within the communique issued by the anti-gun group that swatting is intended or encouraged. It is reasonable to assume that the objective, of the group, is to harass open carriers and cause additional work for law enforcement. But, they are doing so within the existing framework of society and the law.

The thing to take away from this is that sometimes it is better to ignore something than to acknowledge its existence. In this case, the communique was well below everyone’s radar. It was, essentially, a non-issue. Once the pro-gun people got involved and publicized it, then everyone becomes aware of it. And, in this case, the anti-gun group actually comes out looking better and is the net winner. The anti-gun group was encouraging people to take a reasonable action based upon reasonable grounds. They further were given an opportunity to stress the distinct possibility that a firearm carrier could very well be doing so illegally. Remember, only a very small minority of people actually carry a defensive firearm, on a regular basis, not related to their job or profession. And, even fewer carry one openly. It is an unusual practice and, because it is unusual and involves a deadly weapon, it is going to engender some anxiety on the part of the vast majority of people. This, in turn, will lead to MWG calls. That is reality and must be accepted by firearms carriers.

So, when the smoke clears on this issue, what we have is a net win for the anti-gunners.

    “The anti-gun group was encouraging people to take a reasonable action based upon reasonable grounds…So, when the smoke clears on this issue, what we have is a net win for the anti-gunners.”
    Yes. This is the PR win. There is also a potential personal loss for the legal gun toter.
    One must recognize the weasel-intent of the anti-people. They hope that their minions, being fearful idiots, will exaggerate their concern and show fear when on the phone with 911, thus escalating the police response. This puts the subject in danger.

    Concealed means concealed. And don’t open carry, unless you need your rifle.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Mac45. | September 3, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    What you said isn’t controversial, it’s just plain ignorant and wrong.

    It is completely unreasonable to call the police just because you see someone with a gun, especially if it is holstered/slung and the person isn’t acting threateningly and that is exactly what should be made clear.

    By your logic when I am hunting and have to cross a road with my gun slung and unloaded and someone is a car drives by…call the cops. (Especially this one since I tend to carry a holstered 44 mag revolver with me plus my shotgun or rifle) If I have my legally carried handgun and my shirt happens to blow open and someone see’s it….call the cops. If I am in a state that allows open carry and I am carrying a gun…call the cops.

    Note, in none of those situations is it reasonable to call the cops, but it is dangerous and stupid. I have a friend that is a Deputy U.S. Marshall who is required to be armed at all times, but he doesn’t display his badge while off duty. (He has to have his badge and ID with him, but not display it when off duty.) His gun gets seen quite a bit, since he is authorized to carry he isn’t used to trying to conceal his gun, where I as a permit holder take measures to conceal my gun. Most cops are required to be armed while off duty.

    The fact is that 99% of the time when someone see’s that another person is carrying a gun it is being carried legally and that should be the reasonable assumption. Not; “OMG GUN CALL THE COPS BEFORE HE/SHE TRIES TO KILL US ALL!!”

    Also, the assertion that this isn’t like swatting is complete and utter horse manure. There is an entirely different level of response to a call involving a gun than to pretty much any other call. Not even for domestic abuse calls to cops roll up in multiple units and go in with guns drawn, which for most gun calls they do. They go in ready to defend themselves and in a heightened state of stress which makes the response more dangerous.

    Take for instance when a neighbor who doesn’t really care for me (idiot liberal of course) called the cops because I had my handgun on my belt in the open while carrying groceries into my house. Honestly, it was hot and I had taken my overshirt off and didn’t even think about the gun on my belt. But here come the cops with 3 cars screaming to a halt in front of my house. You know what they saw? Me standing there looking dumbfounded with a bag of spuds in one hand and a full bag of groceries in the other hand trying to get the gate from my deck open. Thankfully the Sgt., (who was one of the most attractive police officers I have see to date, btw.) she had enough sense to realize that I probably wasn’t a terrorist and had the other 2 holster their weapons. Guess what, I was on my own property and had every right to be carrying a gun, even in the open. Well lets just say that my neighbor was really upset when she was chewed out by the Sgt., then the Judge, and then my HOA for filing a false report and wasting the cops time. I am sure the couple thousand dollars in fines didn’t help either.
    That could have gone much differently, though.

    Also, this call for every gun you see attitude will also embolden idiots like the one who attacked and restrained an elderly man because he saw he had a gun. To bad for the “hero” that the man was legally carrying and now our “hero” is facing assault charges.

    No, it is not reasonable, it is ignorant, dangerous, and stupid and if not pushed back against will lead to innocent people being hurt.

      Well, lets deal with your points, shall we?

      Hunting. As hunting requires some type of weapon, usually a firearm, most people recognize that there is a need for a person to have one with him while he is hunting. So, it is both usual and normal to see someone wearing blaze orange and carrying a hunting rifle, during hunting season. However, it is not usually to see someone walking through the mall with a rifle slung over his shoulder, as hunting is not allowed there.

      Now to your friend the Deputy US Marshal. While I am not familiar with the regulations of that agency, if they are like most LE agencies, they require that their person either conceal their sidearm or, if exposed, they have identification prominently displayed, especially when they are off-duty. And, their regulations probably require that they identify themselves, as a member of the Marshal’s Service, to any LEO, upon that LEO’s request for identification, assignment permitting. And, actually, most LE agencies do not require that their sworn personnel be armed off-duty, only that they carry department ID at all times while off-duty.

      Now, the percentage of times when a displayed firearm is being OCed, is not relevant to the discussion. The reason for that is because it only takes a single instance to create a tragedy. 99% of the time a dog is not likely to bite you, but that 1% can cause you a lot of pain. A caveat here. Be real careful about making a point of how little danger a firearms carrier poses to the rest of society. Statistically, there is no need to even carry a firearm and about 90% of those eligible to do so do not. It is little things like this that cause pro-firearms activists problems. One of the tactics, used by pro-firearm people, is that firearms carriers are harmless. It is like claiming that all bears are like Paddington Bear or Winnie the Pooh, cute and cuddly. However, human beings are, by their very nature dangerous. This why we are at the pointy end of the food chain. And, when they are in possession of a deadly weapon, especially a firearm, they are even more so. They are not cute and cuddly, they are dangerous. And, most people know this.

      Now the neighbor. In this case, you are hot and unloading your vehicle in front of your house. You live in an area which is probably a little upscale, as you have an HOA. We’re no talking the ghetto here, are we? Yet, rather than simply leaving your firearm in the house, you decide that you simply have to have it with you in the front yard, just in case the goblins come charging down the street looking for a victim. Well, your neighbor probably does not see the need for a person to be obviously armed in their front yard in that neighborhood. So, to him this is unusual and, as it involves a deadly weapon, a dangerous one. Apparently, it is also an unusual concurrence to the local police, as they sent three cars, one of whom was a supervisor for a MWG call. I find it hard to believe that your neighbor was actually charge with anything and fined, unless he had misrepresented the situation when he called. But, why did you need to have an exposed firearm in your front yard? You couldn’t have kept a cover garment on for another five minutes, while you brought in your groceries, as a consideration to your neighbors?

      Finally, the communique did not tell people to cal on every person displaying a firearm. It asked people to contact the police if they had any DOUBTS as to their intent. This is hardly EVERY firearm carrier, now is it? This, too, was possibly hyperbole on your part.

      There are two attributes which almost all activists exhibit. The first is that their personal wants, needs and desires, are more important than those of the rest of society. Their opinion is the correct one and any differing viewpoint is, by definition, wrong. The second attribute is the need to attack any perceived threat. This can come back to haunt you, if it turns out that your perceived threat is not perceived as such by others. One must have a firm grip on reality.

      In this case, most people are going to view the communique and the subsequent explanation as being perfectly rational. They are going to view pro-gun activists making claims of swatting, for a MWG call, if the caller does not misrepresent the situation. So, when it is thrown up on the giant screen of public media, the anti-gunners win this round.

      As to innocent people getting hurt, simply carrying concealed should take care of that potential problem, won’t it?

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Mac45. | September 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm

        “While I am not familiar with the regulations of that agency”

        Which is why I told you what they were when I was writing. But from the rest of your response I can see that reading comprehension seems to be a challenge for you.

        “But, why did you need to have an exposed firearm in your front yard?”

        As I said in my post, I simply didn’t think about it. See there is that reading comprehension thing again. It is also not the first or last time I have done so. Granted with my work schedule it mostly happens after dark. My neighbor called because she, much like you, is a vicious rabid liberal anti-self defense nut.

        As far as what you “believe” doesn’t change reality. Now she probably wouldn’t have been charged had I not raised 3 kinds of holy hell.

        “Now, the percentage of times when a displayed firearm is being OCed, is not relevant to the discussion. The reason for that is because it only takes a single instance to create a tragedy.”

        Only in your delusional mind. Yet, statics say that the “single instance” is far less likely to be a person who carries.

        “99% of the time a dog is not likely to bite you, but that 1% can cause you a lot of pain.”

        Funny that is the exact same reason I carry a gun. That whole 1% argument. Your assertion that just because statistics don’t say that something might happen to you, its that couple of percentage points on the other side that worry me. You are absolutely right, nothing may ever happen, but if it does I would rather have the gun and never need it than need it and not have it. Which make much more sense than your argument.

        “One of the tactics, used by pro-firearm people, is that firearms carriers are harmless. It is like claiming that all bears are like Paddington Bear or Winnie the Pooh, cute and cuddly. However, human beings are, by their very nature dangerous. This why we are at the pointy end of the food chain. And, when they are in possession of a deadly weapon, especially a firearm, they are even more so. They are not cute and cuddly, they are dangerous. And, most people know this.”

        Wow, that is a level of paranoia that bordering on clinical. It is also complete and utter horse crap. Statistics actually say that people who carry are far less likely to commit a crime and are therefore much less likely to be “dangerous”.

        What it comes down to is simple. In every instance statistic say that more guns equals less crime.

        “It asked people to contact the police if they had any DOUBTS as to their intent.”

        True, if you presume that someone who would actually consider this is a reasonable person, unfortunately they aren’t.

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