Carrying a gun is a legal action that can get you arrested anyway.
In Texas, open carrying a rifle is perfectly legal. By “perfectly legal,” I mean it’s not against the law at all. It’s not a crime. It’s not even something that can be used as “reasonable suspicion” or probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed. In fact, it’s something that’s an unalienable right, something that is acknowledged by the 2nd Amendment.
Yet, police in most jurisdictions that allow open carry treat it like a crime. They detain, question, pester, harass, arrest, intimidate, and imprison open carriers on unrelated charges like “resisting arrest” or “obstruction,” because they know that open carrying isn’t illegal.
For this reason, these open carriers will record their encounters in order to protect themselves. The footage they capture is evidence, which is often diametrically opposed to the police report.
This Houston man was openly carrying a rifle on a street corner while holding a sign that read: “America, bring back the common law juries.”
Predictably, he was encountered by a couple Houston cops who were immediately confrontational, demanding to see his ID and then trying to delete his video footage. Here’s the video:
He was placed in the back of the patrol car in handcuffs but was eventually let go without charges. Thankfully, his footage was not erased.
If someone is engaged in perfectly legal behavior, why is there even a need for a police encounter in the first place? On what grounds do they detain and question him?
The fact that he might be “scaring people” is not enough. The fact that he “might be a felon” is not good enough either. There “might be felons” in your neighborhood. That doesn’t justify police going door-to-door detaining and harassing residents.
But if they had probable cause that one of your neighbors had committed a crime, they could easily secure a warrant and search the neighbor’s house for the items listed in the warrant and make an arrest if necessary.
If this guy were committing a crime, then that’s when police should get involved. If there’s no crime, then there’s no legal right for detention, interrogation or arrest.