Having a weapon in your possession certainly doesn’t mean that you’re a criminal, and the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court fortunately agrees.
In a landmark piece of legislation, the state’s highest court issued a 53-page treatise stating that carrying a concealed or open firearm is not enough reason for law enforcement officials to stop individuals and force them to submit to a search.
If the law would have passed, the State Supreme Court argued that it would be in violation of the Fourth Amendment jurisprudence provided by the nation’s highest court. Stopping individuals simply for (lawfully!) carrying a gun feels like harassment and targeting by law enforcement officials, and gun rights advocates are rejoicing after hearing the ruling.
Across the country, concealed carry laws and other gun rights are under attack. In some states, there are extensive pieces of legislation passing rapidly by lawmakers that dramatically increase waiting periods to purchase a firearm, increase the age limits for purchasing, and reduce the ammunition that can lawfully be loaded into a firearm.
Concealed carry laws are also being targeted by left-wing lawmakers as a way to limit the rights of gun owners — all under the auspice of reducing gun violence. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a proven correlation between gun violence and concealed carry laws, but that doesn’t stop some of these rabid individuals from pushing forward with their restrictive views.
The idea that the “mere sight” of a firearm is cause for a justified arrest and detention at gunpoint is hard to be believed in this day and age, especially when there are no requirements that the individual has committed any crime with the weapon.
It didn’t take gun rights advocates long to seize on this victory at the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court. Several groups, including the Firearms Owners Against Crime (FOAC), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF), were all part of a brief filed to uphold Hicks in the Commonwealth v. Hicks trial.
In this particular case, the individual was lawfully carrying a firearm for the purpose of self-defense and was unlawfully stopped after a firearm was spotted by a city security camera. Since there was no reasonable suspicion that Mr. Hicks was engaged in criminal activity other than carrying the firearm, the case was ultimately passed to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court for final judgment. The Commonwealth noted that officers were “duty bound” to seize and investigate the gun licensing status of every individual carrying a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania.
If this ruling stood before the state Supreme Court, it would have been an egregious overstepping of the intent of the law. Allowing law enforcement professionals to permit investigative detention on only the presence of a firearm was considered to be “ultimately untenable” by the Court.
Although there are still individuals that are prohibited by law from carrying a concealed weapon, law enforcement professionals must do their due diligence to determine whether or not they can be lawfully retained and asked to show their license.
~ Firearm Daily