LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police saw Carmon Touse carrying an assault weapon and walking quickly into a busy Louisville bar.
As people fled, officers moved in, service equipment drawn. They handcuffed the 26-year-old man and took away a semi-automatic pistol. Touse is charged with terroristic threats, endangerment and disorderly conduct, prosecutors said, and could face up to 20 years in prison.
The lawyer said he had “behaved perfectly legally” in the incident last year, raising a relatively new legal dispute in the United States that is now being settled before the courts.
Because Kentucky In 2019, it made it legal to carry a handgun in public without a license and joins the existing one. Most states with the same rules.
Many will celebrate the end of the bureaucracy built around what every American believes is their constitutional right to bear arms. But the unauthorized carry laws have created a dilemma for officers on the road, who must now sometimes decide within seconds whether someone with the right to carry a gun is a danger.
“Kentucky is one of the states that allows a citizen to ‘open carry’ — meaning it’s perfectly legal to carry a loaded handgun on a public street,” said Touse’s attorney, Greg Sims.
Louisville prosecutors say it was more than a gun that led police to arrest Touse. The type of equipment, how it is carried and where it is going are also important. A witness told police that Touse was returning to the bar after the verbal altercation.
After his arrest, Toosey told police he was “going back to shoot” the people he fought with in connection with the citation he was arrested on. Those comments came later. Sims argued during his court appearance that the police did not provide any legal grounds for the arrest.
The judge remains unconvinced by this argument, saying in evidence in a preliminary ruling that the police had another reason to arrest Touse at the time. But Sims said he thinks Touse can convince jurors he didn’t commit any crimes, thanks in part to Kentucky’s new law. His next hearing is November 2.
Advocates say license-free carry makes people safer. Opponents say it makes it more dangerous for ordinary people and police officers.
“It’s no secret that many law enforcement leaders oppose permitless carry laws,” said John Feinblatt, president of Yeobletown for Gun Safety. “Allowing anyone to carry a gun anywhere makes a police officer’s job more difficult and dangerous.”
Gun violence has escalated nationwide. In the year 35,000 people have died in the US so far, with 45,000 deaths in 2020 and the same number in 2021. In the year
Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an Indiana law that removed the permit requirement for people to carry guns in public, despite the Indiana state police inspector’s objection. The new law came into effect on July 1.
Indiana State Police spokesman Capt. Ron Galaviz said recently that “enforcing our laws and getting those guns off the streets and making sure people don’t have them is expected. There are two steps to that process.”
Under the new law, Galaviz said, officers can’t immediately grab a gun or ask for a license when they pull someone over.
Complaints about armed people in public places can get different results.
In Boise, Idaho, police fielded several “man with a gun” calls to 27-year-old Jacob Bergquist, who took his gun to places where it wasn’t allowed, such as stores, hospitals and malls, The Idaho reported. Head of state
Idaho passed permit-free carry in 2016, but the state allows property owners to ban it in certain areas. Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said. The officers had no reason to arrest Bergquist under Idaho law.
Lee made that comment later. Bergquist entered the Boys Town Square Mall and was shot dead A 26-year-old security guard and a man, and four others were injured.
Bergquist, who died after a shootout with police, promoted gun rights on his YouTube channel.
In Houston, Guido Herrera walked into a mall with a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other, wearing a leather mask and a shirt emblazoned with the Punisher logo.
His lawyer, Armen Merganian, argued that Guido Herrera was just a harmless “gun-loving Texan.” The jury found him guilty of immoral conduct, disorderly conduct. It is legal to carry loaded guns in public in Texas, but not in a way calculated to cause alarm.
“The police like to think that everyone is a bad person and that everyone is out there to hurt and that’s not necessarily the case. Some people just enjoy their Second Amendment rights,” Merganian said.
In Florida, Michael Taylor rigs himself up with a rifle and a fishing pole to cast a line to the piers and other locations. He said he’s trying to educate people about Florida’s gun laws, which don’t allow someone to carry a gun without a license but make an exception if someone is hunting or fishing.
Sometimes Taylor’s actions lead to discussions about state gun laws. Other times, a ‘man with a gun’ will lead to a call to the police.
Taylor was stopped by officers in Clearwater last year as he walked along a busy beach with a fishing rod, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and a loaded assault weapon, according to a video he posted on social media. The police asked him what he was doing and he told them that he was fishing and not breaking any laws.
“Sir, you’re terrorizing everyone on the beach,” an officer said.
After the officers arrested him, they took him to a crowded area and released him after demanding more. He heads to the pier on the crowded beach.
Shannon West, training supervisor at the Kentucky Criminal Justice Training Institute, which trains about 300 recruits a year, said when officers respond to an armed man in public, “they’ve got a very quick decision to make … whether or not to intervene, when to intervene and how.”
An unusual situation this year, one The Indiana man shot and killed the gunman The one that killed three people at a shopping mall just days after he started carrying an unlicensed carry across the state. The officials stated that the person who shot dead the gunman was legally armed and praised the action for saving the lives of others.
This is the case when gun rights advocates argue that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun on the scene.
But that can still leave the police in a dilemma.
“If someone had a gun and they had a concealed carry permit, they wouldn’t be very suspicious of it,” said UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, an expert on gun policy. But once you remove the permit requirement, anyone can carry a gun on the street and it will be difficult for police and other people to know whether or not that person has bad intentions.
Staff writers Lindsay Whitehurst in Washington and John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia contributed to this article.
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