Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Chicago Police Chief says his cops will shoot legal concealed carry licensees

In which I once again prove I am not a lawyer, and never-the-less try to analyse something a Chief of Police said.    -- and yes, he said that.

No, really.

Ok, well, sort of, and yes, really.    More after the jump.




In an interview with WVON Chicago (originally posted at http://newsinblack.com/news-article/item/965-police-superintendent-says-concealed-carry-could-lead-to-more-shootings.html  but now 404'ed...  but many copies out there on the intertubes)

Where was I?  Oh yes.  In an interview with WVON, the chief made some confusing yet interesting statements:

“You put more guns on the street expect more shootings,” McCarthy said. “I don’t care if they’re licensed legal firearms, people who are not highly trained… putting guns in their hands is a recipe for disaster. So I’ll train our officers that there is a concealed carry law, but when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire and we’re going to have tragedies as a result of that. I’m telling you right up front.” 

Uh.... let's try to take that apart a bit.

"You put more guns on the street expect more shootings."  Let's assume, as Chief McCarthy is doing that having CCW licensees will "put more guns on the street."  If that's true, then the same thing has happened in Dallas and Houston and Kansas City and Miami and Philadelphia and Seattle and Denver and New Orleans. Oddly, there were not more shootings.  Even more oddly, since the introduction of concealed carry in those cities, the rate of shootings has gone down.  I just need to ask Chief McCarthy why Chicago is different?  Is it his training that makes it different?  We'll come back to that in a minute.

"People who are not highly trained... putting guns in their hands is a recipe for disaster." Again, think about the rates of shootings by CCW licensees in the cities above. Despite predictions of disaster in each and every case, it didn't happen.  I've posted the numbers before, and doubtless will again, but reality is that the wild west didn't happen. Part of that of course is that CCW folks are taught that "concealed means concealed" and that there's no reason for a cop, or anyone else to know that someone is carrying a gun.  I go weeks with my Glock 19 on my hip with absolutely no one knowing it's there.  Law abiding gun owners don't walk around with guns in their hands, and concealed means concealed.
"when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire" Now, clearly, cops have the absolute right to defend themselves.  And if someone turns towards a copy with a gun in their hand I agree with Chief McCarthy that the cop doesn't have any obligation to wait to get shot to return fire.  This bit is absolutely correct, and seems reasonable and appropriate.  Fortunately, CCW licensees are taught that if they are involved in a shooting, the moment they can do so, they should either holster their gun or lay it down.  Now, I know people make mistakes, but again, looking at national news reports, the number of times that a cop encounters a CCW licensee with a gun in their hand that they do not immediately lay down is very low, and the number of cases nationally where a ccw licensee has been shot by mistake in that circumstance is so low I literally am unable to find a single occurance.  (I'm not saying it hasn't occured, I'm saying I can't find a documented case as I'm writing this tonight.) 

we’re going to have tragedies as a result of that. I’m telling you right up front.”  Once again, I have to wonder what makes Chicago so special when we aren't seeing tragedies like this in the cities mentioned above. 

So, I have to ask myself.  If these tragedies do turn up in Chicago, and don't turn up elsewhere, then the only logical conclusion is that the tragedies in Chicago are  due to the training Chicago cops will receive according to Chief McCarthy. 

If they do, then as Glen Reynolds (the insta-pundit) points out: "that should make the "improper training” Section 1983 lawsuits easy.

Glenn is referring to Section 1983 of the civil rights act of 1871.  Yes  eighteen seventy one yep.  Section 1983 is really interesting.  What is says is that you can sue as a “civil action for deprivation of rights.” If a CCW carrier were killed in an incident, and if that incident was due to the training that the Chicago cop had received, then the Civil Rights Acts allows you to sue all the way up the chain of command. Not only that, but (assuming you can overcome qualified immunity -- which seems likely given Chief McCarthy's public statements-- ) you can sue the entire chain in their personal capacities as well as their official capacities.  

Perhaps Chief McCarthy would like to re-think this public statement.  Also, he might consider checking on the training regarding CCW holders that the cops in Dallas and Houston and Kansas City and Miami and Philadelphia and Seattle and Denver and New Orleans use.  Who knows? A tragedy might be avoided.  
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