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Federal Judge Rules Concealed Carry is Cause for Detention

11:20 AM, Dec 23, 2009 • By C.J. CIARAMELLA
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Last week a federal judge in Georgia ruled that legally carrying a concealed firearm is grounds for being detained by police. 

In the case in question, Christopher Raissi, who has a concealed carry license, was spotted by police holstering a firearm as he exited his car and headed toward a MARTA station. Once he was inside the station, police surrounded him. From the Atlanta Gun Rights Examiner:


"The officers then seized his firearm from his holster and began questioning him [...] After seeing Raissi's firearms license and driver's license, the officers ran background checks on Raissi and held him, according to Raissi, for half an hour. The officers transported Raissi to a locked area out of the public eye before finally releasing him and returning his firearm and other property."

Granted, the police probably had enough cause (or at least enough to pass most judges' muster) to stop Raissi and ask to see a concealed carry license. But when a citizen is going about his or her day and acting completely within the law, that should not be grounds for being detained at length. 

Nevertheless, in the ruling the judge declared that Raissi's license was only an "affirmative defense to, not an element of" the crime:

"After Raissi concealed his handgun and started walking to toward the MARTA station, he had committed all of the acts required for the crime of boarding with a concealed weapon and the crime of carrying a concealed weapon."

In other words, the judge declared that Raissi was effectively committing a crime up until the point when he showed officers his firearms license. This apparently gave police justification to disarm and detain him.

 Which is a fine, fine precedent to set when it comes to a civil liberty. 

On an aside, Georgia changed its law last year to allow licensed concealed carry in the MARTA system. The Atlanta Gun Rights Examiner recently noted that since the change, homicides in the system dropped from two to zero over the previous year. Armed robberies dropped from 94 to 71.