Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Well this has been a wet, cool day today. Perfect day for writing. I'll be mailing out this letter of complaint to the police chief tomorrow, accompanied by several documents including statutes and court rulings, and he had better take it very seriously, because I am regardless of whether or not he does (please note paragraph breaks didn't copy over):

Dear Chief Bossi,

I am writing this letter of complaint in regards to a recent, and inappropriate, encounter with three police officers. They, two males and one female, did not identify themselves by name, however, I am certain their identities could be easily established by examining any documents or recordings pertaining to this event. On the morning of June 3rd, I was walking on Stratton Road while legally armed with a revolver holstered at my side. I was approached by a police cruiser and two city police officers got out of the vehicle and began questioning me regarding my sidearm. They questioned me as to my reason(s) for carrying said firearm. They claimed that a passing motorist had seen my gun and called them, but upon questioning later they would not identify this person. They requested ID but I did not have ID with me as I am not in the habit of carrying it when not necessary. They asked for my name, address and phone number, and whether or not I live alone or with others. They requested to examine my sidearm and did so. Eventually another police cruiser arrived and another officer was present towards the very end of this encounter. They, in addition, did a check by serial number to determine of the firearm was stolen and they questioned me as to how I acquired the firearm. I observed that the female officer present wrote down some information on the firearm in question.
Before leaving, the male officer accompanying the female officer, one of the two who initially stopped me, attempted to lecture to me against open carry. He said that I must be trying to attract attention by doing so, to which I responded that no I am not, that covering (concealing) the revolver would not work (because as it was relatively warm out, I was wearing fairly light clothing). He said in a rather rude manner that should I step foot on any school grounds while armed, I would be arrested and go to jail. While perhaps an officer may politely (and without detaining an individual) point out that under state law (Title 13 Section 4004) it is unlawful to be within a school building or school bus armed except under certain, limited, exceptions, and that it is unlawful to be present on school grounds while armed if with the intent to injure anyone, it was quite clear from this officer’s tone and facial expressions (and from some of his other comments which I will detail shortly) that his intent was to intimidate and/or frighten me against carrying, lest I unknowingly find myself in a prohibited place, and this is highly inappropriate for an officer to resort to. Perhaps more shocking and important, this same officer said that while I may have a right to do so, should I continue to carry a firearm, stops such as the one I encountered would be frequent, and he asked me, "is it worth it?." Clearly, this was an attempt at intimidating me into not exercising my constitutional right to "bear arms" as listed in the Vermont Constitution (Article 16) and in the United States Constitution (Amendment 2).
The Vermont Supreme Court declared, in State v. Rosenthal, that a Rutland City ordinance existing at that time was "inconsistent with and repugnant to the Constitution and the laws of the state" and therefore void. More recently, in the 1990's, as I am sure you are aware of, a similar city ordinance was removed for the same reasons, after Rutland City police caused problems for people who exercised their right to bear arms. I have discovered, through examining public records, that Alderman Bossi proposed in December of 2007 an ordinance banning the carrying of firearms onto city property and into city buildings, to add to a current ordinance forbidding carrying firearms in city parks. While the recent proposal may not have been enacted at this time, I would point out that both of these ordinances, too, would be illegal to enforce. Vermont’s courts have repeatedly found similar city ordinances in the state to be unconstitutional and illegal. Furthermore, state law prohibits any municipality from restricting the possession or carrying of firearms. Some pertinent state and federal statutes and the Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Rosenthal may be found at the end of this letter.
I will point out that, as this city has learned more than once in the past 105 years, this city’s government and its police officers have no authority or right to interfere in the lawful bearing of arms, and that any future infringements on this civil right will result in legal action being taken. Repeatedly, and without any lawful authority, stopping and questioning those who exercise this right is a very clear infringement and an abuse of power and any such abuse of power and any future "deprivation of rights under color of law" shall not be tolerated. Should people uncomfortable with seeing this right being exercised call in complaints that they have seen a person with a gun, the appropriate response would be to ask if the individual armed is threatening in any way (and merely being armed does not constitute a threat under law) and should it be found that the complaint is merely the result of seeing someone armed and minding his or her own business, the caller should be told that it is entirely legal for a person to be armed and no actions taken. I do sincerely hope that you will after investigating this matter, as duty requires of you, advise the officers serving under you to not interfere in any way, shape, or form, with the bearing of arms, in order to avoid any further action being necessary.



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