3 months, 3 weeks ago
If you see an armed jogger in Mount Airy, Pennsylvania, these days, it’s not a “run-by” in progress.
He’s trying to make a point.
James Moody, 49, who lives in the neighborhood and comes from a self-described “firearms family,” said he began jogging with a handgun at his hip a couple months ago.
He admits a jogger with a gun in plain view on Vernon Road may be a bit “eye-opening,” but Moody, a truck driver and city native who became Pennsylvania’s Golden Gloves superheavyweight boxing champion in 1988, said he’s doing it to raise awareness about gun rights.
One police officer walking the beat in the 14th District thought it jarring enough to stop Moody mid-run Monday — and the first 15 minutes of the encounter were caught on video shot by Moody’s Go-Pro.
In it, which Moody posted to YouTube Tuesday, the officer, who identifies himself as Officer Cave, crosses Vernon Road to ask Moody about the handgun. Cave approaches with a coffee in one hand and asks Moody if he has a license to carry. Moody refuses to answer the officer’s questions about a firearms license.
As other officers arrive, they too ask Moody about a license to carry or another form of identification. Cave, a sergeant and two other officers all in turn ask Moody as the group discusses the legality of carrying a firearm in public.
None of the officers nor Moody become angry, but at least one of the officers points to her phone and tells Moody he is not allowed to carry a firearm openly.
In Pennsylvania, Moody argued in the video and then in a subsequent phone interview Tuesday, gun owners with a license to carry firearms are free to “open carry” anywhere in the state — even Philadelphia.
“Clearly, the officers don’t know the laws that Philadelphia is governed by. They had no clue about what is lawful and unlawful,” said Moody. “You can, under Title 18 Section 6108, open carry a firearm.”
“We also don’t live in a stop-and-identify state. Do they stop everyone in a motor vehicle just because they’re driving? No, you need probable cause,” he added. “You have no reason to detain me and question me. It may be a little eye opening, but it is not unlawful.”
Moody’s video of the encounter ends after about 15 minutes because his Go-Pro battery died, but he said police continued to question him about the gun and why he wouldn’t show any identification. He said they handcuffed him briefly, searched him and found his license to carry inside his wallet. He was then let go.
An attorney who has wrangled with the city of Philadelphia for decades over citizens’ gun rights, Jon Mirowitz, said the law doesn’t prohibit Moody from openly carrying his gun.
But, Mirowitz said, everyone, whether you’re a cop or a civilian, should adhere to a simple rule: Act civil.
“In this sort of a confrontation, there is nobody that’s right or nobody that’s wrong,” Mirowitz said. “Being civil is the key. All the guy has to do is say, ‘Here’s my ID.’ All the cop has to do is say, ‘I’m not giving you a hard time. I just want to see some ID.'”
There’s video at the link. So here’s a few takeaways from this. First of all, the cops need to learn the law and obey it. Because they want to do or see something isn’t a good enough excuse. Kudos to Mr. Moody who knows the law, including whether they are a “stop and identify” state.
Second, I’m okay with simply trying to prove a point. When I open carry, it’s usually because I cannot stand to conceal (e.g., it’s a hot day and I don’t want to sweat my weapon). But in this case proving a point is the right thing to do. The cops need to be called to account.
Third, the lawyer is a putz. He’s basically saying, “It doesn’t matter what the law says, do what the cops want anyway and everything will be just fine.” He is a horrible lawyer, and he is no lover of liberty.