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View Full Version : Open Carry at the Sky Harbor Pheonix, Az. Airport (non sterile areas)


Liberty1
01-01-2009, 6:51 PM
Interesting exchange over on OCDO:

http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum10/11155.html


Yep I've open carrried at Sky Harbor The only thing is you have to stay behind the metal detectors. 100% legal last time I was there; that being about 6mo ago...



As a TSA employee, I can tell you that packing on airport grounds unless under orders by the military, an FFDO, Federal Officer/Agent/Air Marshal an armored car employee, or a LEO you CAN NOT carry in Sky Harbor international airport on any part of the property...




Posted by RickG

Hi,

I do not usually belong to this forum but there is some misinformation included in some of the responses. I am police Lieutenant assigned to Sky Harbor International Airport and would like to provide the straight scoop.

Arizona has weapons laws that are designed to protect the individual's right to carry weapons. On the other side the state tries to establish a reasonable amount of security at major infrastructures without infringing on those rights any more than necessary. Thus the Arizona law governing weapons at Sky Harbor and other airports is tailored for that purpose.

The fact is, you can carry weapons in the public areas at Sky Harbor International Airport. Will it draw attention? The answer is yes. Unfortunately we do not all wear signs on us that proclaim our intentions and as we all know there are some people in our society that are unbalanced. These individuals, although very small in number, do create difficulties at times for people who want to legitimately carry a weapon because the police officers may contact any individual with a weapon to try and determine their intentions. My officers should be polite and the contact is consentual. I hope you will understand the purpose is not to make life difficult, it is to ensure safety and there is no other way to identify a good honest citizen carrying a weapon from an individual who may have bad intentions, other than talking to them.

The airport is not federal property, although some might think it is. Do not take the weapons beyond the security checkpoints or in SIDA areas of the air operations areas. Private plane owners and people taking charter flights from Fixed Based Operations (Swift, Cutter Aviation etc) have some exemptions in those areas. The FBOs can explain the rules that apply to their areas if you give them a call. The laws governing firearms are designed to protect the right to carry, while protecting only the most critical areas of the airport. If there are organizations that wish to have more information on the laws governing weapons at Sky Harbor I would be happy to have someone come talk to your group. I hope this helps. Suffice it to say, the Phoenix Police officers will not arrest a person for carrying a weapon in the public areas of Sky Harbor unless they are displaying it in a threatening manner (pointing it at people, shouting, etc.). We will contact people carrying weapons in a consentual manner, as I noted above, to determine intentions. Hopefully you can work with us on this matter.

Posted by Joseph: Wed Dec 31st, 2008 12:55 pm Quote Reply

Here's my own personal encounter.

I was open-carrying today at Sky Harbor to pick up some friends. I was seated in the waiting area text messaging away, when four cops show up behind me. One grabbed a hold of both of my arms and told me not to move. He then went to procure my side-arm and proceeded to hand it to another officer who gently disassembled it for me. In front of everyone, I was asked for my ID (which I politely handed to him, together with my CCW permit -- (the agonizing details as to why I chose to open-carry when I have a CCW are irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion)), I was frisked, and given a lecture (which sounded more like my grandmother's "guilt-tripping" talk than a lecture of the legality of my actions) as to the inappropriateness of carrying a gun into an airport after 9/11. At no point was I ever informed that I broke the law (and frankly, I know I didn't) or that there was to be a subsequent course of action to be performed on me. After a few embarrassing stares for what felt like hours, I was told that I was going to be escorted outside to my car where I can secure my Glock. Two of the four officers walked outside with me to my car, where I secured my gun. Just as quickly as it started, it ended. I went back inside to the waiting area, awaiting many odd looks from the spectators of the earlier phenomenon.

I've read many posts before where it was okay for people to open-carry in the non-secure parts of Sky Harbor. But why me? I felt like I may have been singled out because I look like such a kid just ignorantly text messaging away (yes, I have that look). As much as I was tempted to insist on seeking an answer to a question in my head which was "Did I break the law?", I really didn't want to cause more hassle than what was already happening. I fully cooperated, and I think that's why it was an easy ordeal for me altogether, but I can also see where this may have gone haywire. I just don't want such events happening to someone who couldn't have dealt with it in as much ease as I have, and yet I also wish that the officers were more well-informed of the laws, rather than just resorting to "guilt-tripping" me.

Thoughts, anyone?




Posted by RickG: Wed Dec 31st, 2008 02:06 pm Quote Reply

Joseph, I'm sorry this happened. I am a police Lieutenant at Sky Harbor International Airport. I discovered this incident about an hour after it occurred. I am also the one who posted on this Web Site on an earlier date and provided the accurate information that you can carry weapons in the public areas of Sky Harbor, it is within the law. I have read a few entries since my posting where others have carried and advised police officers simply gave them a glance and went on their way. I thought everything was working OK. This incident should not have occurred the way it did. We do have some newer people who just transferred into the Bureau and I may have been remiss in ensuring that they understand the weapon laws. The newer officers sometimes equate no weapons on airplanes to no weapons at airports, which is inaccurate. I can't make the clock go backwards and fix what has happened but I can make sure all the police officers at Sky Harbor are aware of the laws and the proper procedures. I will have every Sgt. instruct their personnel again so this does not occur in the future. I hope you will accept my apology.





Posted by RickG: Thu Jan 1st, 2009 05:12 am

I am still looking into the incident. I do know that the police officers were responding to a call generated by the TSA that indicated one of their Behavior Detection Officers "was observing a subject who was armed and displaying suspicious indicators". This was not an incident where the officers initiated a contact of a person carrying a weapon on their own. If you look back at prior postings, there have been a few where members of this discussion forum have carried at Sky Harbor and indicated police officers saw them but their were no issues. As I mentioned earlier I thought everything was working well. Joseph has a right, as does anyone, to lodge a formal complaint if he wishes and we would investigate. But whether he does or not, I am still going to investigate the matter. I did apologize to him in this forum earlier. I am doing so because the officer who responded is on a squad that had to move out of our main offices due to lack of space. Because of this, there is a possibility he did not receive the training we had on an earlier date about weapons at the airport, who, where, and when they can be carried by individuals. I take the blame for that and I felt I had a responsibility to apologize to Joseph. If I discover the officer received the training and does not have a valid reason for his actions, then he will assume the responsibility and I will take the appropriate action to ensure it does not happen again. I will post my results on this forum for others to read afterI have an opportunity to gather all the details.

nick
01-01-2009, 7:23 PM
Wow. Is that Lt. planning to transfer to LAPD or LASD? Well, one can dream, right? :)

FreedomIsNotFree
01-01-2009, 7:24 PM
Not withstanding the negative experience reported, its a bit refreshing to hear from a LEO that respects the rights of the citizens he serves.

USN CHIEF
01-01-2009, 7:46 PM
wow. Wish we had more Officers like him.

Stubby
01-01-2009, 9:33 PM
This is why I love Arizona! Having lived there for about 6 years I can tell you the attitude amongst LEO is 1000% more gun friendly than most of California!

sb_pete
01-01-2009, 11:15 PM
wow. Wish we had more Officers like him.

+1000

A senior officer who not only respects the rights of the citizens in his jurisdiction, but actively seeks to protect them? huh?

It really is a shame that this seems unusual. Guys like this should be the norm. I'd like to shake his hand.
-Pete

BitterVoter
01-02-2009, 12:19 AM
The link is broken...links to the wrong thread.

pullnshoot25
01-02-2009, 4:26 AM
Where do I buy this guy a beer? Seriously, I am laughing over it.

CCWFacts
01-02-2009, 6:07 AM
Wow. Is that Lt. planning to transfer to LAPD or LASD? Well, one can dream, right? :)

Would he please come here (LA) and run for sheriff?

Anyway, that interaction may have been unpleasant for the person involved, but I think it was a good incident because the OCer did not make a scene or a confrontation, and at the same time, a lot of officers will be educated.

BitterVoter
01-02-2009, 8:40 AM
My understanding a sheriff is an elected position, one that anyone can fill....but someone said that they believe the law was changed to say that the person had to be an ex-leo....is this true? Or can anyone be elected sheriff?

uscbigdawg
01-02-2009, 9:21 AM
This is why I love Arizona! Having lived there for about 6 years I can tell you the attitude amongst LEO is 1000% more gun friendly than most of California!

Amen brother and it's why we're moving back to Scottsdale soon (or not soon enough).

Rich

CCWFacts
01-02-2009, 9:45 AM
My understanding a sheriff is an elected position, one that anyone can fill....but someone said that they believe the law was changed to say that the person had to be an ex-leo....is this true? Or can anyone be elected sheriff?

Here in CA, the person is required to be a LEO with a certain amount of recent paid LEO experience. I'm not sure if this requirement would survive a court challenge or not. I know that SF's Sheriff Hennessey was not a cop before he became sheriff, but the law changed since that time.

dustoff31
01-02-2009, 10:12 AM
Here in CA, the person is required to be a LEO with a certain amount of recent paid LEO experience. I'm not sure if this requirement would survive a court challenge or not. I know that SF's Sheriff Hennessey was not a cop before he became sheriff, but the law changed since that time.

I know that the law was changed, but I understood that anyone could be elected (for Sheriff), or appointed (for Ch. of Police) but if not a certified LEO in CA, must obtain a POST certificate within a certain period of time.

IIRC, the law was changed in answer to the LAPD Chief, Willy whatever his name was, who was a Park Ranger or something in PA, and was appointed Chief of LAPD.

Liberty1
01-02-2009, 6:24 PM
The link is broken...links to the wrong thread.

Thx link fixed

MP301
01-04-2009, 2:01 AM
Yeah, I really liked living in Arizona too. Hats off to the Lt for being a stand up guy.

artherd
01-04-2009, 2:37 AM
We need to get this guy in the AG's seat in 2010 - I will do a dance of joy!

MP301
01-04-2009, 9:54 PM
What about it RickG? Looks like you are developing a following! Care to relocate and try CA politics? The campaign volunteers are starting to line up over here!