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District Court Suggests Second Amendment May Protect Possession of Firearms in Public:

From Lund v. Salt Lake City Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98722 (D. Utah Dec. 4):

By itself, mere possession of a firearm in public is not unlawful and may well represent the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, ยง 6 of the Utah Constitution (recognizing the "individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes," subject to the power of the Legislature to define the "lawful use of arms."). See District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 2799 (2008) ("There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.") ....

This doesn't contradict the Heller Court's assertion that concealed carry might be limited on the historical grounds that "the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues."

Here are a few excerpts from the rest of the decision, that help show what this Fourth Amendment case was about:

On November 25, 2006, plaintiff Miles Lund was visiting Liberty Park, a public park located in downtown Salt Lake City, and feeding the ducks that gather on the large pond in the southeast quadrant of the park. Responding to a report of a man with a gun at the park, Officer Curdie arrived, identified Lund as the suspected man with a gun, and approached Lund from behind. When Officer Curdie first saw Lund, he was facing away from Curdie and feeding the ducks in the pond. Curdie drew his firearm, pointed it at Lund and verbally ordered Lund to raise his hands above his head. Lund heard an officer say "Get your hands up or I'll shoot you," placed his left hand on his head, and told Officer Curdie that he was physically unable to raise his right arm above his head. Lund held his right arm away from his body, as high as shoulder level, but could not reach his head. Officer Curdie ordered Lund to go into a kneeling position. Again, Lund told Curdie that he was physically unable to get into a kneeling position. Lund made no hostile or threatening movements or gestures while responding to Officer Curdie's commands, and was described by one witness as being very cooperative.

At the same time, Officers Max Nelson, Jeremy Crowther, Christopher Johnson and Jeremie Foreman had arrived at the scene, and Officers Nelson and Crowther drew their weapons and also held Lund at gunpoint. Officer Nelson told Officer Curdie that he wanted to have Officer Crowther place Lund under arrest. Disregarding this, Officer Curdie holstered his weapon, approached Lund from behind, pinned Lund's arms and shoulders in a "bear hug" embrace and knocked Lund to the ground. Lund's head hit the ground, sustained an abrasion to his forehead and broke his glasses. He was then handcuffed, lifted by the handcuffs, dragged across the sidewalk and placed roughly on a park bench. He then fell off the bench to the ground, in extreme pain caused by the handcuffs forcing his immobile right shoulder into posterior extension.

Lund was found to have no weapon of any kind on his person, and was subsequently released without charge. He was subsequently diagnosed in March of 2007 as having a large intracranial hematoma that more likely than not was the result of his head striking the ground on November 25, 2006, and required surgical treatment....

No one at the scene had observed Lund carrying, brandishing or threatening anyone with a firearm or other weapon in any fashion, and no weapon was found. [Footnote call to the footnote about gun rights that I quoted above; the footnote also discusses Utah statutes' general provision for licensed concealed carry. -EV] Moreover, Officer Curdie was not alone in facing the perceived threat of an unseen weapon. Other officers were present at the scene, two of whom were already holding Lund at gunpoint when Officer Curdie decided to tackle him to the ground. All of them were available to assist Curdie in taking Lund into custody. According to plaintiff Lund's factual allegations, here taken as true, Lund had complied with Officer Curdie's commands as best he could, explained why he could not fully comply and made no threatening movements or gestures towards Curdie or anyone else at the scene. Lund did not actively resist arrest; nor did he attempt to evade arrest by fleeing the scene.

By pointing their weapons at Lund, the officers made an immediate threat of use of deadly force -- which itself represents the use of force under the Fourth Amendment -- in seizing Lund and taking him into custody. See Holland ex rel. Officer Curdie decided to further escalate that use of force by physically taking Lund down to the ground, based upon facts from which Curdie inferred an immediate risk of injury -- factual allegations that Lund disputes. Based upon plaintiff Lund's version of the facts, and considering factors such as the severity of the alleged crime at issue, whether Lund posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officers and others, and whether Lund was actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight, Curdie's escalation of the use of force in taking Lund into custody was unreasonable and excessive....

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