Court Rules Gun Owner Can Sue Officer

posted on May 16, 2015

An appeals court has ruled that an Ohio man detained for openly carrying a firearm can sue the police officer who detained, disarmed and handcuffed him.

According to court records, Officer Dave Bright responded to a call from a motorcyclist saying Shawn Northrup was carrying a firearm in his neighborhood. When Bright arrived and Northrup tried to record the episode, Bright took his gun and put him in the squad car under suspicion that he was “inducing a panic.” Northrup later sued for violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.

“Ohio law permits the open carry of firearms … and thus permitted Northrup to do exactly what he was doing,” Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton, of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote. “While the dispatcher and motorcyclist may not have known the details of Ohio’s open-carry firearm law, the police officer had no basis for such uncertainty.”

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