State Attorney Generals: Being Armed Not the Same as Being Dangerous

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

State Attorney Generals (AG) from Michigan, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review a 4th U.S. Circuit Court ruling and reaffirm that being armed is not the same thing as being dangerous.

The AGs — Bill Schuette (MI), Ken Paxton (TX), Sean D. Rayes (UT), and Patrick Morrisey (WV) — are convinced the 4th Circuit made a mistake in ruling that individuals who carry guns can constitutionally be searched, simply for having a gun.

According to the Associated Press, in January, the 4th Circuit ruled that “an officer who makes a lawful traffic stop and who has a reasonable suspicion that one of the automobile’s occupants is armed may frisk that individual for the officer’s protection and the safety of everyone on the scene.” Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote the majority opinion, saying, “The danger justifying a protective frisk arises from the combination of a forced police encounter and the presence of a weapon, not from any illegality of the weapon’s possession.”

AG Morrisey responded to the ruling, saying, “It is wrong to deem an individual dangerous solely because they are armed.” And AG Paxton contends the ruling “places a burden on the Second Amendment right to carry a firearm.”

Paxton said, “The Constitution plainly guarantees law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms, whether through open or concealed carry. We must ensure the Court continues to protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Central to the AGs’ contention is Terry v Ohio (1968), wherein SCOTUS ruled that police officers may both stop and frisk individuals when “specific and articulable facts” lead to the assumption of criminal activity. The AGs contend that exercising a Second Amendment right does not equate to criminal activity and ought not lead to the presumption of criminality.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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