I’m just as sick of the Tamir Rice case as the next guy, but it’s also my job to debunk lies and information on firearms and firearms laws, so I’ve been sucked back into this story at least one more time to debunk a pair of idiotic articles written by out-of-their-depth leftist writers who allege that Tamir Rice was “just open carrying.”
At the laughably-named blog Truth in Media, Sabha Abour opines:
Ohio is one of the 30 states that allows open carry without a permit throughout the state. When a state has an open carry policy, it allows its citizens to carry guns in public without fear of being arrested, let alone killed.
So why did the open carry rule not apply to Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old who was in possession of a toy gun at a park?
Frothing with hate at the Huffington Post, professional racist Sikivu Hutchinson rants:
Once again, white America can breathe a collective sigh of relief that its kids are alright. They are protected, they are innocent, they are worthy of all the privileges that the U.S.’ bankrupt legal system can offer. They are validated as human beings and as children who should be allowed to experience life as children. When they fall, make mistakes, push boundaries, the system is always there to catch them.
Condemning Cuyahoga County, Ohio prosecutor Tim McGinty’s decision not to indict the white officer who murdered twelve year-old Tamir Rice, the Reverend Traci Blackmon said, “Even in an open carry state, the killing of a black child carrying a pellet gun is rendered justifiable.” Blackmon’s reference to open carry is a reminder of the racist hypocrisy of the NRA’s pathological gun culture, its role in shaping American male identity and white nationhood; and its deadliness when it comes to the lives of black youth. Because open carry is designed to ensure white citizens’ right to exercise violence in public space, Rice could only have been protected by the logic of this permissive gun law if he was white.
Let’s be very clear on the facts and put these false narratives to rest.
Tamir Rice was never “open carrying” by even the most charitable definition of the term.
This is open carry.
The specific details of what constitutes lawful open carry can vary a bit from state to state. Most require for a handgun to be carried in a holster (as shown above) by statute, and generally regard a weapon thrust into pants or a pocket as being concealed, even if partially exposed.
So what was Tamir Rice doing with his replica handgun?
Rice was concealing (not open carrying) a replica firearm by sticking it in the waistband of his pants under a loose-fitting hoodie. To carry a firearm in that manner, you must be 21 years of age, receive a minimum of 12 hours of handgun training (10 hours of classroom instruction and 2 hours of range time) from a certified instructor, demonstrate competency with a handgun through written and shooting tests, pass a criminal background check, and meet certain residency requirements.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t all Rice was doing, which security camera footage clearly documented. He did three things that caused a reasonable 911 caller to think he was committing multiple felonies.
Tamir Rice concealed his realistic copy of a long-slide Colt 1911 handgun, brandished it, and on at least three separate occasions, pointed it at other people or drew it in the presence, the third time leading to him being shot.
Rice’s final poor decision was to attempt to draw his weapon as a marked Cleveland Police car came to a stop just feet away, as captured in the freeze frame below.
In situations such as this “man with a gun” call, the responding officer or officers are going to be looking for your hands and your overall demeanor, which are the primary indicators of whether or not they might be facing an immediate deadly force threat.
Sadly, in this incident, Tamir Rice did everything wrong possible. He walked towards the officers, lifted his hoodie, and began to draw his replica weapon. Every law enforcement officer in the country—indeed, every citizen, period—has to regard such an action as a lethal force threat.
Those who are competently trained to use defensive firearms by professional instructors are going to draw their weapons and fire at least two shots in the situation the passenger-side officer found himself in. It’s too late to shout a warning (though the officer did) and too late to attempt to “de-escalate the situation” (as another progressive demanded) when someone is drawing a gun.
You shoot until the threat is stopped at this point. Period.
Tamir Rice made a number of bad decisions that fateful day, but all of them were survivable until that fateful decision to attempt to draw his replica gun as the police arrived.
Yes, in hindsight, we know that he was probably going to drop it on the ground, as it was not a real gun.
The fact remains that the officers responded to a “man with a gun” call, were approached by a 5’7″, nearly 200 lbs figure, and that hoodie-wearing figure attempted to draw a weapon in what they had to treat as an ambush, and had to respond against with deadly force of their own.
Tamir Rice’s death was a tragedy, but it was clearly not a crime, clearly did not have a racial component (officers could not see his race thanks to his clothing), and clearly was not in any way related to “open carry” as these dishonest propagandists claim.