This is an interesting development and positive for the gun rights movement. I have extensively edited down the article which can be found at the link below. Also I’ve included a link to the actual court order from the judge at the bottom of this post.
Federal judge rules police cannot detain people for openly carrying guns
September 9, 10:16 PMDC Gun Rights ExaminerMike Stollenwerk
On September 8, 2009, United States District Judge Bruce D. Black of the United States District Court for New Mexico entered summary judgment in a civil case for damages against Alamogordo, NM police officers. The Judge’s straight shootin’ message to police: Leave open carriers alone unless you have “reason to believe that a crime [is] afoot.”
The facts of the case are pretty simple. Matthew St. John entered an Alamogordo movie theater as a paying customer and sat down to enjoy the movie. He was openly carrying a holstered handgun, conduct which is legal in 42 states, and requires no license in New Mexico and twenty-five other states.
. . . Mr. St. John was never suspected of any crime nor issued a summons for violating any law.
. . .
Importantly, no theater employee ever ordered Mr. St. John to leave
. . .
On these facts, Judge Black concluded as a matter of law that the police violated Matthew St. John’s constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment because they seized and disarmed him even though there was not “any reason to believe that a crime was afoot.” Judge Black’s opinion is consistent with numerous high state and federal appellate courts . . .
. . .
Notably, Judge Black denied the police officers’ requested “qualified immunity,” a judicially created doctrine allowing government officials acting in good faith to avoid liability for violating the law where the law was not “clearly established.” In this case, Judge Black concluded that
[INDENT]"[r]elying on well-defined Supreme Court precedent, the Tenth Circuit and its sister courts have consistently held that officers may not seize or search an individual without a specific, legitimate reason. . . . The applicable law was equally clear in this case. Nothing in New Mexico law prohibited Mr. St. John from openly carrying a firearm in the Theater. Accordingly, Mr. St. John’s motion for summary judgment is granted with regard to his Fourth Amendment and New Mexico constitutional claims. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is denied with regard to the same and with regard to qualified immunity."
. . .[/indent]
Anyone who wants to read the specific words of Judge Black’s opinion and court order can be read here.