Gun or no Gun, Keith Scott was NOT “Going Armed to the Terror of the People”

​Laws, right? In the wake of Keith Scott’s death, I’ve been very outspoken, and I’ve heard alot of arguments on both sides. There are definitely some bullshit arguments, let’s go over one of them. 

“According to NC open carry law, holding your weapon in your hand is considered Going Armed to the Terror of the People. So, you know, he deserved it.” 

Let’s see what the law says, shall we? 

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.3.

6. Going Armed To The Terror Of The People 

“By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm him/herself with any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public highways in a manner to cause terror to others. The North Carolina Supreme Court states that any gun is an unusual and dangerous weapon for purposes of this offense. Therefore, persons are cautioned as to the areas they frequent with firearms.”

Let’s assume, for a minute, everything the city has said about Kieth Scott’s death is true. Nowhere in the statute does it say, “Sitting in your parked car, on private property on which you live, smoking a joint, while also holding your own personal firearm is a violation of this statute.” 

EVEN IF HE HAD A GUN, he wasn’t on a public highway. He wasn’t even in public property. He certainly wasn’t causing terror to others until he supposedly pointed the gun at the police (which we have yet to see any evidence of).

Alright, let’s assume Scott was actually guilty of “Going Armed to the Terror of the People”. What’s the punishment for that? 

Class 1 misdemeanor. G.S. 14-3(a). What’s that mean? 

“If the offense is a misdemeanor for which there is no classification, it is as classified in G.S. 14-3”.

These particular offenses are benign enough, and so widely varied, that the punishment is up to the courts. You follow? Ok. 
Now, they do have… some parameters around imprisonment and fines for non-classified misdemeanors. 

G.S. 14-3(a)(1)

(1) If that maximum punishment is more than six months imprisonment, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor

G.S. 15A-1340.23 (b)

The amount of the fine for a Class 1 misdemeanor and a Class A1 misdemeanor is in the discretion of the court.

That is it. That is everything NC has to say about brandishing a weapon in public. In public. In a threatening manner. On the streets. It’s not even a felony, and it’s CERTAINLY not a curbside death sentence. 

What ended up happening with that man who waved his gun out his car window in a crowd uptown, during the protests? I know they called his license plate in to the police. I sincerely hope he is charged with Going Armed to the Terror of the People, and serves no less than 6 months in jail. 

Also, did you hear about that older gentleman in Wake County in July who was pointing his shotgun at cars on the highway, and when approached by the officer, pointed the shotgun at him? What happened to him? When he didn’t comply, the officer proceeded to tackle him, wrestling the gun from him, and took him in to be properly charged. I’m sure his family was happy he was taken alive. 

Please click the links to verify the *sigh* race of these two men. 

Always click the links.

Throw me another one, I dare you.


Author: Barb Machina

I write a blog prompted by my wandering idealism, and relentless pursuit of justice. At best, I write evidenced-based pieces that focus on health, medicine, human rights, politics, science, parenting, and history... At worst, it's a stream of consciousness, fueled by wine and other.

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