From a legal standpoint, is there any meaning to the notion that a suspect is “considered armed and dangerous”?
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Legal standpoint? I think the point of that label is to warn law enforcement, as well as the community at large, that this person is known to use weapons and may in fact be carrying and should be approached with extreme caution.
The perp may in fact be unarmed and not all that dangerous but better safe than sorry. If I was ready to make a traffic stop on this guy I would want to know this in advance.
Why even add the dangerous? If the guy had a gun, but was blind as a bat or had really shaky hands, would they call him “armed and harmless?”
It seems redundant, but the phrase might be a holdover from the olden days where if someone said, “He’s armed” they might get a response of, “Well no shit!”
That is, quite a few people would be armed, and one would expect lots of folks to be walking around with gun belts on.
That’s still a perfectly normal response if you ask me. The “and dangerous” is definitely not redundant, since the vast majority of armed people are not “dangerous.”
I guess it might be somewhat redundant when talking about a person already known to be a lawbreaker, but hey, “armed and dangerous” sounds better than just “armed.”