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Posted: 12/27/2001 5:50:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2001 5:59:35 PM EDT by Pthfndr]
I wanted to ask another question without having it buried in the other thread. I was pulled over by one officer and another joined him. They were relatively polite, but I was puzzled by their repeated questions as to if I had drugs in my possession or had been using drugs until one of them explained that the toll road through that part of Kansas was "popular" with drug runners. I am from Cali and of course my plates say so. But please keep in mind I am middle age (?)-45, clean cut and was casually dresssed at that time. No weird stickers on my veh. When they found I had a firearm and asked (ordered actually) me to exit the veh I figured it was in my best interest to comply. When one of the officers found the locked gun case he asked me if I had the key to which I answered yes. He then gestured for me to give it to him, which I did. As I stated in the other thread everything worked out ok. My question is, since the gun case was locked was I under some kind of obligation to give them the key? If I had refused to give the key could they force it open or would a search warrant be required? Also, if I had refused to turn over the key, how would most of you react (keeping in mind the info given above)? Again, not trying to start anything, just want to learn how the LEO community thinks. Thanks edited to add: [b]They asked if I had a firearm in my vehicle and I said yes, I did.[/b] The vehicle is a 1989 Jeep Cherokee. The gun was locked in it's case, inside my small duffel bag, seperate from the ammo, in the far back of my vehicle.
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:28:16 PM EDT
I'll try to answer your question according to the laws in my state. If I ask you if you have a firearm in your car and you answer yes. I will ask you where it is, if it is loaded and if it's the only one. Assuming that you are not carrying it, I would remove you from the car pat you down and secure you. I would get the lock box and search for other firearms. I would examine the firearm and check it to make sure it is not stolen. I would check you and your vehicle for wants and warrants. If everthing and everyone checks out O.K. I would send you and your firearm on your way. I would feel confident that I am within compliance of all laws that pertain search and seizure. If you admitted to having the gun and refused to cooperate I would do everything I stated above with the exception of letting you and the firearm go. Assuming that you were not in full compliance with the laws of the State of Ohio pertaining to the transportation of firearms in a motor vehicle. Under the circumstances were you under obligation to give them the key? No. Would they be within the law to force it open? Yes. It is the very rare circumstance that a search warrant is required for a motor vehicle when the vehicle is stopped in transport such as during a traffic stop and there is probable cause to believe a crime is being committed within that vehicle (the crime in this case carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle). Note that that I said "beleive a crime is being committed" if it is discovered that you were in fact transporting the firearm in a legal manor then the belief was mistaken but not unjustified given the circumstances.
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 9:10:22 PM EDT
Sukebe Thanks for that very good explanation. I only hope that all LEO I encounter are as reasonable as you are. In my situation, since the officers seemed to think drugs might be involved I was nervous since a lot of what one reads on this board is of unscrupulous LEO planting things where there were none. I think I was doubly nervous because the first officer stated he had stopped me for speeding (8 mph over) and the appearance of a second officer was, in my experience, unusual. As most of you LEO have already stated, it seems to be all about attitude and appearance - on both sides of the window I might add.
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 9:19:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Sukebe: Note that that I said "beleive a crime is being committed" if it is discovered that you were in fact transporting the firearm in a legal manor then the belief was mistaken but not unjustified given the circumstances.
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I think this is a key statement. All too often those of us on the other side may not be aware that an officer believes a crime is being commited and is just taking proper steps, for his and John Q Publics safety. Your procedures are justified from that aspect. When all turns out to be within the law and a hand shake and "have a safe trip" is given I am left with a much better impression of those who wear the badge. It's the "hotdogs" who do not want to walk away empty handed, so to speak, that worry me.
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 9:31:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 9:38:55 PM EDT
What would give the LEO probable cuase to search if there wasnt any open contianers,drugs strange odors or visible weapons,and say the officer pulled you over for just speeding,is there any way he can still search your car without consent? Thanks for your time! [b]If your not part of the solution,you are part of the problem--Join the NRA![/b]
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:00:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By VA-gunnut: Since When is it a crime to transport a firearm in a vehicle. So if I were driving to the upcoming convention and was stopped on the way there in a neighboring state, and I stated I was transporting a couple of rifles in the trunk I would be required to conscent to a search of my vehicle? I would hope that this is not the case. If a check of my liscense didn't turn up any negative info then where is the crime that is believed to be occuring? I am hoping that I misread the question and answer part, because this does seem strange to me.
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Laws vary from state to state. It's not simply transporting a firearm in a motor vehicle but how it is being transported that can break the law in my state. If you admit to having firearms in your vehicle(your admission gives probable cause to believe you are telling the truth) it is well with in the officers power to ensure that they are being transported properly up to and including visual inspection with or without your consent. My answer was to Pthfndrs question and he did not mention anything about his gun being in the trunk(not that it makes much difference). If your going to open up other scenarios this could go on forever as we try to answer every conceivable situation.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:04:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2001 6:39:47 AM EDT by Sukebe]
Originally Posted By Ric_A: What would give the LEO probable cuase to search if there wasnt any open contianers,drugs strange odors or visible weapons,and say the officer pulled you over for just speeding,is there any way he can still search your car without consent? Thanks for your time! [b]If your not part of the solution,you are part of the problem--Join the NRA![/b]
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Under the circumstances you describe, without probable cause to believe that a crime is being committed within your vehicle an officer may not search your vehicle without your consent. Let me add that I read Pthfndr's post to mean that he admitted to having the firearm in his car. I read it again and I'm not sure that he did. Now if there was no mention of the firearm and nothing in view and the officers had no other reason to be suspicious then I am a little confused as to why they searched his car. If you are stopped solely for a traffic violation(this is the primary reason for the stop) once the matter of the violation is concluded ie ticket/warning then you are considered free to go. If the officer then engages you in conversation about drugs weapons etc. You may continue to answer questions but normally you don't have to. If the officer developes some reasonable suspicion(lessor degree of proof than probable cause) that you may have contra ban meaning, drugs, explosives etc. Then he may be allowed to detain you long enough without your consent to do an exterior search with a canine. If the dog indicates that there is something that shouldn't be there they might search without your consent or they might detain you longer and get a search warrant if you refuse to consent to a search. Searching with or without a warrant in a situation like this really depends on the attitude of the local courts. If they have a history of very narrow interpretation of search and siezure rules then they will get a search warrant. If not they may search and argue the vehicle exceptions. If I really think I had something major, I mean a large transport of contra ban then I would just get the warrant. These types of situations are fluid and no two are exactly alike. Therefore it is really difficult to give a broad answer that would cover every situation. Best advice is once the traffic violation is settled and you are otherwise free to go, go. Do not engage in voluntary conversation about what you may or may not have in your vehicle. Do not consent to search unless you are 100% certain that you are not in violation of any laws by what you have in your car. I still would not consent. If they proceed to search without your consent don't try to resist( fight it out later in court if you have to). Ask for a supervisor, ask them to stop make sure they understand that they do not have your consent. Ask them to explain the probable cause, the reason for searching without your consent.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:13:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:25:55 AM EDT
VAgunnut, You could be right. By admitting you have a weapon you are giving the LEO the "in" that he needs to continue his primary investigation as to whether the firearms are illegal or being carried in an illegal manner. Keep in mind that no still means no. The vehicle exception is not a carte blance. If there is no probable cause or enough reasonable suspicion to establish probable cause then a simple no to consent to search works.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:26:16 AM EDT
Pthfndr, please note that posts on cops hiding dope etc. Usually come about because of a large amount of imagination and paranoia, and don't really have a basis in everyday reality. VA-gunnut, depending on the state, it can very well be a crime. In Texas it's a crime to carry a pistol without a CHL, within your area of control. (In the passenger compartment, readily accessible) However, long guns are legal. Secured in a case or trunk is the way to go with a handgun. Ric, If I pull you over for speed (for example) and have no other clues (odor of marijuana, evading questions, plain view etc) Why would I want to search your car in the first place? Searches take time and add an element of risk. The longer you are on the side of the road, the better your chances for getting run over by some drunk. It just isn't something you do for the heck of it.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:48:51 AM EDT
Keep in mind everybody that there are many ways to "skin a cat". There are several (8) ways to search a car without cosent or a warrant. An "inventory" search is one of the most frequent. That's done when your car is being towed for something like not haveing a license, no insurance, etc. If I tow the car then I'm responsible for what's inside of it. That means I can go through the whole thing and what I find is admissable (because I legally "got to it" you see). I could not however go into locked boxes of any type. Even if you were under arrest for something else. I'm a Minneapolis cop and all things being as they were in pthfndr's note the cops would have had to have gotten a warrant in this state and in most others that I am aware of. You simply cannot go into locked boxes without a warrant, permission, or one of a very few other things (like there is a baby in there for instance). To clarify further keep in mind cops can and sometimes DO lots of things against the rules (often be accident) but then that's what courts are for! The "gestured" part of pathfinders note I would imply meant that the cops "asked" for permission to go into the gun case, to which he complied. He could have said no and then I would have been stuck. If I ask and you give permission of your free will I can do anything. If you deny me access to the locked gun case, and there was NO other violation evident you are on your way. The cops cannot force open your locked gun box (Sukebe and I disagree) without a warrant. I cannot assume that the gun is stolen, and without anything further I cannot assume the gun is loaded and therefor being illegally transported. In some states though it is a crime for you to simply transport a firearm in a car unless you are 1) going to the range 2) geting it fixed or 3) hunting. If your doing none of the above then I could (not WOULD before you all rip me) arrest you, impound your car, inventory the gun case, get a warrant, confirm it is a gun etc, and have you formally charged. Keep in mind 99% of the cops are pro-gun like me. Also keep in mind many drug mules these days are the avarage Joe. Almost everywhere cops can check all around your driving space without a warrant on a normal traffic stop. This is os people can grab a gun from right under the seat, etc. And of sermon and my 2 bits. Ryan [url]www.bluelinegear.com[/url]
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:50:45 AM EDT
Would empty shells in the side pocket of a center console count as probable cause ? A friend of mine was locked up in the communist state of new jersey for having a legally owned handgun unloaded in the trunk of his car. The cops saw the empty shells, asked where the gun was, he told them it was in the trunk, he opened the trunk for them, they locked him up. $4000, one year probation, 60 hours community service and of course bye bye to the gun is what it cost the guy. Oh and everything else with the car/driver was 100% legal.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 7:05:28 AM EDT
Gunman, in Texas? Nope. EVERYONE has ammo in the vehicle. Stopped a guy a while back that must have had 300 empty 20 gauge hulls in the bed of his truck. (Dove season at the time.) However, keep in mind you live on the East Coast planet, and they do things a little differently there.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 7:12:36 AM EDT
Philadelpia- There has got to be more to the story I'll bet unless it's just a Felony for him to even have that gun in his car there. Was he a felon? I hear things like this all the time and there is ALWAYS more to the story. NOTE: He let them in the trunk! You DO NOT NEED PC if he gave them consent! See above.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 7:14:37 AM EDT
In Arkansas I've frequently had handguns fall out of the glove box when you ask the driver for in insurance and registration! Empty shells, see them all the time year around. Different part of the world, different mentality or lack of it. I suppose he should not have said that he had a gun in the trunk. Around here the shells would not mean anything without something else. You all should move.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 7:57:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 8:17:35 AM EDT
Ryan, No the guy had no criminal record whatsoever. The problem is that having a unloaded, totally legally owned firearm in your trunk is a felony in the communist state of new jersey. This guy is frow Pliladelphia and what he was doing is 100% legal in PA.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 9:02:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2001 9:02:40 AM EDT by bigsapper]
Originally Posted By Philadelphia_GunMan: Ryan, No the guy had no criminal record whatsoever. The problem is that having a unloaded, totally legally owned firearm in your trunk is a felony in the communist state of new jersey. This guy is frow Pliladelphia and what he was doing is 100% legal in PA.
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Isn't there a Federal law that pre-empts this? Something about unloaded and locked in the trunk for interstate transport?
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 11:15:35 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 11:25:00 AM EDT
VA Gun Nut- As for the interstate transport of guns I would have to defer to the ATF on that. I wouldn't want to give out bad advice! Maybe I'll give them a buzz if I get a minute. Ryan [url]www.bluelinegear.com[/url] I agree that I would move right now!
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 11:28:16 AM EDT
When I lived in Michigan, and my Army Reserve unit was in Indiana, I would often trave long distances (270 miles) to get to my unit. ALWAYS did I carry some sort of firearm. My unit had one of the best 25yd indoor ranges (4 stations, IR lights, warning lights and electro eyes, you name it) in the reserve system. I would always travel to my unit around 3am, driving about 75-80MPH. This made good time, but at 3am, I was easy target. In about four years, I was probably stopped 10 times (no kidding), and every time I was asked if I was carrying firearms in the vehicle (always in the trunk). Every time, I was let go without ticket, and on several occasions, we'd stand on the roadside for about an hour showing off our hardware. On one occasion, we were joined by three other State Troopers, and the hardware really came out. Hey, at 3am, everybody's just doing their job.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 11:46:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Ryan-bluelinegear: VA Gun Nut- As for the interstate transport of guns I would have to defer to the ATF on that. I wouldn't want to give out bad advice! Maybe I'll give them a buzz if I get a minute...
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Actually, I threw that out there. My recollection was that this is covered in the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act(FOPA).
Permits the interstate transportation of unloaded firearms by any person not prohibited by Federal law from such transportation regardless of any State law or regulation. [url]http://www.uh.edu/~dbarclay/rm/mcclure.htm[/url]
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I would think, based on that, that LEOs in [b]all[/b] jurisdictions would be aware of this.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 12:01:07 PM EDT
VA-gunnun, The law my friend broke was that he didn't have any "registration" for his handgun. In PA the sales slip IS your registration, in NJ it is something else (a special form I imagine). When my friend showed showed them his sales slip for the gun the laughed at him and locked him up.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 12:10:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Philadelphia_GunMan: VA-gunnun, The law my friend broke was that he didn't have any "registration" for his handgun. In PA the sales slip IS your registration, in NJ it is something else (a special form I imagine). When my friend showed showed them his sales slip for the gun the laughed at him and locked him up.
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Just curious, what state was your friend a resident of when he was arrested for this?
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 12:14:42 PM EDT
He was a PA resident traveling thru NJ.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 2:05:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Philadelphia_GunMan: He was a PA resident traveling thru NJ.
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See, I was under the impression that this was *exactly* the kind of thing that the interstate transportation clause of the '86 FOPA is supposed to address. Color me...confused.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 3:03:27 PM EDT
Pthfndr the simple answer to your question is that you were the subject of a profile stop. Why did the officer stop you? After the officer contacted you he/she evaluated a number of factors (Profile) and began to question you. Probably in a friendly none threatening way. If you did not have drugs or an illegal firearm in the car you should at this point advise the officer to arrest you or release you. At this point if they did not release you the dept and officer would have some serious problems especially if you are a minority. On the other hand if you had drugs the officer could bring in a dog and if that dog got a hit you are going to be easy to buy a Christmas present for (soap on a rope). If you had a illegal firearm in the vehicle depending on how much money you have for a good attorney and you are willing to go to allot of suppression hearings you may beat the firearms beef. Pthfndr you are correct about there being hotdogs out there. My Sheriff will not allow profile stops. That’s probably part of the reason why he has been in office for 25 years. These type of stops are a double edged sword. I have seen tons of drugs taken of the street. On the other hand I have seen abuses that to me endangers everyone’s belief in our constitution and the citizens trust in law-enforcement officers. If more officers would be more judicious and use more restraint and professionalism during this type of stop I believe everyone would benefit and it is a great tool for law enforcement. However the way some officers use it now it causes allot of mistrust and it is about to be eliminated as a law-enforcement tool by the supreme court. Pthfndr I would like to know what the officer stopped you for and if you are a minority. And what was the demeanor of the officer? Sukebe you sound like a good officer. My guess is that your are an older officer that grew up in a smaller town.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:33:50 PM EDT
Pthfndr I would like to know what the officer stopped you for and if you are a minority. And what was the demeanor of the officer? Sukebe you sound like a good officer. My guess is that your are an older officer that grew up in a smaller town.
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I am a white male, 45, short to medium length hair, mustache. I was stopped for speeding. I was approaching the entrance to the Kansas toll highway and the speed limit changes from 70 to 35. No sign stating reduced speed ahead. I know, my fault I did not react to the change quick enough and I admitted to it, but in this state (CA) changes like that are required to be posted (I checked). I was clocked on radar at 43 or 48, something like that, as I was slowing down when the toll booths came into view. Time was mid afternoon, clear dry weather, very light traffic (only 2 of the 4 or 5 booths had cars at them). The officer was parked on the entrance side of the booths. He pulled me over within 1/2 mile of my exiting the toll booth. About 1 minute after he pulled me over the second patrol vehicle joined him. To shed some more light on why they may have had a reasonable suspicion of drugs. I had left Denver at midnight to stay ahead of a winter storm coming in (this was in Feb.) I would stop and stretch evry 2 hours or so and had stopped once to take a brief nap. I have chronic GPC, more commonly known as Pink eye. Which after driving a long time, too much time in front of a computer, dusty conditions, or lack of sleep, makes my eyes VERY red. More than just bloodshot looking. So I could understand why they may have thought I had been smoking dope or something. But my speech was very coherent and intelligable. I think I know why they asked if I had a gun. The second officer, the one who asked, was leaning in my passenger window. After I had removed my license and proof of insurance from my wallet for the first officer I had left it lying open on the passenger seat. Under the clear plastic thing in my wallet was my BFSC card (Basic Firearms Safety Certificate). That's required to purchase a gun here in CA. It says that in big letters and was turned so the officer could have easily read it. So I guess that is one thing that could give him cause to ask me if I had a gun on board. Since I was far from home, on a tight time schedule and did not think I was doing anything wrong I answered I did have a gun. Fortunately for me everything was clean and they were ok guys. I did have one scare though. When the second officer opened the gun case and saw it was a Browning HP, he said "I was shot by one of these last year".
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 7:55:15 PM EDT
Pthfndr just to make things clear you do not have to be a member of a minority to be the subject of a profile stop contrary to our liberal news media. I was curious about the details of this interaction.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 9:07:49 PM EDT
NJ has problems with anyone carrying CCW. We have had officers temporarily living in NJ. NJ will not issue permits to out of State leo's, as far as I've seen. I have ccw permits in PA and MD, I don't need one in De. I have been stopped 1 time on the NJ turnpike. I have FOP plates and was asked if I was carrying. NJ is just different. I have been to both NYC and Washington, neither of which honor out of State leo's, and had no problem. As to profiling, it takes a number of matches to make it fit. You are driving an out of State mv, speeding, red eyes, , had all dmv info laid out in plain view ready to resubmit, on high drug taffic freeway, and the officer observes a firearms safety card. Come on....under those circumstances, wouldn't you have gone a little further?
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 10:20:28 PM EDT
Originally Posted By fal-nut: had all dmv info laid out in plain view ready to resubmit, on high drug taffic freeway, and the officer observes a firearms safety card. Come on....under those circumstances, wouldn't you have gone a little further?
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My "info" was not all laid out ready to submit. I took my wallet out of the center console when the [i]first[/i] officer asked me for it. I left the wallet laying open on the seat, and then the [i]second[/i] officer came up to my vehicle and was able to see it.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 11:17:49 PM EDT
I work in KS and get off work at either 1 or 3 am. The sheriff's dept of the county that i work in has an unwritten policy to stop every car it possibly can in the middle of the night on the main highway. Within 5 weeks of starting this shift i was pulled over 12 times for : (4)tag light out of holder(broken bracket), brakes squeeked when i came up to intersection, muffler a little loud, muffler a little close to the ground(remember it's almost pitch black at 1 am),(3) going a little fast (70 in a 65, but KS law says they can't give a ticket for less than 10 over the limit, only warnings),and(2)small crack in windshield on passenger side(they must have incredible eyesight to see that in the dark at 65mph).None of these reasons is ticketable, they only stopped me to "let me know about it" and of course it's run my license and tags ,ask about drugs, alcohol, and guns every time. Its been a while since it's happened (guess they recognize my car now) but almost every night they have at least 1 car, if not more, pulled over. Back to the original post KS law says that firearms cannot be in the passenger compartment of a car unless unloaded and in a locked box(trunk is considered a box) not easily accessible to the driver or passengers. But the few times i've been stopped while my glock is riding shotgun(not by the above mentioned dept) the officer has asked me to keep my hands in view so there wouldn't be any misunderstanding when he comes back to the car to return my license, reminds me of the law and tells me to drive careful. Most officers are understanding but the it's the very few that are "hot dogs" that you hear about the most.
Link Posted: 12/29/2001 12:24:22 PM EDT
Fal-nut, I do not want to give all of our secrets away here, with that being said let me play the devils-advocate here. Pthfndr seems to be an intelligent guy without an atitude. He apparently did not have any drugs and had a legal gun in a locked closed container. He was stopped in a unmarked speed step down zone, apparently an uncitable offense there(I know it is here). After taking the proper officer safety precautions you ask Mr. Pthfndr if he has any drugs or guns and he tells you no. You ask him again and then he tells you to either cite him or release him. How much further would you have taken it at this point with no further PC? My one big problem with this stop is the REPEATED questioning. My thinking is that most judges would look at this REPEATED questioning as accusatory and rule this as an involuntary consent to search, you know that fruits of a poisonous tree thingy again. I would like to hear what other officers think about this situation.
Link Posted: 1/11/2002 5:16:08 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE: When I lived in Michigan, and my Army Reserve unit was in Indiana, I would often trave long distances (270 miles) to get to my unit. ALWAYS did I carry some sort of firearm. My unit had one of the best 25yd indoor ranges (4 stations, IR lights, warning lights and electro eyes, you name it) in the reserve system. I would always travel to my unit around 3am, driving about 75-80MPH. This made good time, but at 3am, I was easy target.
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What unit were you in? No armory I've ever been to in Indiana had anything like that. QS
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