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Posted: 2/11/2013 6:35:50 PM EDT
I want to first point out that I completely respect the job of a police officer, and I don't want to cause any resentment with this question. I got pulled over earlier today. It was a misunderstanding with the car registration and license records. I had to stop the initial conversation and let the officer know that I did have my CCW permit, and I was carrying. As he asked for my license he also asked me to take out my pistol, unload it, show clear, and hand it over. Now, because this officer was polite and more than willing to discuss the confusion, I obliged. I have no problem with him running the numbers, which I know he did, since I am the legal owner and have no problems with the law. My only issue is that, one, it seems more dangerous to have a person you just pulled over take out their weapon and handle it. Second, from what I understand taking somebody's gun out of their car in NC, without true probable cause, is illegal search and seizure. As a law abiding citizen, I have no qualms removing my weapon and unloading. I'm not going to turn it on the officer. However, what if their was a misfire? What if a carrier made the wrong move and the officer overreacted and drew? Seems like a poor decision to ask for the weapon for both parties. I am also wondering if anybody can clarify the issue of illegal search and seizure. Is it true that an officer asking for your weapon is illegal? If he asks politely, I'm inclined to oblige out of respect. However, if the officer makes it a demand, I'm going to be inclined to deny under my legal rights.
Link Posted: 2/11/2013 7:47:31 PM EDT
I'm not a lawyer, but I don't believe it is a case of search/seizure if the officer asked for your handgun, and you turned it over voluntarily.
Link Posted: 2/11/2013 8:06:13 PM EDT
What I am wondering is, am I within my legal rights to deny handing it over?
Link Posted: 2/11/2013 8:07:11 PM EDT
Its not like I want to go back to the PD and whine about deciding to hand over my gun.
Link Posted: 2/12/2013 5:46:20 AM EDT
Op i had the same thing happen to me. I had no problem with it but your right it is a bit dangerous. I also had a time where they just said ok and keep your hands on the wheel.
Link Posted: 2/12/2013 5:48:08 AM EDT
The short answer is that there is no short answer in North Carolina. There is no law that specifically allows or prohibits an officer from disarming a legally armed person during a traffic stop. Likewise, there is no case law that I know of on the subject. Basically its a gray area, and the courts in NC are likely to come down on the side of the officer unless he does something totally out of line. It is not a search, but it is a seizure. Whether or not it was a legal seizure would be up to the courts to determine if it got that far.

It isn't how I would have handled it, but it was probably legal, at least as far as statutory and case law stand right now in NC.
Link Posted: 2/12/2013 8:12:53 AM EDT
I'm going to keep looking into it. But as of now, if the officer is polite and respectful with me, as I'm always polite and respectful to him, I'll let him run the numbers for fun. I guess I just don't like them asking me to handle my weapon. Not to mention the fact that if they drop or scratch my gun, I'll be a tad bit aggravated. But there won't be much I can do at that point unless the officer happens to sincerely care about the fact that he is handling my personal property. As far as the law is concerned, I'll do my best to abide by it, and refuse any commands I truly believe are a violation of my rights. I just so happen to be acquaintances with some good lawyers, ha.
Link Posted: 2/12/2013 12:06:56 PM EDT
I had a similar incident but he asked me to hand it to him holstered. A holstered weapon is a safe weapon.
Link Posted: 2/12/2013 1:27:30 PM EDT
"Just a second officer, let me flop my gun around as I unbuckle, remove my belt, and pull the holster off the belt."
Link Posted: 2/12/2013 5:23:09 PM EDT
NC allows officers a massive amount of authority. You can pretty well bet that the court will take the side of the officer under the banner of officer safety, no matter what tone they make the request in. Its your dime, spend it where you want, I don't like being cuffed and stuffed, wish I had the wealth to contest such things as precedence becomes common practice, becomes police doctrine and makes it worse for all of us.
Link Posted: 2/13/2013 6:14:24 PM EDT
I guess I will throw my .02 in here since I am actually a cop in NC. The officer was wrong in asking you to remove your weapon and hand it to him. All the current laws state is you are required to notify us and that is only when we approach for something like a traffic stop, etc. Every year we have mandatory firearms in-service and for the last three years we have covered concealed carry laws in NC and any changes that were made. It was made clear (at least in my class) that we cannot disarm a legally armed person if they are not doing anything to present a threat and we are notified as required. . I typically ask where it is just so I know and that will be the end of the conversation unless I decide to ask what you are carrying. The second thing I want to point out is having you remove your weapon, unload it, and hand it to him is a HUGE officer safety issue. If I am going to remove a weapon from somebody I am going to do it myself. You are not going to touch it at all.
Link Posted: 2/13/2013 7:17:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Western132:
I guess I will throw my .02 in here since I am actually a cop in NC. The officer was wrong in asking you to remove your weapon and hand it to him. All the current laws state is you are required to notify us and that is only when we approach for something like a traffic stop, etc. Every year we have mandatory firearms in-service and for the last three years we have covered concealed carry laws in NC and any changes that were made. It was made clear (at least in my class) that we cannot disarm a legally armed person if they are not doing anything to present a threat and we are notified as required. . I typically ask where it is just so I know and that will be the end of the conversation unless I decide to ask what you are carrying. The second thing I want to point out is having you remove your weapon, unload it, and hand it to him is a HUGE officer safety issue. If I am going to remove a weapon from somebody I am going to do it myself. You are not going to touch it at all.


+1 ft or this. As a CCH instructor this is exactly what I teach in my course.... Never put your hand on your firearm!!
Link Posted: 2/14/2013 6:49:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Western132:
I guess I will throw my .02 in here since I am actually a cop in NC. The officer was wrong in asking you to remove your weapon and hand it to him. All the current laws state is you are required to notify us and that is only when we approach for something like a traffic stop, etc. Every year we have mandatory firearms in-service and for the last three years we have covered concealed carry laws in NC and any changes that were made. It was made clear (at least in my class) that we cannot disarm a legally armed person if they are not doing anything to present a threat and we are notified as required. . I typically ask where it is just so I know and that will be the end of the conversation unless I decide to ask what you are carrying. The second thing I want to point out is having you remove your weapon, unload it, and hand it to him is a HUGE officer safety issue. If I am going to remove a weapon from somebody I am going to do it myself. You are not going to touch it at all.

This.
Link Posted: 2/14/2013 6:57:23 PM EDT
Wolfpack2013, which agency and where did you get stopped if you don't mind me asking? Based on the screen name I assume you're in or near Raleigh (as am I), and I'm curious to hear whether it was state, county or city.
Link Posted: 2/15/2013 1:45:07 AM EDT
this seems heavy handed.. i will ask for name and badge # to file a complaint if and when this happens to me. if you have a cc and you announced to the officer your obligations they should leave you alone and it is an unnecessary safety hazard as previously posted
Link Posted: 2/16/2013 5:13:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Western132:
I guess I will throw my .02 in here since I am actually a cop in NC. The officer was wrong in asking you to remove your weapon and hand it to him. All the current laws state is you are required to notify us and that is only when we approach for something like a traffic stop, etc. Every year we have mandatory firearms in-service and for the last three years we have covered concealed carry laws in NC and any changes that were made. It was made clear (at least in my class) that we cannot disarm a legally armed person if they are not doing anything to present a threat and we are notified as required. . I typically ask where it is just so I know and that will be the end of the conversation unless I decide to ask what you are carrying. The second thing I want to point out is having you remove your weapon, unload it, and hand it to him is a HUGE officer safety issue. If I am going to remove a weapon from somebody I am going to do it myself. You are not going to touch it at all.


Thank you for your input. Having an answer from an active officer in NC really helps. I do not want to touch my weapon when I'm around an officer, especially considering I'm probably going to be seen as liable should anybody in that situation make a mistake. If it happens again, it has happened twice so far, I am going to politely inform the officer that I will not be touching my weapon in his presence. If he attempts to remove the pistol himself, then I have a clear reason to contact his department. If he leaves me alone after I refuse to hand it to him, then I will view it as a simple mistake and move on.

Grondike, I was in Cary, and it was Cary PD. I have no idea who the officer was, but this has happened with both Cary and Raleigh PD. I was open carrying when RPD pulled me. Although that should not make one lick of difference.
Link Posted: 2/16/2013 11:41:39 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Wolfpack2013:
I was open carrying when RPD pulled me. Although that should not make one lick of difference.


You are right. Open carrying of it should not make a difference either in most situations. Being in the mountains I encounter guns a lot and most of them are from law abiding citizens who, like me were raised around guns and it's just a way of life to have one of some kind around almost all the time. I have never had a criminal tell me they are illegally carrying a weapon. I usually find them and go from there. I also have never encountered a CCW holder who is also a criminal as I know what they have to go through to get the permit. Open carry has never really been an issue either because most criminals decide to stuff the gun under the seat at the first sign of blue lights in the rear view.

I can only think of one time I have took possession of a weapon that was being open carried and that was because the driver of the vehicle was 19 and the owner of the weapon (handgun) was intoxicated and upset over a fight he was involved in at a local bar (It was in plain sight and the driver made sure she told me it was there as soon as I got to the window).

Given the "totality of the circumstances" (that's cop speak for "his drunk ass was making me nervous") I took possession of the weapon during the encounter. No charges were filed and I unloaded the gun and put it in the trunk of the vehicle and told the driver not to tell him where it was until he was sober. He showed up at my office the next day to thank me and apologized for having the gun in the car when he was going out drinking. Said he realized how irresponsible it was and he didn't want to give gun owners a bad reputation.

Link Posted: 2/16/2013 4:24:26 PM EDT
Grondike, I was in Cary, and it was Cary PD. I have no idea who the officer was, but this has happened with both Cary and Raleigh PD. I was open carrying when RPD pulled me. Although that should not make one lick of difference.


Thanks. I live in Cary but have never been stopped here, and the only interactions I've had with their officers have been positive. One of the captains, who I believe is now retired, was a gun guy and I think was a CHP instructor. That was 10 plus years ago, so it may have been a cultural change or possibly just a decision on that officer's part.
Link Posted: 2/16/2013 5:59:24 PM EDT
I think it probably was just a decision on that officer's part. It was a weird situation all around. Not only did he want me to handle my weapon, but he pulled me because he ran my plate and the registered owner's, my dad, license was expired. His license is valid, and doesn't technically need to be updated because he is active military. Either way, I was too tired to focus on details and get name or rank. I hope it doesn't happen again, but seeing as this has happened twice in less than a year, I can see it happening again. A buddy of mine was pulled a while back, and the officer took his gun and set it on the roof of his car. I would have called his butt into the station, because that is just plain stupid. Anybody could have grabbed it.
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