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Posted: 11/10/2003 6:17:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/10/2003 6:24:02 PM EDT by Pthfndr]
I was wondering about this since the courts have ruled that for an officers safety they can ask if one has a firearm in their vehicle.

I drive a Jeep Cherokee, so no trunk to store stuff in. I was thinking about getting one of those gun vault boxes and bolting it down to the floor to keep a handgun in for when I go on road trips, etc rather than just transporting it in a regular, locked, handgun case (the legal means of transport here in CA), not to mention it would be more secure if I need to leave it in the vehicle for some reason. From what I've read here, and from personal experience, I know if I'm asked if I have a gun in the vehicle and answer yes, that the officer can/might/will ask me to exit the vehicle and search the interior for the gun and then run the serial number. If I understand what I've read, that is ok and legal. No problem.

But if I have a handgun in a lock box as described above and the box is locked. When asked if I have a gun should I still answer yes? If I answer yes, would there be a problem if after explaining to the officer it's in the locked box and he wants me to open it and I refuse?

This is all in the context of me doing nothing else criminal other than being stopped for a simple speeding violation. (Which happened to me a few years ago, 10 over the limit, in another state - the asked and searched part, not the refusal part)

Serious answers only please. Not trying to start an arguement or flame fest. Thanks for your input.
Link Posted: 11/10/2003 9:16:51 PM EDT
The short answer... yes, even though the gun is locked in a box in the back, there is still a gun in the car. :)

If it were me, I’d just be honest. if he wants to open the lock box and look at the gun I'd argue that in the idea of officer safety that wouldn't be the smartest thing to do.

If an officer asks if there is a gun in the car and you say yes, that is not a waiver of your 4th amendment rights. that doesn't give the officer the right to search for anything else. If they want to secure the gun during the period of your contact and it is locked-up then I’d say no way... leave it locked in the safe place that is it... but that is just me.

You could always say yes there is a gun in the car but you don’t have the key ;)



Link Posted: 11/11/2003 4:32:15 PM EDT
what ever you do, don't lie to the officer.
Link Posted: 11/11/2003 4:50:13 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/11/2003 5:28:57 PM EDT
A Mickey Mouse answer to be sure. Typical BS from an answer first to ensure everybody sees your ignorance about the laws in other places knucklehead. Step 1 read the question. Hmm, states that he is in CA and law requires locked container and that apparently you need to tell the LEO. (Which is in fact correct, when asked you are required to tell and present to the officer for him to determine if it is loaded.) Hmm, maybe I should shoot my mouth off and convince others I aint got a clue.
Link Posted: 11/11/2003 9:55:59 PM EDT
I dont work in CA, and as a result cant really answer your question. Maybe AR15fan will be along here shortly to give you an answer.


MM, just FYI, no warrant is needed for a vehicle search. And being dishonest and getting caught will, at the very least, increase an officer's curiosity.
Link Posted: 11/11/2003 11:08:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By PaDanby:
A Mickey Mouse answer to be sure. Typical BS from an answer ... maybe I should shoot my mouth off and convince others I aint got a clue.



Why are you trying to start an argument here? You're wasting bandwidth. Get off our server. You wasted half your response reacting to MM.
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 8:39:42 AM EDT
Tagged for later. Only once have I been asked this question by a cop, and he asked if I had any "weapons" in the car. I just handed him my paperwork and pretended not to hear the question.

SGtar15
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 9:07:17 AM EDT
My experience? The truth is better. Getting caught in a lie or evasion just raises the bar of suspicion. Granted, there are people out there that just CANNOT tell the truth. If you are carrying illegally, i'd certainly stop doing that and avoid the whole scenario.
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 9:11:49 AM EDT
what if you mounted the box under the hood???
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 6:05:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/12/2003 6:21:57 PM EDT by Pthfndr]
Ok

1) The first part of the question wasn't meant to be, should I lie. But more of, Do I need to say yes.

2) The second part of the question was about if the officer asks to see the firearm that is locked in a steel box bolted to the floor of the vehicle, should I open it without him/her having a warrant, and what reaction should I expect from the officer if I refuse to open it?

Doesn't matter what state it happens in either as far as your replies go. Aren't the vehicle search laws pretty much the same in the whole country? What would be scenario in your state? From you? The average (?) LEO, not some JBT on a bad day with burr up their ass looking to make points.


Edited to add: My concern really isn't about traveling in CA, but would be as someone FROM CA traveling in ANOTHER state. From a couple experiences I've had while traveling by vehicle it seems that some LEO in other states think everyone from CA is a drug runner
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 6:23:49 PM EDT
I can't speak for any other state, but in LA you need to say yes. As far as the second part, it depends. No offense intended at all, I'm just trying to answer honestly, I would likely do something that insured (to my mind) that you could not retrieve the firearm during our encounter. However, as far as I know, there is nothing in the laws of this state that says I've got the right to examine your firearm to see if it's stolen---though if I do encounter it I will check for that. And I gotta say, my first thought is that if you tell me you've got the gun in a locked case attached to the vehicle, I would probably just ask you to remain outside the Jeep for the duration of the stop. If the weapon was not locked in such a way, I would ask to retain it myself for the duration of the stop. (Though that statement usually gets me the "JBT" label, for some reason.)
That said, I do know some idiots in my area who have somehow gotten the idea in their heads that you have to have proof of ownership of a firearm. These guys (and one of them teaches at the academy--shudder) will confiscate guns from folks without said proof.
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 6:31:03 PM EDT
Since ya put it that way.

There is no standard answer to your question. But, if you told me you had a weapon, I'd ask about its location. If its in a locked box, I could care less, and wouldnt ask to see it unless it was an MP5 or some other wundergun I am interested in.[wink]If it was right next to you, again, depending on the situation, I may remove you from the car, etc. Id guess about %50 of the folks I encounter that are armed wind up going to the pokie for other offenses and the other %50 we wind up BS'ing about weapons on the side of the road.



It depends entirely on the situation, location and time of day.

If you lie and get caught, expect to suffer the consequences.
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 6:58:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AZ-K9:
It depends entirely on the situation, location and time of day.



I can just hear you now.

Your honor, based on my experience and the totality of the circumstances...

:D
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 10:14:13 PM EDT
Life is all about the "Law of Probability".

If stopped for a simple traffic violation, and you are %100 percent sure you have no wants/warrants, do not tell him you have a gun in the vehicle.

If you don't give him permission, he can't search.

Lets say you have a "Unethical" officer your dealing with, he could say he smelled marijuana, or thought he seen a weapon etc, to search your vehicle, but only in the area that is immediately accessible to you from the drivers seat. He cannot search closed or locked containers.

However, if you are for some reason arrested, they then can impound your vehicle and do an "Inventory search" provided their department has it on paper that they can. And depending on their department policy they can tear your vehicle completely apart.

But, back to reality. If your stopped for speeding, and all of your shit is wired tight, you can safely "not tell" the officer about any weapons you may have, and the probability of him finding probable cause for a search is between slim and none.
Link Posted: 11/14/2003 1:16:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/14/2003 3:49:11 PM EDT by WARDOG7366]
Here's your answer for California & Federal law. Other states may be more restrictive.
I would hope that an officer would not be overzealous in exploiting this ability to search if there is no risk of getting hurt by joe citizen, or any other exigency.
If an officer develops probable cause to believe there is a weapon in your vehicle (ie. he asks you and you say there is a gun in the car in a locked box, or if there is any ammunition, holster, gun accessories visible) then the officer may conduct a search of that vehicle (or box) to determine if it is loaded.
Under both Federal and California law, an officer may conduct a warrantless search of a vehicle which is lawfully stopped and the officer has probable cause to believe the item he is looking for is in the vehicle. Since the vehicle is mobile, then there is no requirement to obtain a search warrant.
Federal case law: Ross (1982) 456 U.S. 798
Nonnette (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 659
Acevedo (1991) 111 S. Ct. 1982
Overland (1988)203 Cal.App3d 1114
Linn (9th Cir. 1988) 862 F.2d 735 & more....
I can provide links if you would like.
California law: www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=84780312009+1+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve
California Penal Code 12026.1. (a) Section 12025 shall not be construed to prohibit any
citizen of the United States over the age of 18 years... from transporting or carrying any pistol, revolver, or other firearm
capable of being concealed upon the person, provided that the following applies to the firearm:
(1) The firearm is within a motor vehicle and it is locked in the
vehicle's trunk or in a locked container in the vehicle other than
the utility or glove compartment.
(b) The provisions of this section do not prohibit or limit the
otherwise lawful carrying or transportation of any pistol, revolver,
or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person in
accordance with this chapter.
(c) As used in this section, "locked container" means a secure container which is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device.

PATHFINDERS LIGHT THE WAY!
Link Posted: 11/15/2003 12:52:17 AM EDT
In Va if you have a CC permit you are required to let the officer know you have a weapon on his approch and then have your permit on you. If I ask you if you have a weapon and you tell me you do not and in fact you do through further investigation I am going to take it from you for lieing to me about the situation. If you are going to carry a weapon and your paper work is in order I see no need for you to lie about it. Even if you do not have proper paper work and you let me know you have a weapon and are not a convicted felon I am not going to take your gun. So my 2 cents is if you have nothing to hide be honest most cops do not want to take your guns and have no problem with you carrying them....For example tonight I stoped a guy in a high narcotics area of our city. I asked the individual if he had any guns, drugs, illegal money on him. The suspect then stated he did not. I noticed a bulge under his shirt and informed him I was going to conduct a pat down for my safety and his. As soon as I got his hands on his head he stated he had a weapon. I then proceded to place him on the ground :) The suspect then stated he had a concealed weapons permit and he did through NCIC/VCIN. The situation could have been avoided and he would have got to keep his gun and permit if he would have just said officer I have a weapon it is in my pants and my permit is in my back pockit. Know he is without his permit and the gun in accordance with State and City code...Honesty is always the best policy it my book
Link Posted: 11/16/2003 11:32:26 PM EDT
Several years ago, I had one of those briefcase-style Firesafes sitting on the passenger side floor of my car when I was stopped by my local PD for a burned out tail light. There had been a gun in it the previous day, but it was empty when I was stopped. The officer asked, "What's that?" I said, "That," nodding toward the case, "is called a reasonable expectation of privacy." (I know I was being a smart ass, but I just couldn't resist.) His reaction suprised me a little, He just kind of chuckled, told me to get my light fixed, and sent me on my way.
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