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Question: Traffic stops and running the numbers

peter nap

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In our state, during a routine traffic stop, can an officer take your gun and run its serial number when he does not have RAS or PC to do this?
Unfortunatly, yes. He can hold the gun for officer safety and of course if he holds it he needs to run the numbers. There has been a lot of discussion about this with every idea between my locking holster to taping over the numbers.
 

TFred

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This is where it gets utterly ridiculous.

Statistically speaking, concealed permit holders (I believe the study was done in Florida) are less likely to commit a crime than police officers.

Therefore, it's a reasonable argument that a citizen is in more danger from the police officer's gun than the police officer is in danger from the driver's gun (if they happen to have a concealed permit of whatever flavor.)

Has anyone ever asked the LEO if they could hold HIS gun for THEIR safety during the stop?

TFred
 

SouthernBoy

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This is where it gets utterly ridiculous.

Statistically speaking, concealed permit holders (I believe the study was done in Florida) are less likely to commit a crime than police officers.

Therefore, it's a reasonable argument that a citizen is in more danger from the police officer's gun than the police officer is in danger from the driver's gun (if they happen to have a concealed permit of whatever flavor.)

Has anyone ever asked the LEO if they could hold HIS gun for THEIR safety during the stop?

TFred
Now that would be interesting.

This thread is the result of a keyboard discussion I was having with an LEO on another site who had a bit of the "God syndrome" (hate it when cops, judges, and surgeons act like this). Anyway, I had honestly thought that an officer had to have RAS or PC before he could take your firearm and run its serial number.

Another issue was a pat down search when the LEO was told by a civilian in a traffic stop that he was carrying and had a permit. I thought this was also not possible without RAS or PC, though I didn't specifically discuss this with him (it did come up via the OP on the thread in which we were involved).
 
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Fallschirjmäger

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Theoretically, they may 'hold it for Officer safety' but searching for the serial number is a violation of the 4th. The workaround for that is if the serial number is observed by plain view. As most people not running a light on a Glock have the serial number open to 'plain view'.

It's my understanding that any gun serial number called in is because there's the suspicion that it may have been used in a crime. I've also run across the following quote in several places that any firearm traced is now a "crime gun" according to the ATF:
All traced guns are called “crime guns” by ATF, regardless of involvement in a crime. ATF has defined “crime gun” to mean “any firearm that is illegally possessed, used in a crime, or suspected to have been used in a crime. An abandoned firearm may also be categorized as a crime gun if it is suspected it was used in a crime or illegally possessed.” Since any firearm “might” have been involved in a crime, ATF considers any firearm to be a “crime gun” or a “suspect gun” and any trace to be a “bona fide law enforcement investigation”. ATF sometimes track (or trace) every gun in a dealer’s records to see if any had ever been linked to a crime. ATF’s position is that gun tracing is voluntary for law enforcement jurisdictions; however, some agencies trace all recovered guns as a matter of policy or state law, while others trace guns only when needed for specific investigations, if at all. However, ATF urges law enforcement to trace every firearm under the “bona fide law enforcement investigation” rationale.
 

XD40sc

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In any state as long as the cops claim "officer safety", including NC.
If they run the serial# then it is an infringement of your 4A rights. What is their probably cause, the belief the gun is stolen, based on what? And now they have the make/model/serial of your gun documented.

I will not argue with the cop, but I will file a FOI after the fact to see if my rights were violated.
 

XD40sc

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Theoretically, they may 'hold it for Officer safety' but searching for the serial number is a violation of the 4th. The workaround for that is if the serial number is observed by plain view. As most people not running a light on a Glock have the serial number open to 'plain view'.

It's my understanding that any gun serial number called in is because there's the suspicion that it may have been used in a crime. I've also run across the following quote in several places that any firearm traced is now a "crime gun" according to the ATF:
How would the serial# of a gun indicate it had been used in a crime? It would locate stolen guns, now ask yourself how many people with carry permits are going to have a stolen gun?
 

Fallschirjmäger

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How would the serial# of a gun indicate it had been used in a crime? It would locate stolen guns, now ask yourself how many people with carry permits are going to have a stolen gun?
It doesn't but "Crime Gun" is like "Assault Pistol"... it's a name that evokes a particular emotion and in this case it's the ATF that is perpetrating the lie. The serial number wouldn't indicate that it had been used in a crime, but that it was the subject of a crime - weapons theft.

I can't think of anyone with a carry permit, (or any other lawful carrier, permit or not) that would have a stolen gun. The mere sight of a firearm is not a reasonable suspicion that it is either stolen or contraband, no more than the mere sight of an automobile, cellphone, MP3 player or other serial numbered item. But, as we all know... firearms seem to fall into some nebulous '4th Amendment exception'.
 

skidmark

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How would the serial# of a gun indicate it had been used in a crime? It would locate stolen guns, now ask yourself how many people with carry permits are going to have a stolen gun?
The argument is that "They" are building a database.

Contrast that with the "from my cold, dead hands" statements.

Now tell me in practical terms why it matters.

(I have been, am, and will remain outraged at the violations of constitutional rights that are used to build that database, so forget thinking about calling me a quisling.)

stay safe.
 

Fallschirjmäger

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Now tell me in practical terms why it matters.
It depends on the definition of "practical terms". To the person involved, who is carrying lawfully and has the serial number of his property added to a 'crime gun' database, not a whole lot.

To the people who want to use statistics about how many guns are used in crimes by regurgitating some statistic about how many "crime guns" there are it's way different. Remember these guns aren't guns that have been used in any sort of crime, they're just ones that have been checked against a stolen gun serial number database and then by definition are labelled "crime guns" which implies they are guns associated with a crime.

Imagine if you will, having your name checked against a database of known criminals, and then your name is forevermore associated with crime by being labelled a "criminal name". That's what we are faced with.
 

1245A Defender

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north mason county, Washington, USA
Wowwie!!!

Sooo,,, I was watching Cops, Alaska awhile back,,,, oh Well...
A cop driving along sees a guy open carrying a pistol.
The cop just has to stop and check this out.
Takes the gun,,, runs the numbers, All illegal, no RAS etc.....
The gun comes back as Stolen!!!
Sooo the hand cuffs, the arrest,,,, and he talks to the cops!
The gun was stolen! From HIM, the owner!
He had reported it stolen.
It was entered in the stolen/ crime gun data base.
The cops found it.
It was returned to Him, the owner!
But it is still a crime gun,,, It is still a stolen gun!
Uncuffed, Unarrested, so sorry, glad it all worked out in the end.

The gun is still in the stolen/ crime gun data base.
Cops in Alaska will still stop and disarm that same guy with no RAS just cause they are Allowed!
 

ChristCrusader

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Virginia, US
They're about to tear out one line of our protections:
SB1155
http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+ful+SB1155
A BILL to amend and reenact § 52-25.1 of the Code of Virginia, relating to reporting and return of firearms confiscated or recovered by law-enforcement agencies.
Patron-- Edwards
green superscript is new addition
red subscript is a deletion
B. The Superintendent shall establish [SUB]and maintain[/SUB] [SUP]a procedure[/SUP] within the Department of State Police [SUB]a Criminal Firearms Clearinghouse as a central repository of[/SUB] [SUP]to obtain[/SUP] information regarding all firearms seized, forfeited, found, or otherwise coming into the possession of any state or local law-enforcement agency of the Commonwealth [SUB]which are believed to have been used in the commission of a crime[/SUB]. [SUP]All law-enforcement agencies of the Commonwealth and of political subdivisions of the Commonwealth shall share with other Virginia law-enforcement agencies all information regarding firearms seized, forfeited, found, or otherwise coming into their possession that are believed to have been used in the commission of a crime and shall enter such information into a firearms tracing system maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice[/SUP]. The Superintendent shall adopt and promulgate regulations prescribing the form method for reporting this information and the time and manner of submission of the [SUB]form[/SUB] [SUP]information to a firearms tracing system maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice.[/SUP]
[SUB]In addition to any other information which the Superintendent may require, the form shall require (i) the serial number or other identifying information on the firearm, if available, (ii) a brief description of the circumstances under which the firearm came into the possession of the law-enforcement agency, including the crime which was or may have been committed with the firearm, (iii) the name of or other identifying information on the person from whom the firearm was taken, (iv) the original place of sale and, if known, the chain of possession of the firearm, and (v) the disposition of the firearm.[/SUB]
" which are believed to have been used in the commission of a crime". - should not be struck. Move to amend or vote NO



Snip from my letter to my Delegate:
My concern is that without that protective phrase in place, that Law Enforcement will make it a higher priority to "come into possession" of our firearms more often, solely for the purpose of running their serial numbers.

There have been many anecdotal discussions online over the years of traffic stops where some officers disarm people in the vehicle (CHP holders, in these cases) under the auspices of officer safety, but in reality the goal was to run a check on the firearm's serial number.

Disarming in a vehicle raises opportunities for mishaps and misunderstandings, especially in the presence of an officer. It'd be safer if the licensed carrier were allowed to just leave the firearm alone during the stop.

Stories of officers emptying a revolver, leaving the rounds on the road; returning a gun scratched; or telling the driver to leave their firearm on the roof of the car until the officer leaves are some of the nightmare stories told. All of these seemed to be abuses coupled with the desire for the officer looking for an opportunity to run the serial number of the firearm.

I think that removing that phrase, "which are believed to have been used in the commission of a crime", will enable more officers to find an excuse to put more of our firearms into their hands just for the sake of running the serial number.

Having read of those prior abuses, that proposed change leapt out at me as a weakening of our protections against unwarranted and unreasonable searches and seizures in principal, while practically inviting way too much handling of firearms in a civilian-officer encounter instead of leaving things be.

If they have a firearm that they suspect being involved in a crime, then of course, run the number; but if they don't have suspicion, then they shouldn't be fishing.
 
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Maverick9

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Mid-atlantic
You are under no obligation to discuss your firearm. You must produce a photo ID and your carry permit upon demand (in Va).

Never discuss your firearm. AT MOST say 'am I required to reply (to this question)', then ask for a Sergeant to be brought to the scene for clarification and again, inquire 'am I required by law to do other than produce a permit and ID?'. Ask what law. Record everything. Then if they demand, follow the demand and file suit after the fact.

Furthermore, If people would just QUIT lying, confabulating or making stuff up about the need to talk about your gun when stopped in traffic, we'd be better off - here and at other sites. I think some people might just be dimwitted on this topic.
 

Fallschirjmäger

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Never discuss your firearm. AT MOST say 'am I required to reply (to this question)', then ask for a Sergeant to be brought to the scene for clarification and again, inquire 'am I required by law to do other than produce a permit and ID?'. Ask what law. Record everything. Then if they demand, follow the demand and file suit after the fact.
"Yes you ARE required by law to surrender your firearm."
"No, I'm NOT required by law to tell you what the state code is for that. If you do not comply you will be placed under arrest for obstruction and handcuffed."

At court, the officer merely shrugs and says, "Ya honner, I was told it was the law and I understood it was the law. It was only a little misunderstanin' and the defendant was never harmed."

The county solicitor stands up and says, "Your Honor, I move for a dismissal of the charges against Maverick9 and ask that any suit of his in regards to his arrest by Officer Friendly be found to lack standing as Mr Maverick9 suffered no harm as a result of his arrest by Officer Friendly's minor misunderstanding of the law."

((some liberties taken with the exact process as the solicitor likely wouldn't ask for a ruling on possible future event at the time of the trial. (actually it would never reach that point and the prosecution would request a nolle prosequi before it reached court..... but Maverick would still have had a meal or two of peanut butter and mystery meat while he waited for bail))
 
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skidmark

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And once you produce your ID and CHP on demand (probably because the cop was informed you (or the registered owner) have a CHP when he ran your plates he will have a flash of brilliance and think if you have a CHP you may well have a concealed handgun on you. The cop then can decide if he wants to invoke Terry and seek to disarm you "for officer protection".

And if you have a CHP but are OCing and do not have your CHP to produce then the odds of the officer invoking Terry go up.

I'm not saying any of this is right or proper or moral but it is the way things can happen and if they go down that way you will have no leg to stand on about any complaint you may want to make.

I'm also not saying that just because we are skrooed we should roll over and let it happen.

What I am saying is that you need to consider the totality before you climb up on a soapbox and "invoke" your rights. I wish we were all prepared to accept the possible consequences but understand why some are not.

stay safe.
 

Thundar

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Sep 12, 2007
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Newport News, Virginia, USA
In our state, during a routine traffic stop, can an officer take your gun and run its serial number when he does not have RAS or PC to do this?
There are lots of pre-1968 guns without serial numbers.

There are lots of new guns with serial numbers that are hidden by custom grips.

Electrical tape works to prevent a serial number from being in common view.

If you don't want a gun's numbers to be run, don't give police a clear opportunity to run the numbers.
 
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