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Thread: disarmed during traffic stop

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    disarmed during traffic stop

    i was recently pulled over by a state trooper who claimed he pulled me over for having tinted taillights. just fyi they are not tinted they are the factory installed taillights he argued with me about this for a few minutes but that is not the point no ticket was issued. my issue was that my firearm was taken at the beginning of the traffic stop. i don't normally announce that i am armed in a stop but my gun was holstered between the console and the passenger seat and the officer approached from that side. i assumed he would notice it so i immediately handed my drivers licence and my ccw permit. he didn't see it but asked are you armed and where is it i told him and then he claimed for his safety he was taking my firearm, i understand the thought but what about my safety how many times have people been robbed or murdered under a false traffic stop? and i believe i should have been protected under illegal search and seizure am i justified in filing a complaint i was also flagged with my own firearm he pointed it directly at me.

    boyscout i would like to hear from you on this did you file complaint after your seizure? and what was the result?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus92183 View Post
    i was recently pulled over by a state trooper who claimed he pulled me over for having tinted taillights. just fyi they are not tinted they are the factory installed taillights he argued with me about this for a few minutes but that is not the point no ticket was issued. my issue was that my firearm was taken at the beginning of the traffic stop. i don't normally announce that i am armed in a stop but my gun was holstered between the console and the passenger seat and the officer approached from that side. i assumed he would notice it so i immediately handed my drivers licence and my ccw permit. he didn't see it but asked are you armed and where is it i told him and then he claimed for his safety he was taking my firearm, i understand the thought but what about my safety how many times have people been robbed or murdered under a false traffic stop? and i believe i should have been protected under illegal search and seizure am i justified in filing a complaint i was also flagged with my own firearm he pointed it directly at me.

    boyscout i would like to hear from you on this did you file complaint after your seizure? and what was the result?
    Sorry you feel you had a negative experience. If the stop was justified through reasonable suspicion of a crime, then seizing the firearm for the duration of the stop is legal and often common practice. When in a traffic stop I also usually inform the officer that I'm carrying. Sometimes they choose to seize it, sometimes they just say, "don't touch yours and I won't touch mine." It's going to depend on the individual officer and his level of trust in you. If you were being argumentative about the taillight, it may have given the officer more reason to believe you may be a danger to him. I assume the firearm was returned at the end of the stop? If so, there was no illegal search, and there was no illegal seizure here.

    Now, about the officer flagging you with the firearm. That's probably something I would inform his superiors of. The officer should be counseled for unsafe firearm handling, especially considering recent events where state troopers have had NDs. I would advise to keep your complaint on the subject of the flagging, and not protesting the fact that he seized it because such a seizure was perfectly legal and is probably protocol in that situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    Sorry you feel you had a negative experience. If the stop was justified through reasonable suspicion of a crime, then seizing the firearm for the duration of the stop is legal and often common practice. When in a traffic stop I also usually inform the officer that I'm carrying. Sometimes they choose to seize it, sometimes they just say, "don't touch yours and I won't touch mine." It's going to depend on the individual officer and his level of trust in you. If you were being argumentative about the taillight, it may have given the officer more reason to believe you may be a danger to him. I assume the firearm was returned at the end of the stop? If so, there was no illegal search, and there was no illegal seizure here.

    Now, about the officer flagging you with the firearm. That's probably something I would inform his superiors of. The officer should be counseled for unsafe firearm handling, especially considering recent events where state troopers have had NDs. I would advise to keep your complaint on the subject of the flagging, and not protesting the fact that he seized it because such a seizure was perfectly legal and is probably protocol in that situation.
    the firearm was taken immediately before any discussion about the lights. i wasn't sure about the seizure it may be protocol but doesn't seem right to me. do you know of anything written in statutes or with more info on temporary seizures in situations like this? everything i found in my search was opinion not law.

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    You definitely should complain even though it may be legal in your state. It is still wrong, and we need to keep working nationwide to reverse the commonality of cops doing this. Every documented experience helps.

    Start with the complaint process locally. Keep the emphasis on the SAFETY aspect. Handling loaded firearms is not safe for ANYONE, including the police officer who is often handling one with which he may be unfamiliar.

    Be respectful and recognize that the officer is likely just following common procedure. Focus on the wrongness of the procedure, not the officer, and your complaint will be better received.
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    How can the 2nd amendment mean anything if a cop can just walk to you and ask you for your gun?

    If a cop feels his safety is an issue he can just walk away.
    Last edited by davidmcbeth; 03-24-2013 at 01:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    How can the 2nd amendment mean anything if a cop can just walk to you and ask you for your gun?

    If a cop feels his safety is an issue he can just walk away.
    Your example is completely different from the example in the OP. A cop CAN'T just come up to you and demand your gun. However, if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you've committed a crime, then yes, he can disarm you. He can't just walk away. His job is to enforce the law, which you've broken. That's why he's taking your gun, not because he wants to, but because you've broken the law and he's obligated to stop you for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    You definitely should complain even though it may be legal in your state. It is still wrong, and we need to keep working nationwide to reverse the commonality of cops doing this. Every documented experience helps.

    Start with the complaint process locally. Keep the emphasis on the SAFETY aspect. Handling loaded firearms is not safe for ANYONE, including the police officer who is often handling one with which he may be unfamiliar.

    Be respectful and recognize that the officer is likely just following common procedure. Focus on the wrongness of the procedure, not the officer, and your complaint will be better received.
    I really don't think it is wrong. If an officer has reasonable suspicion of crime, and he believes that you are armed and also dangerous, then he can seize the weapon for the duration of the stop. This is not wrong at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus92183 View Post
    the firearm was taken immediately before any discussion about the lights. i wasn't sure about the seizure it may be protocol but doesn't seem right to me. do you know of anything written in statutes or with more info on temporary seizures in situations like this? everything i found in my search was opinion not law.
    An officer does not have to inform you why he stopped you before seizing the weapon. All that matters is that he has RS. He doesn't have to tell you what his RS is. When they pull the dash footage and the radio traffic he's going to say over the radio, "car with license plate XXXXXX has dimmed tail lights, stopping him now" That shows that he has RS before making the stop, and that gives him the right to seize the weapon for the duration of the stop as per Terry v Ohio. Officers tend to be very well trained on traffic stops. It's not often that they stop someone without RS of a crime in a traffic stop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    I really don't think it is wrong. If an officer has reasonable suspicion of crime, and he believes that you are armed and also dangerous, then he can seize the weapon for the duration of the stop. This is not wrong at all.

    The determination of RS is decided by a court, not a cop; therefore, there is no RS until a judge rules that there was....

    Just a viewpoint .... otherwise, any cop can just take away your gun whenever HE believes that RS is present ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    The determination of RS is decided by a court, not a cop; therefore, there is no RS until a judge rules that there was....

    Just a viewpoint .... otherwise, any cop can just take away your gun whenever HE believes that RS is present ...
    Cite?

    Never mind. This is TOTAL BRAVO SIERRA. All one has to do is read any of a dozen legal opinions on RS, starting with Terry. It is the cop who has RS and then can act on it. He may have to articulate that RS to a court that may or may not agree that he had it, but the RS clearly pre-exists any court even looking at it.

    Folks, this guy never cites law but makes constant pronouncements about it. For your own legal safety and physical safety, don't take legal advice from IANALs on the Internet, not even me. Others may point you in the right direction for the information, but for the love of all that is holy, read it for yourself, and never never never ever listen to this poster and his take on the law!!!!!!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    The determination of RS is decided by a court, not a cop; therefore, there is no RS until a judge rules that there was....

    Just a viewpoint .... otherwise, any cop can just take away your gun whenever HE believes that RS is present ...
    So you're saying that a cop that gets reasonable suspicion of a crime on the street must take that RS to a judge and get the judge to rule on it before he can make the stop? This is ludicrous. You need to read Terry v Ohio... When the cop, based on HIS experience and HIS observations suspects criminal activity he can make the stop and if HE suspects you are armed and dangerous, then he's allowed to seize the weapon for the duration of the stop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    So you're saying that a cop that gets reasonable suspicion of a crime on the street must take that RS to a judge and get the judge to rule on it before he can make the stop? This is ludicrous. You need to read Terry v Ohio... When the cop, based on HIS experience and HIS observations suspects criminal activity he can make the stop and if HE suspects you are armed and dangerous, then he's allowed to seize the weapon for the duration of the stop.
    I think what David is saying that the officer claiming he has RAS is not always the case, and in the long run a court is the one to determine for sure the officer indeed did have RAS. You guys are so hot to challenge David no matter what he says it makes your credibility no better than what you claim of him. In fact in this case the officer DID NOT have RAS because the taillight were indeed legal. What is legal is not illegal and not a crime. David really does not need a cite for what is legal, YOU need to provide cites what you claim is illegal or claim is RAS. In other words prove the OP committed a crime, or was suspected of a crime.

    I agree when it is the arse on the line one should seek an attorney, but try to keep personal feelings out of attacks on other members.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    An officer does not have to inform you why he stopped you before seizing the weapon. All that matters is that he has RS. He doesn't have to tell you what his RS is. When they pull the dash footage and the radio traffic he's going to say over the radio, "car with license plate XXXXXX has dimmed tail lights, stopping him now" That shows that he has RS before making the stop, and that gives him the right to seize the weapon for the duration of the stop as per Terry v Ohio. Officers tend to be very well trained on traffic stops. It's not often that they stop someone without RS of a crime in a traffic stop.
    Please cite the bold sections?
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    Cop claims (alleges) illegal taillight covers, infraction as far as I know in every state and DC. This justifies disarming the driver because the cop learns that the driver is armed?!?!?!?!?!? WTF!!!!!!!

    I'd lawyer up and lay it to that cop and his department. That cop is not fit to be a cop.

    If anyone gives this cop the benefit of the doubt you are anti-liberty and anti-citizen.

    By the way, a "illegal" tail light cover is not what Terry is about re disarming a citizen for the officer's safety because the driver did not pose a danger to the cop. Unless of course every cop citizen contact equates to a danger to that cop in your anti-liberty view.

    You folks who use the "infraction" as an excuse to invoke the Terry rule to disarm a citizen are way off base.

    Cop apologists all of you if you think the cop had any legal authority to disarm that citizen.......for a alleged "illegal" tail light cover.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    Cop claims (alleges) illegal taillight covers, infraction as far as I know in every state and DC. This justifies disarming the driver because the cop learns that the driver is armed?!?!?!?!?!? WTF!!!!!!!

    I'd lawyer up and lay it to that cop and his department. That cop is not fit to be a cop.

    If anyone gives this cop the benefit of the doubt you are anti-liberty and anti-citizen.

    By the way, a "illegal" tail light cover is not what Terry is about re disarming a citizen for the officer's safety because the driver did not pose a danger to the cop. Unless of course every cop citizen contact equates to a danger to that cop in your anti-liberty view.

    You folks who use the "infraction" as an excuse to invoke the Terry rule to disarm a citizen are way off base.

    Cop apologists all of you if you think the cop had any legal authority to disarm that citizen.......for a alleged "illegal" tail light cover.
    The cop did not even bother to write a ticket for the alleged taillight, even after the OP admits he disagreed with him, indicating it was a bogus stop to begin with. Most likely the cop run the plate with the intention of seizing the gun and running it. So it came back clean and the cop let him go. This is again the problem with permits, it puts you on the radar for gun confiscation.

    For anyone to claim this officer had RAS is most likely a statist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    So you're saying that a cop that gets reasonable suspicion of a crime on the street must take that RS to a judge and get the judge to rule on it before he can make the stop? This is ludicrous. You need to read Terry v Ohio... When the cop, based on HIS experience and HIS observations suspects criminal activity he can make the stop and if HE suspects you are armed and dangerous, then he's allowed to seize the weapon for the duration of the stop.
    Nope, not saying that. Just saying that RAS is a legal conclusion, not a factual one.

    Terry v. Ohio good case law.

    I just see an issue with having a right to keep and bear and cops can just ask you for your gun and you are supposed to say "OK". Its like that case in Indiana where their supreme court ruled that you have no right to resist an unlawful entry into your home ...

    Two types of folks want your gun (outside antis).... 1st) those concerned about their own safety 2nd) those who want to cause you some harm

    I'm not a mind reader ... soooo ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Nope, not saying that. Just saying that RAS is a legal conclusion, not a factual one.

    Terry v. Ohio good case law.

    I just see an issue with having a right to keep and bear and cops can just ask you for your gun and you are supposed to say "OK". Its like that case in Indiana where their supreme court ruled that you have no right to resist an unlawful entry into your home ...

    Two types of folks want your gun (outside antis).... 1st) those concerned about their own safety 2nd) those who want to cause you some harm

    I'm not a mind reader ... soooo ...
    Anyone can walk up to you and ASK you for your gun, and you can tell them no.... I don't see a problem with that...

    A cop can't demand your gun or take your gun unless they suspect you of crime. I also don't have a problem with that... How is an officer supposed to do his job if he can't seize a weapon from a criminal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    Anyone can walk up to you and ASK you for your gun, and you can tell them no.... I don't see a problem with that...

    A cop can't demand your gun or take your gun unless they suspect you of crime. I also don't have a problem with that... How is an officer supposed to do his job if he can't seize a weapon from a criminal?
    Anyone? False premise. Not a single citizen would logically walk up to you and ask for your gun. A cop, on the other hand, can walk up to you and "ask" for your gun. The rub is if you refuse. What then?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus92183 View Post
    i was recently pulled over by a state trooper who claimed he pulled me over for having tinted taillights. just fyi they are not tinted they are the factory installed taillights he argued with me about this for a few minutes but that is not the point no ticket was issued. my issue was that my firearm was taken at the beginning of the traffic stop. i don't normally announce that i am armed in a stop but my gun was holstered between the console and the passenger seat and the officer approached from that side. i assumed he would notice it so i immediately handed my drivers licence and my ccw permit. he didn't see it but asked are you armed and where is it i told him and then he claimed for his safety he was taking my firearm, i understand the thought but what about my safety how many times have people been robbed or murdered under a false traffic stop? and i believe i should have been protected under illegal search and seizure am i justified in filing a complaint i was also flagged with my own firearm he pointed it directly at me.

    boyscout i would like to hear from you on this did you file complaint after your seizure? and what was the result?
    For your safety never tell an officer you are armed. You are not better of with him having two guns and you not having one. If a person doesn't plan on shooting him he doesn't need to know that he has a gun. If someone does plan on shooting him he is not going to tell the cop anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flashlight View Post
    For your safety never tell an officer you are armed. You are not better of with him having two guns and you not having one. If a person doesn't plan on shooting him he doesn't need to know that he has a gun. If someone does plan on shooting him he is not going to tell the cop anyways.
    Unless he is required to by state law you are correct. When the OP told the officer he had a gun, he opened himself up for the seizure of that gun. Just keep the mouth shut.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    Anyone? False premise. Not a single citizen would logically walk up to you and ask for your gun. A cop, on the other hand, can walk up to you and "ask" for your gun. The rub is if you refuse. What then?
    And cops aren't walking up to people and asking for your gun either... That's my point. When a police officer seizes your gun during a justifiable stop, it's not just a cop asking you for your gun, it's a cop taking your gun because you broke the law... They're allowed to do that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flashlight View Post
    For your safety never tell an officer you are armed. You are not better of with him having two guns and you not having one. If a person doesn't plan on shooting him he doesn't need to know that he has a gun. If someone does plan on shooting him he is not going to tell the cop anyways.
    I don't always agree with that mentality either. There are situations where it is safer for you to disclose that you have a gun early in the conversation to prevent yourself from getting shot later when he discovers it on his own. I think if the possibility exists that the officer will find the gun during the stop, then you should inform so it's not a surprise which could cause him to shoot you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    And cops aren't walking up to people and asking for your gun either... That's my point. When a police officer seizes your gun during a justifiable stop, it's not just a cop asking you for your gun, it's a cop taking your gun because you broke the law... They're allowed to do that.
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    Last edited by davidmcbeth; 03-25-2013 at 09:08 PM.

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    Folks, again, watch out for these IANALs on the Internet.

    You have no way of knowing whether or not the cop has RAS. He does not have to articulate his RS to YOU. He has to be ABLE to articulate it in court. If he does not articulate his RS to YOU, but he has it, and you do not follow your State law regarding things you must do during a legitimate stop, YOU have committed a crime.

    You need to find out only if you are being detained. If you are, lawful or not (you have no way of knowing for sure, so assume it is lawful), follow the law for disarming yourself and identifying yourself. If the detention was unlawful, that is for a court to resolve LATER.

    Again, if you follow some of the advice you get around here, you could end up dead or in jail, and despite any protestations to the contrary, it may be totally lawful.

    Do no more than the law requires during a detention. Always try to end the encounter by asking if you are free to go. If you are not, clearly state that you consent to no searches or seizures. But assume that the stop is lawful, and do everything that the law requires you to do during a lawful stop.

    Do not even take anything I said here at face value. It is not legal advice. It is what I would do. Verify these actions with a lawyer, or read the law for yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    I really don't think it is wrong. If an officer has reasonable suspicion of crime, and he believes that you are armed and also dangerous, then he can seize the weapon for the duration of the stop. This is not wrong at all.
    So a traffic violation is a "crime" worthy of this?

    Your opinion? Your state law? Or both?

    Because I completely disagree that this should be acceptable.

    How are you defining "also dangerous?" Are you implying one can be armed but not dangerous? I could agree with this, so what about a routine traffic stop would give RAS of "also dangerous?"
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