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Thread: Background check without consent

  1. #1
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    Since the WAC prevents students from carrying a firearm on campus but allows for the storage of one on campus at the WSU police station, I carry my firearm on the bus to school everyday and then check it in with the police department before heading to classes. I check it out at the end of my day and take the bus home. The police department requires that I transport it unloaded but this isn't too much of a problem as I carry the pistol across my chest in my black travel bag (as some of you might have seen at the Olympia dinner) and carry the magazines in one of my pockets. Not the best arrangement but at least I have it.

    The first time you check in your firearm for storage, there is a card that you fill out with your address and the firearm SN that they then use to log your firearm in and out. The other day I looked down at the bottom of this card and noticed a little box labeled "NCIC" checked off and signed by an officer. I asked the officer checking my firearm what this box was (having a good idea of what they had already done) and he explained that it showed that they had run a background check on me and determined that it was legal for me to own a firearm. I also got the impression that they might have run the SN on my pistol.

    My question is, what is the legality surrounding their background check? I've signed no paperwork authorizing a background check and I've given them no probable cause to believe that I can't own a firearm. I just have them store my firearm for the day while I'm in class. This looks a lot like they're running an illegal search of everyone checking a firearm, which I would think would be the same as stopping an OCer and running his information just because the OCer had a pistol on.

    Any thoughts on this?

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    It's not an illegal search because that information is considered public data.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joeroket wrote:
    It's not an illegal search because that information is considered public data.
    If it's public information then why do I have to sign a waiver everytime I apply for a government position stating that it's okay for them to run a background check on me? Also, how would the SN on my personal firearm be public record?

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    Dave The Welder wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    It's not an illegal search because that information is considered public data.
    If it's public information then why do I have to sign a waiver everytime I apply for a government position stating that it's okay for them to run a background check on me?* Also, how would the SN on my personal firearm be public record?
    I'm not sure either way, but I do know generally when I am signing background check release paperwork, they make me sign to allow them access to any mental health records, bank account records, etc. If an NCIS check only checks public records, that would explain the difference between signing and not.

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    Dave The Welder wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    It's not an illegal search because that information is considered public data.
    If it's public information then why do I have to sign a waiver everytime I apply for a government position stating that it's okay for them to run a background check on me? Also, how would the SN on my personal firearm be public record?
    Because some of the things they run for pre-employment positions are not public information. Like credit checks and such.

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    I'm assuming that checking the firearm's serial number is a big no no though.

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    Dave The Welder wrote:
    I'm assuming that checking the firearm's serial number is a big no no though.
    I'm guessing they're checking to see if its stolen.

    Not sure why it would be a no-no. You just handed it to them. I guess itmight be a no-no if you refused consent to the search when you filled out the card. They mightsearch it anyway just because it would make them very suspicious, but maybe they couldn't introduce it as evidence if it turned out to have been reported stolen.

    You could forestall the searchby submitting the gun in a small lockable case. You could even show it to them before locking the case, and even write down the first several digits of the serial number, but writing the last several digits as XXX like in the gun magazines.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

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    Citizen wrote:
    I'm guessing they're checking to see if its stolen.
    What cause do they have to check it though? They can't walk into my house to check to see if I'm doing anything wrong without probable cause and they can't stop me walking down a street OCing a pistol to check that it's not stolen without probable cause so why would they be able to check my firearm that's being stored there without probable cause?

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    Just a guess here, but I would think it would be similiar to when you drop a gun off at a pawnshop or a gunsmith for repairs or such. When posession is given to someone else, before the give it back they are ensuring that the person they are turning it back over to is not a felon or otherwise not allowed to posess a fire arm......



    Just a random guess here.

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    Dave The Welder wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    I'm guessing they're checking to see if its stolen.
    What cause do they have to check it though? They can't walk into my house to check to see if I'm doing anything wrong without probable cause and they can't stop me walking down a street OCing a pistol to check that it's not stolen without probable cause so why would they be able to check my firearm that's being stored there without probable cause?
    Literally. Because they're cops. And because they can--meaningyou can't stop them without a court order or raising a public outcry.

    It is my understanding that there is a rule in 4th Amendment jurisprudence called "the plain sight rule."

    The way I understand it, a police officer is allowed to seize anything illegal thatis in plain sight as long as he has authorityto be in a position toview it.

    There have been a few reports on this forum of police temporarily seizing firearms during traffic stops on a flimsy stretch of Terry and running the serial number to see if it was stolen.

    Iwouldn't bethe least bit surprised ifchecking serial numberswassolidified as a best practice in policeprocedure doctrines.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Patch wrote:
    Just a guess here, but I would think it would be similiar to when you drop a gun off at a pawnshop or a gunsmith for repairs or such. When posession is given to someone else, before the give it back they are ensuring that the person they are turning it back over to is not a felon or otherwise not allowed to posess a fire arm......



    Just a random guess here.
    Never had or ever heard of a gunsmith running numbers.

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    I talked with a friend of mine who was a gunsmith about this a few days ago and I believe he said that they can only run the check if the firearm is left with them for longer than one business day. Anything that is in and out in a day doesn't get run.

    Also, the plain sight rule only applies if they see something that they reasonably believe is illegal. It doesn't apply to running background checks on random things like my firearm because if it did, then we'd all get stopped by cops wherever we OCed and they'd run the numbers on our guns to see if they were legal. They can only seize something if they have probable cause to believe that it's illegal and me carrying a firearm, or checking one in for that matter, isn't enough to warrant a search because there's nothing in those actions that's illegal.

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    Neither a gunsmith or a pawnshop has the ability to "run the numbers". A gunsmith has a legal responsibility to log the gun into their inventory, and transfer it back out when it is returned to you. A pawnshpop has the same legal obligation, except, when returning the gun to you you must fill out the 4473 and a NICS check is done.

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    Neither a gunsmith or a pawnshop has the ability to "run the numbers". A gunsmith has a legal responsibility to log the gun into their inventory, and transfer it back out when it is returned to you. A pawnshpop has the same legal obligation, except, when returning the gun to you you must fill out the 4473 and a NICS check is done.

    The pawnshops are checked on a regular basis by the local PD or Sheriff office to do stolen checks. The gunsmith or a dealer is checked on a regular basis by an agent of Booze, Butts and BANG BANG (alcohol, tobaco and firearms and explosives)

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    Dave The Welder wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    It's not an illegal search because that information is considered public data.
    If it's public information then why do I have to sign a waiver everytime I apply for a government position stating that it's okay for them to run a background check on me? Also, how would the SN on my personal firearm be public record?
    Your not signing a waiver, they may actually make you thing that it is one though, but rather signing a form stating who you are claiming to be.

    The SN would be public info because it is part of the DOL and their records are public.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joeroket wrote:
    The SN would be public info because it is part of the DOL and their records are public.
    The serial number on my firearm is kept in a public database under the DOL???? The same DOL that issues me my drivers license? I thought we had laws against the government keeping records of firearms?
    I'm not saying that anybodies wrong, but some of these posts are sounding pretty far out there.

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    Dave The Welder wrote:
    Also, the plain sight rule only applies if they see something that they reasonably believe is illegal. It doesn't apply to running background checks on random things like my firearm because if it did, then we'd all get stopped by cops wherever we OCed and they'd run the numbers on our guns to see if they were legal. They can only seize something if they have probable cause to believe that it's illegal and me carrying a firearm, or checking one in for that matter, isn't enough to warrant a search because there's nothing in those actions that's illegal.
    I'm not trying to say that it applies directly. My fault for not clarifying.

    I'm trying to relate that police are not expected ignore possible evidence in plain sight. Neither would they be, I'm guessing, expected to ignore the possibility that the gun might be stolen when it is delivered into their handsconsensually.

    I don't like it either. It is too much government intrusiveness. Also, whether they run the NICS check or not, they can now registerthe gun to you. I'm assuming they have your name and the serial number on the same piece of paper?
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Dave The Welder wrote:
    SNIP ...checking one in for that matter, isn't enough to warrant a search because there's nothing in those actions that's illegal.
    I agree wholeheartedly. Like I said earlier, I think it will take a court to stop it, or raising a hue and cryingby the public.

    Realize that they are only restrained by 4th Amendment case law. Unless there is a court opinion that says, "no,"they get to do what they want. They know your only option is to sue, or get the evidence tossed out under the concept that it was the fruit ofan illegal search. The latter doesn't you or me any good if we're not arrested andaren'ton trial. I don't know enough aboutsuing in these circumstances to guage success, but the cost would stop most folks from suing.

    And people wonder why I'mvery picky about rights when it comes to police encounters.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    joeroket wrote
    The SN would be public info because it is part of the DOL and their records are public.
    I don't think it's necessarily an issue of public info. I think it's an issue of following restrictions in affect by WSP as part of the ACCESS system. Admittedly, a lot of time has passed since I last went through a certification class (ACCESS is WA state connection to all DB's WACIC/NCIC, DOC, WASIS, DOL etc). When we trained a new dispatcher, we were not allowed (this is written rule v. reality) to run our own name, plate, etc. You were given a number of fictitious names and plates to run for training purposes. Everything else had to be legitimate police business. I no longer have access to ACCESS :quirky but this does not pass the smell test for me. I'm betting that either something on the form specifically grants them permission to verify your status to legally to carry or they are operating outside the scope of their authority. I think it is definitely worth following up.

    Now this whole NICS thing came into affect several years after I stopped PD dispatching, so if someone has more insight, I will happily stand corrected.

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    Dave, you should just shut up and quit asking questions. Those type of questions are dangerous and show you do not have enough respect for law enforcement. Your questions are generally associated with people who quote the Constitution and frequent gun-related internet forums. For your sake, quit thinking and stop trying to hold LE accountable to the law.
    *sarcasm off*

    I agree with you Dave, it's none of their business, and they have no probable cause, but the sad fact is they do it "because we can."

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    Citizen wrote:
    Dave The Welder wrote:
    Also, the plain sight rule only applies if they see something that they reasonably believe is illegal. It doesn't apply to running background checks on random things like my firearm because if it did, then we'd all get stopped by cops wherever we OCed and they'd run the numbers on our guns to see if they were legal. They can only seize something if they have probable cause to believe that it's illegal and me carrying a firearm, or checking one in for that matter, isn't enough to warrant a search because there's nothing in those actions that's illegal.
    I'm not trying to say that it applies directly. My fault for not clarifying.

    I'm trying to relate that police are not expected ignore possible evidence in plain sight. Neither would they be, I'm guessing, expected to ignore the possibility that the gun might be stolen when it is delivered into their handsconsensually.

    I don't like it either. It is too much government intrusiveness. Also, whether they run the NICS check or not, they can now registerthe gun to you. I'm assuming they have your name and the serial number on the same piece of paper?
    When's the last time a criminal with a stolen gun ever turned it into the police to hold it for him while in class? This is just plain over stepping the bounds of invation of privacy. The"We can do as we please because we are cops" attitude. It's abuse of authority from the word go.

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