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Thread: Police cannot just come into your home and copy your Serial No.

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    This is my first post, I have been OCign for about 9-10 months or so. Last October I had a somewhat-bad run-in with a local LEO regarding my OC of my revolver the night before. Nearing the end of our confrontation my father had been contacted by a friend and shortly arrived on scene, he invited the officer to our home after the LEO had stated that he would like to see the handgun. While inspecting my fiream the Sgt. proceeded to write down the serial number and promptly left shortly there after.

    I have recently been trying to figure out whether or not the LEO was within his rights to copy the serial number of one of my firearms, considering he was not given permission, he was a guest in my home, I had commited no crimes, and my firearm has never been involved in any crimes. Granted, I am aware that very little can be done with my serial number, and unless I commit a crime with the gun, I don't have much to fear, but I felt violated by this and several of the LEO's acts that night. I assume he took the SN to run a check on the firearm, and I assume that he (obvious to me) hasn't found anything on the firearm. In my searching I have found things which seem to suggest that this act could be considered an unlawful private search and seizure assuming that the firearm AND serial are my personal property. I don't know all of the laws though (no one knows them all), and ive had a hell of a time finding anything related to this situation, so I turn to these forums I have watched for near a year now, to make my first post and request its members help.

    ty in advance

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    hekel wrote:
    This is my first post, I have been OCign for about 9-10 months or so. Last October I had a somewhat-bad run-in with a local LEO regarding my OC of my revolver the night before. Nearing the end of our confrontation my father had been contacted by a friend and shortly arrived on scene, he invited the officer to our home after the LEO had stated that he would like to see the handgun. While inspecting my fiream the Sgt. proceeded to write down the serial number and promptly left shortly there after.

    I have recently been trying to figure out whether or not the LEO was within his rights to copy the serial number of one of my firearms, considering he was not given permission, he was a guest in my home, I had commited no crimes, and my firearm has never been involved in any crimes. Granted, I am aware that very little can be done with my serial number, and unless I commit a crime with the gun, I don't have much to fear, but I felt violated by this and several of the LEO's acts that night. I assume he took the SN to run a check on the firearm, and I assume that he (obvious to me) hasn't found anything on the firearm. In my searching I have found things which seem to suggest that this act could be considered an unlawful private search and seizure assuming that the firearm AND serial are my personal property. I don't know all of the laws though (no one knows them all), and ive had a hell of a time finding anything related to this situation, so I turn to these forums I have watched for near a year now, to make my first post and request its members help.

    ty in advance
    As you stated... he was a guest in your home. He requested and you obliged to show him your gun.

    Once you handed him the gun he was well within his rights to look the gun over and make any notes he wanted until you took it away.

    If you ask to see my can of soda and you start writing down the calories.. there is no violation of my rights. I gave it to you!!It may be a little different if I just pick up the soda can without asking.

    Now if he came in as a guest and started looking around in drawers for your gun without your permission you would have an illegal search. If he took the gun and kept it... that would be a seizure.

    So there was no "search" or "seizure" of anything that night.


  3. #3
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    hekel wrote:
    This is my first post, I have been OCign for about 9-10 months or so. Last October I had a somewhat-bad run-in with a local LEO regarding my OC of my revolver the night before. Nearing the end of our confrontation my father had been contacted by a friend and shortly arrived on scene, he invited the officer to our home after the LEO had stated that he would like to see the handgun. While inspecting my fiream the Sgt. proceeded to write down the serial number and promptly left shortly there after.

    I have recently been trying to figure out whether or not the LEO was within his rights to copy the serial number of one of my firearms, considering he was not given permission, he was a guest in my home, I had commited no crimes, and my firearm has never been involved in any crimes. Granted, I am aware that very little can be done with my serial number, and unless I commit a crime with the gun, I don't have much to fear, but I felt violated by this and several of the LEO's acts that night. I assume he took the SN to run a check on the firearm, and I assume that he (obvious to me) hasn't found anything on the firearm. In my searching I have found things which seem to suggest that this act could be considered an unlawful private search and seizure assuming that the firearm AND serial are my personal property. I don't know all of the laws though (no one knows them all), and ive had a hell of a time finding anything related to this situation, so I turn to these forums I have watched for near a year now, to make my first post and request its members help.

    ty in advance
    Welcome to the boards. You are right to be sceptical of this officer, but unfortunately this is not an example of violating your rights. You made a few (very understandable) mistakes:

    1. You allowed the officer to come into your home, which means that he was not searching your home.

    2.You allowed the officer to see your gun.

    Remember, just because an officer asks for something does not mean that you are required to satisfy that request. Odds are, if the officer doesn't have to ask, he won't. He had to ask "may I come in" or have been invited in to the house to have come in in the first place. If this was a problem, you should have said "No". You would not be in trouble for doing so, and if you were being investigated for an articulable crime, he could have gotten a warrant. But because you allowed him inside, he didn't need one.

    As for the firearm, he asked to see it and you showed it to him. He can write down the serial number if he wants, because you have forfeited your protection against unwarranted searches by allowing him to see the gun. Again, if he was justified in seeing the gun, he probably wouldn't have asked, he would have ordered you to retrieve the gun.

    I know that it is difficult, and it can escalate the situation sometimes, but I would always advise against complying with a police officer's requests. Comply with his orders, but only comply with his "requests" if you want to, or he has a warrant.

    It's hard to say no to cops, but you should try it.

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    hekel wrote:
    SNIPI felt violated by this and several of the LEO's acts that night.
    Welcome to OCDO!

    Its no wonder you felt violated. Your rights were violated. The 4th Amendment guarantees your right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Assuming you are not witholding important information about the negative OC encounter, it is unreasonable for a police officer who disagrees with your OC to come to your home to inspect the gun and copy down the serial number. He was fishing.

    However--and this is a very big however--the government does not see it that way. The way the government sees it, when you and/or your father consented, you waived your 4th Amendment rights. Thus, by consenting, you gave up any protections afforded to you by the courts under the 4th Amendment.

    You and your father should watch this video: http://tinyurl.com/2sb2ho Its a video by FlexYourRights.orgabout exercising your rights during a police encounter.

    You and your father should also watch this video about the 5th and 6th Amendment: http://tinyurl.com/4f6uh8 It isa law professorgiving vital information about talking to police.

    Tell us more about the OC encounter.
    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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    First off, welcome to OCDO.

    I agree with LEO229. I think it essentially falls under plain sight. You invite cop in. Cop sees gun. Cop says, may I see gun? Cop is given gun. In plain sight on a pistol is the serial number. He wrote it down instead of memorizing it. Same result. He has your SN and type of firearm.

    I do not let LEOs, excepting friends, in my home, period. End of story. I have had officers come to my house to determine if I was a witness and I talk to them on the porch and completely close the door behind me when I go outside. I have nothing to hide. I have nothing illegal or even illicit in my home, however, I have a right to privacy and choose to exercise that right in that manner. In your case you had no choice I would guess as I assume your father owns and resides in the home so he had the right to invite the LEO in regardless of your opinion on the matter.

    If something similar ever recurs, perhaps your best response if asked to surrender your firearm is to say something like, "I'm sorry, Sir, but I am just not comfortable with other people handling my sidearm." or if holsterd, "I'm sorry sir, but I know everyone is safe if my pistol remains holstered and would therefore rather not handle it for any reason at this time."
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    deepdiver wrote:
    ...
    If something similar ever recurs, perhaps your best response if asked to surrender your firearm is to say something like, "I'm sorry, Sir, but I am just not comfortable with other people handling my sidearm." or if holsterd, "I'm sorry sir, but I know everyone is safe if my pistol remains holstered and would therefore rather not handle it for any reason at this time."
    or "no".

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    Thank you all again, for your comments. I personally was aware that I was not required to let this man into my home or show him the handgun, but as deepdiver stated, I didnt have too much of a choice, it was my fathers house, and he wasnt 100% on the laws regardign OC in the first place, he didnt know I was in teh right so he sided with the officer and there was nothing I could say or do about it, so i tried to comply. Honestly, if I had been on my own and hadnt been worried about giving my father a call from jail in the morning, I would have let (even nudged w/o doing anything unlawful) the LEO arrest me that night, as he threatened to at least 5 times because he claimed it was unlawful for me to posess a handgun in Pennsylvania under the age of 21 (I was 19 at the time). It really hadn't occured to me untill reading everyones posts (it was pretty obvious in LEO 229's first post) that this LEO hadn't really obtained the serial unlawfully because i had always felt that in this situation I was almost forced to comply under the circumstances, though I truely wasn't forced.

    Citizen wrote:
    *SNIP* ..Tell us more about the OC encounter.
    For those of you interested in the datails (even though I was trying to avoid mentioning it :P ), I understand that my brother started a thread the night of the inccident, which can be found HERE.

    One of the things i have come to realise, from my own experiences and reading these forums is; regardless of who the individule is, we cant back down, cant be intimidated, cant give in. I know, that situation being my first confrontation with an LEO regarding OC, especially since i had only been carryign abotu a month at the time, I did allow him to intimidate me. In the months leadign up to the first time i open carried, I studdied my rights and the laws, to try and ensure i was prepared for confrontation, I think i did well, but i can guarantee i wont be intimidated again, and i wont back down from what I know is right.

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    expvideo wrote:
    deepdiver wrote:
    ...
    If something similar ever recurs, perhaps your best response if asked to surrender your firearm is to say something like, "I'm sorry, Sir, but I am just not comfortable with other people handling my sidearm." or if holsterd, "I'm sorry sir, but I know everyone is safe if my pistol remains holstered and would therefore rather not handle it for any reason at this time."
    or "no".
    Well, yeah, there is that as well. :P
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    http://www.regent.edu/admin/media/schlaw/LawPreview
    This video hasnt worked for me, it hasnt loaded, I've tried several browsers and a few ways to attempt to get around it. The page and everything load, but the video wont play. Its probably just another of the sparce kinks in my plugins (using linux), but does anyone else have an issue?

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    First, Welcome to the board. As my boss likes to say, "It works on my computer." I have seen this somewhere on utube. You may be able to search them and see it that way. Also, I agree with going to the flexyourights web site. They have some very good info.

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    Ty, I checked out flexyourrights.org last night, and i still have the tab open today.
    I also tried viewing http://www.regent.edu/admin/media/schlaw/LawPreview/ from windows running internet exploder, but no go. I've been searching on youtube for it, no luck either.

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    hekel wrote:
    i had always felt that in this situation I was almost forced to comply under the circumstances
    It's an academic point, because trying to assert it would certainly mean a long series of court cases, and it's clearly not worth the effort, but the US Supreme Court and various lower courts have held at times that feeling coerced is the same as being coerced. That's an important part of the Miranda ruling, and was the key element of the recent Brendlin v California ruling, in which the USSC decided that when police stop a vehicle based on a suspicion of the driver, the passengers are also being detained because they don't feel that they are free to leave, even though they are.

    It's possible that if, say, your gun had been used to commit a crime and that fact were used to implicate you in the crime, you might be able to get the evidence of your ownership of the gun (assuming the police couldn't link it to you some other way) suppressed because you felt coerced. It would be far from a slam dunk, but the perception of coercion does matter, almost as much as the fact of coercion.

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    hekel wrote:
    Ty, I checked out flexyourrights.org last night, and i still have the tab open today.
    I also tried viewing http://www.regent.edu/admin/media/schlaw/LawPreview/ from windows running internet exploder, but no go. I've been searching on youtube for it, no luck either.
    http://deimos.apple.com/WebObjects/C...58.01531303460

    The original link, regent.edu is overloaded at 20 viewers.

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    http://deimos.apple.com/WebObjects/C...58.01531303460 The original link, regent.edu is overloaded at 20 viewers.
    I tried that too, but apparently I need itunes to to view it, and the wonderful people at Apple havnt released a Linux version. (not that I'd use it if they did )

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    hekel wrote:
    Doug Huffman wrote:
    http://deimos.apple.com/WebObjects/C...58.01531303460 The original link, regent.edu is overloaded at 20 viewers.
    I tried that too, but apparently I need itunes to to view it, and the wonderful people at Apple havnt released a Linux version. (not that I'd use it if they did )
    Make sure you watch it. I think you need it more than most.

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    Welcome!

    As everyone else said, you waived your rights by consenting. Better luck next time. At least you know now not to go along with it regardless of how "friendly" (or not) the LEO might be.

    I took a lot of heat for suggesting what might happen due to giving consent to searches over on http://www.pafoa.org/forum/concealed...hird-kind.html

    One of the reasons I don't post there anymore...

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    ama-gi wrote:
    Make sure you watch it. I think you need it more than most.
    I actually came across the link on a different thread before i even registered, I have been trying to view it several ways for about 30 hours off and on now. Since everyone seems to be sayign it is definitly worth the watch, I decided to install Windows via an emulator so that i can install itunes, and i have been DLing the video for about 20 minutes now. I'll watch it before long.

    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Welcome!

    As everyone else said, you waived your rights by consenting. Better luck next time. At least you know now not to go along with it regardless of how "friendly" (or not) the LEO might be.

    I took a lot of heat for suggesting what might happen due to giving consent to searches over on http://www.pafoa.org/forum/concealed...hird-kind.html

    One of the reasons I don't post there anymore...
    Thanks.
    Yes I'm now aware as I have said, that I realize that I consented, even though I wasn't quite aware of this during the encounter, because I had felt presured and didnt know better at the time.
    I did however mention to my father when we were in the truck heading home with the officer following us, that he should not have invited them back to the house let alone inside. Also several times during my confrontation with the officer before my dad arrived, I had asked the officer if I was being detained, and asked if I could leave (to which I never received a straight answer, but a smart mouth and hostility), among other instances where I did continuously made an effort to protect myself and my rights.

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    hekel wrote:
    SNIP Also several times during my confrontation with the officer before my dad arrived, I had asked the officer if I was being detained, and asked if I could leave (to which I never received a straight answer, but a smart mouth and hostility), among other instances where I did continuously made an effort to protect myself and my rights.
    It seems to have turned out well in the end.

    Your rights are your rights whether the officer gives you straight answers or not.

    The next is my understanding. I'm not a lawyer. However, I'm not unstudied on the subject, either. It seems to me that one way to remove any doubt about a detention is to refuse consent to the encounter itself. I'm not sufficiently familiar with PA case law to be able to say for sure. Maybe somebody else can chime in with something solid.
    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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    LEO 229 wrote:

    As you stated... he was a guest in your home. He requested and you obliged to show him your gun.

    Once you handed him the gun he was well within his rights to look the gun over and make any notes he wanted until you took it away.

    If you ask to see my can of soda and you start writing down the calories.. there is no violation of my rights. I gave it to you!!It may be a little different if I just pick up the soda can without asking.

    Now if he came in as a guest and started looking around in drawers for your gun without your permission you would have an illegal search. If he took the gun and kept it... that would be a seizure.

    So there was no "search" or "seizure" of anything that night.
    +1

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    Yes it did turn out alright in the end, I think that was in part due to the correspondence the local PD received from members of this forum and the pafoa.

    Citizen wrote:
    It seems to me that one way to remove any doubt about a detention is to refuse consent to the encounter itself. I'm not sufficiently familiar with PA case law to be able to say for sure. Maybe somebody else can chime in with something solid.
    I do beleive you are correct, but yes, perhaps someone else here might know better than us.

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