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Thread: Do you have to give your gun to a police officer?(Legal ?)

  1. #1
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    Ok basically this is what happened. It wasn't a horrible experience just not something I want to happen again.

    Before I start this I will say the police officer was very nice the whole time as was I to him. This is also 100% my fault as I asked if he needed to see the gun.

    Anyway, I got pulled over the other night for a vehicle modification that was not legal. It was just improper equipment ticket not a speeding ticket or any other crime. When The officer was walking up to the vehicle I had my windows rolled down with my hands out as did the other person in the car to make sure he could see my hands. The rear windows are fairly dark. Anyway, I then stuck my head out the window a little and told him that I just wanted to let him know that I was carrying. I was open carrying a gun in there. I just said carrying though and as he got to the window and looked in he asked if I had a permit. I told him no I was open carrying and in VA you didn't need one for that. He said he knew and that was fine. I then asked if he needed to see it and he said yes. Here is where the slight issue started. I handed it to him and he tried to unload it outside my door. He started trying to yank the slide back. Did this several times only to not have it move. I told him you have to have the safety off before the slide will go back and that he should probably also take the magazine out first. If you don't take it out it will just load another one into the chamber and being as it had 17 rounds in it that would have been a hassle. I'm not sure what he was thinking as he didn't take the safety off and kept yanking on the slide. Finally I reached down and pointed to how you take the magazine out then the safety. He finally after messing with other things and yanking on the gun got it unloaded. He then just kept opening and closing quickly the slide a few times. I didn't have a problem with that but I had a problem with how he kept yanking it trying to get it to move when it's not made to move when the safety is on. This made me afraid he was going to break it but so far I haven't seen anything broken. I haven't shot it yet since then though. I was also expecting to see the gun go off any second the way he was messing with it trying to get it unloaded. It had the safety on so it didn't go off. The person with me made the comment to me that it didn't look like he had ever shot a gun much. This was just not something I want to see happen again as if it had gone off being in a well populated parking lot would have not been a good thing and I also would not have liked it well at all had he broken something on my gun that was not exactly a cheap gun.

    Now my question is in the future if they ask to see it do I have to give it to them if the reason I'm stopped is non related to the gun? I know I walked into this by asking if he needed to see it and I more than likely wont ask that again but if they tell me they need me to hand it to them which I suspect he would have had I not said that do I have to give it to them? I'd have no problem unloading it for them but after seeing that I'd rather not give it to them to do who knows what with trying to unload it.

    The only other time I've been stopped with it was in one of the road check things not actually pulled over and I asked if he needed to see it and they told me no. I talked to them for a few minutes but it just never was a issue. He asked why I had it but was super nice and told me he didn't need to see it.

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    Well... according to your above statement, you offered it to him first. Naturally, he's going to say 'yes'. As a gun guy myself, hell - I'd like to check out your "piece" too.

    I'm also trying to imagine what you are carrying, given your description of the number of rounds and how the slide action works. The officer may not have been familiar with your particular sidearm or the function thereof (obviously). But to be fair - a police academy does not make you an amory specialist. I'm sure he's familiar with how his gun functions.... doesn't mean he knows 'em all.

    You do know that in Virginia, you do not have to "claim" your sidearm when approached by LE - right? I'm sure the officer appreciated you being open about it, but don't bring it up unless you have to. Overall, I'd say your encounter was positive, based on your above statement.

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    Regular Member ChinChin's Avatar
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    hometheaterman wrote:
    Ok basically this is what happened.

    Snippy snip snip snip

    "I handed it to him"
    This is where you lost me. The officer seemed to have no issue with you handling your firearm in his presence? Don't get me wrong here. . .its the way I would love it to be all the time; but it sort of flies in the face of everything I've been told and have experianced. Most times I've heard of officers saying "don't touch it, we'll get it out for you" in these situations.

    This account of you handling a firearm in their presence, and during the initial walk up to your vechicle would be a first for me.
    The problem with the internet is nobody can really tell when youre serious and when youre being sarcastic. Abraham Lincoln

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    It's a Ruger SR9 for those wondering.

    I did offer it to him and don't mind if he takes it as I understand that he needs to be safe however, at the same time if he doesn't know how to unload it instead of jerking around on the gun he should have handed it back to me and asked me to unload it instead of keep jerking the slide trying to get it to slide back when I had already told him at least once that you had to take the safety off.

    I wouldn't say that this was super negative just that he told me he needed to unload the gun for his safety. I did ask him first if he needed it and he told me yes. I don't plan to do that again but if I do get asked next time for them to hold it do I have to let them?

    I wouldn't say this was a negative experience but at the same time the way he handled it after I handed it to him wasn't very good. I know they aren't trained to know how to operate every firearm out there but if you don't know how to operate it he should have just calmed down and asked or let me shown him instead of jerking around on stuff that may or may not break. This time nothing seems to be broken that I see so I'm pretty sure it's fine but it could have easily broken something on the gun.

    I also was expecting to see a round go off anytime the way he was messing with it around the trigger. I hope he knew what he was doing but it was making me cringe.

    He did let me hand it to him and I pointed to him as he was jerking on the gun where the safety and magazine release were. However, other than me handing it to him which I carefully did so that he say my fingers were no where near the trigger I didn't touch it.

    When have gave it back told me he was putting it in the back seat and for me to pull into a parking spot and bring it back upfront with me. He handed me the magazine upfront and set the gun in the backseat.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Firstly, welcome aboard. I see you're pretty new here. Now for the meat of the issue.

    Many people are under the impression that police are intimately knowledgeable about firearms. They just assume that since the police carry a sidearm, they know all there is to know about handguns. WELL THEY ARE NOT all intimate about arms. Some are of course, but many are not.. in fact, I would say probably less that half are firearms enthusiasts. This means they lack knowledge and understanding about weapons.

    Next, if you are carrying open in your car or have a gun out on a seat or in a cup holder, it is probably a good thing to tell the officer about this since you do not want a surprise.. as in him or a partner suddenly seeing it and drawing down on you. If if is concealed and your state does not require notifying the officer, then it's your call.

    The officer who stopped you clearly is not all that familiar with weapons and maybe has never encountered an armed driver before. I have to wonder about his training (or lack of it) or perhaps his sanity based on his asking you to hand him your gun. This is a very bad thing to do. He doesn't know you from Adam and he's taking that kind of a chance?

    Finally, unless he was really hard on your gun, it's unlikely that he caused any damage. Remember, when a handgun fires a round there is one heck of a lot of violence going on inside the gun during this process.

    Glad to have you aboard. And glad all turned out Ok with your stop.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

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    ArmedArmed wrote:
    Well... according to your above statement, you offered it to him first. Naturally, he's going to say 'yes'. As a gun guy myself, hell - I'd like to check out your "piece" too.

    I'm also trying to imagine what you are carrying, given your description of the number of rounds and how the slide action works. The officer may not have been familiar with your particular sidearm or the function thereof (obviously). But to be fair - a police academy does not make you an amory specialist. I'm sure he's familiar with how his gun functions.... doesn't mean he knows 'em all.

    You do know that in Virginia, you do not have to "claim" your sidearm when approached by LE - right? I'm sure the officer appreciated you being open about it, but don't bring it up unless you have to. Overall, I'd say your encounter was positive, based on your above statement.
    Armed - you hit a home run with your statements. Every one is on the money, well said.
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    I think we should always treat a gun in the vehicle as a "non-issue". By this I mean don't place your hands on your head or out the windows as this instantly raises suspicions. Just get your wallet and set it on the dash before he approaches, keep your hands visible near the top of the steering wheel, make normal movements (no fast movements) and speak nicely, calmly and in a normal tone of voice. If an officer notices the gun, it's still a "non-issue". You being calm and collected goes a long way towards keeping him calm. Acting nervously or abnormally only heightens his senses looking for something. Carrying a gun is a normal activity, so treat it as a "non-issue".

    Oh, welcome Hometheaterman!

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    Sheriff wrote:
    hometheaterman wrote:
    When The officer was walking up to the vehicle I had my windows rolled down with my hands out .....
    This would bother me if I was walking up to a car. When a person is being overly cooperative, it's a pretty good chance they might behiding something.
    I want to add that this action would lead me to believe that the person or persons doing this had been "in the system" and had priors. The same thing applies when someone called me "Boss". It just raises my suspicions and I would deal with that person or persons much more carefully.
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    Sheriff wrote:
    I know people teach all of this friendly roadside cooperation as a possible method to get out of moving violations, Roll the windows down, turn the interior light on, stick your hands out or place them both on the steering wheel, etc.... But, I think it's all baloney.

    I always thought the hands on the wheel and the lights on was a good idea. I'm not about to roll the window down and stick my hands out, but I didn't think putting the light on was a bad idea. What should we do?

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    If you carried on your person, and not in plain sight, a loaded pistol in VA in your car without a CCW you violated the law. Open carry in VA is just that, and in a car, it has to be open to the cop's clear vision. You're lucky the cop didn't know the law, obviously. Or clearly cut you a big break.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    We were told the whole "hand out the window" thing in our CC class in MO as well so it is not just a VA thing being taught. If I get pulled over while carrying, I will do the same thing I have done in the past - put the car in park or set the parking brake in a manual trans., foot off the brake, hands on the steering wheel, interior light on if at night time and be polite.
    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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    Sheriff wrote:
    A cop walking up to your car is no different than one walking into your living room at home. Would you put your hands up in the air in your own living room? If so, I would think you are giving up and turning yourself in for a crime.
    I don't let the cops into my living room.

    I can see where you're coming from. I still think the light on when it's dark is a good idea, but I have no intention of putting my hands up. I drive with my hands at 10 and 2 so that seems like a good spot to leave them.

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    ProShooter wrote:
    Armed - you hit a home run with your statements. Every one is on the money, well said.
    Why thank you, Sir.

    My personal policy is to never bring up the gun issue during a casual LE encounter, unless they do first. Smile, be friendly, cooperate and I'll even thank them for the speeding ticket in the end if they've been friendly and respectful about it - which hasbeen my experience anyway.

    If they don't ask - I don't tell.

    I hadn't really given much thought to the possibility that the officer might actually ask to see the sidearm, until I started participating on this board. However, I've decided that I will temporarily relinquish the sidearmfor inspection if requested although, I willask if I may clear the weapon first,while keepingthe muzzle pointed at the passenger side floorboard (assumingI have no passenger). It's simply bad form to hand a loaded weapon to somebody.

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    hometheaterman wrote:
    SNIP Now my question is in the future if they ask to see it do I have to give it to them if the reason I'm stopped is non related to the gun?
    As you can see in thread so far, there are a number of points that could be addressed in the OP. Just to keep it manageable,I'll focus on twopoints.

    1. To directly answer the question you asked, whether you offer the gun or not, the officer is authorized by the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to temporarily seize the gun for officer safety. The opinion is US vs Baker. US vs Baker applies to certain specific circumstances which I will not go into here. You must read US vs Baker to understand its scope and breadth. http://law.emory.edu/caselaw/4ca/mar96/955287.p.html

    2. Just to reinforce the earlier posts, I know of nolaw in VA that requires alawfully armedcitizento notify police of the presence oftheir firearm during a traffic stop.


    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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    Gunslinger wrote:
    If you carried on your person, and not in plain sight, a loaded pistol in VA in your car without a CCW you violated the law. Open carry in VA is just that, and in a car, it has to be open to the cop's clear vision. You're lucky the cop didn't know the law, obviously. Or clearly cut you a big break.
    Just to help Gunslinger ,I'll supply the cite: VA Code 18.2-308

    A. If any person carries about his person, hidden from common observation, (i) any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material...he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-308

    (Read the statute. There is more to it. This just answers the gun question.)

    Also, very important, notice that the statute says "about his person", not "on his person."
    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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    Gunslinger wrote:
    If you carried on your person, and not in plain sight, a loaded pistol in VA in your car without a CCW you violated the law. Open carry in VA is just that, and in a car, it has to be open to the cop's clear vision. You're lucky the cop didn't know the law, obviously. Or clearly cut you a big break.
    Well not exactly. Where the LEO is standing in relationship to where your weapon is located is not part of the equation.

    If you are open carrying in a holster on your right side, it is extremely unlikely that the officer will initially see your gun; however it is open carried. It is available to common observation. Same thing in a restaurant when you are sitting strong side to the wall.

    Open carry is a condition that depends on your action permitting the visibility not the position of the viewer.

    Yata hey
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    Grapeshot wrote:
    Gunslinger wrote:
    If you carried on your person, and not in plain sight, a loaded pistol in VA in your car without a CCW you violated the law. Open carry in VA is just that, and in a car, it has to be open to the cop's clear vision. You're lucky the cop didn't know the law, obviously. Or clearly cut you a big break.
    Well not exactly. Were the LEO is standing in relationship to where your weapon is located is not part of the equation.

    If you are open carrying in a holster on your right side, it is extremely unlikely that the officer will initially see your gun; however it is open carried. It is available to common observation. Same thing in a restaurant when you are sitting strong side to the wall.

    Open carry is a condition that depends on your action not the viewer's.

    Yata hey
    Are we discussing pure law or how it might be applied by any given police officer?

    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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    Regular Member MeBaby's Avatar
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    "common observation" has been discussed here many times before and I don't believe we have had a volunteer yet to test it.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Citizen wrote:
    Grapeshot wrote:
    Gunslinger wrote:
    If you carried on your person, and not in plain sight, a loaded pistol in VA in your car without a CCW you violated the law. Open carry in VA is just that, and in a car, it has to be open to the cop's clear vision. You're lucky the cop didn't know the law, obviously. Or clearly cut you a big break.
    Well not exactly. Were the LEO is standing in relationship to where your weapon is located is not part of the equation.

    If you are open carrying in a holster on your right side, it is extremely unlikely that the officer will initially see your gun; however it is open carried. It is available to common observation. Same thing in a restaurant when you are sitting strong side to the wall.

    Open carry is a condition that depends on your action not the viewer's.

    Yata hey
    Are we discussing pure law or how it might be applied by any given police officer?
    Generic interpretation - obviously not quoting statute or case law. It would be nice if all LEOs were equally aware of the realities of OC & CC.

    Have a Merry Christmas - I must finish playing Santa.

    Yata hey


    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    "Hidden from common observation" is the test. In reality, your gun will almost always be hidden from common observation from someone, unless you run across Superman. The law is not ridiculous in that regard and I have to imagine that were a prosecutor try to bring charges against someone open carrying based upon the fact that their weapon was not visible at all times to all people with who he might be seen, that prosecutor would be serious reprimanded for his actions.

    Sitting in a restaurant booth, strong side hidden would not constitute hidden from common observation I would bet simply because how and where you are carrying the weapon on your person is open and visible. The booth is not part of your person or your apparel, so unless you are wearing the booth, you are most likely safe. Same could be said for a car, or standing in line against a wall or next to your wife. We could stretch this to the extreme and before you know it, anyone carrying open out in public would be jail fodder.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member MeBaby's Avatar
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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    "Hidden from common observation" is the test. In reality, your gun will almost always be hidden from common observation from someone, unless you run across Superman. The law is not ridiculous in that regard and I have to imagine that were a prosecutor try to bring charges against someone open carrying based upon the fact that their weapon was not visible at all times to all people with who he might be seen, that prosecutor would be serious reprimanded for his actions.

    Sitting in a restaurant booth, strong side hidden would not constitute hidden from common observation I would bet simply because how and where you are carrying the weapon on your person is open and visible. The booth is not part of your person or your apparel, so unless you are wearing the booth, you are most likely safe. Same could be said for a car, or standing in line against a wall or next to your wife. We could stretch this to the extreme and before you know it, anyone carrying open out in public would be jail fodder.
    I agree 100%. There are those on this board that disagree and say that a door or a center console inbetween the gun and "observation" constitutes concealed. I believe that 229 was in that category, but my memory may be incorrect. This is why "we" were, earlier, looking for a "volunteer" to set case law . (LOL)

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    Armed wrote:
    Well... according to your above statement, you offered it to him first.* Naturally, he's going to say 'yes'.* As a gun guy myself, hell - I'd like to check out your "piece" too.*

    I'm also trying to imagine what you are carrying, given your description of the number of rounds and how the slide action works.** The officer may not have been familiar with your particular sidearm or the function thereof (obviously).* But to be fair - a police academy does not make you an amory specialist.* I'm sure he's familiar with how his gun functions....*** doesn't mean he knows 'em all.*

    You do know that in Virginia, you do not have to "claim" your sidearm when approached by LE - right?** I'm sure the officer appreciated you being open about it, but don't bring it up unless you have to.* Overall, I'd say your encounter was positive, based on your above statement.**
    Very valid points. In most police academies recruits are taught basic firearms handling, safety ,and shooting. Most are taught on two weapons, their sidearm (glock 40, 45, 9mm etc) and a shotgun. After being released from the year probation period after graduation some take the Ar15 patrol rifle course.

    We fire twice a year, but a lot of officers use the range a lot more than that. Firing scores are part of our yearly raises and promotions, so it motivates most to keep their scores high.

    To the original poster, the simple answer is no. However, your safety and the safety for all involved should be paramount. Deal with any wrong-doings after the incident.

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    I do not believe you MUST report you are armed. I checked the Virginia state code and found nothing.

    I have been pulled over before for speeding at night driving back from my girlfriend's house.

    I turned on my hazard lights to let the officer know I was aware he was pulling me over, turned on my dome light, turned off my radio, rolled down my window, and placed my hand outside the window so he could see them.

    I can only imagine what the officer must think as he walks up to an unknown car not knowing who is inside or if the occupant just killed someone or just stole the car.

    He told me "I appreciate you making it easy for me so see your hands."

    I did advise him that I was armed and he did not seem to care. I guess he knew that I could have shot him as he approached if I really wanted to. He could probably tell from my demeanor that I had no desire to cause him harm either and I did nothing but be polite and comply with his requests.

    I understand it is his job so why give him any attitude. It would not do any good anyway, right? I would just be making it easier for him to decide to give me that ticket.

    If he wanted my gun I would have turned it over. What do I care if he runs the serial number. I bought it from a FFL dealer so I am confident it has not been reported stolen. That is what a serial number is for!! If my gun is stolen I hope he runs them so mine can eventually be recovered!

    I also know that I will be getting it back after the stop. If not, I have more at home to carry while I pay his boss a visit to understand why it was seized.

    He told me about my speed and gave me a verbal warning.

    I, in turn, thanks him and went on my way.

    So, it may not be required but I think it helps to get a little break in the end.

    These are odds I will play again.


    EDIT:

    Do you HAVE to turn it over? I for one will not see what happens if I do not. If you have an attitude it only strengthens the officer's reasoning to demand you not be armed during the stop. If the officer feels a need to disarm me I will comply. After the stop I will address the matter with his supervisor if I feel it was not necessary.

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    Gunslinger wrote:
    If you carried on your person, and not in plain sight, a loaded pistol in VA in your car without a CCW you violated the law. Open carry in VA is just that, and in a car, it has to be open to the cop's clear vision. You're lucky the cop didn't know the law, obviously. Or clearly cut you a big break.
    It was not on me and was in plain sight. It was sitting in the cupholders that hold it pretty well and could be seen through both side windows or from the back. Well, maybe not as the windows are tinted in the back but if you looked hard enough you probably could and you could easily see it from both sides. Not sure if you could see it through the windshield or not. It was not at all concealed it was clearly visible. I make sure to carry it where it's cleary visible as I don't want them to think I'm trying to conceal it.

    As for the sticking my hands out the window that's just what I was told. That or the steering wheel thing and when I got stopped in a road check in the past I did the hands out the window thing and they told me that either that or the steering wheel thing was a good idea and that they were glad I notified them as if I had not that I would have had a gun pulled on me when they saw it laying there. So I'm glad I let them know and since then I've thought that it was a good idea to let them know I'm carrying before they get up to the car.

    I really don't mind them going back to the police car with it to run the serial number or anything like that. I just didn't like that he was just yanking on things on it. Being that the gun is half plastic I'm not sure how strong stuff is anyway and him yanking on it as hard as he could made me neverous as I didn't want him to break anything on it. My problem is if they don't know how to unload it they should just let me unload it for them as at that point it's clear that I'm not trying to injure them and I'd be more than happy to let them go run the serial number on it. It's just the jerking on stuff as hard as he could and not listening to me telling him how to unload it and just kept yanking that made me a little worried and made me not want to give it to anyone to try to unload in the future. Made me just want to do it but if they ask in the future it sounds like I have to give it to them and honestly I have 0 problem with that as long as they aren't yanking on stuff on it as hard as they can when it doesn't move like they want it to. Common since says if the slide didn't slide back the first 5 times he quickly yanked on it that it's not going to the next 10 times either and that there is something you need to do to allow it to slide back. Common since should also say tell you that you need to take the magazine out or it will just load another one into the chamber. It would also tell me and I'd assume most others to keep my fingers away from the trigger and everything there while trying to unload it.


    Overall he was nice and I understand it was for his safety which I didn't have a problem with and I still don't. I just think he needed to be more careful with someone elses stuff. Doesn't matter if it was a gun or a radio or a cell phone he took or whatever. He should treat it with respect. Just because it's not his doesn't mean that person is okay with it getting broken.

    Now I'm not mad at him in general just wish he would have let me shown him how to do it and nothing got messed up so all is well. He was very professional the whole time and I can't say much more good about him in general.

  25. #25
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    hometheaterman wrote:
    SNIP I just didn't like that he was just yanking on things on it. Being that the gun is half plastic I'm not sure how strong stuff is anyway and him yanking on it as hard as he could made me neverous as I didn't want him to break anything on it.
    It must be rather embarrassing to an LEO to look like a complete novice when he can't rack the slide on a gun and forgets to drop the magazine.

    So, the thing to do is save them the embarrassment and not offer themone's gun.

    There you have it, folks. THE ANSWER. And no LEO-bashing, neither. Just compassion.

    Help the police by not letting them embarrass themselves! Its the neighborly, concerned-citizen thing to do.




    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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