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Thread: LEO Serial # Check Question

  1. #1
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    I have read a few times in the California Forum that a few people apply duct tape over the serial #'s on their guns to prevent LEO's from running checks. I have a clean record and a clean gun, but I think it's BS that a LEO violates my 4A right when running a check at a traffic stop. What do you all think?

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    Without probable cause to suspect that it's stolen property, the serial number check is an illegal search. File a formal complaint.

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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    This isn't an issue in Arizona. It doesn't happen here.

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    Even if AZ cops wanted to run serial numbers, which they don't, they couldn't, because there are no firearm serial number databases in AZ.
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

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    Michigander wrote:
    Even if AZ cops wanted to run serial numbers, which they don't, they couldn't, because there are no firearm serial number databases in AZ.
    Exactly, all they could do is check to see if it is a reported stolen property item.

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    That doesn't happen though right?

    AZkopper wrote:
    Michigander wrote:
    Even if AZ cops wanted to run serial numbers, which they don't, they couldn't, because there are no firearm serial number databases in AZ.
    Exactly, all they could do is check to see if it is a reported stolen property item.

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    Uh....am I missing something? The tape cannot be removed?

    Isn't illegal to obscure or scrub the SN? Enlighten me, please.

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    TheMrMitch wrote:
    Uh....am I missing something? The tape cannot be removed?

    Isn't illegal to obscure or scrub the SN? Enlighten me, please.
    Oh, you missunderstand...

    The tape is to PROTECT the manufacture's SN from coming to any damage or harm for we know that it is a crime to have a firearm with a damaged, obliterated, or removed SN.
    RIGHTS don't exist without RESPONSIBILITY!
    If one is not willing to stand for his rights, he doesn't have any Rights.
    I will strive to stand for the rights of ANY person, even those folks with whom I disagree!
    As said by SVG--- "I am not anti-COP, I am PRO-Citizen" and I'll add, PRO-Constitution.
    If the above makes me a RADICAL or EXTREME--- So be it!

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    Recovering Californian wrote:
    I have read a few times in the California Forum that a few people apply duct tape over the serial #'s on their guns to prevent LEO's from running checks. I have a clean record and a clean gun, but I think it's BS that a LEO violates my 4A right when running a check at a traffic stop. What do you all think?
    California's penal code allows LEO to "INSPECT" any firearm openly carried to determine if it is IN FACT unloaded. Many seize (as reported ) the firearm for up to 20 min and run the SN to determine LEGAL possession in violation of the "INSPECT" law.

    I too think it is BS that they illegally seize possession. I don't like the inspection law but such inspection should only take a few seconds--- even up to 1 min if the LEO was a real clutz but it doesn't require or need to have the gun taken to the cruiser for 20 min! That is the crime!
    RIGHTS don't exist without RESPONSIBILITY!
    If one is not willing to stand for his rights, he doesn't have any Rights.
    I will strive to stand for the rights of ANY person, even those folks with whom I disagree!
    As said by SVG--- "I am not anti-COP, I am PRO-Citizen" and I'll add, PRO-Constitution.
    If the above makes me a RADICAL or EXTREME--- So be it!

    Life Member NRA
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    2nd amendment says.... "...The right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!"

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    Recovering Californian wrote:
    * I have read a few times in the California Forum that a few people apply duct tape over the serial #'s on their guns to prevent LEO's from running checks. I have a clean record and a clean gun, but I think it's BS that a LEO violates my 4A right when running a check at a traffic stop. What do you all think?
    Your in Arizona now. No need to worry about that. Unless you want to try OC'ing in CA. For get CA exists. It will fall off the map soon enough.lol.

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    dreamcro wrote:
    Recovering Californian wrote:
    I have read a few times in the California Forum that a few people apply duct tape over the serial #'s on their guns to prevent LEO's from running checks. I have a clean record and a clean gun, but I think it's BS that a LEO violates my 4A right when running a check at a traffic stop. What do you all think?
    Your in Arizona now. No need to worry about that. Unless you want to try OC'ing in CA. For get CA exists. It will fall off the map soon enough.lol.
    LOL Your right Brother! (You know what I mean) I see allot come to AZ from Ca bringing that Ca way of thinking with them. Shame thinking like that is what is fast pulling AZ under the tubes.

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    lostone1413 wrote:
    dreamcro wrote:
    Recovering Californian wrote:
    I have read a few times in the California Forum that a few people apply duct tape over the serial #'s on their guns to prevent LEO's from running checks. I have a clean record and a clean gun, but I think it's BS that a LEO violates my 4A right when running a check at a traffic stop. What do you all think?
    Your in Arizona now. No need to worry about that. Unless you want to try OC'ing in CA. For get CA exists. It will fall off the map soon enough.lol.
    LOL Your right Brother! (You know what I mean) I see allot come to AZ from Ca bringing that Ca way of thinking with them. Shame thinking like that is what is fast pulling AZ under the tubes.
    Quite the contrary on some fronts.....I'm from California and completely embrace the OC/gun laws here in AZ......I love it!!!

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    AZkopper wrote:
    Michigander wrote:
    Even if AZ cops wanted to run serial numbers, which they don't, they couldn't, because there are no firearm serial number databases in AZ.
    Exactly, all they could do is check to see if it is a reported stolen property item.



    In all my cop run-ins I had my #'s run once.....just north of Tucson, myself and some of myMarine buds went camping, and were pulled over on the way back because my friend doesn't believe in the "Car Insurance Monopoly" (don't ask) - and I guess it didn't help that we are all tatted-up, AND 2 of us are(were) Mexican....Typical Gang Members.

    But Im realistic, when I had my truck broken into and the cop asked for a description I told him "Mexican is a safe assumption"....

    And I know if I were in thier position Id do the same thing, I know I did in Iraq (just the profiling, not necessarily for Mexicans...).





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    It's up to people what they want to do and how they want to handle this but a general piece of advice I have for people is to deal with issues of the law via the legislative process, and not during a traffic stop or checkpoint.

    And I say this not because I believe people ought to just submit to the State, but because challenging individuals on the job has no long-term effect. It's going to cause problems, waste your time, and irritate the LEO(s) in question.

    Accordingly, as per the question of whether or not to pass through BP checkpoints without making a big deal about it, or informing an officer you have a gun during a traffic stop, or having your gun's SN# called in, or anything along these lines, my advice is it is best to comply, and then, if you're really angry, find a way to make it a political issue. Contact your legislators, or contact a lobbying group who might take up your cause.

    I have screwed up my checkbook a few times in the past few years by donating money to the NRA-ILA every time a specific kind of anti-gun individual shoots his mouth off in a particularly ignorant way. I'd do the same if law enforcement ever violated my rights.

    From my own perspective, I also try to take an expansive view of the unique challenges faced by law enforcement, especially along the border. I don't generally get the sense that LEOs (here in Arizona, anyway) have any interest in being "jackbooted government thugs," to borrow a phrase. More likely, they're dealing with illegal cross-border traffic, smugglers, vehicle thefts, and so on - all of which are, in most circumstances, in my interest.

    And this is coming from some who has, as I have mentioned in other threads, not always been enthusiastic about the attitude and behavior of law enforcement.

    It is highly unlikely, as Sonora Rebel pointed out some weeks ago, that anyone would ever call in the SN# on your gun (As an ex-New Jerseyan, it took me some time to get over the pleasant shock of how law enforcement deals with peaceable carry here in Arizona - which is to say, they're used to it, at least in my experience), but I think covering the SN# with tape is just asking for trouble.

    Again, in my opinion -- if your weapon is legal and you know it, make a case out of it in a more productive legislative/judicial context, not at the time of the stop itself. There are an array of options open to you in this regard - all of which are likely to have more of a significant impact than showing resistance during a stop.

    That's just my suggestion and my opinion and I'm not telling anyone what to do as regards exercising their rights. From my own experience, picking one's battles, and fighting them in a way which is maximally constructive, is a far better way of dealing with things than making it personal.

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    I guess I have a different perspective. I've been pulled over twice once for a burned out headlamp. And once for illegal right on red in mesa. I vollunteered that I had a firearm in my door panel in a holster. Each time they requested to secure it and I complied they also ran the serial number. To see if it was stolen. Then it was returned I received warnings in both stops.



    Now the reasonI don't mind him running the serial number is this; I have had 7 firearms stolen in 2 thefts in 5 years. My serial numbers are on file for those weapons and I would like them back.

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    If the law states that a PO can take temporary possession of your weapon (as does MI) or inspect its battery status (as does CA), I don't consider viewing the SN of your weapon to be a 4th amendment violation as the number is truly in 'plain sight'. If your bags of dope are sitting on the back seat of your car and he notices them through the window and you get busted, again, no 4th amendment violation.

    If you have duct tape covering the SN of your weapon and he removes that tape to run the SN then bingo...4th amendment violation.

    IMHO IANAL

    Carry on

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    jmlefler wrote:
    If the law states that a PO can take temporary possession of your weapon (as does MI) or inspect its battery status (as does CA), I don't consider viewing the SN of your weapon to be a 4th amendment violation as the number is truly in 'plain sight'. If your bags of dope are sitting on the back seat of your car and he notices them through the window and you get busted, again, no 4th amendment violation.

    If you have duct tape covering the SN of your weapon and he removes that tape to run the SN then bingo...4th amendment violation.

    IMHO IANAL

    Carry on
    There is no "law" per se in MI that says they can take possession of your weapon. There is a USSC ruling that says that, if the officer has reasonable suspicion of the suspects involvement in criminal activity, and the officer can articulate that the suspect is armed and dangerous, then the officer may do a brief pat down of the outer garments for weapons and contraband. There is no Michigan law requiring a citizen to relinquish his weapon, nor is there one allowing the officer to seize it for inspection. So yes, it is a violation of the 4th amendment. In AZ v Hicks, the officers were in the suspects apartment and notices a mask (like the kind used in a string of burglaries in the area at that time), and stereo equipment. One of the officers moved the stereo equipment (much less intrusive a search than taking the gun out of the holster), and ran the serial numbers which then came back as stolen. The court ruled it a search in violation of the 4th Amendment because even though the stereo equipment was in plain sight, the officer had to move it to see the serial number. Thus the evidence of stolen electronics was inadmissible.

    Say for example there is a paperwork error, and the serial number of your gun has accidentally been reported stolen. When your stopped (say for the sole purpose/RAS of OC), the officer takes your gun and runs the serial number (of course you immediately told him/her that you don't consent to search), and low and behold, you are in possession of a stolen gun. Now, when you file a FOIA request, the city (fearing a lawsuit) decides to press charges for the stolen gun in an effort to damage any case you may have against them. They know they can't make the charges stick, but the goal is to drain you so financialy that you agree to plead to a lesser charge. This in turn weakens any case you have against them .
    Now, if you had consented to such a search (regardless of if you thought you were required to by law or not), then the evidence from the search of the serial number is admissable. However, if you admantly deny consent to any search, then it gives your lawyer a better chance of haveing the stolen firearm report thrown out as fruites of the poisoness tree.

    These things may seem simple and benign. They may seem harmless, but that is because you think like the law abiding citizen that you are. You don't think like a person who is/or might be persecuted by the police, and the system. It's the, "if you have nothing to hide?" syndrom.

    The only reason people don't think such a search unconstitutiona is because no one has yet stood up for their rights in this area. No wonder there as there are many more agregareous violations of civil rights in play.

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    Ghostrider,

    Firstly, I am familiar with the case you are referring to, and after a good search, I cannot find a MI law that states that an officer can take temporary possession of your weapon. I was instructed during my class that an officer may take temporary possession of your weapon during a traffic stop for 'officer safety'; a claim backed up, without a matching reference by the MSP to any MI consolidated law, that:

    "In certain circumstances, a law enforcement officer may take temporary possession of the weapon during interaction with the individual to ensure the safety of the officer and others. The police officer will return the pistol at the end of the stop unless the individual is being charged with a violation of the act or any other law that allows for the weapon to be seized."

    http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7...0941--,00.html

    I can find no reference to what these 'certain circumstances' may be.

    Secondly, your statement that:

    "These things may seem simple and benign. They may seem harmless, but that is because you think like the law abiding citizen that you are. You don't think like a person who is/or might be persecuted by the police, and the system. It's the, "if you have nothing to hide?" syndrom (sic)."

    When you used the word 'you' above, I am assuming you meant 'me'. My friend, you don't know me, know how I think, what I think, unless you have researched my postings thoroughly on this and other forums. Please do not presume what you do not know to be true. For the record, I find the confiscation of a weapon by a PO during a traffic stop abhorrent and any reference to 'officer safety' a smoke screen. Additionally, I am the direct opposite of what you describe me to be, that is, I am a person who thinks I might be prosecuted by the police, and the system. I believe that if 'I have nothing to hide' then 'I have nothing to show'. My basic tenet is DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES (see DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE video, reference available).

    Postings on forums can be harsh and I don't mean to be in this case. Please don't take this correction as anything more than letting you know a little of who I am. We're on the same side here.

    Carry on

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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    Sheesh! This is ARIZONA... not Michigan, Utah, Californiaor anywhere else. All this crapola is NOT an issue here. There is no gun registration here... The only thing they 'can' do is run the number for a stolen check... and that won't happen if you don't look/act likea hoodlum. Border Patrol checkpoints could care less about your guns or your politics. (Unless you're a smuggler) There's no reason to inform them and they really don't care. They'll assume you are armed anyway... regardless. Most of the time they don't say much at all. Don't apply your yankee paranoia down here... It don't fit 'n don't fly.

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    jmlefler wrote:
    ...

    Secondly, your statement that:

    "These things may seem simple and benign. They may seem harmless, but that is because you think like the law abiding citizen that you are. You don't think like a person who is/or might be persecuted by the police, and the system. It's the, "if you have nothing to hide?" syndrom (sic)."

    When you used the word 'you' above, I am assuming you meant 'me'. My friend, you don't know me, know how I think, what I think, unless you have researched my postings thoroughly on this and other forums. Please do not presume what you do not know to be true. For the record, I find the confiscation of a weapon by a PO during a traffic stop abhorrent and any reference to 'officer safety' a smoke screen. Additionally, I am the direct opposite of what you describe me to be, that is, I am a person who thinks I might be prosecuted by the police, and the system. I believe that if 'I have nothing to hide' then 'I have nothing to show'. My basic tenet is DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES (see DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE video, reference available).

    Postings on forums can be harsh and I don't mean to be in this case. Please don't take this correction as anything more than letting you know a little of who I am. We're on the same side here.

    Carry on
    No offense taken. I should have known better but posted on the fly so to speak. I know you've had dealings of your own, and should have thought more and posted less. That is the result of me trying to convey something without taking proper time to review things first.

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    i don't go to the PRK !

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    Without probable cause to suspect that it's stolen property, the serial number check is an illegal search.

    The cops don't need any warrant to run a serial number that's in plain view or one that comes into plain view as the result of a lawful search or seizure.

    Even if AZ cops wanted to run serial numbers, which they don't, they couldn't, because there are no firearm serial number databases in AZ.

    There is the NCIC database of stolen guns. That would normally be the one a cop would run it through.

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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    The LEO would have to 'sieze' the firearm to run the number. If there is no Probable Cause to do that incident to 'something else'... They won't do that in Arizona. So... what exactly is the point of covering the S/N anyway? To prevent running the number?

    They'll just take the whole damn gun with that kind'a'fishy' stuff. If the Kommiefornians were as smart as they assume themselves to be... they wouldn't be in the fix they're in now. See... if you do somthing suspicious... it will be percieved as suspicious. The right to bear arms is recognized in Arizona... 'has been since before there was an Arizona.



    DO NOT INTRODUCE THIS PARANOID CRAP INTO ARIZONA!

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    The LEO would have to 'sieze' the firearm to run the number.

    The courts have ruled that the police have the right to temporarily disarm you during an encounter for reasons of officer safety. In fact, I've read that this this is now SOP for the Tucson PD. The gun would then be lawfully seized by the officer and he would have the right to run the serial number if it's in plain view. Now, I don't now how many cops would actually go to the trouble to do so in the absence of any indications that the gun is stolen, but according to current law, they have every right to.

    See... if you do somthing suspicious... it will be percieved as suspicious.


    One needn't be doing anything illegal in order for an cop to have reasonable articulable suspicion that he's breaking the law; one needs only to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've been detained and questioned by the cops before because I fit the description of someone they were looking for. Although I wasn't the person they were looking for, they had reasonable suspicion to believe that I was and hence had every right to detain me (and take my gun, if I was carrying one.).

    DO NOT INTRODUCE THIS PARANOID CRAP INTO ARIZONA!


    I am not being paranoid at all, merely stating the facts.

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    Sonora Rebel wrote:
    Sheesh! This is ARIZONA... not Michigan, Utah, Californiaor anywhere else. All this crapola is NOT an issue here. There is no gun registration here... The only thing they 'can' do is run the number for a stolen check... and that won't happen if you don't look/act likea hoodlum. Border Patrol checkpoints could care less about your guns or your politics. (Unless you're a smuggler) There's no reason to inform them and they really don't care. They'll assume you are armed anyway... regardless. Most of the time they don't say much at all. Don't apply your yankee paranoia down here... It don't fit 'n don't fly.
    It is exactly this attitude that will make it an issue in Arizona. You can't tell me that there has never been an incident in Arizona where an LEO has violated someones rights (Hicks v. AZ per chance).

    The "stolen" check in essence registers your firearm. It may not go into a "firearm registration database" but it puts the serial number and your name on record. It has the same long term effect.

    As for it not being Utah, you are correct. While the Utah forums may have reported a few more LEO abuses than the Arizona forum, in many ways, Utah laws are more favorable toward firearms than are Arizona's. How many Universities in Arizona allow carry? In Utah, carry in a restaurant, or anywhere else, that serves alcohol has been completely legal for longer than I can remember. I find that when I travel to Arizona, I have to be much more careful where I carry than I do in Utah.

    I have open carried in Utah for many years, in all that time, I have only been hassled twice by LEO, and both of those times were in the larger cities.

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