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  1. #1
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    I found this site and enjoyed the stories.

    I first discovered CA OC laws almost 20 years ago. Although I thought about it, I never had the nerve to do what you guys do: OC in public as political activism.But I thought I'd share my own rather less dramaticstory. In view of Gatesgate, perhaps it's worth telling.

    Unbeknownst to me, our house alarm malfunctioned one nightand sent a silent alarm to the alarm company. I later learned that they did call the house first, as perpolicy, and someone drowsily picked up the phone and hung up on them. So, of course, they called the sheriff.

    The first thing I knew was the doorbell at 4am. As per my own policy, I retrieved my loaded handgun from the minivault by my bed, strapped on my holster, and went to the front door.

    Another family member had beat me to the door (I had words with him later) and so as I turned the corner I saw the open door and the deputies standing there. I was more than a little nervous at that instant but knew I couldn't back away without arousing suspicion so I just plowed ahead as nonchalantly as I could manage keeping my hands clear.

    I must say that throughout the encounter the deputies were absolutely professional and exceeded all expectations under the circumstances. They did not yell "gun" anddraw their guns or touch them. They didn't even ask first about my gun. First they explained that the alarm company had called them to the house and asked if we lived in the house, if everything is ok,and whether we had heard the alarm. Only after that was out of the way did they ask about my holstered gun.

    They asked if it was loaded. I said "yes". They asked why I was carrying a loaded gun, I replied it was a4am ring at the door. They asked for some id, I told them I didn't have it on me, it was in my bedroom. More "weapons" in the house? All in a safe.

    They had me remove my holster, which I laid on the ground,and lead one of them to the bedroom to retrieve the id. My address was on my CA DL but they called it in anyway.

    Idrew a few lessons from the encounter.

    As I said, the deputies were professional throughout the encounter. I had always wondered what would happen in such a situation and I was relieved that it could go so well. I know a man's home is his castle but this is Kalifornia, after all.

    I was never so appreciative of having a holster. If I'd been carrying a loaded firearm in myhandsI don't think it would have gone so smoothly. Holsters are a great invention and a valuable investment. They broaden your options even in your own home.

    Finally, make sure everyone in your home understand that you will answer the door in the wee hours of the night.

    The only negative came at the end. Interestingly, they never touched my holster. But one deputy asked me what kind of gun I had, made a note, and mentioned that they were keeping records. Maybe it's just SOP for filing a report but they way he explained it sounded more like an unofficial gun registration.

  2. #2
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    A very good story and quite unusual that they did not freak out and have you on the ground. That *seems* to be the norm around here nowadays.

    Welcome to OCDO and thanks for sharing such a good story as your 1st post!

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    NEVER talk to the police!

    OK, so maybe some talking was in order, as they were nice enough to come out to make sure all was well. However, I would not have answered any questions not directly related to proving it was a false alarm. Also, it's not a good idea to invite them into your house.

    Remember, even when you're innocent, their job is to constantly look for something to arrest someone for. If there is no bad guy in your house, let the cops stay outside.


    I'm glad it ended well for you, but I don't like taking unnecessary risks. Here's how I would have answered the questions in your situation.

    Is it loaded? Can that cause my alarm system to malfunction?

    More guns in the house? Is that relevant to any crime you're investigating?

    What type of gun is this? Do you really need that information, or can I get back to sleep now?

    Take it off my gun belt? Sorry, it's also holding my pants up, and the door is open, so I don't want to expose myself to the neighborhood.

    Escort me to get my ID from the other room? How about you all wait out here, and I'll go stow my pistol and come out with my ID?

    ---------------------------------------

    Incidentally, someone tried to break into my home on Tuesday while nobody was home. My neighbor said the alarm went off for about an hour. He called the cops and walked around my front yard. He didn't see anything, and the cops never showed up.

    A couple months ago, somebody walked up and tried to open the front door while my wife was at home alone. She didn't call 9-1-1 (don't ask me why...), she just grabbed the nearest gun and hunkered down until the guy left. This was in the middle of the day!

    A couple days later, two people walk up and start banging on the door like something urgent is going on. My wife had a bad vibe, so she just talked to them through the door. They just kept banging on the door and yelling for her to open it. (Again, she didn't call 9-1-1... again, I have no idea why).

    My point is that break-ins commonnly happen during the day. Bold criminals will knock. They either want to make sure nobody is home, or they're hoping you'll be nice enough to open the door so they can get inside. I never answer the door unarmed, no matter what time of day/night. And half the time I just don't answer the door... but that's mostly because I know I don't want to listen to their sales pitch or what they're preaching.
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    Naturally, I replayed the incident many times in my mind wondering what I might have done differently. All turned out well, and though they were super professional the whole time, that's no guarantee. If they'd seen something they didn't like I'd be in trouble just the same.

    The biggest risk came, I think, from leading him through my house to retrieve my id. The simplest solution there is to grab my wallet with my holster.

    Asking if there are "other weapons in the house" is reasonable, I think, only if he expects to disarm me. Is that reasonable? It's hard for me to say "no" under the circumstances. (Of course, "weapons" is a very vague term. There are knives in the kitchen and even in my bedroom and other items as well.)

    I do wonder what would have happened if I'd replied that I will return to the doorwithout my handgun and with my id.

    I think otherwise all the questions were relevant to the investigation of an alarm. I was more disturbed at the end by the fact that the deputy explained they were keeping track of who was armed than the detail of my make/model of handgun.

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    deforcer wrote:
    Naturally, I replayed the incident many times in my mind wondering what I might have done differently. All turned out well, and though they were super professional the whole time, that's no guarantee. If they'd seen something they didn't like I'd be in trouble just the same.

    The biggest risk came, I think, from leading him through my house to retrieve my id. The simplest solution there is to grab my wallet with my holster.

    Asking if there are "other weapons in the house" is reasonable, I think, only if he expects to disarm me. Is that reasonable? It's hard for me to say "no" under the circumstances. (Of course, "weapons" is a very vague term. There are knives in the kitchen and even in my bedroom and other items as well.)

    I do wonder what would have happened if I'd replied that I will return to the doorwithout my handgun and with my id.

    I think otherwise all the questions were relevant to the investigation of an alarm. I was more disturbed at the end by the fact that the deputy explained they were keeping track of who was armed than the detail of my make/model of handgun.
    1) You should not expect to be disarmed whenever police come around. Therefore, it is unreasonable.

    2) NEVER let cops search your house for any reason.

    3) NEVER show ID unless you are legally required to.



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    pullnshoot25 wrote:
    1) You should not expect to be disarmed whenever police come around. Therefore, it is unreasonable.

    2) NEVER let cops search your house for any reason.

    3) NEVER show ID unless you are legally required to.


    Working backwards, I think it's reasonable for an officer/deputy investigating a report of a possiblebreak-into determine that the person's in the house are the residents. (See e.g. Gates.) So asking for id in this situation is reasonable.

    Avoiding a house search, even an informal one as he followd me to my bedroom, is certainly a valid point and the main issue here, I think. I'm inclined to agree with you there that I made a tactical mistake on this that I would avoid repeating if it recurred.

    That brings us to the first point: when is it reasonable for officers/deputies to disarm someone in their own home? Obviously you take a strong pro-liberty position on this point. Obviously I would oppose any general disarm or a disarm outside of an investigation. I take some solace on that point that neither deputy gave me a lecture on carrying a loaded firearm, not the slightest hint of disapproval outside the immediate investigation.

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    deforcer wrote:
    pullnshoot25 wrote:
    1) You should not expect to be disarmed whenever police come around. Therefore, it is unreasonable.

    2) NEVER let cops search your house for any reason.

    3) NEVER show ID unless you are legally required to.


    Working backwards, I think it's reasonable for an officer/deputy investigating a report of a possiblebreak-into determine that the person's in the house are the residents. (See e.g. Gates.) So asking for id in this situation is reasonable.

    Avoiding a house search, even an informal one as he followd me to my bedroom, is certainly a valid point and the main issue here, I think. I'm inclined to agree with you there that I made a tactical mistake on this that I would avoid repeating if it recurred.

    That brings us to the first point: when is it reasonable for officers/deputies to disarm someone in their own home? Obviously you take a strong pro-liberty position on this point. Obviously I would oppose any general disarm or a disarm outside of an investigation. I take some solace on that point that neither deputy gave me a lecture on carrying a loaded firearm, not the slightest hint of disapproval outside the immediate investigation.
    I think this thread has helped me to discover a personal line in the sand....

    Under no circumstances would I disarm myself in my own home simply to make an LEO feel better.

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    deforcer wrote:
    Asking if there are "other weapons in the house" is reasonable, I think, only if he expects to disarm me. Is that reasonable? It's hard for me to say "no" under the circumstances. (Of course, "weapons" is a very vague term. There are knives in the kitchen and even in my bedroom and other items as well.)
    Quote T2: "Knives and stabbing weapons."

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    Alarm call and a hang up is a bad call for LEO.

    The officers handled it all well:

    Dispatch gets a call from the alarm company that tried to contact you. Getting a hang-up, they immediately called LEO.

    LEO dispatch puts out that a hang-up on an alarm is in progress, proceed with caution. (Alarm hang-ups are handled the same as a 911 hang-up)

    LEO arrives, looks over property, then approaches home to knock/inquire.

    Not knowing who belongs in the house, ID is asked for. Granted, your picture and address are on the drivers license,

    but they don't know if you actually belong there. Perhaps a divorce/restraining order/jailbreak has you in the house illegally...they don't know,

    which is why they ran your ID.

    LEO want to also determine if you are not trying to cover for actual bad guys still inside (either by fear or association).

    The firearm question were logical, since they don't know the nature of the original alarm and/or hang-up. They just know you have a gun on, and no ID in possession.



    As soon as your ID came back clear, all was well. They asked about your gun in case of another alarm call, they will know that you could be armed because of the alarm, and responding LEO could use that info for their, and your, safety.

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    N6ATF wrote:
    deforcer wrote:
    Asking if there are "other weapons in the house" is reasonable, I think, only if he expects to disarm me. Is that reasonable? It's hard for me to say "no" under the circumstances. (Of course, "weapons" is a very vague term. There are knives in the kitchen and even in my bedroom and other items as well.)
    Quote T2: "Knives and stabbing weapons."
    Now that I think about it, that could be the perfect excuse to decline allowing him to follow me to get my id. "As you know, officer/deputy, every household contains items that are potential weapons. I can't honestly tell you where they all are."

    And if disarmamant is impractical then it's easier to argue for going to get my id and leaving my holster in my bedroom when I return. I know that doesn't satisfy CA_Libertarian but it's certainly better than what I did.

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    Well, you could always send the "door opening trainee" into the other room
    to get the id.
    Then they don't have to worry about loosing site of the armed 'suspect'.

    I can't wait to try out my Gates response,
    "you only want my ID cause my lilly white @ss is black. I have Jackson skin disorder."
    Then see who breaks out LAUGHING first. My only problem is I have no beer
    to fix things up with.

    Perhaps if you were in your underwear it would make them more at ease.
    Naked cowboy , literally. Of course you might get pinched as those
    bank robbers from atlanta.

    But not a bad haul, 4 am is not when I am at my best thinking, also a good reason
    to resist helping out to much.


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    SlackwareRobert wrote:
    Perhaps if you were in your underwear it would make them more at ease.
    Naked cowboy , literally.
    Almost. I was wearing shorts and tshirt inthe winterso I don't think I looked much like a burglar.


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    Interesting parallel to the Gates case.

    Judge Joe Brown offered the following regarding how Gates and Connelly should have handled the situation.


    First off, when the officer showed up, knocked on the door -- police. Come out.

    No?

    What's he going to do?

    The Constitution doesn't give him any authority to do a thing because no officer witnessed the event. He doesn't have reasonable suspicion that there was a felony committed.

    If he had gotten in there, let me see your I.D. The Fifth Amendment says you have an absolute right to remain silent. You have no obligation and cannot be compelled to offer evidence against yourself.

    Let me see your I.D.

    No.

    At that point, they are trespassing in the man's house unless they can show cause.


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    OP (and others) should list his location as per forum practice (and the request of its owners), and to help put the story in context.

    I'd also like to know where Old Timer is, after reading some of his posts.

    C'mon folks, no harm in showing what few numbers we do have in California! Put where you live in your profile, it only takes a second.

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    CA_Libertarian wrote:
    NEVER talk to the police!

    OK, so maybe some talking was in order, as they were nice enough to come out to make sure all was well. However, I would not have answered any questions not directly related to proving it was a false alarm. Also, it's not a good idea to invite them into your house.

    Remember, even when you're innocent, their job is to constantly look for something to arrest someone for. If there is no bad guy in your house, let the cops stay outside.


    I'm glad it ended well for you, but I don't like taking unnecessary risks. Here's how I would have answered the questions in your situation.

    Is it loaded? Can that cause my alarm system to malfunction?

    More guns in the house? Is that relevant to any crime you're investigating?

    What type of gun is this? Do you really need that information, or can I get back to sleep now?

    Take it off my gun belt? Sorry, it's also holding my pants up, and the door is open, so I don't want to expose myself to the neighborhood.

    Escort me to get my ID from the other room? How about you all wait out here, and I'll go stow my pistol and come out with my ID?

    ---------------------------------------

    Incidentally, someone tried to break into my home on Tuesday while nobody was home. My neighbor said the alarm went off for about an hour. He called the cops and walked around my front yard. He didn't see anything, and the cops never showed up.

    A couple months ago, somebody walked up and tried to open the front door while my wife was at home alone. She didn't call 9-1-1 (don't ask me why...), she just grabbed the nearest gun and hunkered down until the guy left. This was in the middle of the day!

    A couple days later, two people walk up and start banging on the door like something urgent is going on. My wife had a bad vibe, so she just talked to them through the door. They just kept banging on the door and yelling for her to open it. (Again, she didn't call 9-1-1... again, I have no idea why).

    My point is that break-ins commonnly happen during the day. Bold criminals will knock. They either want to make sure nobody is home, or they're hoping you'll be nice enough to open the door so they can get inside. I never answer the door unarmed, no matter what time of day/night. And half the time I just don't answer the door... but that's mostly because I know I don't want to listen to their sales pitch or what they're preaching.
    I remember reading in the Modesto Bee that MPD policy was changed so that they would no longer respond to burglar alarm calls unless there is an actual witness that can attest to someone actually burglarizing your home or business. There reason for this is to do "better allocate there resources". Dont quote me on the exact policy but i believe it goes something like that.

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    marshaul wrote:
    OP (and others) should list his location as per forum practice (and the request of its owners), and to help put the story in context.

    I'd also like to know where Old Timer is, after reading some of his posts.

    C'mon folks, no harm in showing what few numbers we do have in California! Put where you live in your profile, it only takes a second.
    Is unincorporated Santa Clara county sufficient? (Don't mean to sound paranoid.)

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    deforcer wrote:
    marshaul wrote:
    OP (and others) should list his location as per forum practice (and the request of its owners), and to help put the story in context.

    I'd also like to know where Old Timer is, after reading some of his posts.

    C'mon folks, no harm in showing what few numbers we do have in California! Put where you live in your profile, it only takes a second.
    Is unincorporated Santa Clara county sufficient? (Don't mean to sound paranoid.)
    Plenty sufficient. California is a big place, is all.

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    Having an alarm co., contracted to act on your behalf,call the police for "help" is enoughof a reason to force entry to insure there is no threat to the lives of the occupants (an exigent circumstance, ie: exemption to the 4th A).

    Same with a 911 call/hang up.

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    cato wrote:
    Having an alarm co., contracted to act on your behalf,call the police for "help" is enoughof a reason to force entry to insure there is no threat to the lives of the occupants (an exigent circumstance, ie: exemption to the 4th A).

    Same with a 911 call/hang up.
    Wow! I didn't know this. Any case law citation for this?

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    To the No Disarming/No ID folks: Is it really that unreasonable for the officers responding to an alarm to not simply trust the armed guy that answers the door when he says he is the homeowner?

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    cato wrote:
    Having an alarm co., contracted to act on your behalf,call the police for "help" is enoughof a reason to force entry to insure there is no threat to the lives of the occupants (an exigent circumstance, ie: exemption to the 4th A).

    Same with a 911 call/hang up.
    Agreed.

    FogRider wrote:
    To the No Disarming/No ID folks: Is it really that unreasonable for the officers responding to an alarm to not simply trust the armed guy that answers the door when he says he is the homeowner?
    Agreed.

    Bottom line: there will be situations where it is reasonbale for the police/deputy to disarm you. I don't think that contradicts the general idea behind the 2A.

    After discussing this in this thread and listening to the opinions of those who replied, I have chosen to resolve this situation by keeping my wallet on my nightstand and, in the future, I will put it in my shorts when I strap on my holster.

    Note that the deputies asked first to see my id before asking me to remove my holster. If I could have pulled out my id and shown it to them I'm 99% confident they would not have asked me to disarm.

    Overall, I find no fault in the way the deputies handled the situation and only intend that one minor change to my own home policies.

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    Anti-Saldana Freedom Fighter bigtoe416's Avatar
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    FogRider wrote:
    To the No Disarming/No ID folks: Is it really that unreasonable for the officers responding to an alarm to not simply trust the armed guy that answers the door when he says he is the homeowner?
    I wouldn't say it is unreasonable. If I was a police officer responding to an alarm call, I'd ask to see ID too. Although, I don't think I would have any recourse if the person answering the door said everything was fine and he appreciated me checking on his safety and closed the door (of course, if Cato has a citation I'd feel differently).

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    bigtoe416 wrote:
    I wouldn't say it is unreasonable. If I was a police officer responding to an alarm call, I'd ask to see ID too. Although, I don't think I would have any recourse if the person answering the door said everything was fine and he appreciated me checking on his safety and closed the door (of course, if Cato has a citation I'd feel differently).
    Wouldn't responding to an alarm and having an armed man telling you everything is fine, thankyouofficerhaveaniceday and closing the door be RAS to enter?

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    FogRider wrote:
    To the No Disarming/No ID folks: Is it really that unreasonable for the officers responding to an alarm to not simply trust the armed guy that answers the door when he says he is the homeowner?
    I would hope they don't let that be the extent of their investigation.

    I believe Cato is right (citation or not - see Terry v Ohio where RAS is described). The officers could articulate that they reasonably believe that a crime may have occurred. I think it is also reasonable to investigate that crime.

    However, I don't see why disarming the person would be necessary. Simply identifying the resident should be enough. At that point, I do not believe further suspicion would be reasonable, unless the officer could articulate facts that lead them to suspect there is something else going on.

    "Here's my ID officer. As you can see, I do in fact live here. I'll contact my alarm company first thing in the morning to make sure they fix the problem with my system."
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    FogRider wrote:
    Wouldn't responding to an alarm and having an armed man telling you everything is fine, thankyouofficerhaveaniceday and closing the door be RAS to enter?
    Remember, RAS means "reasonable articulative suspicion"; that is, the officers have to be able to articulate facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe the suspicion is reasonable.

    The fact the person is armed has no bearing on anything, as being armed is not any indication of criminal activity. (Unless the 9-1-1 call included a description of a firearm used in a crime, and the firearm matches the description.)

    However, I do believe the above circumstances could warrant further investigation - REGARDLESS of if the person closing the door is armed or not.
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