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Thread: Illegally searched by Montgomery County PD

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    First of all, greetings to everyone. I’ve visited the site many times over the past few years to bolster my understanding of the serious issues that face us law-abiding gun owners in America. More often than I’d like, I’ve heard some worrisome stories about the uphill battle we face in states such as Maryland with respect to firearms ownership. Well, I’m writing today to add to that list of stories. I’d greatly appreciate your input.

    Recently I was visiting my fiancé in Montgomery County. It was very late when I started the hours-long drive home (I live out of state to the North). I was pulled over by Montgomery County PD on I-495 for a minor traffic violation by a rather young-looking officer who, after requesting the usual documentation, bluntly asked if I had any firearms in the vehicle. I CLEARLY informed him that I had a couple of pistols, unloaded, cased, and locked in the trunk, which were both licensed to me. I was able to describe them in perfect detail. He left with my documents and I figured he was perfectly satisfied and would return with my traffic ticket and let me go on my way. He was gone for an unusually long time.

    Little did I know…

    When he finally returned, it wasn’t to hand me a ticket, but to bluntly order me out of the vehicle. I got out and saw that several other MPD officers had been called in, all of them standing around me. As I was patted down, I asked Officer A if I’m being detained (yes). I asked why. Officer A asserted that because I “admitted” to having firearms in the vehicle, they’re going to conduct a search. I reiterated to him that the guns were legally mine and properly stored, and that I would not consent to any search. Further, I explained that since possessing firearms in this manner was not in itself indicative of illegal activity, they did not have probable cause to search me. Officer A mumbled a half-assed retort that had something to do with it being late at night and how they’re trying to catch people driving North through the state with CCW’s from Virginia who fail to follow MD’s own more stringent laws on carrying and transporting firearms. He then added with great emphasis and a threatening tone that my refusal to allow a search made him suspicious that I was hiding something. He threatened that he could arrest me on the spot based on that alone. I considered explaining that although I had nothing to hide, my right to privacy is nothing to shake a stick at, but this was no time for a political debate so I kept my mouth shut. I had to be at work the following morning and couldn’t afford to spend a night in jail.

    So they searched my vehicle and found nothing out of the ordinary. When they got to the trunk, they told me to show them where the guns were. I complied, pointing out the locked case, and entered the combination when asked. The whole time I’m restating that I’m doing this under duress. They check the pistols right down to the chambers to see if maybe…just MAYBE…I screwed up and left a round in there. Nope. Mind you, I wasn’t born yesterday, folks. I’m accustomed enough to living in the Northeast that I carry my guns legit to the point of overkill. Even my ammo and range gear is always in a separate locked case.

    They ran the serial numbers. Clean. Then they put my guns back, hammers still cocked (thanks a lot gents- don’t you know how to properly store a semiauto?). Plus, when I got home, I found the combination lock for my gun case carelessly thrown in another corner of the trunk- they didn’t even lock the case. God forbid I had been pulled over again in MD and found with guns in an unlocked case. Ultimately, after standing by the side of the highway in the freezing cold and with no coat for at least half an hour (the officers were in thick coats and watch caps while they watched me shiver my ass off) they left me with a traffic ticket and no apology for the totally unwarranted and unremarkable search.


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    Welcome to the group. Regrettable that your first post had to relate such a negative encounter. Clear evidence why a lot of us try to avoid spending any time in the "Peoples Republik of MD. If my daughter would see the light and move with my grandsons to a more reasonable place I would never set foot there again. Oh well...

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    The only thing that's going to stop them, unfortunately, is a 1983 civil rights violation lawsuit.

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    It may have been unconstitutional, but not "illegal" under Maryland State law. The U.S. Constitution doesn't apply to Maryland, in case you didn't know.

    Criminal Law Article - §4–206
    (a)
    (1) A law enforcement officer may make an inquiry and conduct a limited search of a person under paragraph (2) of this subsection if the officer, in light of the officer’s observations, information, and experience, reasonably believes that:
    (i) the person may be wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun in violation of § 4-203 of this subtitle;
    (ii) because the person possesses a handgun, the person is or presently may be dangerous to the officer or to others;
    (iii) under the circumstances, it is impracticable to obtain a search warrant; and
    (iv) to protect the officer or others, swift measures are necessary to discover whether the person is wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun.

    (2) If the circumstances specified under paragraph (1) of this subsection exist, a law enforcement officer:
    (i) may approach the person and announce the officer’s status as a law enforcement officer;
    (ii) may request the name and address of the person;
    (iii) if the person is in a vehicle, may request the person’s license to operate the vehicle and the registration of the vehicle;
    (iv) may ask any question and request any explanation that may be reasonably calculated to determine whether the person is unlawfully wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun in violation of § 4-203 of this subtitle; and
    (v) if the person does not offer an explanation that dispels the officer’s reasonable beliefs described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, may conduct a search of the person limited to a patting or frisking of the person’s clothing in search of a handgun.

    (3) A law enforcement officer acting under this subsection shall take into account all circumstances of the occasion, including the age, appearance, physical condition, manner, and gender of the person approached.


    (b)
    (1) If the officer discovers that the person is wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun, the officer may demand evidence from the person of the person’s authority to wear, carry, or transport the handgun in accordance with § 4-203(b) of this article.

    (2) If the person does not produce the evidence specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the officer may seize the handgun and arrest the person.


    (c)
    (1) A law enforcement officer who conducts a search or seizure in accordance with this section shall file a written report with the law enforcement officer’s employer unit within 24 hours after the search or seizure.

    (2) The report shall be on a form that the Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services prescribes, shall include the name of the person searched, and shall describe the circumstances surrounding and the reasons for the search or seizure.

    (3) A copy of the report shall be sent to the Secretary of the State Police.


    (d) On request of a law enforcement officer, the Attorney General shall defend the officer in a civil action, including any appeal, in which the officer is sued for conducting a search or seizure under this section that is alleged to be unreasonable and unlawful.


    (e)
    (1) This section may not be construed to limit the right of a law enforcement officer to conduct any other type of search or seizure or make an arrest that is otherwise authorized by law.

    (2) The provisions of this section are in addition to and not limited by the provisions of Title 2 of the Criminal Procedure Article.


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    ML175 wrote:
    I was pulled over by Montgomery County PD on I-495 for a minor traffic violation by a rather young-looking officer who, after requesting the usual documentation, bluntly asked if I had any firearms in the vehicle. I CLEARLY informed him that I had a couple of pistols, unloaded, cased, and locked in the trunk, which were both licensed to me. I was able to describe them in perfect detail.
    Um, why did you answer that question at all?

    Also, I do not understand if you gave them consent to search - always a bad idea to do this.

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    Actually I'm surprised they didn't arrest you. Talking to them does YOU no good at all, offering information for them to concoct a scenario to bang you up does YOU no good at all.

    Refusing to consent to a search does NOT make you a bad guy, it forces them to either do things by the book so as not to violate your rights OR give up and let you on your way.

    I always have a warm coat when I travel in the car, you never know when you will get a flat tire.

    They sound like a bunch of facists.

    Glad you got out of there with nothing but a traffic ticket... bastards.

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    GoldCoaster,

    Apparently you don't spend much time in MD...

    "Contempt of Cop" is an arrestable offense in MD in practice. The LEA's in MD honestly believe (and practice as a matter of policy) that they can make up rules and statutes in the field, and then just let the courts sort it out.

    He's lucky he didn't have his firearms seized. Asset Forfeiture is BIG business, and in MD, they have it down to an art form...

    I'm with "buzzsaw"--if I didn't have two daughters and a granddaughter in MD, I'd never set foot in that god-forsaken state...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionand this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    ML175,

    Sorry to hear about your experience in MD. Believe me, my frequent travels there to visit my daughters and granddaughter cause me no end of mental anguish, trying to keep up with the current trends in "creative interpretation" of firearms laws by the MSP and the Montgomery County Police force.

    It's gotten to the point where I'm SERIOUSLY considering renting a small storage unit in Tysons Corner VA, so I can just drop off and lock up my firearms before I cross the state line into the "PRM". I'm actually afraid for my life while driving in MD when I've got my pistol locked up and unloaded in the back of my SUV, in separate. locked containers, and the threat I'm afraid of isn't the prolific "thug life" in MD--it's the folks with the badges that I'm worried about...

    Anyway, I'm glad to hear it all worked out for you.

    I have two questions, though:
    1) Were your magazines stored with your ammo, or your gun, and
    2) were your magazines loaded or empty.

    I have printed out and laminated the MD AG's interpretation letter regarding magazines (he says that loaded magazines are NOT considered "firearms" and are OK to transport, as long as they are in a seperate locked container from the actual firearm).

    But knowing what I know about MD LEA's, I keep a copy in my ammo bag--on top of the box of "range rounds" and magazines I have in there, when traveling in MD.

    I'm just curious how you had your gear stowed.

    Stay safe!

    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionand this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    ML175 wrote:
    First of all, greetings to everyone. I’ve visited the site many times over the past few years to bolster my understanding of the serious issues that face us law-abiding gun owners in America. More often than I’d like, I’ve heard some worrisome stories about the uphill battle we face in states such as Maryland with respect to firearms ownership. Well, I’m writing today to add to that list of stories. I’d greatly appreciate your input.

    Recently I was visiting my fiancé in Montgomery County. It was very late when I started the hours-long drive home (I live out of state to the North). I was pulled over by Montgomery County PD on I-495 for a minor traffic violation by a rather young-looking officer who, after requesting the usual documentation, bluntly asked if I had any firearms in the vehicle. I CLEARLY informed him that I had a couple of pistols, unloaded, cased, and locked in the trunk, which were both licensed to me. I was able to describe them in perfect detail. He left with my documents and I figured he was perfectly satisfied and would return with my traffic ticket and let me go on my way. He was gone for an unusually long time.

    Little did I know…

    When he finally returned, it wasn’t to hand me a ticket, but to bluntly order me out of the vehicle. I got out and saw that several other MPD officers had been called in, all of them standing around me. As I was patted down, I asked Officer A if I’m being detained (yes). I asked why. Officer A asserted that because I “admitted” to having firearms in the vehicle, they’re going to conduct a search. I reiterated to him that the guns were legally mine and properly stored, and that I would not consent to any search. Further, I explained that since possessing firearms in this manner was not in itself indicative of illegal activity, they did not have probable cause to search me. Officer A mumbled a half-assed retort that had something to do with it being late at night and how they’re trying to catch people driving North through the state with CCW’s from Virginia who fail to follow MD’s own more stringent laws on carrying and transporting firearms. He then added with great emphasis and a threatening tone that my refusal to allow a search made him suspicious that I was hiding something. He threatened that he could arrest me on the spot based on that alone. I considered explaining that although I had nothing to hide, my right to privacy is nothing to shake a stick at, but this was no time for a political debate so I kept my mouth shut. I had to be at work the following morning and couldn’t afford to spend a night in jail.

    So they searched my vehicle and found nothing out of the ordinary. When they got to the trunk, they told me to show them where the guns were. I complied, pointing out the locked case, and entered the combination when asked. The whole time I’m restating that I’m doing this under duress. They check the pistols right down to the chambers to see if maybe…just MAYBE…I screwed up and left a round in there. Nope. Mind you, I wasn’t born yesterday, folks. I’m accustomed enough to living in the Northeast that I carry my guns legit to the point of overkill. Even my ammo and range gear is always in a separate locked case.

    They ran the serial numbers. Clean. Then they put my guns back, hammers still cocked (thanks a lot gents- don’t you know how to properly store a semiauto?). Plus, when I got home, I found the combination lock for my gun case carelessly thrown in another corner of the trunk- they didn’t even lock the case. God forbid I had been pulled over again in MD and found with guns in an unlocked case. Ultimately, after standing by the side of the highway in the freezing cold and with no coat for at least half an hour (the officers were in thick coats and watch caps while they watched me shiver my ass off) they left me with a traffic ticket and no apology for the totally unwarranted and unremarkable search.


    C
    First off IANAL, but I do live in Murderland USA. The AG has also ruled that if your trip does not BOTH start and end in Maryland, the the MD code 4-203 does NOT apply. Federal USC 18 SS 926A (FOPA) law applies. Quoted below



    AG opinion quoted below:

    The underlined paragraph is the relevant portion

    Dear Mr. _______:

    Maryland law generally prohibits the wearing, carrying or transporting of handgun, loaded or unloaded, concealed or openly: 1) on or about one's person; and, 2) in a vehicle traveling on a road or parking lot generally used by the public, highway, waterway, or airway of the State.
    Individuals who have been issued a permit to carry a handgun by the Maryland Department of State Police (handgun carry permits issued by other states are not effective) are exempted from this law.

    The following activities are also exempted: 1) the carrying of a handgun on the person or in a vehicle while the person is transporting the handgun to or from the place of legal purchase or sale, or to or from a bona fide repair shop, or between bona fide residences of the person, or between the bona fide residence and place of business of the person, if the business is operated and owned substantially by the person if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster; 2) the wearing, carrying, or transporting by a person of a handgun used in connection with an organized military activity, a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, hunting, a Department of Natural Resources-sponsored firearms and hunter safety class, trapping, or a dog obedience training class or show, while the person is engaged in, on the way to, or returning from that activity if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster; 3) the moving by a bona fide gun collector of part or all of the collector's gun collection from place to place for public or private exhibition if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster; 4) the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a person on real estate that the person owns or leases or where the person resides or within the confines of a business establishment that the person owns or leases; 5) the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a supervisory employee: in the course of employment; within the confines of the business establishment in which the supervisory employee is employed; and (iii) when so authorized by the owner or manager of the business establishment.

    The federal law you cite (18 USC 926A) applies to the interstate transportation of a firearm (handgun or long arm) and supersedes Maryland law. It would have no bearing on the transportation of a firearm where the origin and destination are both within Maryland. It would however allow for the transportation of a firearm through the State of Maryland regardless of the Maryland law cited above.

    For purposes of the exceptions to Maryland law, a handgun may be transported within the passenger compartment of the vehicle provided it is unloaded and in an enclosed case or holster. For purposes of the federal law exception, the firearm must be unloaded and not readily accessible from the passenger compartment.

    Mark H. Bowen Assistant Attorney General


    (end of quotation from Mr. Bowen)


    While I certainly don't advocate standing on the side of 495 in the cold arguing with MoCo's finest about the legality of transport, it's my opinion 4-203 that was quoted has NO bearing on your case if the origin and destination of your trip were not BOTH in MD. This according to the AG ruling. If your trip met these guidelines then you were withing your rights as far as compliance with FOPA transport and the LEO's had no right to search your vehicle as 4-203 does not apply.. It was a legal Terry stop for purposes of officer safety (USSC Terry vs Ohio) but asking you to show the weapons was overstepping IMO. A pat down and cursory search of the vehicle interior is all that you need to allow them.


    Of course it's easy for me to do this sitting at my keyboard in my warm house, not standing at the side of the road. I'm glad they didn't push the issue because they were wrong IMO.


    Again IANAL. I have attached the AG ruling if you decide to carry it with you. I have all the docs in my gun travel case for situations like this. Glad it turned out ok and sorry for the Gestapo tactics of the cops. "Papers please."





  10. #10
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    glad to see you made it out intact on that one. school yard bullies, now with badges? i guess courtesy and respect are an option now. you gave them that, but they didn't feel it was necessary to reciprocate. rough handling of your equipment by professionals, let you stand outside and freeze. i wonder if their dash cameras captured their charm and flair. yet another state i will never visit, never spend money in.

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    I would have told him no.....it was a fishing expedition......Looking for people from VA CHP holders? You didn't have VA plates....

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    swinokur wrote:
    While I certainly don't advocate standing on the side of 495 in the cold arguing with MoCo's finest about the legality of transport, it's my opinion 4-203 that was quoted has NO bearing on your case if the origin and destination of your trip were not BOTH in MD. This according to the AG ruling.
    That's not entirely on-target, at least according to the way I interpret th elaw, and what the MDAG office told me on the phone.

    If you are traveling THROUGH MD, and not stopping (like driving from VA to PA) then FOPA applies. But if you stop in MD--even to eat a meal or fuel up your vehicle--then your trip falls under MD law, because you had a "destination" in MD.

    The OP was driving from PA to MD, and then returning to PA. he was not drivig THROUGH Maryland--he was driving TO MD. Because one fo the destinations in his trip was MD, this "transport of a firearm" is regulated under MD law, and FOPA does not apply.



    If your trip met these guidelines then you were withing your rights as far as compliance with FOPA transport and the LEO's had no right to search your vehicle as 4-203 does not apply.
    No. Not if you stop--FOR ANY REASON--in MD during the trip.

    I'm not sayinig this is right or even logical, just that this is the way they interpret the law in MD, and is, in fact, teh way MD law (and FOPA) is written...

    It's getting to be so bad up in MD that I'm seriously considering renting a storage unit in Tysons Corner, so I can just drop of my valuable firearms at the border in VA before I cross into the PRM. I'm probably already on a "list" in MD, between my posts here, and my open and vocal activist work in Annapolis. It's probably just a matter of time before I get "jacked by a badge" on one of my trips, and to be honest, I've got no inclination to be the next "test case" in that god-forsake state...

    It's a terrible state of events where honest, law-abiding citizens have MORE fear for their safety and freedom from the police than they do from the criminal element. I worry about not being able to defend myself from thugs while in MD. But it's an even bigger worry of mine that the "authorities" might take it upon themselves to "make an example" of me just because they don't like my bumper stickers, or the testimony I'v given in Annapolis regarding gun rights.

    The people of MD need to reign in their government and their LEA's. The voters in MD need to start working SERIOUSLY to kick every single anti-gun incumbent official out of office, and replace them with people who actually BELIEVE in the US Constitution.

    MSP has already let us know they believe that the 2A doesn't apply in MD. Their actions are showing us more and more that they have utter disregard for the 4A. It's just a matter of time before they start infringing on the 1A too...

    Chip, chip, chip...

    Pretty soon, there will be guard posts at all the borders of MD, with uniformed officers, requesting:

    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionand this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    Caveat Emptor: I am not offering legal advice to anyone; just stating my personal opinions and thinking out loud.

    18 USC 926A allows the interstate transportation of firearms from any place where you may lawfully possess and carry them to any place where you may lawfully possess and carry them, notwithstanding the laws of any State or political subdivision.

    The OP, to my knowledge, is not prohibited by Maryland law from possessing and carrying firearms within the private residence he was visiting.

    Maryland Criminal Law - Section 4-203:
    <snip>
    This section does not prohibit:
    <snip>
    the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a person on real estate that the person owns or leases or where the person resides or within the confines of a business establishment that the person owns or leases;
    <snip>

    The term "bona fide residence" is used in other parts of 4-203, whereas that sentence merely says "where the person resides."

    Following this logic: The firearms were being transported interstate; the OP presumably may lawfully possess and carry those firearms at his home in whatever-state; the OP presumably may lawfully possess and carry those firearms where he was residing in Maryland; 18 USC 926A applies to the transport of those firearms.

    I disagree with Dreamer about 18 USC 926A ceasing to apply if you stop for any reason. Can you cite any court rulings to that effect? I think that 18 USC 926A does still apply if you stop somewhere, such as to eat, urinate, fuel your vehicle, and even spend the night in a rented or free room during your interstate trip.

    By your logic, as soon as he stopped on the side of the road as ordered by the police, 18 USC 926A would cease to apply, and his transportation of the firearms would have been in violation of 4-203(a) because he was not transporting them as allowed per 4-203(b).

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    I assure you, the OP did not break Maryland law in regards to the manner of transport of his firearms. If he had, he would have been arrested and his property would have been seized for evidence.

    The part about trying to catch Va CCW folks sounds a bit weird though...

    I've been stopped a couple of times in Maryland for minor things, although I was never issued a ticket. It must have been the VCDL sticker on my truck!

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    swinokur wrote:
    The federal law you cite (18 USC 926A) applies to the interstate transportation of a firearm (handgun or long arm) and supersedes Maryland law. It would have no bearing on the transportation of a firearm where the origin and destination are both within Maryland. It would however allow for the transportation of a firearm through the State of Maryland regardless of the Maryland law cited above.

    For purposes of the exceptions to Maryland law, a handgun may be transported within the passenger compartment of the vehicle provided it is unloaded and in an enclosed case or holster. For purposes of the federal law exception, the firearm must be unloaded and not readily accessible from the passenger compartment.

    Mark H. Bowen Assistant Attorney General


    (end of quotation from Mr. Bowen)
    Interesting - Maryland law is actualy less strict than Virginia law in that an unloaded gun may be possessed in an arguably concealed condition (case or holster) in the passenger compartment.

    As for FOPA being limited to interstate journeys, that's not what the text of FOPA says, and after all state highways are instrumentalities of federal commerce and "Congress is empowered to regulate and protect the instrumentalities of interstate commerce, or persons or things in interstate commerce, even though the threat may come only from intrastate activities. See, e.g., Shreveport Rate Cases, 234 U.S. 342 (1914); Southern R. Co. v. United States, 222 U.S. 20 (1911) (upholding amendments to Safety Appliance Act as applied to vehicles used in intrastate commerce)." United States v. Lopez,514 U.S. 549 (1995).

  16. #16
    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    virginiatuck wrote:
    Caveat Emptor: I am not offering legal advice to anyone; just stating my personal opinions and thinking out loud.

    18 USC 926A allows the interstate transportation of firearms from any place where you may lawfully possess and carry them to any place where you may lawfully possess and carry them, notwithstanding the laws of any State or political subdivision.

    The OP, to my knowledge, is not prohibited by Maryland law from possessing and carrying firearms within the private residence he was visiting.

    Maryland Criminal Law - Section 4-203:
    <snip>
    This section does not prohibit:
    <snip>
    the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a person on real estate that the person owns or leases or where the person resides or within the confines of a business establishment that the person owns or leases;
    <snip>

    The term "bona fide residence" is used in other parts of 4-203, whereas that sentence merely says "where the person resides."

    Following this logic: The firearms were being transported interstate; the OP presumably may lawfully possess and carry those firearms at his home in whatever-state; the OP presumably may lawfully possess and carry those firearms where he was residing in Maryland; 18 USC 926A applies to the transport of those firearms.

    I disagree with Dreamer about 18 USC 926A ceasing to apply if you stop for any reason. Can you cite any court rulings to that effect? I think that 18 USC 926A does still apply if you stop somewhere, such as to eat, urinate, fuel your vehicle, and even spend the night in a rented or free room during your interstate trip.

    By your logic, as soon as he stopped on the side of the road as ordered by the police, 18 USC 926A would cease to apply, and his transportation of the firearms would have been in violation of 4-203(a) because he was not transporting them as allowed per 4-203(b).

    I agree with your point about FOPA. There is court precedents allowing fuel, food and bathroom breaks. There are several states in the US that cannot be traversed in one day of driving. In those cases I think you should leave the weapon locked as per FOPA to at least comply with the intent if not the spirit of the law. removing it to a hotel room would not be legal IMO.I need to try and find the cites for rest and food stops if I can.. At any rate, the MD AG opinion states that MD 4-203 applies if BOTH the origin and destination are BOTH in MD. If he is coming from anywhere outside MD or going to a destination outside MD then MD statute 4-203 does not apply and he is not in violation of 4-203 as you point out. Just stopping does not constitute a violation of FOPA IMO. If that were the case FOPA would be basically rendered unusable as gas and rest stops seem reasonable and required for travel.

    Dreamer i'm afraid we're gonna have to agree to disagree on this part.

    That's my interpretation of it anyway. What a sorry state of affairs. No pun intended.

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    swinokur wrote:
    removing it to a hotel room would not be legal IMO.
    Thats not true.
    A rented hotel room in YOUR name is considered a "temporary domicile".
    Therefore, all laws regarding firearms inside of your home or apartment apply.
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Sorry to hear you got jacked up.

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    To ML175, the bottom line is that you need to consult an attorney because nothing about the law is simple or straightforward; for all I know, you may have a viable civil case against the officers that detained you and conducted the search.

    If the officer was in fact invoking 4-206 in your case, the search is limited to a patting or frisking of the person's clothing in search of a handgun. Further, the officer is required to file a written report of a search or seizure conducted in accordance with 4-206 within 24 hours. You, or your attorney, should be able to obtain a copy if it exists. However, there may be other authority outside of 4-206 that authorized the search conducted by the officers; I don't know.

    Contact an attorney and tell them what happened. A consultation probably won't cost anything but a little bit of your time.

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    As the poster was completely legal with the guns locked up in cases in the trunk , why couldn't you just say ," there is nothing illegal in my vehical !"??? Then if they search the car , it really is a fishing expedition and completely unwarrented.

    Illinois has plenty of faults ( wow is that ever an understatement) but at least we can carry an unloaded gun with ammo ( loaded in a mag , speed loader , or loose ) in a case and have it laying on our lap while driveing down the road. We can even put the gun in the glovebox or in the center consol unloaded but with ammo beside it as long as we have our FOID card. Without the card no gun or ammo can be had though.

    The above doesn't pertain to out of staters unfortunately.



  21. #21
    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Sig229 wrote:
    swinokur wrote:
    removing it to a hotel room would not be legal IMO.
    Thats not true.
    A rented hotel room in YOUR name is considered a "temporary domicile".
    Therefore, all laws regarding firearms inside of your home or apartment apply.
    Please provide a cite from MD law for this statement regards a hotel room as a legal domicile.

    Maybe I was not clear in y statement of removing your weapon from your vehicle to stay in a hotel room as far as your continued coverage under FOPA and my use of the word illegal. I meant illegal under FOPA protections per the storage requirements. hence my advice to leave the weapon in your vehicle to at least comply with that portion of the law.. If you stop your vehicle in MD and remove your weapon, you are no longer traveling in compliance with FOPA and I'm guessing MD law would then apply and any FOPA coverage you had is now removed as you are are no longer storing your weapon per FOPA storage requirements. Secondly by stopping your journey in MD and removing your weapon, you have now created a destination in MD Not sure about the legality of a hotel room as a domicile in MD for purposes of 4-203. If as in Dreamers situation you then continued to your daughters home in MD, per the AG ruling, BOTH your origin and destination are in MD and 4-203 and 4-206 then apply, if you are stopped by LEO, you are then subject to the allowed search as outlined in 4-206. IMO 4-206 seems to not pass constitutional muster in light of Terry vs Ohio anyway.

    That's my read of this. I would not consent to a search of my vehicle other than what is required by Terry vs Ohio USSC. (Pat down and cursory interior search for weapons) I am not even sure that a traffic stop by itself if it's a civil matter not criminal constitutes RAS for purposes of a search (RAS=Reasonable articulable suspicion of a crime being committed or in progress) as required by Terry vs Ohio USSC.


    If the cop feels that strongly standing by the side of the road in the cold that a crime has been committed, let him go obtain a search warrant which then changes the burden to probable cause.

    My .02


    IANAL.

  22. #22
    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Mike wrote:
    swinokur wrote:
    The federal law you cite (18 USC 926A) applies to the interstate transportation of a firearm (handgun or long arm) and supersedes Maryland law. It would have no bearing on the transportation of a firearm where the origin and destination are both within Maryland. It would however allow for the transportation of a firearm through the State of Maryland regardless of the Maryland law cited above.

    For purposes of the exceptions to Maryland law, a handgun may be transported within the passenger compartment of the vehicle provided it is unloaded and in an enclosed case or holster. For purposes of the federal law exception, the firearm must be unloaded and not readily accessible from the passenger compartment.

    Mark H. Bowen Assistant Attorney General


    (end of quotation from Mr. Bowen)
    Interesting - Maryland law is actualy less strict than Virginia law in that an unloaded gun may be possessed in an arguably concealed condition (case or holster) in the passenger compartment.

    As for FOPA being limited to interstate journeys, that's not what the text of FOPA says, and after all state highways are instrumentalities of federal commerce and "Congress is empowered to regulate and protect the instrumentalities of interstate commerce, or persons or things in interstate commerce, even though the threat may come only from intrastate activities. See, e.g., Shreveport Rate Cases, 234 U.S. 342 (1914); Southern R. Co. v. United States, 222 U.S. 20 (1911) (upholding amendments to Safety Appliance Act as applied to vehicles used in intrastate commerce)." United States v. Lopez,514 U.S. 549 (1995).
    But MD also has a very strict laws that limit when the weapon can even be in your vehicle such as going to the range, a gun shop or an organized shoot. You cannot just drive around with it in your vehicle as you can in VA.. MD 4-203 outlines the narrow allowances for the weapon to be in your vehicle at all. It's not really more lax IMO as compared to VA, at least as it pertains to OC where carry in your vehicle is OK with certain exceptions. While MD appears to be more lax as far as the method of carry, if you compare where you can carry, even in an enclosed case or holster, to VA, VA clearly is a better environment IMO.

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    Thanks for the replies. I’m glad to see that this incident has generated some lively discourse.

    As far as the legal aspects go, I’ll have to limit my comments somewhat because the potential for legal action is still pending. Nevertheless, there are a couple of points that I’d like to share.

    I’ve spoken with a handful of attorneys already, two of them good friends with JD’s from Ivy League schools who have adamantly confirmed the unconstitutionality of the officer’s actions. Virginiatuck raises some very interesting points by bringing up 4-206, which is a peculiar piece of legislation that I’ve never seen before. The remarkable thing is how watered-down it is, with endless room for interpretation.

    It reminds me of Dreamer’s recent idea for a protest involving a copy of the Constitution with the “VOID in Maryland” stamp at the top.  Spot-on, Sir…

    I’ve had lengthy (and colorful) discussions with other attorneys licensed in MD, again confirming the blatant illegality of what took place. The sad part is that the courts routinely condone illegal practices such as these and are well-versed in a plethora of tactics to sweep incidents like these under the carpet. The idea of a 1983 civil rights action has been discussed at length, but I can’t go any further than that at this point in time. Apologies.

    Dreamer, your question about how my gear was stored is a good one. The guns are stored in one locked case and my magazines, range gear plus a couple boxes of ammo normally go in a locked ammo crate also in the trunk. I don’t always go through the effort of locking up my range gear since it’s normally not necessary, but when crossing state lines I prefer to go the extra mile, if nothing else then just to show any LEO’s that the out-of-stater they’ve never met before is indeed a good citizen on the right side of the law. Too bad that concept doesn’t exist in Maryland, where the good guys are treated like criminals and criminals are treated like good guys.

    I’d heard about the magazine issue before but not wanting to take chances, I’ve always kept my magazines empty when travelling. I figure it doesn’t pay to take chances and rationalize that it gives the springs a chance to rest. As soon as I get home from the range or cross into a state that’s covered by one of my various nonresident CCL’s, I load them back up with HP’s.

    I don’t drive around with this stuff in my trunk on a regular basis. I had planned to visit the range with my fiancé on this trip. She’s been to the range with me periodically over the past couple of years and is quite the shooter. With society being the way it is nowadays, and since I can’t be around all the time, we’ve talked at length about the need for her to be safe. Too bad that in MD, it’s illegal for a woman to take steps to protect herself beyond carrying a rape whistle and a cell phone. It reminds me of what a friend told me recently after moving to Connecticut from Arizona, something along the lines of, “I still have firearms left in Arizona because they weren’t ‘allowed’ in Connecticut. Back home I was a well-armed, safe and sane citizen, but let me come to Connecticut with that same gun and suddenly I’m a maniac. Funny how that works.” Fortunately, we’re moving out of that Godforsaken nanny state the second we’re done with our business there and not a moment too soon.


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    Regular Member Gundude's Avatar
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    A citizen may not be required to offer a ―good and substantial reason-- why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The rights existence is all the reason he needs.

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    So my question is what is considered an "enclosed holster" under Maryland law.

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