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Thread: Open carry trouble

  1. #1
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    This is the letter I sent to my attorney. I just pasted it here.

    On January 15th 2010, at approximately 7:30PM, in Artesia, New Mexico I was traveling on highway 285 with my wife and 2 young daughters, ages 4 and 1. I came upon a DWI checkpoint operated by the City of Artesia police department. An officer (name unknown) approached my drivers window, informed me that they were conducting a DWI checkpoint, and asked for my license, registration, and proof of insurance. As I handed him my insurance card, I informed him that my wallet was in close proximity to my sidearm. The officer said "O.K, I need you to keep your hands on the wheel for me, O.K?" He was polite and I did as instructed. The unknown officer called for another officer, later identified as Lt. David Spencer, and told him "We have a weapon here." Lt. Spencer approached the vehicle by the drivers side with his hand on his weapon and asked where my weapon was. I informed him that it was holstered on my right hip. Lt. Spencer, then in a loud and demanding voice, ordered me multiple times to "Keep your hands on the wheel!" and "Do not take your hands off that wheel!" Then he ordered me to pull my vehicle over to the parking lot of the Masonic Lodge next to the checkpoint, where he told me to put the vehicle in park. I was too afraid to reach for the gear shift, so I asked my wife to do it for me. I shut off the vehicle and Lt. Spencer ordered me to "Get out of the vehicle and keep your hands where I can see them." I asked if this was all really necessary, the only response from Lt. Spencer was an order to turn around and put my hands on the vehicle. At this point I was standing in front of the rear drivers side window, in full view of my children. Lt. Spencer approached me from behind and removed my pistol from its holster. The moment I felt him pull on my pistol I told him that I did not consent to any search or seizure of my person or property. His reply was "I'm not searching anything, this is for officer safety." He then sat my loaded firearm on the curved trunk of my car. My wife informed me after the event that when Lt. Spencer removed my weapon my 4 year old cried out "DON'T SHOOT MY DADDY!" Lt. Spencer began to question me about why I carry a firearm. I told him for self-defense. He balked and asked "Why, is someone after you?" My response was "I never know when I might need it." He asked if I had a concealed weapons permit. I told him no, and informed him that New Mexico was an open carry state, and I did not need a permit to openly carry a sidearm. Lt. Spencer argued with me telling me that if my jacket falls over the gun it is concealed. I reminded him that the firearm was not concealed, but New Mexico allows concealed carry in a private vehicle by non-permit holders. I then noticed another officer by the passenger side of the vehicle, Later identified as Sgt. Jarod Zuniga, who informed me that it was still not allowed if the weapon is on my person. Lt, Spencer the re-iterated his opinion that I needed to get a CCW permit. He asked if I was a felon, I replied that I am not. Sgt Zuniga asked who the pistol was registered to. I told him I purchased it new, so it would come back registered to me. Sgt Zuniga then proceeded to write the serial number of my firearm on a pad. I said "So, Now your going to search my pistol?" He was looking down at the vehicle, and I was able to make out "I have every right to do this" or "I am perfectly within my rights to do this." At this point the officers asked for the registration for the vehicle. My wife looked, but could not find our copy. We told the officers that we had misplaced it, but the license plate had a valid sticker. Sgt Zuniga said that the state could revoke registration, and they needed to see our copy. Then returned to his cruiser. My oldest daughter Julie was still crying, Lt. Spencer said I could get in the vehicle to calm her down. I opened the rear drivers door and re-assured my daughter that everything was O.K. She immediately calmed down. I asked Lt. Spencer if he could place his hand on my pistol so that it would not fall off the curved trunk when I shut the door. Sgt Zuniga returned with a citation for no proof of registration. I signed the citation in the area for court appearance. I was told I could secure my pistol and be on my way. Both officers had their hands on their weapons as I retrieved and holstered my own. The entire incident lasted between 30 and 45 minutes.


    I did some looking and found that Spencer is the troop leader for the New Mexico Mounted Patrol. Troop 18 in Artesia New Mexico.

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    I wonder why no one commented so far. Completely ridiculous in my opinion. As a concealed carry permit holder, the only time I've ever been pulled over after I got my permit, I handed both my driver's license and my cwp to the officer, who in turn asked where the weapon was. I told him it was in my briefcase. He said to keep my hands on the wheel and went back to his car. A few minutes later, he returned, had me sign a warning ticket (for speeding) and thanked me for cooperating and turned around and left. He was a state trooper.

    Sorry to hear you had this trouble. Keep us posted on the result of the complaint/lawsuit if it goes that far.

  3. #3
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    Scooter88310 wrote:
    This is the letter I sent to my attorney. I just pasted it here...
    It would help us old geezers to read your post if you would break things into paragraphs.

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    already signed the settlement papers. Just waiting for the check to clear.
    Sorry about not using paragraphs, It never occured to me.

  5. #5
    McX
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    so scooter, did you get a lawyer, and go after them? you mentioned settlement papers, so i thought. unbelievable crap though, public humiliation, in front of your family, abuse of police power.

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    Yeah, Got a lawyer. We did sign papers to settle out of court. My daughter would ask every time she saw a cop if they were going to come and shoot me, So I called a friend of mine who is an Alamo officer to meet us at McDonalds in uniform and talk to her..... She's not afraid of cops anymore. Thanks Officer Thompson.

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    I can't tell you have upsetting this is for me to hear.

    This kind of egregious action is just one of many issues that can occur where officers don't understand the law here. It's difficult enough to get full-time officers educated on our firearms laws, but when you're talking about mounted patrol, you're in a whole different world. Especially so if you encounter [what appears on the surface to be] someone that seems to have a problem with citizens exercising their right to carry in NM - granted by the NM Constitution.

    CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO

    ADOPTED JANUARY 21,1911

    ARTICLE II - BILL OF RIGHTS

    Sec. 6. [Right to bear arms.]

    No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incidentof the right to keep and bear arms. (As amended November 2, 1971 and November 2, 1986.)

    Just for clarification - carrying and possessing a firearm in NM is a RIGHT- granted by the NM Constitution - carrying a concealed firearm in public in NM is a privilage granted by the state, to residents that meet the requirements of the Statutes and obtain a license. BIG difference.

    I am really sorry you had to go through this, and more importantly, that your daughter was subjected to this experience. It seems from your post that you have worked this out. I only hope the mounted patrol posts across the state are better educated on our RIGHTS here.

    Anyone that can possess a firearm legally here, can have it in their home, can carry it openly in public where it is not prohibited, and can carry it any way they choose while in their vehicle - without a license. If you have it concealed on your person in your vehicle, you must either disarm or openly carry your firearm if you step out of the vehicle, or have a license to carry concealed in NM.

    I'm happy to see you have gotten someone to spent a few minutes reassuring your daughter that the police aren't going to be trouble to you or her in the future and can only hope this hasn't affected her in the long term.

    Steve Aikens

    Added: Might be a good idea to edit your post and slip some paragraphs in it to make it easier for others to read. I think this is a good example of what can happen here and others can learn from your experience. Thanks for posting it.


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    The cops attitude upset me more than their actions. I can understand being ignorant, but rude too?

    If you are going to have a law ENFORCEMENT job, or in this case PASTIME, Maybe a little knowledge of the LAWS you are trying to enforce would be a good thing. I've carried in Alamogordo, Las Cruces, Roswell, Artesia, Carlsbad, And this is the only problem I have had. I wanted to post on here earlier but wife thought, and probably correctly, that we should wait until everything was settled.

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    Scooter88310 wrote:
    If you are going to have a law ENFORCEMENT job, or in this case PASTIME
    Oh, that's beautiful! Calling it like it is.

    Law Enforcement Job, or Civilian Harassment Hobby...

    I'm glad you cut into his cash. They don't listen to anything else. I hope you made him take out a second mortgage.
    "The fourth man's dark, accusing song had scratched our comfort hard and long..."
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    Tyranny with Manners is still Tyranny.

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    I'm not getting a lot of money. Just enough to open their eyes, get some in savings. Maybe get another pistol.

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    The whole situation sounds messed up, but besides not knowing the laws, it amazes me the cops think there's gun registration in NM. The only person who knows serial # belong to what guns you own is the dealer you bought them from, as it is required by federal law to keep records of his sales. However it is not required by federal law to hand these records over to the government unless you are requested by the police, like if a specific gun w/serial# is used in a crime, or when the dealer shuts down shop/gives up his FFL. I have a buddy who's a sheriff's deputy and I was curious about what comes up when they run serial #'s. No name's come up, just if it's stolen or not.

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    I'm missing something here. Did you sue? What "settlement" are you referring to? You certainly have a case against the ******* cop and the hick town.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    New Mexican Officers need to step it up, especially in that area..., when it comes to Firearms.

    I have known a few people who have been to New Mexico with their Firearms and they report nothing but pleasant experiences.

    The actions of those Officers are not tolerable.

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    Yeah, Gunslinger, I talked to an attorney. He sent a letter of demand to the City of Artesia letting them know they screwed up and we were intending to sue. The city decided to settle out of court.

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    Officers cannot demand your license, registration and proof of insurance on a simple DWI checkpoint! All they can do is a brief check to determine if there is any evidence the driver has been drinking.

    They can only go beyond that IF they determine there is reasonable evidence that you have been drinking or have broken another law.

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    Scooter88310 wrote:
    Yeah, Gunslinger, I talked to an attorney. He sent a letter of demand to the City of Artesia letting them know they screwed up and we were intending to sue. The city decided to settle out of court.
    Got it. Good job!
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Dang usually NM cops are better than this.

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    Regular Member MrGlock's Avatar
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    What a sad story. I'm sorry about what happened, as I too know what its like to run into jerkoff cops who think they know it all. Glad you made some $$$ out of it.

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    ...and let that be a lesson to us all!

    [I need $$$$$$ for a upscale condo in Honolulu]

    -- John D.
    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

  20. #20
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    So everyone can read it, here is the OP's post, formatted for readability:

    This is the letter I sent to my attorney. I just pasted it here. On January 15th 2010, at approximately 7:30PM, in Artesia, New Mexico I was traveling on highway 285 with my wife and 2 young daughters, ages 4 and 1. I came upon a DWI checkpoint operated by the City of Artesia police department. An officer (name unknown) approached my drivers window, informed me that they were conducting a DWI checkpoint, and asked for my license, registration, and proof of insurance.

    As I handed him my insurance card, I informed him that my wallet was in close proximity to my sidearm. The officer said "O.K, I need you to keep your hands on the wheel for me, O.K?" He was polite and I did as instructed. The unknown officer called for another officer, later identified as Lt. David Spencer, and told him "We have a weapon here."

    Lt. Spencer approached the vehicle by the drivers side with his hand on his weapon and asked where my weapon was. I informed him that it was holstered on my right hip. Lt. Spencer, then in a loud and demanding voice, ordered me multiple times to "Keep your hands on the wheel!" and "Do not take your hands off that wheel!"

    Then he ordered me to pull my vehicle over to the parking lot of the Masonic Lodge next to the checkpoint, where he told me to put the vehicle in park. I was too afraid to reach for the gear shift, so I asked my wife to do it for me. I shut off the vehicle and Lt. Spencer ordered me to "Get out of the vehicle and keep your hands where I can see them."

    I asked if this was all really necessary, the only response from Lt. Spencer was an order to turn around and put my hands on the vehicle. At this point I was standing in front of the rear drivers side window, in full view of my children.

    Lt. Spencer approached me from behind and removed my pistol from its holster. The moment I felt him pull on my pistol I told him that I did not consent to any search or seizure of my person or property. His reply was "I'm not searching anything, this is for officer safety." He then sat my loaded firearm on the curved trunk of my car.

    My wife informed me after the event that when Lt. Spencer removed my weapon my 4 year old cried out "DON'T SHOOT MY DADDY!" Lt. Spencer began to question me about why I carry a firearm. I told him for self-defense. He balked and asked "Why, is someone after you?" My response was "I never know when I might need it." He asked if I had a concealed weapons permit. I told him no, and informed him that New Mexico was an open carry state, and I did not need a permit to openly carry a sidearm.

    Lt. Spencer argued with me telling me that if my jacket falls over the gun it is concealed. I reminded him that the firearm was not concealed, but New Mexico allows concealed carry in a private vehicle by non-permit holders.

    I then noticed another officer by the passenger side of the vehicle, Later identified as Sgt. Jarod Zuniga, who informed me that it was still not allowed if the weapon is on my person. Lt, Spencer the re-iterated his opinion that I needed to get a CCW permit. He asked if I was a felon, I replied that I am not. Sgt Zuniga asked who the pistol was registered to. I told him I purchased it new, so it would come back registered to me. Sgt Zuniga then proceeded to write the serial number of my firearm on a pad. I said "So, Now your going to search my pistol?"

    He was looking down at the vehicle, and I was able to make out "I have every right to do this" or "I am perfectly within my rights to do this." At this point the officers asked for the registration for the vehicle. My wife looked, but could not find our copy. We told the officers that we had misplaced it, but the license plate had a valid sticker. Sgt Zuniga said that the state could revoke registration, and they needed to see our copy. Then returned to his cruiser.

    My oldest daughter Julie was still crying, Lt. Spencer said I could get in the vehicle to calm her down. I opened the rear drivers door and re-assured my daughter that everything was O.K. She immediately calmed down. I asked Lt. Spencer if he could place his hand on my pistol so that it would not fall off the curved trunk when I shut the door.

    Sgt Zuniga returned with a citation for no proof of registration. I signed the citation in the area for court appearance. I was told I could secure my pistol and be on my way. Both officers had their hands on their weapons as I retrieved and holstered my own. The entire incident lasted between 30 and 45 minutes.

    I did some looking and found that Spencer is the troop leader for the New Mexico Mounted Patrol. Troop 18 in Artesia New Mexico.

  21. #21
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Scooter,

    It would be educational and helpful if you would describe, in as much detail as you can or are able, what approach your attorney took with the police department/law department, etc.

    Information suchas the basis for a claim, responses received, etc. is valuable, especially for those who may not have access to an attorney, or those who may be trying to interest an attorney (via a contingency arrangement) in taking on a matter.

    Remember... paragraphs! :-)

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    I'll look through my papers and see if I can find the letter of intent he sent to the city. I'll scan that and post it here.... Might take some time, not sure where it wound up.

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    SDguy wrote:
    Officers cannot demand your license, registration and proof of insurance on a simple DWI checkpoint! All they can do is a brief check to determine if there is any evidence the driver has been drinking.

    They can only go beyond that IF they determine there is reasonable evidence that you have been drinking or have broken another law.
    They definitely have broader powers to trample your rights at a sobriety checkpoint.

    I have a clip on youtube of me going through a sob checkpoint. I gave my papers requested and then informed the officer I didn't want to answer questions. At that point I was made to get out of my vehicle for further investigation.

    I told them I didn't consent to a vehicle search yet another officer moved my vehicle and while doing soopened a cooler and took my gun out of it. They wanted to run the numbers but I objected to this loudly asserting that it was my private property and they had no RS for the search. They didn't.

    Anyways, I called the ACLU to ask if this was all legal and they said it was, that at a sob checkpoint there is no need for RS or PC and that if they wished they could even open up my trunk against my objections. I don't believe this and can't find any rulings to back this up. I am waiting on a Sunshine Law request before making any further decisions.

    I do have on video, my intial detainment and the officer removing the gun from my car from my camera I had inside my car. Its all on youtube under a search of MKrip808.



    I find your story very insteresting and am wondering what part of it was wrong in the name of the law or if it was the totality of the circumstance.

  24. #24
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    MK wrote:
    SDguy wrote:
    Officers cannot demand your license, registration and proof of insurance on a simple DWI checkpoint! All they can do is a brief check to determine if there is any evidence the driver has been drinking.

    They can only go beyond that IF they determine there is reasonable evidence that you have been drinking or have broken another law.
    They definitely have broader powers to trample your rights at a sobriety checkpoint.

    I have a clip on youtube of me going through a sob checkpoint. I gave my papers requested and then informed the officer I didn't want to answer questions. At that point I was made to get out of my vehicle for further investigation.

    I told them I didn't consent to a vehicle search yet another officer moved my vehicle and while doing soopened a cooler and took my gun out of it. They wanted to run the numbers but I objected to this loudly asserting that it was my private property and they had no RS for the search. They didn't.

    Anyways, I called the ACLU to ask if this was all legal and they said it was, that at a sob checkpoint there is no need for RS or PC and that if they wished they could even open up my trunk against my objections. I don't believe this and can't find any rulings to back this up. I am waiting on a Sunshine Law request before making any further decisions.

    I do have on video, my intial detainment and the officer removing the gun from my car from my camera I had inside my car. Its all on youtube under a search of MKrip808.



    I find your story very insteresting and am wondering what part of it was wrong in the name of the law or if it was the totality of the circumstance.
    The ACLU is full of ****. They can't open your trunk without a search warrant unless you have been arrested.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Gunslinger wrote:
    MK wrote:
    SDguy wrote:
    Officers cannot demand your license, registration and proof of insurance on a simple DWI checkpoint! All they can do is a brief check to determine if there is any evidence the driver has been drinking.

    They can only go beyond that IF they determine there is reasonable evidence that you have been drinking or have broken another law.
    They definitely have broader powers to trample your rights at a sobriety checkpoint.

    I have a clip on youtube of me going through a sob checkpoint. I gave my papers requested and then informed the officer I didn't want to answer questions. At that point I was made to get out of my vehicle for further investigation.

    I told them I didn't consent to a vehicle search yet another officer moved my vehicle and while doing soopened a cooler and took my gun out of it. They wanted to run the numbers but I objected to this loudly asserting that it was my private property and they had no RS for the search. They didn't.

    Anyways, I called the ACLU to ask if this was all legal and they said it was, that at a sob checkpoint there is no need for RS or PC and that if they wished they could even open up my trunk against my objections. I don't believe this and can't find any rulings to back this up. I am waiting on a Sunshine Law request before making any further decisions.

    I do have on video, my intial detainment and the officer removing the gun from my car from my camera I had inside my car. Its all on youtube under a search of MKrip808.



    I find your story very insteresting and am wondering what part of it was wrong in the name of the law or if it was the totality of the circumstance.
    The ACLU is full of @#$%. They can't open your trunk without a search warrant unless you have been arrested.
    No offense meant, but what kind of moron that has ANY interest in their Second Amendment rights - calls the ACLU for ANYTHING????

    Gunslinger is on the money. The ACLU is full of feces on this - and so many other issues that it's sickening.

    To reiterate Gunslinger - They can't open your trunk without a search warrant unless you have been arrested and they can define the probable cause. In NM, your vehicle is an extension of your home - even if you ARE arrested, they still need a warrant!

    ACLU - what the hell can you be thinking?

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