New Mexico Supreme Court Lets Cops Grab Guns During Stops
Supreme Court allows police to take all firearms from law-abiding motorists during traffic stops.
Just so you know this story falls within the rules of the site, the handgun that started this all was out in the open in the back seat of the defendants car.
They will not get rid of our rights in one fell swoop. They will chip them away bit by bit.
Odd...I didn't feel any more armed and dangerous than usual when I carried through NM twice last week.
Do you feel more "armed and dangerous" when driving through Alabama? Black-letter law in AL would have allowed seizure of the weapon during the time of the traffic stop.
BTW, "armed and dangerous" are not the words of the court, as the thread title implies, They are the words of the prosecutors. The court, instead, quoted the words from Mimms, “armed and thus posed a serious and present danger to [his] safety,” to describe the situation. The words "armed and dangerous" come from Terry to describe a reasonable belief that an officer might have that allows him to do a cursory clothing search for a weapon. If the weapon is in plain sight, no search is necessary and, if the stop is adversarial (which a traffic stop is), then the detainee, by being armed, is presumed to present a danger to the officer's safety.
Really, let's choose our battles more carefully. Energy wasted on cases like this one is energy not used to fight real injustices. Worse, it paints us as kooks and, by association, diminishes the validity of the real battles we need to fight.
I do not believe that my opposition to anyone taking my property without a least the same requirements that it takes to detain me, paints me as a "kook". A LEO must be able to present RAS to stop and question me, but he may take my firearm simply because I might be a risk to their safety. They don't have to make the decision based on my demeanor, actions , or any other factor of my behavior. They can simply take my firearm arbitrarily.
I would also point out that this ruling may not only apply to the highway. What the NMSC court has said may be applied to any interaction between a person with a firearm and LEO. So, if a LEO sees someone OCing in NM and decides they need to detain them, guess what , they now have the right to relieve you of your firearm for their safety.
The court stated:
"The retrieval of the gun from the vehicle during the limited context of the traffic stop was at most a minimal interference with the suspect's possessory interest," Maes wrote. "Our decision in this case, which addresses a temporary separation of a firearm from the occupants of a car during the duration of a traffic stop, does not depend on any requirement of particularized suspicion that an occupant is inclined to use the firearm improperly."
This overturned the courts previous stance that:
"It would be anomalous to treat the mere presence of a firearm in an automobile as supporting a reasonable suspicion that the occupants are inclined to harm an officer in the course of a routine traffic stop,"
In that ruling it was clear that a reasonable suspicion was necessary to take the firearm from the citizens possession. Now, none is required.
Is an officer in a car's safety any more important than one who is on foot? How is it that so many think just because this takes place because of a traffic stop it can't happen anywhere else?
I would also wonder as to why someone's possible violation of rules of a privilege, trumps a citizen's right to be armed.
Using the logic that the LEO can remove your gun for the LEO's safety then it is safe to say they should remove your baseball bat if you get stopped on your way to practice or anything on the list of items you can't take on a plane. If it is not safe for you to have an item on a plane then it is resonnable to say it is not safe for the LEO if you have it in your car. Say goodbye to your nail clippers. Since when did LEO's become such woooosssiiiissss?
As pointed out earlier, they may have to answer for this reasonableness in court. It amazes me that folks call for this court judgment, but when they get it (but the decision doesn't go the way they want it), suddenly the court's judgment must be wrong.
Again, fussing about such reasonable rulings trivializes what we are doing here and makes it look kind of kooky. Fight the battles that need to be fought. Hard. But, choose your battles wisely.
The previous ruling of the court was this
In other words the police didn't have reasonable suspicion that the occupants of the car were inclined to cause the officer harm just because they possessed a firearm. How is that different than all those on this forum who scream that a LEO has no right to stop and question them just because they are carrying an openly displayed firearm?"It would be anomalous to treat the mere presence of a firearm in an automobile as supporting a reasonable suspicion that the occupants are inclined to harm an officer in the course of a routine traffic stop
That ruling has now been overturned. I don't hear those defending this ruling or calling it trivial, changing the view on what gives a LEO the right to stop and detain them. If the mere presence of a firearm, without other factors such as behavior or demeanor, is enough reason for an officer to disarm you during a traffic stop, why isn't the mere presence of a firearm reason enough for him to detain you when your walking down the street?
The NMSC has ruled that "officer safety"(without need for justification) out weighs your rights during the short time of the interaction. How is that different than the time it would take a LEO to check you out for "public safety"?
The difference is that the person has already been stopped for another reason other than the gun. The person has been seized. That seizure was lawful and, by nature, confrontational. Therefore it was lawful and reasonable for the officer also to seize the firearm for the duration of the stop. Unfortunately for the detainee, it was determined (again, lawfully) during the stop that the man's possession of the gun was unlawful.
Although not necessary to the ruling, but able to provide the basis for the ruling apart from the lawfulness of the seizure, there is the fact that the determination would've been made, even if the gun had not been seized, just spotted.