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Thread: Unwarranted Search and Seizure?

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    Unwarranted Search and Seizure?

    I was recently informed that it was possible for police to ask for you weapon after being pulled over to check the serial number on the gun to make sure it isn't stolen. I was just curious if this is the law, or if I can refuse to hand over the firearm if it is an unwarranted or I am not being suspicious. I am a law abiding, tax paying citizen and I really value my constitutional rights. I just don't want police overstepping their authority. Thanks so much, I am very curious on this statue.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboybloom View Post
    I was recently informed that it was possible for police to ask for you weapon after being pulled over to check the serial number on the gun to make sure it isn't stolen. I was just curious if this is the law, or if I can refuse to hand over the firearm if it is an unwarranted or I am not being suspicious. I am a law abiding, tax paying citizen and I really value my constitutional rights. I just don't want police overstepping their authority. Thanks so much, I am very curious on this statue.
    A LEO may ask you anything he wishes - doesn't make it legal. There is no statute requirement

    South Dakota - Must Inform Officer: NO
    www.handgunlaw.us

    Running the serial number is extra legal and pointless as there is no registration or data bank of such.

    If you are polite and courteous, you can probably expect the officer to be the same. Some will as a matter of courtesy, notify the officer that they are legally armed - act responsibly - don't announce that you have a GUN.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboybloom View Post
    I was recently informed that it was possible for police to ask for you weapon after being pulled over to check the serial number on the gun to make sure it isn't stolen. I was just curious if this is the law, or if I can refuse to hand over the firearm if it is an unwarranted or I am not being suspicious. I am a law abiding, tax paying citizen and I really value my constitutional rights. I just don't want police overstepping their authority. Thanks so much, I am very curious on this statue.
    This is a tricky area.

    First, let me address something in the big picture. If you do a little research you will discover that numerous searches and seizures can be done without warrants. The concept is something called a "warrant clause exception." Hunt those key words and you will find a whole list of circumstances where government can search or seize without a warrant. Some make sense. Others raise your hackles as obvious violations of your rights.

    More to your question, there are a series of US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) cases that address guns during temporary seizures of the person. This is the overview. It is not intended to be a definitive declaration of the law. Just a fast overview. Also, I am not a lawyer.

    In Terry v Ohio, about a foot encounter between a possible armed robber and a cop, SCOTUS said that if a cop has reasonable suspicion a person is involved in a crime, the cop could temporarily seize (detain) that person without a warrant to investigate further. And, if the cop had good reason to believe that detainee might be both armed and presently dangerous, then the cop could pat him down and temporarily seize any weapons.

    In PA vs Mimms, a traffic stop case, a later SCOTUS slopped together the two concepts about armed and presently dangerous. Instead of two prongs: 1) armed, and 2) presently dangerous, the court quietly combined the two ideas such that armed = presently dangerous. I say "quietly combined" because the court did not expressly say "we are going to combine these ideas", nor did the court say "the earlier court meant these two ideas are combined". They just up and combined them. According to Mimms, the possible presence of a gun is dangerous during a traffic stop. Thus, the court approved a cop temporarily searching for a gun if he reasonably believes one might be present, and seizing it during a traffic stop.

    So, while it is obviously bunk that a cop can warrantlessly, temporarily seize a gun during a traffic stop just because he wants to check the serial number for stolen, there is really very little that would prevent it. He is already approved by SCOTUS to temporarily seize the gun for his own safety. Once he's got it, if he can see the serial number, he can run it. (Look up "plain view doctrine").

    You can learn more about this here:

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...light=inchoate


    Of course, it is absurd that a gun during a traffic stop is automatically dangerous. The first and easiest proof of this is that were it true, no cop would ever fail to temporarily seize a gun during a traffic stop. Every gun would get seized every time. The fact we have many, many reports of cops not seizing guns during traffic stops is proof positive that the mere presence of a gun is not in and of itself dangerous.

    What is a court going to do? Say that cops (their experts on this subject), who deal with traffic stops all day long are wrong?
    Last edited by Citizen; 11-22-2011 at 11:58 PM.

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    Talked to a Sturgis Leo this year. He said do not tell them you have a gun, unless they ask. He said its more hassel for them since they have to run it. This is what he told me. Not sure of the law or their procedures.

    Scenic- Hope that church turns the town around. Always liked stopping there on my way to the Hills. Bought a few small items at the trading post this year. Just trying to help.

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    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    Unless it is state law that you are required to notify (examples could be OH and AK) I would never say a thing. It is none of their business. I, personally have never be asked, even when the officer approached from the right and could see my carry plainly. (I normally OC 3 o'clock)

    Here in WA, when the officer runs your DL, he will see you have a CPL, or not. What do they care on a traffic stop? They can only legally seize and run the gun if there is some reason they think that you have committed a crime. A traffic infraction is not a crime.

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