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Thread: LEOs Unlawfully Confiscate Your Pistol: What Would You Do?

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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    LEOs Unlawfully Confiscate Your Pistol: What Would You Do?

    I can foresee my next stop with the DPD while on foot. I won’t able to play hardball and refuse to identify myself without reasonable suspicion of a crime. Why not? Here in Michigan we have to register our pistols. If a lawful citizen refuses to I.D. themselves LEOs will just take the pistol(s) (which they usually do at the outset of a Terry Stop), run the serial number and thus backhandedly identify you. They then emerge from the squad car and ask if you are the person to whom the gun is registered. If you still refuse, I can totally envison your typical DPD LEO will saying "Ok fine, if you ever want to see your guns again you’ll have to come down to the station and present some I.D." then drive off with your pistols. At which point you’ll be given an administrative run around and it may take weeks or months to recover your handguns.

    So I ask all of you now before it happens, how would you handle such a situation?
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Regular Member griffin's Avatar
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    Ask for the shift supervisor.
    Last edited by griffin; 01-28-2012 at 06:23 PM.
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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffin View Post
    Ask for the shift supervisor.
    What if it is the shift supervisor on the scene who is instructing his LEOs to confiscate the gun?

    The LEOs argument will be: "Sir, because you refuse to identify yourself we have no way of knowing if these handguns belong to you, they could be stolen." "We cannot simply turn over such deadly weapons to an unknown person, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we did that?"

    I've had LEOs respond with such glib answers when stopped.
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Regular Member xmanhockey7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdr_iceman71 View Post
    What if it is the shift supervisor on the scene who is instructing his LEOs to confiscate the gun?

    The LEOs argument will be: "Sir, because you refuse to identify yourself we have no way of knowing if these handguns belong to you, they could be stolen." "We cannot simply turn over such deadly weapons to an unknown person, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we did that?"

    I've had LEOs respond with such glib answers when stopped.
    Let 'em take it then take them to court and sue. Unlawful search and seizure.
    "No state shall convert a liberty to a privilege, license it, and charge a fee therefor.- Murdock vs Pennsylvania 319 US 105

    ...If the state converts a right into a privelege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right... with impunity.
    - Shuttleworth vs City of Birmingham, Alabama 317 US 262

    Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no legislation which would abrogate them.
    - Miranda vs Arizona 384 US 436

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdr_iceman71 View Post
    What if it is the shift supervisor on the scene who is instructing his LEOs to confiscate the gun?

    The LEOs argument will be: "Sir, because you refuse to identify yourself we have no way of knowing if these handguns belong to you, they could be stolen." "We cannot simply turn over such deadly weapons to an unknown person, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we did that?"

    I've had LEOs respond with such glib answers when stopped.
    It happened to me in Warren at the HQ. I only got my gun back after I ID'd myself(I really wanted my gun back). I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with internal affairs over the incident. Warren sucks.

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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scot623 View Post
    It happened to me in Warren at the HQ. I only got my gun back after I ID'd myself(I really wanted my gun back). I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with internal affairs over the incident. Warren sucks.
    And what was the result of all that time spent on the phone with internal affairs?
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    Below is the statute that DPD are supposed to adhere to when conducting a stop. I've made copies of this and now carry it around with me. I've grown tired of them creating their authority out of thin air when stopped on the side of the road.


    Sec. 43-1-1. - Authority of police officers to stop, question and search suspicious persons.

    (a)
    When a police officer has reasonable cause to believe that the behavior of an individual warrants further investigation for criminal activity, the officer may stop and question such person.

    (b)
    When a police officer has stopped a person for questioning pursuant to subsection (a) and has reasonable cause to believe there is danger to himself or others, he may conduct a limited search of that person for dangerous weapons. The police officer may take and keep such weapon or any other thing, the possession of which may constitute a crime, until he has completed the questioning at which time he shall either return such property so taken, if lawfully possessed, or arrest such person and dispose of such property according to law.

    (c)
    In enforcing subsections (a) and (b), the police department and the individual police officer will take special care not only to honor the rights of citizens as defined in the United States Constitution but also to safeguard the personal dignity of all those affected by it.

    (Code 1964, §§ 39-1-52.3—39-1-52.5)

    Case law annotation—Ordinance which authorized police officers to arrest citizens for failure to produce identification was void for vagueness in that it failed to give persons of ordinary intelligence fair notice as to when a police officer might have "reasonable cause to believe" that a person's behavior warranted further investigation for criminal activity and that subsequent failure to identify one's self would lead to arrest. The ordinance also violated the probable cause standard of the fourth amendment by effectively sanctioning full searches on suspicion, without regard for dangerousness, of persons whose activities fell within the ordinance's vague perimeters; People v. DeFillippo, 80 Mich. App. 197, 262 N.W.2d 921(1977). (This applies to wording of section prior to its revision.)
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Are you able to cover the serial number with tape? It is NOT a removal of or damage to the serial number, but it removes it from plain sight, requiring RAS before physically lifting the tape to see the serial number before running it. It adds one more layer to the list of things they are not allowed to do to you but will anyway.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xmanhockey7 View Post
    Let 'em take it then take them to court and sue. Unlawful search and seizure.
    In theory suing the corrupt police dept. sounds good but in the meantime a citizen is left defenseless, especially if that is the only gun(s) they currently own and they are on a limited budget. The amount of money it would cost to hire legal representation and sue, one could just as easily spend that money to purchase a new handgun(s) and that is exactly what most police departments bet upon. Only someone with lots of money and time could afford to undertake such a task.
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Are you able to cover the serial number with tape? It is NOT a removal of or damage to the serial number, but it removes it from plain sight, requiring RAS before physically lifting the tape to see the serial number before running it. It adds one more layer to the list of things they are not allowed to do to you but will anyway.
    I see where you are going; that way when youre in court one can argue that LEOs did more than just take mere possession of the firearms for so-called "officer safety," instead they conducted a thorough search of the citizen’s property without reasonable suspicion of a crime or a warrant.

    Nonetheless, I can totally envision LEOs on the side of the road trying to make a criminal case out of the fact that a citizen placed tape over the serial numbers and then use that act as their reasonable articulated suspicion (RAS).
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdr_iceman71 View Post
    I see where you are going; that way when youre in court one can argue that LEOs did more than just take mere possession of the firearms for so-called "officer safety," instead they conducted a thorough search of the citizen’s property without reasonable suspicion of a crime or a warrant.

    Nonetheless, I can totally envision LEOs on the side of the road trying to make a criminal case out of the fact that a citizen placed tape over the serial numbers and then use that act as their reasonable articulated suspicion (RAS).
    i can see it both ways, man this is a tuff one.

    .but thinking about it when ur guns in its holster one could not tell if u had tape over the s/n. so a leo could not use that as a reason to stop u
    Last edited by rvd4now; 01-28-2012 at 07:54 PM.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdr_iceman71 View Post
    ...I can totally envision LEOs on the side of the road trying to make a criminal case out of the fact that a citizen placed tape over the serial numbers and then use that act as their reasonable articulated suspicion (RAS).
    I also have tape over the VIN that is supposed to be readable through the windshield on the car. Establish a pattern that eliminates the sidearm as a specific target to such invasion of privacy.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    I also have tape over the VIN that is supposed to be readable through the windshield on the car. Establish a pattern that eliminates the sidearm as a specific target to such invasion of privacy.
    The subject of obfuscation a citizen's VIN on a vehicle will be of little use if youre out on foot or a bicycle (as is often my case) when stopped by LEOs.
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdr_iceman71 View Post
    And what was the result of all that time spent on the phone with internal affairs?
    "We know you're right, we'll talk to the officers blah blah blah."

    The best part of the whole thing is the 20 minute recording of a follow up meeting with a commanding officer. He doesn't care about the law, asks me to sue the city. Usual BS that comes out of these people's mouths when insurance companies cover the tab.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdr_iceman71 View Post
    The subject of obfuscation a citizen's VIN on a vehicle will be of little use if youre out on foot or a bicycle (as is often my case) when stopped by LEOs.
    I would say that the principle of my post is still valid. There is a serial number on a bicycle, and likely on other things in your possession.
    Last edited by MAC702; 01-28-2012 at 08:22 PM.
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    You could just punch him in the noze.

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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scot623 View Post
    "We know you're right, we'll talk to the officers blah blah blah."

    The best part of the whole thing is the 20 minute recording of a follow up meeting with a commanding officer. He doesn't care about the law, asks me to sue the city. Usual BS that comes out of these people's mouths when insurance companies cover the tab.
    Yes, I find that most unsettling that these LEOs can knowingly dismiss the very laws they have sworn to uphold when it suits them. If it can be proven in a court of law that a LEO execised his authority improperly and violated a citizen's rights which results in a sucessful lawsuit against the city; a portion of that money should be deducted from his pension. He should not be able to hide behind an insurance company. That will make every LEO think twice before tossing the law out of the window.

    So what legal hurdles did you have to jump through in order to get your gun(s) back and how long did the process take?
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Michigan Moderator DrTodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Are you able to cover the serial number with tape? It is NOT a removal of or damage to the serial number, but it removes it from plain sight, requiring RAS before physically lifting the tape to see the serial number before running it. It adds one more layer to the list of things they are not allowed to do to you but will anyway.
    No, Michigan does NOT allow someone to cover the serial #.


    MCL750.230 Firearms; altering, removing, or obliterating marks of identity; presumption.

    Sec. 230.

    A person who shall wilfully alter, remove, or obliterate the name of the maker, model, manufacturer's number, or other mark of identity of a pistol or other firearm, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or fine of not more than $1,000.00. Possession of a firearm upon which the number shall have been altered, removed, or obliterated, other than an antique firearm as defined by section 231a(2)(a) or (b), shall be presumptive evidence that the possessor has altered, removed, or obliterated the same.
    Last edited by DrTodd; 01-28-2012 at 08:47 PM.
    Giving up our liberties for safety is the one sure way to let the violent among us win.

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    Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer! Please do not consider anything you read from me to be legal advice.

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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    How much mileage do think I can get out of this remark when refusing to present I.D. but still expecting my guns to be returned to me?

    "Because I enjoy the right of presumption of innocence, I don’t have to prove the guns are mine, you as agents of the State must prove that those guns aren’t mine."
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTodd View Post
    No, Michigan does NOT allow someone to cover the serial #.

    MCL 750.230

    750.230 Firearms; altering, removing, or obliterating marks of identity; presumption.

    Sec. 230.

    A person who shall wilfully alter, remove, or obliterate the name of the maker, model, manufacturer's number, or other mark of identity of a pistol or other firearm, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or fine of not more than $1,000.00. Possession of a firearm upon which the number shall have been altered, removed, or obliterated, other than an antique firearm as defined by section 231a(2)(a) or (b), shall be presumptive evidence that the possessor has altered, removed, or obliterated the same.
    wow... thats crazy

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    Michigan Moderator DrTodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdr_iceman71 View Post
    How much mileage do think I can get out of this remark when refusing to present I.D. but still expecting my guns to be returned to me?

    "Because I enjoy the right of presumption of innocence, I don’t have to prove the guns are mine, you as agents of the State must prove that those guns aren’t mine."
    Not much. SCOTUS and state supreme courts usually allow the police broad discretion under the notion of "officer safety".
    Giving up our liberties for safety is the one sure way to let the violent among us win.

    "Though defensive violence will always be a 'sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men." -Saint Augustine

    Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer! Please do not consider anything you read from me to be legal advice.

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    Regular Member cmdr_iceman71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTodd View Post
    No, Michigan does NOT allow someone to cover the serial #.


    750.230 Firearms; altering, removing, or obliterating marks of identity; presumption.

    Sec. 230.

    A person who shall wilfully alter, remove, or obliterate the name of the maker, model, manufacturer's number, or other mark of identity of a pistol or other firearm, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or fine of not more than $1,000.00. Possession of a firearm upon which the number shall have been altered, removed, or obliterated, other than an antique firearm as defined by section 231a(2)(a) or (b), shall be presumptive evidence that the possessor has altered, removed, or obliterated the same.
    + 1

    Thanks DrTodd I knew there was a good reason why I had struck such an idea out of my head long ago. But that's the problem with reading so many different statutes from other States, is that they sometimes get all jumbled in my head.
    "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." - President George Washington

    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

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    Michigan Moderator DrTodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rvd4now View Post
    wow... thats crazy
    Especially when a holster could be said to "obliterate" something.
    ob·lit·er·ate /əˈblitəˌrāt/Verb: 1. Destroy utterly; wipe out. 2. Cause to become invisible or indistinct; blot out.
    Giving up our liberties for safety is the one sure way to let the violent among us win.

    "Though defensive violence will always be a 'sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men." -Saint Augustine

    Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer! Please do not consider anything you read from me to be legal advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdr_iceman71 View Post

    So what legal hurdles did you have to jump through in order to get your gun(s) back and how long did the process take?
    On advice of counsel called from the scene, I(we) provided ID to get our firearms back. Since we already had our rights violated, allowing the PD to keep the guns(by not providing ID) would serve no additional purpose. It was not my goal to sue them, so I did not.

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    Michigan Moderator DrTodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scot623 View Post
    On advice of counsel called from the scene, I(we) provided ID to get our firearms back. Since we already had our rights violated, allowing the PD to keep the guns(by not providing ID) would serve no additional purpose. It was not my goal to sue them, so I did not.
    Probably the best course of action. I usually opt to state my objections but, after that, to NOT argue my case in the street. Besides the fact that once an officer decides upon a course of action there is little that can be gained by arguing, a person could garner an additional charge of "obstruction" if their protestations are deemed excessive. I've personally witnessed GRPD doing this and I'm sure other Michigan PDs do it too.
    Last edited by DrTodd; 01-28-2012 at 09:31 PM.
    Giving up our liberties for safety is the one sure way to let the violent among us win.

    "Though defensive violence will always be a 'sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men." -Saint Augustine

    Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer! Please do not consider anything you read from me to be legal advice.

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