not complaining about the search of the vehicle
My wife did give permission. The rights violation occurred when the officer took possession of the pistol and ran the numbers without RAS. And without permission.
NC is a shall issue state and open carry is legal. (concealed carry with permit)
Not having the right to have a loaded pistol makes about sense as have an empty fire extinguisher with you.
Without reasonable cause to suspect the weapon was used in a crime, it was illegal to run its numbers. By the way, they use the eTrace system here. That means when they run the serial numbers, the pistol is effectively then registered in a govt. database.