Some will argue that the serial number comes into plain sight when the officer takes possession of the gun "for officer safety." I call B.S. I hand you my gun... now quick - don't look - tell me what the serial number is! Oh.... you have to look for it, because every model of gun has a number that is in a different place and is so small that you actually have to look the gun over to find it and read it.
I see your point, but I have to wonder, officer in posession of the gun, "examines it", in the course of unloading it (to ensure it is safe, and controlled) seeing the ser#. Does this constitute searching or looking for it?
And is running the serial # (to see if reported stolen) of property in police hands (legally held, if only briefly) without permission of the person it was taken from actually a violation of 4th Amendment rights? Or, if it does, is it one of the things we accept daily, as a matter of course?
What I mean is, do we just accept it because its a gun? or would you carrying a tv, or other "unusual" item down the sidewalk (or in your car) at 11pm, (and failing to provide what the officer considered a valid, reasonable explanation) be RAS to run the ser#? Allow the officer to "look" for the number?
We may be splitting legal hairs here, I just don't know. TO me, common sense says if they take it (however briefly) they are going to run the number. But is this actually a violation of our rights? Or just ordinary SOP for police, allowed (or tolerated) under the law?