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Old April 12, 2012, 04:53 PM   #1
RampantAndroid
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CPL notify officer in WA

Hi all,

Just applied for a CPL in the state of WA, and read through the RCW but was unsure of when I need to notify an officer I am armed, and more specifically what abilities they have once notified.

When I notify at a traffic stop (or any time I'm talking to an officer that I know is an officer - not off duty/undercover that I cannot identify) are they allowed to take possession of my firearm? Can I refuse to hand it over, citing my 4th amendment rights? If I cite the 4th amendment, can I refuse to hand it over, or must I simply state that I do not agree with handing it over, and then comply?

Thanks!
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Old April 13, 2012, 12:06 PM   #2
ChuckS
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Quote:
unsure of when I need to notify an officer I am arm
No duty to inform a LEO in WA state according to www . handgunlaw . us
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Old April 13, 2012, 02:01 PM   #3
RampantAndroid
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Whoa, hey...unexpected. My state keeps surprising me with regards to gun laws. We keep voting people into office who would love to see gun regulations, but we have some amazing lax laws.

Thanks!
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Old April 13, 2012, 02:16 PM   #4
Don H
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lax/laks/
Adjective:
1.Not sufficiently strict or severe.
2.Careless.

It's a personal preference of mine but "less restrictive" has a much more positive connotation than "lax". "Lax" is often a term used by antis and I strongly feel that we shouldn't buy into their loaded vocabulary.
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Old April 13, 2012, 02:27 PM   #5
dirt reaper
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If the officer pulls you over in your vehicle he/she will run your plates prior to making contact with you. Your license plate is linked to the registered driver's license. Your drivers license is linked to your CPL. The officer already knows in this situation. True you may not be the registered driver but when your drivers license is run, they know.

As a courtesy to the officer I produce the CPL along with the license and insurance card. Only have had to do this once in the last 20 years.

"Lax" is not a term I would use to describe Washington gun laws. The Washington constitution has some powerful protections for it's citizens in both the firearms; shall issue, and taxes; super majority required, areas.
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Old April 13, 2012, 03:44 PM   #6
RampantAndroid
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Thanks for the correction on my choice of wording Lax is not the right word, certainly less restrictive.

It makes sense to produce the CPL- in addition to this, I assume that if they ask to see the gun I can say no, and they have no legal grounds on which to take it from me? What's the guidance here? Redmond PD are the guys i've dealt with the most, and my encounters (traffic stops, all of 3) have been mixed - 2/3 were just business. 1/3 was....borderline abusive. My point being, I can totally imagine them asking for the gun. My preference is to not hand it over. If they demand it, is it a situation where I say no and ask for a supervisor if they push the issue? Or a situation where I say I don't consent and hand it over?

Thanks!
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Old April 13, 2012, 04:38 PM   #7
Isk
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I am not sure what Washington law allows an officer to do in regards to your firearm, but I wouldn't be too concerned about whether the law allows the officer to secure it. As a general rule, always follow the orders of a law enforcement officer. If he wants it, turn it over. If you think he doesn't have the right to secure the firearm, I suppose you could make a simple statement ("I don't believe state law allows you to do that, but here you go"), but you certainly don't want to spout off about how you are protected by the Fourth Amendment and you "know your rights". Cops hate that and it only leads to headaches.

Constitutional questions are resolved after the fact, with a supervisor or through the courts.

Also, if the officer wants your gun, I'm inclined to allow him to remove it instead of handing it to him...I wouldn't want any confusion on that issue. Hands should never go near a firearm when law enforcement is being dealt with.
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Old April 13, 2012, 04:52 PM   #8
RampantAndroid
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Completely understood on allowing the officer to disarm/asking them how to proceed. If anything, what I'm asking is: should I protest. Basically "I don't agree with being disarmed, but will comply/not resist if that is your wish."
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Old April 13, 2012, 05:14 PM   #9
Isk
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Should you protest? In my opinion, No. It has the potential to start things on a downward spiral and could only do more harm than good. That said, if you feel you need to, "I don't agree with being disarmed but will comply if necessary" is something you could say before allowing an officer to disarm you.
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Old April 13, 2012, 05:23 PM   #10
kenham
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Obey traffic laws so you don't get stopped. If you get stopped have your drivers lic out and your hands where he can see them. Be polite. Answer question. Don't volunteer info. If the CPL issue comes up, be polite and do what you're told. Let him take the gun, he may just want to run the number and give it back. Say "Thanks, have a nice day and I appreciate you guys."
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Old April 13, 2012, 05:27 PM   #11
RampantAndroid
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Quote:
Obey traffic laws so you don't get stopped. If you get stopped have your drivers lic out and your hands where he can see them. Be polite. Answer question. Don't volunteer info. If the CPL issue comes up, be polite and do what you're told. Let him take the gun, he may just want to run the number and give it back. Say "Thanks, have a nice day and I appreciate you guys."
Without trying to turn this into a thread about LEOs, obeying the laws, for me, has had little to do with it. An example is the first ticket ever issued to me (3 years ago): 36 in a 25. Except I was in a 35 zone. Officer was abusive and insulting. These are the cops I'm worried about dealing with, now that I will have a CPL, and will SOMETIMES be carrying.
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Old April 13, 2012, 06:07 PM   #12
kenham
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I think you miss my point. When you are in the presense of a LEO, you are in danger of having a problem, if he is an abusive and rude officer, or just an
AH. My point is get it over with and be on your way without challenging him.
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Old April 13, 2012, 06:38 PM   #13
crankyoldlady
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Everyone is in charge of rowing their own boat.

If it were me, I would choose to comply with the officer's request. Because it would be in my best interest to do so. I am selfish. So, whenever possible I do whatever is in my own best interest.

You may choose to do differently. Your call.
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Old April 16, 2012, 03:40 PM   #14
hermannr
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There is no need to notify, and I do not. If you are stopped for a traffic infraction, that you are carrying has no relationship to the offence, it is irrelivant...

BTW: when you have been stopped in WA and the officer searches you DL, he will see you have a CPL, another reason you do not need to say anything.

I have lived in WA since 1970, I have carried in WA since 1970, I have never been asked if I was carrying or for my CPL at a traffic stop...ever, even though you know the officer knows...

IF I was ever asked, I would answer: "I have nothing illegal" and leave it at that.

BTW: I normally OC, and even when the patrol officer was looking directly at my holstered gun he said nothing...except "slow down"
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Old April 16, 2012, 10:29 PM   #15
kilimanjaro
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By what logic would you protest, if the officer asked you to disarm for the duration of the traffic stop? At that point, protest is futile, escalatory, and pointless; the issue to either disarm or not to disarm. Being a law-abiding citizen who just got caught in a minor traffic violation, of course you disarm if requested, right?
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Old April 16, 2012, 11:07 PM   #16
hermannr
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And I would follow with a formal complaint to his jusrisdiction. The supreme court says they can disarm you if you are suspected of a CRIME...a traffic INFRACTION is not a CRIME!
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Old April 16, 2012, 11:20 PM   #17
Powderman
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Answers are interspersed...





Just applied for a CPL in the state of WA, and read through the RCW but was unsure of when I need to notify an officer I am armed

There is no duty to inform in WA State. However, it is a courtesy that is greatly appreciated. If you are stopped by an officer, something along the lines of: "Before we go further, I want you to know that I have a valid CPL, and I am armed right now. What do you want me to do?" This prevents any possibility of misunderstanding--because if I'm the one stopping you and I see a firearm within reach BEFORE you let me know, things can get uncomfortable. It also identifies you as one of the good folks that went to the trouble of carrying legally.

and more specifically what abilities they have once notified.

No more and no less than any other time.

When I notify at a traffic stop (or any time I'm talking to an officer that I know is an officer - not off duty/undercover that I cannot identify) are they allowed to take possession of my firearm?


Yes--although in most cases we will not. Of course, it differs from officer to officer--but a calm demeanor and steady behavior will do a lot to keep things on an even keel.


Can I refuse to hand it over, citing my 4th amendment rights?

Friend, first things first. The only reason I will relieve you of the firearm is during the investigation of possible criminal activity--in other words, if reasonable suspicion is present. (See Terry v. Ohio, 386 US)

Moreover, if I am contacting you for official reasons, the LAST thing you want to do is to place your hands anywhere near your gun. Any officer that has successfully passed FTO phase will have you turn around and will quietly relieve you of the firearm. Again, though, that's not normal during a regular traffic stop.

One other thing...if I have articulable reaasonable suspicion that a crime is being/has been/will be committed, and you are tied into it, you can bet that you will be (at least temporarily) relieved of your firearm. In that case, you do NOT want to refuse to surrender the firearm. Trust me, you don't.


If I cite the 4th amendment, can I refuse to hand it over, or must I simply state that I do not agree with handing it over, and then comply?


Cite the 4th all day long. Neither myself or the other officers I work with or know are in the habit of violating anyone's civil rights. I personally take great care to ensure that the rights guaranteed by our Constitution are not violated. After all, it IS part of my oath as a peace officer.

However, in this aspect, there is one simple way to avoid all the hassle--and that is to not break the law. Do NOT get involved in fights, don't abuse your spouse, children or neighbors, and don't get involved in anything that may even seem illegal, and your scenario will never happen.

Now, my advice is to stop worrying, get yourself some quality leather to carry your piece in, and head to the range.

Cordially,

your friendly neighborhood Powderman
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Old April 17, 2012, 12:13 AM   #18
poptime
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What Powderman said.
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Old April 18, 2012, 11:44 AM   #19
hermannr
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Powderman: Here is what I was told years ago by a friend who is (was, now retired) WSP.

Have your drivers license, insurance and registration ready where you can produce them without digging for them. Have them in one hand, and have both hands on the wheel where they are in plain sight.

Do this before the officer approaches and you will never have a problem. I don't get stopped often (2 times in the last 30 years) but it has worked for me. I have never volunteered I am armed (as I said before, to me, there is no reason to...armed or not is irrelavent to a traffic stop) and I have never been asked to produce my CPL...in over 40 years here in WA, and my carry is usually expoosed on my hip. (I do not carry my wallet in my back pocket.)
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