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Old May 8, 2010, 05:40 PM   #1
10mm man
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son, fiancee and my wife stopped in roadblock

My 25 yo son took my vehicle last night to pick my wife up from work at 11pm. On their way back, they were stopped in a DUI checkpoint. It was a conglomeration of troopers, sheriff deputies and UNCG campus police.

My son open carried my beretta as he doesn't have a pistol of his own. It was holstered and being the law abiding citizen that he is, he had it in his lap. (I know, the dash would have been a better spot for it) He doesn't have a permit to conceal.

The UNCG campus cop approaches, sees the gun and as he asks if he can see it, he reaches through the window and takes it before my son can say anything. He then called for a deputy to come over. My family was asked the usual non germaine questions; where are you coming from?, why are you out so late?, what is your relationship to each other?

He then asked if he could search the vehicle. My son asked why. He was told it was to see if there were any more weapons in the car. My wife gave permission. (something I have preached in the past not to do) They were told to exit the vehicle and my son was patted down. The vehicle was searched and nothing was found.

The officer ran the serial number of the gun and it was returned with the ammo separated from it. They then were released to leave.

When they got home and told me, I was furious that their 4th amendmant rights were so flagrantly violated. They didn't get the officers name so I cannot even call to complain.

What say you?
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Old May 8, 2010, 05:54 PM   #2
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I don't know. Even if carrying was legal and did not give the officers probable cause, your wife consented, which removed that entire issue of 'violating the 4th amendment' when the subjects consent.
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Old May 8, 2010, 06:02 PM   #3
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I say giving permission to search is subjective to the situation. If you have an ZAP cop, you may want to let search (if you have nothing illegal) so that you do n ot further irritate him/her and wind up with more "trouble" on your hands. However, i am a firm believer in the "why" and "no" rule as well.

Secondly, you should feel somewhat "lucky" in that If i or any citizen in my neck of the woods were to have a loaded firearm in his/her lap when pulled over alot worse then separating bullets and return would happen, unfortunately!


That being said, being that is not the law in your area, give the pd a call and explain it. You might not get far, or you might get the sarg to go over proper procedure during the next mornings briefing...

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Old May 8, 2010, 06:13 PM   #4
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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.
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Old May 8, 2010, 06:36 PM   #5
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with your son having a loaded pistol in his lap at a police checkpoint at 11 pm without declaring it personally i think you should be happy with the outcome. it could have been alot worse. non germaine questions?
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Old May 8, 2010, 06:46 PM   #6
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"with your son having a loaded pistol in his lap at a police checkpoint at 11 pm without declaring it personally i think you should be happy with the outcome. it could have been alot worse. non germaine questions? "

his not having a concealed carry permit, it had to be in the open. what difference does it matter what time it is. crime happens anytime of the day or night. and what difference does it make where they came from or their relationship to each other was?
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Old May 8, 2010, 06:50 PM   #7
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It should not, but often does. Not in any legal sense. Most police learn to spot things that are out of place. It would be unusual for someone to be driving with a loaded gun in their lap you would agree? The why about it might take some menial investigation into the matters.

Suppose your wife was being abducted? You would have wanted the police to check that out, no?
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Old May 8, 2010, 06:52 PM   #8
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Seeing a gun in someone's lap is probably seen as a risk for the officer. Why not on the belt? I'm missing something here.

The ACLU (horrors!) has a bust card on their site to deal with car stops. It's a good read for all.

As far as it could have been worse, we have the always popular complaint about what should be vs. the pragmatic avoiding of being shot. Make your own decision. Once you interact with the law and guns - coming away without holes may be a pragmatic victory.
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Old May 8, 2010, 06:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
what difference does it make where they came from or their relationship to each other was?
Its a DUI checkpoint, they want to know if youre coming back from the bar a friends party, night out etc.

standard questions at a check-point, at least in my experience with them...
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Old May 8, 2010, 07:00 PM   #10
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They're basically asking these seeming irrelevant questions in order to smell your breath and get a good look at your eyes.
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Old May 8, 2010, 07:16 PM   #11
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I would be most concerned about your wife giving permission to search the car. Just because you have nothing to hide does not mean they won't find anything! Running the serial number of the gun is a blatant violation of the 4th amendment. Other than that, sounds like a pretty routine DUI roadblock.
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Old May 8, 2010, 07:25 PM   #12
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When he reached thru the window without permission, I would have been tempted to hit the power window button. (yeah, I probably would've got shot for it
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Old May 8, 2010, 07:47 PM   #13
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permission to search

I agree LT. we talked a lot about it today. I think most people are cowed into thinking that they must give permission or worse things will occur. She did say that after they patted my sone down, they approached her and she said (half in jest) you're not patting me down. they didn't. thats an admission on their part that they had no RAS.
I wish that my son had gotten the officer info.
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Old May 8, 2010, 09:58 PM   #14
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I’m not an LEO, but if I were I’d have done what the cop did.

I’d worry about any repercussions and complaints later.
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Old May 8, 2010, 09:59 PM   #15
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i frequently get stopped at dui check points, mostly on my bike.

they ask pretty much the same questions.

louisania is a must declare state, but they rarely even ask where the gun is when i inform them i am carrying.

a guy in my bat. got pulled over on the I5 out side of olympia wa. (pre 9/11).

he said no. then he was made to wait till the k9 unit arrived.

of course they said the k9 "hit" on his vehicle so tey had probable cause to search.

they tore the door pannels out, pulled up the carpet, pulled out the seat, and left it all on the side of the road, and it being washington it started raining.

he sued but lost.
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Old May 8, 2010, 10:04 PM   #16
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RAS?
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Old May 8, 2010, 10:06 PM   #17
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This obviously needs to go to L&CR. moving ...
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Old May 8, 2010, 10:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
That means when they run the serial numbers, the pistol is effectively then registered in a govt. database.
Hence the reason the #'s was entered...

Consiracy theories aside, I do beleive in this day and current terrorist environment your son and wife acted correctly. The campus cop Was overzealous in reaching through the window as he was probably never rebuffed by students (absolut power corrupts...) and by the time the deputy gets there consent to run the numbers has already been implied.
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Old May 8, 2010, 10:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
then he was made to wait till the k9 unit arrived.
"Made to wait" What exactly does that mean? Was he under arrest or not?
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Old May 8, 2010, 10:40 PM   #20
44 AMP
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for the acromyn impaired..

RAS?

I can get reasonable and suspicion, but the A baffles me. In this context, could someone please explain?

Quote:
The rights violation occurred when the officer took possession of the pistol and ran the numbers without RAS.
I'm not so sure it was a rights violation (but then I'm far from a legal scholar). Officers have a duty to "secure" the situation, and a gun (even holstered) in the driver's lap is far from a cop's view of secure. Many times we hear of police taking guns for the duration of the stop, and returning them afterwards. Returning the ammo separately could be either the cop's personal, or department policy, to avoid any possible liability of "handing over a loaded gun".

And I don't know that running the number of the gun is a violation of your rights, either. Running your license plate, VIN number, or driver's license number is commonly done, with out asking for your permission.

I realize that the police behavior is upsetting, because we haven't done anything wrong, and shouldn't "be treated like criminals". But the police have no way of knowing that. They don't know who you are, or anything about you (or in this case, your son). Considering the situation, it seems to me like they showed considerable restraint. Had your wife and son met one of the officers who "prone them out" at the slightest suspicion (a small minority to be sure, but one that does exist), things would have been a lot less pleasant.

It is entirely possible that rights were violated during the stop, a good laywer would be the one to ask, and I'm not one. But based on your description of the situation, and actions, I don't see a strong case against the officers.
Good Luck.
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Old May 8, 2010, 11:00 PM   #21
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A == "articulable"
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Old May 9, 2010, 12:02 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
And I don't know that running the number of the gun is a violation of your rights, either. Running your license plate, VIN number, or driver's license number is commonly done, with out asking for your permission.
Vehicles are required to be properly titled and registered in order to be operated on public streets. License plate numbers and VIN numbers are in plain sight. Since the VIN numbers and license plates are in plain sight and since the vehicle is on a public road for which registration is required to operate, it is not a violation of the 4th amendment to check to see if the vehicle is properly titled and licensed. Driver's are required to be licensed on public roads and state laws require drivers to produce licenses when stopped and asked by LEO.

The serial number of the gun is a completely different matter altogether. The serial number of the gun is not in plain sight. It requires action on the part of the officer to search for it to obtain it. In this case there was no reasonable articulable suspicion (RAS) to suspect that the firearm was stolen. In most states that don't have gun registration, that is the only reason to check the serial number of the gun. So what you end up with is a specific action taken by an officer to search for evidence of a crime that they have no RAS has occurred.

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.
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Old May 9, 2010, 08:52 AM   #23
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I'm not sure if anyone realizes it or not but we arrived at this point because 40 years ago "law and order" was a political issue and a certain president won running on that subject. That was a time of a political backlash from conservatives who saw the liberalism of the day as having run amok. And true, there had been a lot of riots and serious ones, too. I imagine people didn't like the idea of liberals having guns or something. In fact, in a photo of the staff of the old Whole Earth Catalog, one guy in the photo is holding a Marlin lever action. And that was in San Francisco.

What goes around, comes around, I guess. Be careful what you wish for.
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Old May 9, 2010, 10:05 AM   #24
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Your car was searched because 'officer safety' trumps civil rights these days...

DUI checkpoints don't stand up to 'reasonable search and seizure' in all states...Reagan did the executive order for no knoock search warrants and usuing military on US soil for drug interdiction..he also put in the CA no carry laws when he was govr. Bush Sr did the original assaul weapons ban...

Your rights are not inalienable, they are given to you under the pretext that you have rights, when the powers that be decide that your rights are getting in the way of thier agenda or maintaining public order, they are usurped...just like gun grabbing in New Orleans during Katrina.

Get used to it.....you guys bought off on two wars to fight terrorism, you guys keep voting in peeps that take away your rights to feel safe...etc ect..

This is what you get...checkpoints...just like in China and Russia during the days of communism.

Checkpoints aren't so much about DUIs, but control...they check where you are going...for drugs, for warrants, for weapons, for revenue to give tickets...etc...

Remember this when you decide to vote for more law enforcement funding....
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Old May 9, 2010, 10:13 AM   #25
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I blatantly do a u-turn while in line and then when pulled, I tell them I wasn't interested in participate in their Nazi re-enactment display... I do not feel that my actions are PC for search. So long as the U-Turn is legal...

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