VA, can LEO's secure your weapon?
This is a discussion on VA, can LEO's secure your weapon? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This is aimed at VA but I am also curious about all of the US. During a regular encounter with police (traffic stop, citizen flag-down, ...
March 26th, 2007 06:00 PM
VA, can LEO's secure your weapon?
This is aimed at VA but I am also curious about all of the US. During a regular encounter with police (traffic stop, citizen flag-down, etc.) does the LEO have the power to secure your weapon for the duration of the encounter or detaining? I have read here about the "my safety and yours" (total Bravo Sierra, I know) but also read of an account where the officer asked if he could have the weapon, and after being denied permission by one of this forum's contributors, simply said "Okay" and continued the transaction. Do we have the ability to say "no" and do they have the power to veto that answer?
March 26th, 2007 06:37 PM
The Supreme Court says that by Constitutional standards: if the LEO can articulate a reasonable suspicion that you're armed and dangerous, he can frisk you, secure any weapons, and handcuff you for the period of an investigative detention. (Or "Terry stop," named for the Terry vs Ohio SCOTUS case defining investigative detentions.)
Of course, being a law-abiding CCW alone isn't likely going to lead to reasonable articulable suspicion that you're dangerous in addition to being armed. Your behavior, words, actions, the environment, etc. are going to determine this. But in the name of officer safety (he's alone and facing 3 potentially unknown armed people in a wierd place) he may make this choice.
However, you ALWAYS have the power to say "no" to a request by a LEO. It's when he issues you an order that things differ, and in the example you give, the LEO has given no command or order. He can always give you a command after he asks you politely. Whether that command is legal/constitutional comes down to his ability to say why he did it, and officers get a lot of leeway in the name of safety. Securing your weapon or even temporarily handcuffing you are, in fact, fairly minimal intrusions to your freedom of movement under the law. Terry just mandates these intrusions to be of reasonable duration, which is subject to the situation.
(That's federal, and you're given equal protection; however, I can't speak to what VA state law may say on the subject.)
Last edited by AgentX; March 26th, 2007 at 08:02 PM.
Reason: Changed ref. to 'federal law' to the more accurate 'constitutional standards'
March 26th, 2007 06:44 PM
The way my friends in the VSP put it, they cannot take your weapon, unless you are being arrested or otherwise forcibly detained (in which case you are considered a possible threat), incapacitated (as in a traffic accident), or were just involved in a defensive shooting. In both of the last two cases they must provide a receipt/claim ticket.
Also remember that, by Virginia law, you are NOT required to notify an officer if you are carrying. A lot of folks do as a "courtesy", but it is not required.
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." - Al Capone
The second amendment is the reset button of our Constitution.
March 26th, 2007 07:17 PM
Did your LEO friend happen to explain SOP for responding to a defensive shooting? I should probably start a new thread for this but... The best thing I can think of would be to secure the BG's weapon, put it on the passenger seat of your vehicle (assuming it's accessible) and reholster your weapon. I'm sure the police would feel better if your weapon was also remote of your location when they arrive, but would you want to disarm before they can secure the scene?
March 26th, 2007 07:24 PM
I can't imagine not wanting to make the cop think that I was in anyway non-cooperative. If nothing else, I think that not giving it up (and politely) will kill your chances of talking your way out of the ticket
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March 26th, 2007 07:37 PM
They can & DO take temporary custody of your firearm. (not every time, but they CAN.)
I was stopped a couple of years ago by a Va State Trooper in Virgina Beach. After running my license, he knew I had a permit. He asked me if I was armed, I answered honestly & he reached in the window & un-holstered my loaded Glock, he then took it with him back to the cruiser. He may have run the serial number (don't know for sure), when he came back, he gave me the EMPTY gun & EMPTY magazine. He then counted out each round as he gave me the bullets back.
My issue with the LEO handling a loaded gun is, what if he was unfamiliar with the weapon? Let's say it was a clocked & locked 1911, that he knew nothing about & didn't have any experience with? What if while trying to unload it............BANG.........who's going to be in trouble?
I reloaded & re-holstered BEFORE pulling off.
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March 26th, 2007 07:51 PM
Depending on the situation, If a LEO asked me for my gun I think I would tell him that," I'd rather keep my gun holsterd for safety sake because it is loaded" Explain to him that pulling a loaded gun out with other people around might not be safe. I have been pulled over before some LEO's want the gun, but most tell me just not to touch It.
LIFES JOURNEY IS NOT TO ARRIVE AT THE "GRAVE" SAFELY ,IN A WELL PRESERVED BODY.BUT RATHER TO SKID IN SIDEWAYS TOTALLY WORN OUT SHOUTING "HOLY S@#$...WHAT
March 26th, 2007 08:32 PM
Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
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March 26th, 2007 08:37 PM
Hm. That's pretty much exactly what I was taught to do with any seized weapon. Might even give it back with a ziptie through the barrel. Might help prevent you getting shot in the back as you drive away. Might not, if he is great with one or two shots, or if he's got a few more spare mags around.
Admittedly, unlikely to happen when the person you've detained is a legal CCW holder who's committed no crime. Still, if it was your butt out there, you'd minimize every risk possible.
March 26th, 2007 08:56 PM
I would think the best thing to due is comply with the officers request.
If you are not required to notify or or give your weapon to P.O. ,I think i would still notify them. They have a tough job to do ,I would try to make the encounter as easy and comfortable as possible for all parties involved.
March 26th, 2007 09:02 PM
In Mi. they have the right to secure your weapon on traffic stops ETC although I have never had that happen in 3 different stops and like mentioned above it depends on your behavior conditions ETC
Gun Control: What a long strange trip it's been
March 26th, 2007 09:19 PM
I think that needlessly handling a firearm increases the risk of a tragedy.
I agree that the "for my safety and yours" is BS.
The fact that the person being stopped is LEGALLY carrying a gun is absolutely no reason for the LEO to disarm the person.
If, however, the situation is such that a reasonable person would feel that the other guy is a true threat to their safety, then all bets are off and the LEO should take steps to secure the weapon and the person.
But I don't think that a base fear of people with guns is sufficient for this disarming process to be justified.
The VSP officer in GoAwayFarms example was WAY out of line. He should never have taken the gun and after he determined that he had no grounds to detain the guy and would give the gun back, what is the point of removing the rounds from the magazine?
I figure that he wanted to make it difficult for GoAway to load the gun until after the LEO left. So what we have is a LEO grabbing the guy's gun creating additional risk of ND, forcing the guy to have to reload while sitting on the roadside creating additional risk of ND, all because the LEO doesn't like the idea of citizens carrying a gun.
Don't get me wrong. If the LEO says he wants to take my gun, I will politely refuse. If he insists, I will cooperate with him while letting him know that I am doing it under protest.
Then at the proper time I will file a complaint.
fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).
March 26th, 2007 09:57 PM
I was told by several LEO's in Texas that most departments will only secure your weapon when something has really gone wrong. Most departments have found out the hard way that dis-arming CHL holders was only increasing the risks of AD's. Since, most cops are only familiar with their own duty weapon they were not trained the different types of weapons they were collecting. Again, don't know this for fact it was just relayed to me by several LEO's.
"Do not fear those who disagree with you; fear those that do and are too cowardly to admit it" - Napoleon
March 26th, 2007 10:02 PM
Agentx told all with the first reply.
Originally Posted by retsupt99
I would only unload or fool with anothers gun if I was going to keep it for any length of time. I would only take it from you if I had a reason too other than for my safety. Not that I can't, I just dont want to worry about two guns. BTW, as Agentx said, that is the taught way to return a gun to its owner, in the name of safety.
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March 26th, 2007 10:58 PM
Its funny just recently I pull over a cch holder. Nice guy, but unfortunately forgot to use his blinker right in front of me. So I blue lighted him, walked up to his window and asked for his drivers license and proof of insurance. He gladly handed me that along with a CCW license. I asked him if he was armed, with a smile, as to show him I wasn't worried. He said yes. So I asked him if I could check out his gun, because I always like to see what other people carried. I also said if he could take the holster off with the gun that would be my preference. He happily did so, and I took it back to my car with his info. It was a springfield compact 1911, very nice gun, I liked it alot. All his info came back clean, I went back and handed him his gun and info back. Told him to make sure he uses his blinker next time, and to have a good night. No ticket.
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