Student Detained for Surfing Gun Website
This is a discussion on Student Detained for Surfing Gun Website within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'll let you guys comment on it...taken from a post on calguns.net ...there is a LOT more info in the actual thread listed below. Talking ...
October 2nd, 2007 02:53 PM
Student Detained for Surfing Gun Website
I'll let you guys comment on it...taken from a post on calguns.net ...there is a LOT more info in the actual thread listed below. Talking about the actual lack of warrant that was supposed to be called in.
I was detained at school today on suspicion of carying a concealed weapon.
Today has been an odd day for me, I was sitting in my physics class at Santa Monica College trying to remember calculus from five years ago when a very polite officer came into the class and asked me if my name was (insert my name here) and if I could please come outside with him.
I hurried after him immediately worrying that something had happened to my wife or my grand parents, or father or close friends who may have me as an emergency contact.
Outside there were about five uniformed officers arranged in a semi circle with their hands close to their weapons, which I thought was odd for an emergency notification.
The officer who had come in for me introduced himself and explained to me that someone had observed me on an internet chat board (here at calguns) while I was sitting in a school computer lab, and apparently I was posting messages on how to bypass laws and illegally obtain firearms and hide them and I was making some kind of threat against the student body, and apparently somehow this translated to me being a threat to the school and under suspicion of carrying a gun.
I explained that I hadn’t posted any such thing, and while I might have explained to someone what they need to legally purchase a pistol in CA I have never advocated breaking the law in any way shape or form. (I actually posted about the utility bill requirement a while ago, but under a little bit of stress I couldn’t recall if it was the day before or a few days prior, it just seemed like the only post that could even remotely be misconstrued)
They then searched my person with my consent (I didn’t want the officers to feel ill at ease while I was standing there, and as I understand it an officer safety search is completely constitutional and I don’t have a problem with them feeling more comfortable around me)
They explained that after the VT and columbine things people were at a higher state of paranoia and they were obligated to follow up on any credible report, and explained to me that they needed to search my backpack to make sure that I didn’t have any weapons in it.
I replied that I did not consent to a search and did so on the grounds of privacy and a strong belief in the fourth amendment, I offered to show them all the internet posts that I had made so that they could judge for themselves whether or not this was a credible report.
They explained to me that based on my statements and the report they had from the female individual they had plenty of probable cause for searching my bag, but my consent would considerably speed up the process.
I declined further and they had the sergeant and chief of police (I believe) who were nice individuals and very courteous and professional come and talk with me while they called in for a telephonic warrant. It took them a considerable amount of time (20-30 min) and I began to inquire how long I had to stand out there and at what point it became unlawful detainment. They stated that since I was a suspect under investigation being detained that I could not go back into the classroom, nor could I take my things and leave campus.
I then called my wife and asked her to call T.M. and have them give me a call (I didn’t have the phone number on me for some reason… It might have been in my wallet but my wallet was being held onto by one of the officers.
Speaking of my wallet, the officers took a special interest in it, I have an old police wallet that has space for a badge, I don’t carry a badge, I’ve never carried a badge, I’m not a policeman wannabe or mall ninja, I just appreciate high quality leatherwork and when my old JC penny wallet wore out, I purchased a badge wallet that was on sale at the local shooting range/police supply outlet. It is a nice lattago leather that is well stitched and has held up so well for the last seven years that I don’t think I’ll ever need another one.
I don’t really understand why it was of such interest to them, but it was, and I guess they have to deal with a lot of wannabe cops impersonating an officer.
They obtained a warrant, searched my bag, determined that unless I was planning on throwing my physics notes at someone (which reminds me I left a notebook on the desk in class…. I’ll have to get it tomorrow) I had nothing that was illegal in my bag.
They apologized to me for the inconvenience, chatted about competitive shooting and ca law a bit and sent me on my way.
I was a bit shaken and class was almost over so I left to go get a cold soda and go home (I only have one class on Thursdays)
My wife was really distraught over this, and has all but forbidden me from discussing guns in public or chatting on calguns while at school. I don’t blame her, it’s a hard phone call to get, “hey babe, I’m being detained on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon please contact T.M. for me”
Chuck called me on my cell phone shortly afterwards and I explained to him what had happened, and why I took the pre-emptive step of contacting him. (I didn’t feel that some unsubstantiated report constituted probable cause for violating my privacy or treating me like a criminal, and what if a single round of ammo was lodged in my backpack somewhere from a range trip three years ago? Its happened before (I only found out when I had to get on an airplane and they x-rayed my bag), or if I had an exacto knife from one of the art classes that I had forgotten about and had wound up in with my pens…
I just feel uncomfortable allowing people to search through my possessions, and I didn’t want to allow for an accidental empty brass casing or something to cause me to get expelled from a school that I’ve worked very hard at (3.87 GPA, I’ll be graduating with two AA’s this quarter and transferring to a new school next year)
I also felt a little embarrassed that my bookmark for my recreational reading is one a friend made me that features the land-o-lakes girl and has a little flap that you lift to make her show her breasts… I don’t mind you guys knowing about it, (hey its just guy bawdy talk) but pulling it out at school and discussing it would be inappropriate, also in our PC world I didn’t want to get kicked out of school for having something like that. (I hadn’t thought about it being inappropriate until they asked to search, It wont be accompanying me to school in the future)
I didn’t want to make the officers jobs harder by not granting consent for the search, I just value my rights and I don’t want doodles of guns or notes from my polysci class to ruin the education that I’m working so *&^%# hard to get. Part of me also distrusted the fact that they actually had P.C. for a search, it just seemed that if they had it, they would have gone ahead and gotten a warrant for it prior to pulling me out of class. I guess schools are a different sort of environment, the warrant was obviously granted via the telephone.
C.M. is going to be sending me a few cards and a magnet, he was very understanding and having access to him incase of something like this was a huge relief. Apparently (according to my wife) mentioning calguns brought immediate recognition and action. It actually brings a tear to my eye thinking that you guys are out there and organized and I’m not just one man that has to stand alone (ok it’s a bit melodramatic). Seriously, just the though of it meant more than you can know.
I’m not sure who reported me as a dangerous guy, (maybe it was the local news? I sent a commentary letter to them yesterday from a school computer discussing the RKBA) I don’t really care who did it, though its saddening that this is what our society has come to, reporting ‘suspicious activity’ instead of just talking to the ‘suspicious’ guy about what’s going on first.
I just wanted to let you guys know about it, It feels good to get it out so I’m not just thinking about it. (I was a little shaken up buy the whole thing, I’m a big advocate of following the rules to the exact letter of the law, and to be accused of being a criminal actually hurt)
To T.M. thanks for being there,
To the officers (who I’m sure are reading this, I encouraged them to come and find out what the site was all about) Thanks for being professional and courteous about the incident, I’m sorry for making your jobs harder.
To the rest of you guys, be careful where you look at Calguns, people are snoopers and even if you are a clean cut professional looking upstanding individual with no prior history of anything, you too can be a suspect based on the word of someone who disagrees with you politically, or misreads an email you write to the newspaper.
October 2nd, 2007 03:47 PM
Sad to say, you are a victim of the times.
Actually, I'm surprised the SWAT unit wasn't on hand and the school evacuated. Unlike some other incidents I've read about recently, the police in this case were very professional and actually seemed to regret having to be there and put you through the ordeal. It seems everything turned out OK for everyone however, and I hope the snoopy tattle tale is discovered. Personally, I think I would have agreed to the search w/o a warrant IF the police had told me who my accuser was. I doubt if it would happen, but it would be worth a try and maybe shift the focus away from you a bit. Also, while she did nothing legally wrong, posting her name and a summary of the whole event (including how professional the police were and what you REALLY posted on the web) will make people realize that they can't make unsubstantiated charges without some sort of consequences, even in Kalifiornia.
"... Americans... we want a safe home, to keep the money we make and shoot bad guys." -- Denny Crane
October 2nd, 2007 03:52 PM
Sounds like the officers handled it very well. It still gives me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach when some snoopy idiot gives completely wrong information to LE and it results in a law-abiding citizen being detained and searched. Not LE's fault mind you, they have to check. I just hope they told the idiot that made the complaint to be certain of their facts before they involve the police.
DEMOCRACY IS TWO WOLVES AND A LAMB VOTING ON WHAT TO HAVE FOR LUNCH. LIBERTY IS A WELL ARMED LAMB CONtestING THE VOTE.
Certified Instructor for Minnesota Carry Permit
NRA Pistol and Personal Protection Insrtuctor
Utah Permit Certified Instructor
October 2nd, 2007 04:02 PM
First off all, why was she paying so much attention to his computer screen to get that much info?
"To blame a gun for a mans decision is to foolishly attribute free will to an inanimate object"- Colion Noir.
October 2nd, 2007 04:04 PM
I am sorry this person caused everyone to waste so much time over nothing. I guess they should learn to read a bit better and not make up info to report to police, or just ask, hey whatcha doing.
Well glad everyone resolved the situation without any conflict.
Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
Texas CHL Instructor
Texas Hunter Education Instructor
October 2nd, 2007 04:04 PM
If the officers handled it as politely and by-the-book as they did, good on them. But it's sickening that some mamsy-pamsy hoplophobic girl-sheep could just sic the police on someone just because they have an interest that makes her wet her pants with fear.
What I don't understand is why, given there were no statements by the girl-sheep to the police that Mr. X was actually carrying a gun, they had to check that he didn't have one. They claimed to have probable cause. What I've been told about cops is that when they have probable cause, they don't ASK to search your stuff. And the statements, as reported, made by the girl-sheep did not specify that the subject was believed to be carrying a gun, and there was no report that he had stated he did indeed have a gun on him or with him. So what it boils down to is, are they claiming that going to a gun website now constitutes probable cause to believe someone is carrying a gun?
I mean, if he had been report for having been looking at underage porn, would they have still said that they were legally obligated to search him for a concealed gun? After all, in what she described, he had not allegedly admitted to having a gun with him, that she observed.
There was a case involving a guy whose vehicle was searched for guns, only because he had an NRA sticker on it, which was visible to the officer who stopped him! The search was thrown out because membership in, or ostensible membership in a gun-rights organization is not tantamount to a statement that one constantly has a gun on him. (DUH!) If I'm wearing an NRA shirt through an airport, should I have to be searched by every cop who sees me wearing it, because hey, it must mean I have a gun on me even though I know I'm going through an airport?
I could see them saying they had to check for a gun if he had been chatting with someone and saying, "Yeah, I have a gun with me right now and no one even knows! Ha ha!" because then she could report that someone had been claiming to have a gun! But he was just talking about general gun issues, it seems. Why that translates to "have to search your bag" is beyond me.
She ought to be able to be sued for causing him this trouble -- and messing with his CIVIL RIGHTS. Because after all, he was exonerated for anything to do with carrying a weapon, and all that leaves is that he was on a politically incorrect website!
October 2nd, 2007 04:05 PM
I just don't see probable cause for a warrant and search. At least noone got hostile.
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October 2nd, 2007 04:15 PM
just to be clear (in case I wasn't before) this was not my story...I'm simply reposting it from calguns
Originally Posted by rachilders
and if it wasn't clear from the initial post the campus police seemed to not want him to get a copy of the report and made him come back several times before he actually got it...that and the fact that he found out there was no search warrant after all.
I just feel a bit uneasy about the whole situation but I'm glad that everyone was professional and nobody's dog got shot.
October 2nd, 2007 04:29 PM
Originally Posted by raysheen
Wait, did he consent to the search on the basis that they had a warrant? Any informed person would have to know that you are supposed to get to SEE a PAPER WARRANT if that's so. So if he didn't see a warrant but gave consent on the claim by an officer that there was indeed one, he made a mistake in letting them search. The question now is, were they guilty of malfeasance, for example by claiming to have a warrant, maybe giving an excuse like, "It's on the way, but in the meantime why don't you let us search?" That would be a civil rights case, probably, but still the guy should have waited to SEE a warrant before consenting on the basis that a warrant had been obtained.
October 2nd, 2007 04:33 PM
I love the way the report calls it "cowguns.net". Great! Now we have to worry about guns getting into the hands of renegade bovines?
Man about town...
October 2nd, 2007 04:37 PM
according to the poster it went like this
Originally Posted by peacefuljeffrey
-officers request to search bag x 13
-poster declines bag search x 13
-officers informed poster that they were going to get a "telephonic warrant" via judge.
-officers walked away placed a phone call, waited ~20 minutes, came back and stated "we are going to search your bag now" at which time they searched the bag.
-Poster did not respond to this as he was under the impression that a warrant had been obtained.
There is a pretty good discussion on calguns about it and whether or not the bag would be covered under Terry because of the way it was handled....more details on the site than i can reproduce accurately here from memory.
October 2nd, 2007 04:56 PM
all i have to say is this.
mmm... cows with guns...
October 2nd, 2007 05:03 PM
What in the world were you searching for when you found that elleblr...
"If I was an extremist, our founding fathers would all be extremists," he said. "Without them, we wouldn't have our independence. We'd be a disarmed British system of feudal subjectivity."
October 2nd, 2007 05:12 PM
I have felt for a long time that the general herd of sheep are WAY to sensitive when it comes to guns. The entertainment industry and press are mostly responsible along with the shooting community not doing enough to educate the general population.
This case is a good example for why I feel firearms organizations and individuals should make a better effort to educate and desensitize the public. If that poor, misguided girl who reported him had been taught anything about guns, she may not have overreacted when she eavesdropped on his Internet surfing.
It sounds like the LEOs handled it fairly well considering the girl bordered on making a false report, IMHO.
October 2nd, 2007 05:18 PM
bored college student + strange friends + adequate amount of free time = random funny videos
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