Can they search locked items in my personal vehicle?

This is a discussion on Can they search locked items in my personal vehicle? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey guys I have a Question for you. I am a construction worker working on a new hospital in Butler county OHIO. They told us ...

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Thread: Can they search locked items in my personal vehicle?

  1. #1
    Member Array zr271cuda's Avatar
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    Question Can they search locked items in my personal vehicle?

    Hey guys I have a Question for you. I am a construction worker working on a new hospital in Butler county OHIO. They told us in the orientation that no firearms are allowed on the property. OK I can't bring a gun on the job and they don't want them in our cars either. They have also told us that they will search our cars if tools start to come up missing, which has already happen( the tools missing not the searches). The question I have is if I have it locked in one of those OHIO approved gun boxes with the little cable to secure it to the car. In the event that they search my car do they have the right to open the locked box under the seat? By the way they said that the local police will be conducting the searches.
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array mulle46's Avatar
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    Without a warrant, or you agreeing to the search, I would say no. If they get the warrant and are looking for a pipe wrench(as an example), I would still say no to looking inside a handgun size case as the pipe wrench couldn't be in the case. OMO.
    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by zr271cuda View Post
    In the event that they search my car do they have the right to open the locked box under the seat? By the way they said that the local police will be conducting the searches.
    Probably not the legal right to open the locked box...but I suspect that they would have the right to fire you for refusing to open the box/submit to the search/violating their policy. Many things which are legal can still lead to termination. IMO, you must decide what you are willing to risk and to accept, given their conditions. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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    Member Array chenemf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon1 View Post
    Probably not the legal right to open the locked box...but I suspect that they would have the right to fire you for refusing to open the box/submit to the search/violating their policy. Many things which are legal can still lead to termination. IMO, you must decide what you are willing to risk and to accept, given their conditions. Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Ditto. Submitting to a search is probably a condition of employment and any refusal would likely be grounds for termination.

    Can you park across the street and not on their property?

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    Senior Member Array gddyup's Avatar
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    First thing I would do is go through and re-read all the laws pertaining to carry and such. If the hospital you are working at is located on private roperty, IE the parking lot is owned by the hospital and you have agreed to have your premises searched on that property, might be something to look into. It really depends on what the laws are on Ohio regarding this.

    For example : I am a FF/EMT in NH. My station is located on public property, not private property. My administration has a rule governing that weapons are NOT allowed on the property during a shift. Now, I lock a handgun in my truck on the property while at work. According to the admin, that's a no-no. But, according to the RSA in NH, I can have that handgun in my car on public property because the town (IE the administration of the fire dept which is a town official) has no right to govern and/or endorse any law or rule limiting my right to have a firearm in my car on the property at any time. This is ONLY due to the fact that the fire station is part of public property and not a private entity itself. If I worked for a private EMS service where the parking lot was owned by that particular company, AND said company had a procedure in place in it's employee handbook outlining that my private vehicle was subject to search upon my signature affirming that I had read the rules and signed off on them prior to beginning my tenure there, than they have every and any right to search my vehicle or fire me on the spot.

    Anyways, you have to look at what you agreed to when taking the job and check the local ordinances and state laws regarding your current situation to be sure.
    Firefighter/EMT
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    <----My LT was unhappy that I did not have my PASS-Tag at that fire. But I found the body so he said he would overlook it. :)

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    Member Array Nosce Te Ipsum's Avatar
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    'Cuda,

    I would tend to agree with Falcon, but I think there are several sticky points here. I know of at least one LEO (SIXTO) in our area who can clear up any misstatements I make here, but to my understanding:

    1) Unless you signed a document saying that you cannot carry on your body or in your car on the premises, then it's your word against theirs.
    2) Unless you signed an agreement with your company, then you should not have to submit to random searches.
    3) If 1 or 2 above are true, I would expect that they could fire you on the spot for refusing to allow a search of your car, or an enclosed box.
    4) Please make sure you have your CCW license with you if you bring your weapon with you.

    Depending on how much you feel like fighting it, you could always try the unreasonable search and seizure angle. Parking your vehicle off property - next field over, or the other side of the road may be another idea. Deep concealment may be an option too.

    Good luck!
    Steve

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Speak with the prosecuting attorney for the county in question. Your employer is the one who signed any documents 'for you' as you are in his employ unless you are the individual contractor whereby you would have received a copy of terms and conditions from the general contractor. Once signed by the company--all terms are to be legally upheld as per 'contract'. Even though it's highly possible you are on private property, the general contractor makes the rules. Stolen property may be reported to the local law enforcement and that's about it. A contractor who cannot sustain their own security measures IMO, shouldn't be in the business. They do carry insurance no doubt. I've been where you are and quite frankly---one can nit-pick from what state the general contractors home base of operations is and follow legal issues from there. If you drive a company truck, your vehicle is likely to be able to be inspected as set forth by you employer's contract. Your individual vehicle--they would need probable cause and a warrant. (you can pack up and leave without any consequence unless you have company property allotted to you which must be returned). I despise GC's who throw their weight around like they are the almighty. Fear factor and mind games--nothing more (usually). Most of this still hinges on your employer's ability to read the fine print in the contract, and alot of times they don't see anything but the bottom line. Ask your job foreman or your company owner to see the contract he/she signed---(have a copy of your employment contract with them), then you'll know how many legs you have to stand on. Using local law enforcement to conduct personal vehicle searches on a whim is simply just asking for numerous lawsuits and they ought to know that. Don't make waves, don't discuss your feelings with any of your fellow employees concerning the matters. Find an attorney who's forte is employment law and use a free visit, or place a retainer. Just like everyone else in this world--the general contractor is relying on you not knowing your rights as an individual. Peace of mind is worth alot, and being comfortable and without worries in your every day job should be the responsibility of your employer.

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    VIP Member Array deadeye72's Avatar
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    You have to make a choice. There is no way I would travel to and from work without some means of protecting myself. If they feel they have a need to search my vehicle then they can find someone else to do my job.
    Glock 27
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    Senior Member Array bluelineman's Avatar
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    Is it against the law to carry at the hospital while working there? If not, get a smart carry & nobody will know. I would also suggest not talking about guns, CCW, etc to anybody. If you leave it in your car, I would not consent to a search without a search warrant.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Knuckledrager's Avatar
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    In PA they would need a warrant for locked areas of a car.
    "The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization." Sigmund Freud

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    Member Array derekxec's Avatar
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    maybe you could try telling them you forgot the key to the box at home or that you have lost the key and are still trying to find it

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    Distinguished Member Array LenS's Avatar
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    Employers don't need warrants to take action . . . they use "umbrella" sign-offs on policies as legal cover for searches. You refuse, you're fired! It really is that simple.

    LEOs have to abide by the laws and wouldn't be able to search all vehicles in a parking lot if a monkey wrench turns up missing . . . they would need "probable cause" or a warrant.

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    Exactly, this is not a .gov search, so the 4th Amendment is out the window. It's all about what you agreed to as a condition of employment. If you agreed to be searched, and then refuse, they have a pretty good case for termination. That's it, though - there could be no other legal ramifications.

    Since you mentioned, however, that the local PD would be conducting the search, then this might open up a whole 'nother can of worms. Under what authority would the PD be searching? If the employer invites them in to search "their" property, where your car is in relation to their property and what the state laws regarding the sanctity of "your" property while it sits on "their" property will come into play. By and large (and take this for what it's worth - pretty much nothing) it seems that you can legally refuse, but you may face disciplinary action from the employer.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say its a scare tactic. Butler Co S.O. or Hamilton PD is not going to get involved in a civil matter like this, unless there is no doubt a crime occured. Even then, they are not going to search every car in the lot.

    Also, FWIW, Sheriff Jones and his guys are an excellent group. I would not fear them at all, unless you are a criminal.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    The secret lies in parking off of the hospital/working area lot. Once you're off their property, you're off the reservation with your firearm, so to speak.
    Also, it is illegal to search your vehicle's locked or closed areas without a warrant based upon "Probable Cause". To whit, they suspect that you, a specific person, illegally acquired specific items and that these items are in a specific location. The good news is that the search warrant will force the officers in question to tell a judge/magistrate in a specific and concise manner why they think you did it instead of someone else and exactly where the items should be found during their search.

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