Gun Law Q&A With Off Duty LEO

This is a discussion on Gun Law Q&A With Off Duty LEO within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by BikerRN TX-JB has it right. Nobody can be expected to know every law on the books. Yet if I unknowingly break the ...

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Thread: Gun Law Q&A With Off Duty LEO

  1. #61
    Member Array Cycler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    TX-JB has it right.
    Nobody can be expected to know every law on the books.
    Yet if I unknowingly break the law, I'm still liable, irrespective of whether I acted in good faith or not.

    If an arrest is made "in good faith" I do not see why the LEO should be personally liable.
    Seems like quite a double standard. A regular citizen is held liable for all laws on the books.

    A citizen who swears to uphold the law and becomes a LEO is suddenly not held to that same standard?

    You're right that no one can be expected to know every law on the book. That's why cops often let people off when they were acting in good faith. If a LEO doesn't know the law or his knowledge is put into doubt, they should detain and get on the phone or radio to get an answer ASAP so that they can either arrest or get the person on their way as quickly as possible.

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  3. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post
    Here's the rub - what exactly is "Good Faith" in this situation?

    Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that I am carrying a gun in my glove box in Florida, which is perfectly lawful under Florida law. I get pulled over and, I tell the officer there is a gun in the glovebox rather than going into the glovebox for my registration.
    Now if there was ever a case where my 'offender' actually makes me wonder about my actions, I certainly would make sure I am right before proceeding, assuming all other things are normal.

    He pulls me out of the car and detains me so he can safely retrieve the vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Then, because he doesn't really understand the law, he tells me he is going to charge me with carrying a concealed weapon. I tell him that it is lawful under Florida Statute 790.25(5) to carry the firearm in the glovebox, and further that I have a copy of the statute available if he would like to read it.

    He tells me I am wrong, and without making any effort to verify the information I have provided he arrests me and books me into jail.

    Has he in fact acted in "Good Faith"?

    Matt
    I say yes, if we take away the nature of the example. If somebody provides me with a "law" they printed out off the interent to prove their innocence, they probably would get a chuckle at best out of me. I've arrested very few people who were honest about their actions, and actually knew anything about law or legal procedure. Most got their 'education' by watching TV or reading on Internet forums.

    With that said, given the nature of this particular example, one could easily make the argument that the officer did not act in good faith because it is such a simple and basic law that he should really know.

    Lets use the same scenario, but replace the CCW with some obscure law, now what do we have? Lets say you are transporting prescription medication in your glove box, but not in a proper container. The officer makes an arrest; is that in good faith?
    "Just blame Sixto"

  4. #63
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    It's a difficult question, but I believe the it is incumbent on the officer to make an attempt to verify that the actions giving rise to the arrest are in fact unlawful.

    When someone tells you you are making a mistake, "oops" is no longer a valid defense, IMHO, if you proceed after being informed.

    Obviously you need to examine the credibility of the information provided, but unless you have an articulable reason not to trust it, it seems to me that detaining the subject and consulting with a supervisor is preferable to proceeding with an arrest that does not have a basis in law.

    Matt
    Battle Plan (n) - a list of things that aren't going to happen if you are attacked.
    Blame it on Sixto - now that is a viable plan.

  5. #64
    Distinguished Member Array BlueNinjaGo's Avatar
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    Since when did "Innocent until proven guilty" go out of style?

  6. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post
    It's a difficult question, but I believe the it is incumbent on the officer to make an attempt to verify that the actions giving rise to the arrest are in fact unlawful.

    When someone tells you you are making a mistake, "oops" is no longer a valid defense, IMHO, if you proceed after being informed.

    Obviously you need to examine the credibility of the information provided, but unless you have an articulable reason not to trust it, it seems to me that detaining the subject and consulting with a supervisor is preferable to proceeding with an arrest that does not have a basis in law.

    Matt
    Agreed.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  7. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    You are right, nobody is arguing otherwise. However, what comes into play here is the difference in the words detain and arrest. Most people assume that if handcuffs are on, there is an arrest. That is not true. If an LEO see or finds a handgun in a car during a traffic stop, it is perfectly legal for him to detain to conduct a safe investigation. Like it or not, that fight has already been fought several times over. Every court in the land has said what I am saying now.
    It doesn't matter if you detain me. If you detain me for something that's not a crime and you should KNOW that it's not a crime, you're going to have a bad day. That's a FAR cry from detaining somebody to investigate whether they're committing a SPECIFIC offense, which in fact IS an offense.

    Detaining me for open carrying, or for not open carrying my firearm in a car, or for not "promptly" notifying when you're demanding that I not talk are all intentional torts and I'm going to treat them as intentional torts.

  8. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Lets use the same scenario, but replace the CCW with some obscure law, now what do we have? Lets say you are transporting prescription medication in your glove box, but not in a proper container. The officer makes an arrest; is that in good faith?
    If you arrest somebody for something, it had BETTER be an offense. If you have ANY doubt, you'd BETTER ask somebody. If you deprive me of my liberty by virtue of arrogance rather than law, I've got no more reason to let that go than a cop would to let it go if I tried to resist a lawful arrest or obstruct an investigation.

  9. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post
    It's a difficult question, but I believe the it is incumbent on the officer to make an attempt to verify that the actions giving rise to the arrest are in fact unlawful.

    When someone tells you you are making a mistake, "oops" is no longer a valid defense, IMHO, if you proceed after being informed.

    Obviously you need to examine the credibility of the information provided, but unless you have an articulable reason not to trust it, it seems to me that detaining the subject and consulting with a supervisor is preferable to proceeding with an arrest that does not have a basis in law.

    Matt
    Agreed.
    Agreed

    example....we chat on our computers all the time to each other asking questions about stops we're on, situations, etc, our Sgts are a cell phone call away and we all work good together
    we don't make arrests, etc without knowing what we are doing, I like the mentality my dept has in that we are not too good to ask questions, some people are more knowledgable or more experienced in certain areas than others, I for one am one of the few on my shift that knows all the weapons laws like my own personal history, others have more experience/knowledge in other areas like drugs;
    if we run into a questionable area, we ask each other,
    thats the way it should be, no robocop, chip on the shoulder, etc
    LEO/CHL
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    If loose gun laws are good for criminals why do criminals support gun control?

  10. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post
    Has he in fact acted in "Good Faith"?
    If the cop has a reasonable articulable suspicion that you've committed, are committing or are about to commit something that's actually a crime, that's probably good faith.

    If on the other hand, he arrests (or detains) you for something which is manifestly not a crime (carrying with a loaded chamber, carrying cocked and locked, etc.) that's BY DEFINITION not good faith. If he detains you to see IF it's a crime, he's still violated your rights, but has gone some distance to mitigate his erroneous actions. Once you're arrested, there's no going back. And at least in Chicago, the officer himself is liable for punitive damages. I'd be going for them too.

  11. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by 64zebra View Post
    Agreed

    example....we chat on our computers all the time to each other asking questions about stops we're on, situations, etc, our Sgts are a cell phone call away and we all work good together
    we don't make arrests, etc without knowing what we are doing, I like the mentality my dept has in that we are not too good to ask questions, some people are more knowledgable or more experienced in certain areas than others, I for one am one of the few on my shift that knows all the weapons laws like my own personal history, others have more experience/knowledge in other areas like drugs;
    if we run into a questionable area, we ask each other,
    thats the way it should be, no robocop, chip on the shoulder, etc





    THAT is the best thing that I have read in this entire thread.

    At least one police dept. has their crap together.

  12. #71
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    The city of Norfolk has learned the hard way what happens when the hassle and arrest someone who isn't breaking any law(several times now).

  13. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by celticredneck View Post
    The city of Norfolk has learned the hard way what happens when the hassle and arrest someone who isn't breaking any law(several times now).
    The way to put a fast end to those sorts of things is to go after the individual officers. Whether he's following UNLAWFUL "policy" or cowboying it, losing his home and his family going hungry is a REAL deterrent.

  14. #73
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    I think the bigger issue is that of carrying a firearm, permit or not, while drinking alcohol.

  15. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by ticktwrter View Post
    I think the bigger issue is that of carrying a firearm, permit or not, while drinking alcohol.
    Agreed. Here in FL it's legal. ... Here and everywhere it's stupid.

  16. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX-JB View Post
    I don't know how things work in Florida, but there aren't too many arrests made here where the DA on duty, isn't checked with to accept the charges, before the arrest.
    Exactly correct. I have a great friend who is a LEO in a city just north of Houston. I have ridden along many times. When ever he arrested someone (usually several times each ride along...not a good city ), he always contacted the ADA on duty to see if they would take charges. This one is simple, well in Texas its simple anyway. Now if the ADA screws up, you are in a whole different world of hurt.

    Then again, we roll different down in Texas ya'll
    Andy
    You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas - David Crockett
    When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson

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