NC - Can an officer run your gun is pulled over for speeding? - Page 3

NC - Can an officer run your gun is pulled over for speeding?

This is a discussion on NC - Can an officer run your gun is pulled over for speeding? within the Open Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; To add to chiefjason's correct post, since having a pistol on the seat openly is legal in NC, there is no RAS to run the ...

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Thread: NC - Can an officer run your gun is pulled over for speeding?

  1. #31
    Member Array Qtip's Avatar
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    To add to chiefjason's correct post, since having a pistol on the seat openly is legal in NC, there is no RAS to run the numbers on the gun, which indeed is a search and seizure. In NC a pistol on the front seat is as legal as an iPhone on the front seat; the mere presence of either object on the front seat does not an officer to run serial numbers without consent.


  2. #32
    Member Array TurboTurtle's Avatar
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    As a small update - I spoke to a lawyer a couple days ago (since I'm over 15 over it's a mandatory court appearance in NC) about the ticket and when I mentioned the running-the-gun part, he said that is "interesting" and that he would then need me to come in for a face-to-face consult (no charge, even!), rather than an over the phone hiring for a traffic ticket.

    I have my meeting with him next Thursday, I'll update here once I know something more.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Array DocT65's Avatar
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    Not sure about your state. Here, the PC was met in establishing the traffic violation. After the stop, anything in plain sight or that you disclose to the officer is fair game to be checked out--no different than him checking your vehicle for wanted/stolen or you for warrants--this happens (or should happen) at every traffic stop. If your gun is not stolen, you have nothing to worry about. In this case, the officer is simply doing his job. Hopefully he spoke to you respectfully and was professional in the conduct of his business.

    So many folks would be amazed at what turns up at a "routine traffic stop". Many a felony arrest have been made from a simple stop for a traffic infraction.
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  4. #34
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    Like it or not, a lot of crimes are solved and a lot of felons are picked up via a routine investigation done stemming from a routine traffic stop.

    Lot's of wanted felons are fleshed out because of failing to use a turn signal, or a "rolling stop" through a stop sign. Lazy cops don't get many of those kinds of arrests, but diligent officers do find all sorts of things during a "routine" traffic stop.

    I know many officers who do not run the serial numbers of guns in which ccw holders have in their possession, but on the other hand, some do.

    Like it or not, there's a difference between having a gun in your car, or having a television set in the back which may or may not be stolen. The gun has a direct link to officer safety, and unless you're a personal friend of the LEO stopping you, as far as he's concerned, you could be the next cop killer.

    Most LEO's, all they want to do is go home at the end of the day. If they were trained to run serial numbers on all guns they come in contact with, then that is what they are going to do.

    I don't have a good answer. I just know that I don't get offended if an officer wants to run the numbers on the gun I have in my possession. However, I've been stopped a few times while carrying a gun, and I've never had the LEO run the numbers on my gun. But if they do, in the future, I'm not going to hold it against them.
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  5. #35
    Senior Member Array DocT65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qtip View Post
    To add to chiefjason's correct post, since having a pistol on the seat openly is legal in NC, there is no RAS to run the numbers on the gun, which indeed is a search and seizure. In NC a pistol on the front seat is as legal as an iPhone on the front seat; the mere presence of either object on the front seat does not an officer to run serial numbers without consent.
    Not so fast. In a traffic stop situation (ie. a law has been violated), the officer absolutely has the right to run the S/N of a weapon that is in view or within reach of the operator. The comparison of a firearm to an iPhone I don't understand at all......apples and oranges. This circumstance is very different than one in which probable cause is not established. If you are in this situation, it's best to cooperate with the LEO. This is not an argument you are going to win at the scene or in court.
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  6. #36
    New Member Array dogguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefjason View Post

    FWIW, I had a NCSHP officer respond to a traffic accident I was in. I was OC'ing when he pulled up. He unholstered my firearm, unloaded it, then locked it in my car. Once it was locked up the only thing he told me was that I had a nice looking Glock. We ended up talking guns longer than it took to write the report.
    Seems like a very dangerous practice, un-holstering someone elses gun. That public servant does not have any idea what mechanical condition the firearm is in. (Several friends of mine carry 1 1/2 to 2 lb triggers), how safe it is. whether a round is in the chamber, may very well not know the proper operation or safety features or for that matter if you have another gun on your person. Seems like a very bad practice.
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  7. #37
    Member Array Qtip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocT65 View Post
    Not so fast. In a traffic stop situation (ie. a law has been violated), the officer absolutely has the right to run the S/N of a weapon that is in view or within reach of the operator. The comparison of a firearm to an iPhone I don't understand at all......apples and oranges. This circumstance is very different than one in which probable cause is not established. If you are in this situation, it's best to cooperate with the LEO. This is not an argument you are going to win at the scene or in court.
    I'd love for you to quote me the NC statute. He might be allowed to remove the firearm from the driver for his own safety, but running the serial number has nothing to do with his safety. The iPhone comparison is simple. Both are items that are not illegal to possess. The presence of a legal object inside a vehicle is not RAS that it is stolen.

  8. #38
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    (HEAD SCRATCH) 15 over stop . He could have just taken you to jail , impounded the car and searched the entire thing .
    I drove two and one half million miles as a professional trucker with no chargeable accidents or moving violations . Primary to accomplishing that was that in every one of my frequent encounters with law enforcement officers I opened a fresh bag of 'YESSIR's' and had another in reserve . Respect given was returned 99 out of one hundred . The dweeds were dealt with after the fact . One on one on the roadside is no place to start arbitrating .
    Last edited by Bark'n; December 28th, 2012 at 06:29 PM.
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  9. #39
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecucmgt View Post
    Basically they are checking to see if it is stolen or used in a crime.
    see highlight.... and how would they know that ??? Just curious, I never had a crystal ball that would tell me that one.
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  10. #40
    Member Array TurboTurtle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truckinbutch View Post
    (HEAD SCRATCH) 15 over stop . He could have been a real d88k and just taken you to jail , impounded the car and searched the entire thing .
    I drove two and one half million miles as a professional trucker with no chargeable accidents or moving violations . Primary to accomplishing that was that in every one of my frequent encounters with law enforcement officers I opened a fresh bag of 'YESSIR's' and had another in reserve . Respect given was returned 99 out of one hundred . The dweeds were dealt with after the fact . One on one on the roadside is no place to start arbitrating .
    No, he couldn't.

    15 over isn't criminal speeding in NC, 20 is.

  11. #41
    Senior Member Array DocT65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qtip View Post
    I'd love for you to quote me the NC statute. He might be allowed to remove the firearm from the driver for his own safety, but running the serial number has nothing to do with his safety. The iPhone comparison is simple. Both are items that are not illegal to possess. The presence of a legal object inside a vehicle is not RAS that it is stolen.
    I never claimed knowledge of NC laws, but most LE training is fairly universal nationwide. What I described is textbook teaching in most every LE academy I'm aware of, including FBI in Quantico. When stopped for a violation, the officer certainly has PC to ascertain the possibility of other crimes. This would include checking the status of a deadly weapon that is under the control of the operator. That's just the facts, like it or not. Your car I'm sure was checked for wanted/stolen, as were you as a person. I guess the officer just has to write you a ticket and not check those either, using your logic.

    As for the iPhone comparison, I'm unaware of any police officer being killed with a cellphone or a cellphone being used as a deadly weapon.

    You seem to harbor an unfortunate contempt for law enforcement; don't forget, they're the good guys.
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  12. #42
    Senior Member Array DocT65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogguy View Post
    Seems like a very dangerous practice, un-holstering someone elses gun. That public servant does not have any idea what mechanical condition the firearm is in. (Several friends of mine carry 1 1/2 to 2 lb triggers), how safe it is. whether a round is in the chamber, may very well not know the proper operation or safety features or for that matter if you have another gun on your person. Seems like a very bad practice.
    OK, I'm a LEO responding to a scene and there is an unknown individual carrying a weapon.....you bet it is going to be me who removes the weapon. Who else is going to put hands on it first in an uncontrolled situation? Certainly not anyone other than me or another officer.

    If you are ever in this situation, I strongly suggest that you DO NOT reach for your gun. As innocent as it may seem to you, it is an absolute threat to the LEO and may very well be met with deadly force on his/her part.
    Truckinbutch and redchaser like this.
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  13. #43
    Member Array justintimeagain's Avatar
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    been reading lots on this topic and IMHO I have a CC but not my gun as of yet. If ever I were to get pulled over for speeding WHILE carrying the first peice of information I'm giving him is my CC card then drivers licence with proof of insurance. I'll let the officer know exactly where I've got it and let them decide what they wish for me to do with very slow motions cause for one thing if I'm law inforcement I want u moving very slow to not give my trigger happy finger the chance to save my own ass. Each and every state has different laws requarding carries so you'd best dust off the books and reread what you might already know and get the most updated information from your cherifs department as they have the most up to date to work with first and formost. Hell keep it in the vehicle so that if there's questions like such pull it out and have the oficer point out why it justifies his own actions.

  14. #44
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    They do what ever they want and not a thing you can do to stop it.

  15. #45
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    First off, all mandatory appearance speeding charges in NC are misdemeanors, what triggers the mandatory appearance is going over 55 and faster than 15 over, 56/25, 56/35. 61/45, 71/55, you get the idea. There are other circumstances in which speeding is a misdemeanor, but any mandatory appearance speeding is a misdemeanor. So, the OP could have been arrested, vehicle towed, gun placed in evidence for safekeeping, etc. That really isn't material to the issue though, because he wasn't arrested. A traffic stop is a detention, but it rarely rises to the level of an arrest (legally speaking) unless one gets "cuffed and stuffed". The courts decide the unclear cases, and they base their decisions in those cases on the totality of the circumstances. It also isn't material to the speeding charge whether or not the officer was legally justified in taking temporary custody of the weapon. The only facts material to the speeding charge are related to the speeding. Legally speaking, even if the officer was wrong in seizing the weapon, the speeding charge should not be dismissed for that reason.

    Now, there is no statutory law one way or another that directly addresses whether or not officers can temporarily seize lawfully possessed weapons on traffic stops. I don't know of any NC specific case law on the subject either. Generally speaking the standard the courts choose to determine whether or not what an officer did was OK in the absence of clear statutory or case law is reasonableness. Is it reasonable for an officer to temporarily seize a firearm during the course of a traffic stop for "officer safety"? The courts tend to give officers pretty broad latitude when it comes to officer safety because they have to make decisions quickly in rapidly evolving situations. So, the question the court is likely to ask here is whether or not what the officer did was reasonable. They might also ask what harm the officer's actions caused the party who is claiming to be harmed by the officer's actions (if no one was claiming to have been harmed, the court wouldn't be considering the issue). One would be hard pressed to argue that the temporary seizure of a firearm during a traffic stop somehow caused "harm" in the absence of extreme circumstances.

    Is taking a firearm on a traffic stop an unreasonable search and/or seizure? Well, in this case the OP told the officer about the weapon and it was in plain view, so there was no search. Whether or not the temporary seizure was legal is a matter for the courts, but I suspect they would rule such a temporary seizure was valid in this case. If the serial number is in plain view on the weapon, no search is necessary to obtain it, and officers are free to run whatever serial numbers they like through NCIC. If the serial number is not in plain view the question is less clear, and again, that is up to the courts. One will also note that in MI v. Long the USSC ruled that the presence of a legal weapon in a vehicle can be used as reasonable suspicion to conduct a "vehicle frisk" for other weapons. Again, the courts often favor officer safety, especially when no clear harm can be shown to come from it. The courts are unlikely to rule that being temporarily disarmed while in the presence of an officer somehow harmed the complainant.

    As a practical matter, when I was an LEO in North Carolina, rather than taking guns from people, I took people away from guns. If, for instance, I stopped someone and they had a handgun in plain view and no permit, rather than taking the weapon, I simply told the driver (and passengers if there were any) to get out of the vehicle. Generally speaking, in my experience, people with stolen weapons do not carry them in plain view. Rather than making the gun an issue, for which the legal ground to do so it somewhat questionable, I went the way I knew was legal. There may not be any clear law on how the police can deal with openly carried guns during the course of investigations in NC, but the law is completely clear that officers can order anyone to get out of, or stay in, a vehicle on a traffic stop. Failing to comply is an arrestable offense.
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