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View Full Version : Legal help, think I may have drawn attention to local LE while working on my firearm


cbn620
07-24-2008, 8:25 PM
This is kind of long winded so if you want the gist of it, scroll own to the bolded.

I was working on a rifle in my bedroom behind closed doors. I live in an apartment area. I had been sitting there working on it with the rifle barrel pointed upwards on my bed and at a nearby table. A large window looks outward towards a parking lot, it has a sliding door and spans most of my room.

Anyways, I was looking for a caliper and a ruler because I was working on trigger weight and travel. Couldn't find it, so I'm sitting on my bed, bolt open, no ammo anywhere in sight. My rifle is pointed upwards and may be visible through my window because he blinds, though closed, were cracked open by mistake. I start hearing the sounds of an idling cop car and have a looksee out my window, leaving the rifle on my bed and out of sight. Police officer and I make eye contact, his window is down. He speaks something into a radio and drives off.

I'm wondering if a neighbor saw me holding a firearm as I walked across the room and thought the worst and made some report. Now I don't own a lot of guns, and have never ever dealt with the police on firearms related issues. I'm just curious on a few legal primers.



Does my rifle and ammo need to be locked up?

Is there anything illegal about walking around in my room transfering my rifle from one table to the next?

Is this police officer going to come back to my house in a few hours or days with a warrant? If so, what precautions should I take to keep everything legal?

I am an honest person and have broken no laws. And, just to simplify matters, I will say that though they are perfectly legal, I own -NO- OLL's or anything of that sort, I have no firearms that might be presumed illegal.

In closing, no, I don't think anything will come of this and I'm obviously being a bit paranoid. But I want to make sure I've broken no laws here, and I figure regardless of any legality issues, it's a good time to ask these questions.

Thanks for reading, thanks in advance for responses.

C.G.
07-24-2008, 8:52 PM
Does my rifle and ammo need to be locked up?

No, unless children can get to the rifle, then it should be locked up.


Is there anything illegal about walking around in my room transfering my rifle from one table to the next?

No.


Is this police officer going to come back to my house in a few hours or days with a warrant? If so, what precautions should I take to keep everything legal?

Sounds like you are legal, so it would just depend on the officer.

tyrist
07-24-2008, 8:53 PM
Paranoid

leelaw
07-24-2008, 8:56 PM
I'll bet that it's coincidence that he was there, and he was not responding to you, nor will he be back.

.22guy
07-24-2008, 8:58 PM
Watch out for the black helicopters. :TFH:

Saigon1965
07-24-2008, 8:59 PM
You're good to go, I would still becareful with curious neighbors though.

JeffM
07-24-2008, 9:01 PM
Were you talking to yourself?

RomanDad
07-24-2008, 9:03 PM
Is it a LEGAL rifle?

Are you Legally in possession of it?

If those are the facts you're fine....


But be careful when youre working on your firearms... Make sure people from outside CANT see in and mistakingly think "Oh my god, that crazy guy just pointed a rifle at me!!!"

hawk1
07-24-2008, 9:08 PM
They are coming back...

http://www.popsci.com/files/imagecache/article_image_small/files/articles/iStock_000002248829XSmall.jpg

RP1911
07-24-2008, 9:22 PM
didn't we have a thread similar to this a few months back?

AEC1
07-24-2008, 9:30 PM
I love my Cul De Sac, we ar eall gun nuts, shoot together pretty regular, not uncommon to walk into my neighbors open garage and find him with a riffle on the bench. Last week I had a pizza delivered and was in the garage with the door open cleaning my pistols after a day at the range with USN Chief when the driver walked up and asked if the XD was a 45 or 40... that was probably not to wise now that I think about it...

nobs11
07-24-2008, 10:03 PM
A curious cop is probably the last person I'd be worried about when I'm handling my legally owned guns in my place of residence. I'd be more worried about criminals finding out that there are guns in the house. That is the main reason you should be cautious about your surroundings when handling guns in or taking them in/out of your vehicle.

cbn620
07-24-2008, 10:16 PM
Okay, thanks fellas. I guess the main thing I'm trying to understand is, what constitutes probable cause in this case? For instance, a person calls in and says "OH MY GOD, MAN WITH GUN" and then an officer witnesses the person through the window in their house holding a gun.

Hey, I'm not paranoid, I'm just cautious and always prepared for the worst. :D

Seriously though, this is the home of The Right People. How can you make fun of me for asking a couple simple questions? This is the place for answers. I wanted to understand the legality here and police process in cases like this. Like I said in the post, I fully don't expect this to become an issue because obviously the officer drove off. However, the odd coincidence of an officer pulling up *right* next to my window and looking at me having been idling out there for several minutes... well, it sort of left me to wonder if this kind of stuff is common and if anyone knows about officers getting PC/warrants to investigate perceived "public threats".

How many people on these boards have had their lives ruined because of a nosy/insane/vindictive neighbor? Let's see a show of hands.

And yeah, I got you on the issue of not letting people know you've got guns. I don't flash my weapons or even so much as talk about my firearms. In fact if you notice in the first post, I even went so far as to not mention how many firearms I own or even what firearm I was handling when this occurred. I keep such private details to myself.

Anyways, thanks again all.

nobs11
07-24-2008, 10:44 PM
And yeah, I got you on the issue of not letting people know you've got guns. I don't flash my weapons or even so much as talk about my firearms. In fact if you notice in the first post, I even went so far as to not mention how many firearms I own or even what firearm I was handling when this occurred. I keep such private details to myself.


The premise of your posts was that you were afraid that someone might have seen your gun through your window. Then you claim that you don't "flash your weapons." The two statements are not logically consistent.

You are being paranoid. If you are so afraid, you should maybe reconsider firearm ownership. Lets see in the worst case, if a cop knocks on your door.

Cop: "Hey, we had a report that you were seen with a gun. Do you have any guns in the house?"

You "I am the legal owner of all the property I have in this house sir. Do you have a warrant?"

Cop: "I see. Be safe."

You "Thank you sir. Have a nice day."

mdouglas1980
07-24-2008, 10:46 PM
my roomate and I have shown our new guns to each other with our windows open and sliding glass door open with the screen shut. Plus we had about 10 guns on the table being cleaned when we got back from AZ and shooting the hell out of them. The police have not been knocking down our door yet, I think you're safe. If you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about anyways.

Ken H
07-24-2008, 10:52 PM
A curious cop is probably the last person I'd be worried about when I'm handling my legally owned guns in my place of residence. I'd be more worried about criminals finding out that there are guns in the house. That is the main reason you should be cautious about your surroundings when handling guns in or taking them in/out of your vehicle.

Amen to all that...;)

cbn620
07-24-2008, 11:46 PM
The premise of your posts was that you were afraid that someone might have seen your gun through your window. Then you claim that you don't "flash your weapons." The two statements are not logically consistent.

You are being paranoid. If you are so afraid, you should maybe reconsider firearm ownership. Lets see in the worst case, if a cop knocks on your door.

Cop: "Hey, we had a report that you were seen with a gun. Do you have any guns in the house?"

You "I am the legal owner of all the property I have in this house sir. Do you have a warrant?"

Cop: "I see. Be safe."

You "Thank you sir. Have a nice day."

The premise of my post was that my blinds were cracked open unbeknown to myself. They're the vertical hanging type, anything holding them apart from the floor end creates a large triangular space that can be viewed through.

When I said I don't flash my weapons I meant just that. I do not show people weapons, I don't knowingly stand in front of a window looking menacingly at passers by with guns in hand, I do not put them on display for anyone, I don't take them out and handle them in public.

I am not certain your analysis of my logic is in and of itself very logical.

I certainly tried to portray myself as the jokingly paranoid type, but I am not afraid. I merely posted this as a primer to sort of get some "what-if" information. I am familiar with my 4th amendment rights. I am familiar with responsible gun ownership and dealing with the police on search and seizure. What I wasn't familiar with is whether probable cause could be asserted from an officer pulling up 6 or 7 feet from my window and seeing me holding a gun because my window blinds were mistakenly cracked open.

I really don't appreciate your tone. I was under the impression people on this site conducted themselves like gentlemen.

cbn620
07-24-2008, 11:51 PM
By the way, is that really the worse case? I think the worse case would be some crazy neighbor saying I was pointing a gun out my window and them getting a warrant for my arrest. I know how to conduct myself when a police officer knocks on the door, I don't really know how to conduct myself when they kick it in. Likely/unlikely/impossible? I really don't know. Again, I presented myself in ignorance for a reason: I honestly did not know about this particular sort of scenario and what the possible outcomes would be.

I was under the impression that asking dumb questions before the fact is better than asking dumb questions after the fact. I have also heard that dumb questions generally don't exist in these contexts. It's not like I asked, "What happens if I chamber a round and pull the trigger?"

tonelar
07-25-2008, 12:07 AM
I guess your appartment is ground floor, huh? Was it morning? Night? Noon?

Leave your blinds the way they were and walk outside to have a look around...

I bet you'll realize that its not that easy to look into your window and see what's on your table. Make sure you're the same height as the cop sitting in a cruiser too while you're at it.

odysseus
07-25-2008, 12:37 AM
I really don't appreciate your tone. I was under the impression people on this site conducted themselves like gentlemen.

CNB620 - For the most part people are gentlemen (and ladies) on this board. It's all good, for one people tend to joke and poke at each other here. It's actually hard to read into "tone" on anything like forum posts and emails, so it's best to just stick to what is being said and not how you think it is being said.

Anyway I think you are 5-by-5 and good to go.

.

cbn620
07-25-2008, 1:03 AM
I guess your appartment is ground floor, huh? Was it morning? Night? Noon?

Leave your blinds the way they were and walk outside to have a look around...

I bet you'll realize that its not that easy to look into your window and see what's on your table. Make sure you're the same height as the cop sitting in a cruiser too while you're at it.

Yeah, you're totally right. I was totally jumping the gun in terms of a what-if scenario.

domokun
07-25-2008, 2:02 AM
By the way, is that really the worse case? I think the worse case would be some crazy neighbor saying I was pointing a gun out my window and them getting a warrant for my arrest. I know how to conduct myself when a police officer knocks on the door, I don't really know how to conduct myself when they kick it in. Likely/unlikely/impossible? I really don't know. Again, I presented myself in ignorance for a reason: I honestly did not know about this particular sort of scenario and what the possible outcomes would be.

I was under the impression that asking dumb questions before the fact is better than asking dumb questions after the fact. I have also heard that dumb questions generally don't exist in these contexts. It's not like I asked, "What happens if I chamber a round and pull the trigger?"

If the police have to kick in the door, you're not going to have time to react. They'll coming in charging in with SWAT with warrant in-hand and without knocking. I don't think you even want to or need to worry about that senario if you're a law abiding citizen and firearms owner.

RomanDad
07-25-2008, 2:45 AM
Old lady calls the police, "My neighbor is exposing himself to me". Police show up. "Whats the problem?" "I was sitting here having my coffee and my neighbor is walking around his house naked and exposing himself to me, and I want you to go over there and arrest him!" "Where did this happen?" "Right here through my kitchen window...." Cop looks out the window, all he sees is a tall wooden fence between the houses and the very top of the neighbor's head as he walks around his house... "Uh... Im quite a bit taller than you and all I can see over that fence is the top of your neighbors head... Hes not exposing anything that I can see..." "Well stand up on top of that box I put by the window..."

Moral of the story- Its a thin line between showing off and a nosy neighbor. If you have your blinds open and are negligently (or intentionally) showing off your firearms in a way that might attract attention, youre going to get some....

If they are breaking their necks to see in, thats on them....

cbn620
07-25-2008, 3:45 AM
Old lady calls the police, "My neighbor is exposing himself to me". Police show up. "Whats the problem?" "I was sitting here having my coffee and my neighbor is walking around his house naked and exposing himself to me, and I want you to go over there and arrest him!" "Where did this happen?" "Right here through my kitchen window...." Cop looks out the window, all he sees is a tall wooden fence between the houses and the very top of the neighbor's head as he walks around his house... "Uh... Im quite a bit taller than you and all I can see over that fence is the top of your neighbors head... Hes not exposing anything that I can see..." "Well stand up on top of that box I put by the window..."

Moral of the story- Its a thin line between showing off and a nosy neighbor. If you have your blinds open and are negligently (or intentionally) showing off your firearms in a way that might attract attention, youre going to get some....

If they are breaking their necks to see in, thats on them....

Thanks, this is actually exactly the sort of responses I was looking for. I should have phrased myself better.

motorhead
07-25-2008, 7:21 AM
has your telephone sounded "funny" lately? you don't have onstar in any of your vehicles do you?

scrat
07-25-2008, 8:13 AM
a few years ago i had gone shooting and i cleaned up my guns in the back yard. then i went to the living room to put someof them back together and oil them up. So on my living room table is probably around 10 guns. A nock on the door a few minutes later i open the door and there is a police officer hand on his gun. Ask me my name and if i can step out. I say no. Then ask what he wants. said neighbors reported seeing guns. Said so then said what kind of guns. I say legal guns, i just returned from the range and was cleaning them in the back. Told him how my wife really dosent like the smell of hoppes. Told him they need to tell the neighbors to get used to it. He asked if the guns were still in the back. Then i opened the door more and said no there on the table now. I have to oil them up check all the screws then put them away. He said ok. Then asked if they are unloaded. Said yes i am still putting them back together. He then said maybe i need to pic a different time to do my cleaning. Said maybe. I then asked him if he had a card. He said yes and gave me one. Then told him i f i have any problems in the future with said neighbors i would give him a call.

packnrat
07-25-2008, 11:16 AM
They are coming back...

http://www.popsci.com/files/imagecache/article_image_small/files/articles/iStock_000002248829XSmall.jpg

they do not need to come back...

as they planted a bug in my head...

and your's....

and yours...

etc...


:TFH:


.

Ironchef
07-25-2008, 1:14 PM
Sounds like, if anything, maybe someone did call in a possible gun sighting or fabricated a brandishing situation..cop shows up guessing it's a coin toss on reliability, sees inside your window (unbeknownst to you), sees you're just cleaning or whatever, and drives away reporting all is well. If they were going to respond to you and your guns in your room, it would have happened already.

Sucks you can't be seen, even accidentally inside your home with a gun, and while it is lawful to be seen cleaning guns on your property as long as you're not brandishing...people still freak out and fabricate and pretend when making police calls.

Matt C
07-25-2008, 1:29 PM
If the police have to kick in the door, you're not going to have time to react. They'll coming in charging in with SWAT with warrant in-hand and without knocking. I don't think you even want to or need to worry about that senario if you're a law abiding citizen and firearms owner.

I have to go ahead and disagree with that one...

WokMaster1
07-25-2008, 5:44 PM
didn't we have a thread similar to this a few months back?

I thought I was having a dream, too. Yeh! It was the guy from San Mateo. Same exact scenario. Wow, what a coincidence.

sorensen440
07-25-2008, 6:34 PM
legally it could have been loaded
its your apartment

cbn620
07-25-2008, 8:25 PM
has your telephone sounded "funny" lately? you don't have onstar in any of your vehicles do you?

I've scanned the apartment for phone bugs. Only land-line telephones in this household. Don't you know cordless phones have radio transmitters in them?! Anyone with a rigged baby monitor could hear my every word!

:D

SkyStorm82
07-25-2008, 9:00 PM
Have you heard these coming yet?http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b279/skystorm82/bootsfy8.gif

leitung
07-26-2008, 8:19 AM
There is nothing illegal about having a gun in the home loaded, I carry my Glock pretty much 24/7 around my home loaded openly and sometimes concealed. My neighbors can see into my kitchen window all the time, and I have no problems when they see my gun, if I ever did, California law ALLOWS you to carry, either openly or concealed a loaded firearm in your own home or property. I even carry in my backyard and open garage. There is nothing the cops can do about it. I mean logic comes in, don't go pointing at people out the window, if you are going to be pointing it, point it the other direction, or close the blinds..

Don't worry, you are good to go... :)

nobs11
07-26-2008, 9:59 AM
I really don't appreciate your tone. I was under the impression people on this site conducted themselves like gentlemen.

I am sorry if you thought I was being an ***. It is hard to convey tone over the Internet. My point was that you were being unnecessarily paranoid. I apologize if you thought I was being hostile.

BillCA
07-26-2008, 10:42 AM
Before all the nonsense with AR's came about, a friend and I went off to the range for some fun. When we returned, we cleaned 3 AR's, an HK 7mm rifle, an '03A3 plus about 4 handguns each. His garage smelled of Hoppe's and gun oil and so did we.

Three Sheriff's units pulled up and two officers approached. They asked if we had firearms in the garage. "Sure. We're just back from the range. C'mon in." We were gratified at the wide-eyed, lustful looks they gave the AR's. After a brief chat the officers thanked us and departed.

The only person I knew who was even close to being charged lived in an apartment. While cleaning a gun, just after oiling it he dry fired it just as a cop walked past the window. Needless to say the cop was annoyed and threated to arreste him with thretening a peace officer. It was resolved amicably, however.

M. Sage
07-26-2008, 10:53 AM
Sucks you can't be seen, even accidentally inside your home with a gun, and while it is lawful to be seen cleaning guns on your property as long as you're not brandishing...people still freak out and fabricate and pretend when making police calls.

Bah, I clean guns out in the back yard all the time, at least two neighbors can see the spot I'm cleaning in, one of whom doesn't really like us. I haven't had the police show up knocking at my door about it yet. If I do, I'll just relay a message through the officer who shows up. ;)

RomanDad
07-26-2008, 11:20 AM
Bah, I clean guns out in the back yard all the time, at least two neighbors can see the spot I'm cleaning in, one of whom doesn't really like us.

Thats the one you have to watch out for.... Its really easy to call up and say "My neighbor just pointed a gun at me". When the cops come out they'll ask the Complainant to describe the gun.... When they ask you if you have such a gun, and you do, that corroborates the complaint and they can hook you based on that.

My neighbors dont know what Ive got, and they never will for that very reason.

M. Sage
07-26-2008, 1:07 PM
Thats the one you have to watch out for.... Its really easy to call up and say "My neighbor just pointed a gun at me". When the cops come out they'll ask the Complainant to describe the gun.... When they ask you if you have such a gun, and you do, that corroborates the complaint and they can hook you based on that.

My neighbors dont know what Ive got, and they never will for that very reason.

Don't worry, we'll keep an eye out for her. I don't think she'll have too much credibility if she calls, since I called PPD on her kids for a very loud and several hours long domestic one night at about 2 AM.

You know it's bad when you start waiting for the sounds of violence just so that you know they'll finally shut up and let you sleep. :eek: When I realized I was at that point.. that's when I picked up the phone, cause that can't be a good thing.

One of my neighbors is probably going shooting with me tomorrow, though. He's a cool guy with fun toys that are out of state because he missed the registration period. I'm not afraid of my neighbors knowing that I have guns and shoot, and I'm never going to hide it. Being a closet gun-owner isn't going to help us in this state.

cbn620
07-27-2008, 12:05 AM
M. Sage, I definitely agree that you don't need to be a closet gun-owner. But I try not to broadcast to persons I don't know the extent of my collection, how much ammo I may have at any given time, or anything to that degree. I will talk about shooting as a sport and will certainly express my opinions on the validity, sound logic and ethical principles for the Second Amendment, but the devil is in the details. Namely the personal details. I consider some aspects of my firearms ownership to be private information, and don't want to answer questions of the nature pertaining to specifics if I am suspicious that the person is anti-gun or may have some unspoken dislike or disdain for me or my family.

It's kind of been bred into me, this line of thinking. This is how I was always taught.

ElCUBANO
07-27-2008, 4:09 PM
It sucks that we live in a state where a law abiding citizen has to worry about working on their gun in their own bedroom.

rayd7
07-27-2008, 5:31 PM
:)11451

Full Clip
07-27-2008, 5:39 PM
I would not advertise to your neighbors that you have a firearm(s). While their ignorance could lead to police issues (as suggested), loose lips could also set you up as a target for burglary.

daskraut
07-27-2008, 5:55 PM
You should not have been razzed about this post. Alot of folks here "type" tough, but when the cop car is behind them, they get that "special" feeling in their gut too. Young bravado.