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wolfden
04-25-2010, 8:31 PM
I was up fishing for the opener of the stream season and was approached by a CA game warden and asked to show my fishing license. I was standing at the back of my suburban with the rear doors open when he walked up.

I keep a few boxes of ammo (.22 and .223 mostly) in my rig all the time.
He saw a box of .223 rounds and asked if I had a gun in the vehicle.

I almost alway carry my Mini 14 with me when in the mountains, but this day in question I left it at home. I told him I did not have a gun in the vehicle.

If I had had my guns with me would I need to tell him so and would he have the right to ask to see them???

I was fishing and that is the reason he came up to my vehicle, he only saw the ammo while checking my fishing license,so would I have to let him have access to my vehicle if he wanted to check my guns.

I don't think he would have the right to just walk up and search my vehicle....What do you guys think....I want to be prepared for the next time this may happen and I do have my guns with me...which is 99% of the time.

Thanks for all your great info.

jamesob
04-25-2010, 8:58 PM
sure he can search if he has a warrant or you are under arrest and your vehicle was being towed.

wolfden
04-25-2010, 9:01 PM
So I don't have to disclose that I have a gun in the vehicle in a hard case??

Do I tell him yes and I do not give him permission to look at it??

Aleksandr Mravinsky
04-25-2010, 9:02 PM
IANAL, but I don't think you have to answer any questions. Not sure if ammo counts as probable cause (since possession of ammo is not in itself a crime). Don't say that you don't have a gun when you do, though. Not a good idea. Not sure about having to show him your gun if he knows you have one.

wolfden
04-25-2010, 9:06 PM
So do I basically tell him it is none of his business, or tell him yes and if he asks to see it...politely tell him I will not??

Not really sure where I stand on it or how to answer the officers in question if confronted again

Ducman
04-25-2010, 9:08 PM
" I don't have anything illegal in my possession "

beyaaah
04-25-2010, 9:10 PM
What area were you in?

wolfden
04-25-2010, 9:12 PM
Alpine County, CA....Fishing the Carson River

HokeySon
04-25-2010, 9:14 PM
I was up fishing for the opener of the stream season and was approached by a CA game warden and asked to show my fishing license. I was standing at the back of my suburban with the rear doors open when he walked up.

I keep a few boxes of ammo (.22 and .223 mostly) in my rig all the time.
He saw a box of .223 rounds and asked if I had a gun in the vehicle.

I almost alway carry my Mini 14 with me when in the mountains, but this day in question I left it at home. I told him I did not have a gun in the vehicle.

If I had had my guns with me would I need to tell him so and would he have the right to ask to see them???

I was fishing and that is the reason he came up to my vehicle, he only saw the ammo while checking my fishing license,so would I have to let him have access to my vehicle if he wanted to check my guns.

I don't think he would have the right to just walk up and search my vehicle....What do you guys think....I want to be prepared for the next time this may happen and I do have my guns with me...which is 99% of the time.

Thanks for all your great info.

He is probably allowed to search as a matter of officer safety as you were at or near the car and doors were open so you could theoretically reach into it for a stashed gun. He also had reason to believe there might be a gun in there as ammo is usually accompanied by a gun (yeah,I know not always, but if you see ammo in a car, you are going to think that more likely that not there is a gun too it is a reasonable conclusion).

You do not have to answer his questions. On the other hand, if I were in your shoes in the situation described above, and my rifle was legal, I would probably answer him. If my car was closed, I probably would not tell him anything and just say something to the effect of "officer, I appreciate you have a job to do, but I just want to go fishing, here is my license, can I get to the fish now." I certainly would not agree to a search in that instance.

Sinixstar
04-25-2010, 9:16 PM
Under even normal circumstances, this is a tricky situation. There are laws (i'm too lazy to dig up the links) that say if you admit to having a gun in the vehicle - an officer is permitted to do a safety check on it (i believe they call this an eCheck). If you deny him that - it could lead to some problems.
Yes, he stopped to check on your fishing licence, which is something well within his power to do. During the course of that - he witnessed you had ammo out in your truck. Having ammo out one could logically assume that you also had a gun (why else would you have ammo?). So it's not like it's just a random checkpoint with no cause.

Now - I say under normal circumstances - because it's not like you were pulled over speeding. You were in the woods, and approached by a Game Warden. This is slightly different because Game Wardens are not just looking at fishing licences, but also looking out for things like illegal hunting (which would require guns). So this gets even more tricky because on top of the safety check, you're also looking at potential issues with any kind of game/poaching laws - and that's a whole other can of worms (that I for one am not aware of in CA).

wolfden
04-25-2010, 9:19 PM
I mean I do not have anything illegal or anything to hide...I just don't want my rights violated on account he sees ammo in my vehicle...I just need to know where I stand as far as my rights to deny to answer or to deny a search

Sinixstar
04-25-2010, 9:22 PM
here we go:

California 12031
http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12031.html



(e) In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for
the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized
to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a
vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an
incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory.
Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to
this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of
this section.
(f) As used in this section, "prohibited area" means any place
where it is unlawful to discharge a weapon.


Like I said -it gets even more tricky when you're dealing with a game warden - because they could make the 'illegal hunting' case...

Doheny
04-25-2010, 9:22 PM
This has been asked a bunch before. IIRC, seeing the ammo would give them cause to search if they wanted to (but I've been wrong before.)

HokeySon
04-25-2010, 9:26 PM
I mean I do not have anything illegal or anything to hide...I just don't want my rights violated on account he sees ammo in my vehicle...I just need to know where I stand as far as my rights to deny to answer or to deny a search

Like I said, if you are in the immediate vicinity of the car with the doors open, I think he can search the car to make sure there is no weapon for his own safety. Doors closed, I do not think so.

Sinixstar
04-25-2010, 9:29 PM
Like I said, if you are in the immediate vicinity of the car with the doors open, I think he can search the car to make sure there is no weapon for his own safety. Doors closed, I do not think so.

Read the link I posted - it should clear everything up.
Long story short - according to the strict letter of the law, if they have reason to believe you have a weapon in the car, they can search it. If you deny them access or you decline to allow them to see the gun - you can be arrested.

Doors open, doors not open - doesn't matter. It's not about officer safety - it's about enforcement of the laws regarding legal transportation.

(yes, it's literally a law that says you can be arrested so officers can determine if you've broken any laws.)

HokeySon
04-25-2010, 9:37 PM
I am really, really familiar with that statute.

It absolutely is officer safety that would justify the search for a weapon in the OP's described situation.

The issue is whether there is a gun. not whether the gun is loaded.

If you don't agree, we will just have to agree to disagree.

lehn20
04-26-2010, 12:34 AM
1. Always say NO, if they ask if you have guns in your vehicle. (Unless it is a FED).
2. If they ask for permission to search your vehicle, still say NO politely.
3. Never have anything laying in "plain view" in your vehicle. If they see a knife, ammo etc through a window, open door, they can search the rest of your car.

AndrewMendez
04-26-2010, 1:00 AM
Seeing that ammo would probably grant him probable cause, but the just follow the golden rule. Do not EVER consent to a search without a warrant.

GrizzlyGuy
04-26-2010, 8:03 AM
There was a case in the 8th circuit (not binding here in 9th circuit) back in 1992 (United States v. Richards (http://openjurist.org/967/f2d/1189)) which held that a vehicle search is justified if a LEO sees ammunition:

The officer then asked for Richards' consent to a search of his car, which Richards refused. Additional officers were called to the scene and one of the officers went to Richards' car to ask Harp to step outside. In doing so, the officer noticed a box of .22 caliber shells sitting on the console inside Richards' car. After seeing the shells, the officers searched the passenger compartment looking for weapons. They discovered several burn holes in the carpet on the driver's side of the compartment and a small amount of marijuana. At this point, Richards and Harp were placed under arrest for possession of marijuana.

However, Arizona v. Gant (http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Arizona_v._Gant) was decided by SCOTUS in 2009, and it changed the game in terms of when vehicle searches are justified and what their scope may be. Here is a good summary of the new vehicle search rules (http://le.alcoda.org/publications/point_of_view/files/F09_VEHICLE_SEARCHES.pdf).

OP, the next time you find yourself in a situation where a LEO is questioning you, here is what I (a non-lawyer) recommend you do (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?p=3551753&posted=1#post3551753).

M1A Rifleman
04-26-2010, 8:05 AM
Sounds like he was simply doing his job. If it were deer season, and you had an orange vest, he'd ask the same question and want to see if your rifle was loaded in the vehicle. In this case, he see's the ammo. Yea, it tends to be an intrusion, but he is doing his job as the law allows.

snobord99
04-26-2010, 9:29 AM
Seeing that ammo would probably grant him probable cause, but the just follow the golden rule. Do not EVER consent to a search without a warrant.

I don't think the ammo alone is enough PC for anything. It's probably enough for reasonable suspicion and that's all he'd need to search the vehicle (assuming Gant doesn't come into play).

M1A Rifleman
04-26-2010, 9:50 AM
Seeing that ammo would probably grant him probable cause, but the just follow the golden rule. Do not EVER consent to a search without a warrant.

Assuming you have not broken some law, what will taking this position get you?

Hateca
04-26-2010, 1:27 PM
Read FGC, Section 1006, the warden can search and it has nothing to do with your consent or the fact that you do or do not have a weapon of ammo.

winnre
04-26-2010, 1:33 PM
Smart of him to wait until you had the rear doors open, that gives him the right to search more of your vehicle (if he has a reason to search).

hasserl
04-26-2010, 1:50 PM
Looking at this section that was quoted, there are 3 places that it applies:

1. any public place
2. any public street in an
incorporated city
3. prohibited area of an unincorporated territory

#2 doesn't fit the situation. I don't think #3 does either, but since I don't know the specifics of the area in question I can't say for certain, but as described it doesn't sound like it. #1 though, that depends on the definition of "public place". #3 is defined in section f, but #1 is not, so you'd have to look elsewhere in the code for a description of "public place". If there is not one an argument could be made that deep in the woods fishing along a river does not meet the definition, and that the authors of the law intended a public place to mean an area occupied or inhabited by many people, not along a river in a national forest.

(e) In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for
the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized
to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a
vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an
incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory.
Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to
this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of
this section.
(f) As used in this section, "prohibited area" means any place
where it is unlawful to discharge a weapon.

GuyW
04-26-2010, 1:53 PM
Like I said -it gets even more tricky when you're dealing with a game warden - because they could make the 'illegal hunting' case...

Without much more "evidence" than an unloaded gun in a car and boxed ammo, they could not legitimately make an illegal hunting arrest....
.

wolfden
04-26-2010, 8:39 PM
Read FGC, Section 1006, the warden can search and it has nothing to do with your consent or the fact that you do or do not have a weapon of ammo.

According to section 1006 I don't see where they have the right to search my vehicle....

1006. The department may inspect the following:
(a) All boats, markets, stores and other buildings, except
dwellings, and all receptacles, except the clothing actually worn by
a person at the time of inspection, where birds, mammals, fish,
reptiles, or amphibia may be stored, placed, or held for sale or
storage.
(b) All boxes and packages containing birds, mammals, fish,
reptiles, or amphibia which are held for transportation by any common
carrier.

Ron-Solo
04-26-2010, 10:36 PM
According to section 1006 I don't see where they have the right to search my vehicle....

1006. The department may inspect the following:
(a) All boats, markets, stores and other buildings, except
dwellings, and all receptacles, except the clothing actually worn by
a person at the time of inspection, where birds, mammals, fish,
reptiles, or amphibia may be stored, placed, or held for sale or
storage.
(b) All boxes and packages containing birds, mammals, fish,
reptiles, or amphibia which are held for transportation by any common
carrier.

Playing devils advocate here....... the term "receptacles" is wide open for intrepretation and could be construed as a vehicle or any container inside of it that could hold a minnow, lizard, or frog.

pullnshoot25
04-26-2010, 10:44 PM
I cannot believe that there is not a standard answer for this question.

Sounds like I have my work cut out for me.

Sinixstar
04-26-2010, 11:06 PM
Without much more "evidence" than an unloaded gun in a car and boxed ammo, they could not legitimately make an illegal hunting arrest....
.

Where did I say he would be making an arrest?

advocatusdiaboli
04-26-2010, 11:08 PM
I cannot believe that there is not a standard answer for this question.

There is: DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. GIVE NO INFORMATION! NONE!

No matter how much you think you are being helpful or pleading your case--you are not. LEOs are a single-minded missiles homing in on you beginning with the time you get their attention. And like the Terminator, they will not stop. Anything you say can be used against you in unforeseen ways, but nothing you say for you is admissible (it's hearsay in court) so anything you say can either be nothing or damning. Let that sink in. Nothing or damning. Your cause is never helped by anything you say. PERIOD. They are not there to cut you a break. They are heat-seeking cruise missiles deployed to get the goods on you once they have you in their sights. Clam up and assert your rights to object to a search even it it means a hassle for you--the alternative is worse trust me.

Search on YouTube for "Don't talk to the cops" It's an eye opener--even innocents can be trapped and convicted for things they never did. Don't be one of them. Stand you ground for your rights. And be thankful we live in America.

Mstrty
04-26-2010, 11:40 PM
Im one of those guys that preach "I have nothing illegal with all due respect how else can I help you." However I think if faced with the same thing I would be one to say. Yes I have a legally transported firearm, at which point Im screwed cause he is going in my vehicle with or without my consent. I would however not give him my consent. Knowing that we are both on a fishing expedition, myself for edible fish and him for violations, I will be the only one catching anything. (I hope). In Ca you just never know what might get trumped up.

Arondos
04-27-2010, 1:36 AM
I drive a hatchback so I can't put the guns and ammo in the trunk. Hypothetical situation.

I am on my way to the range. I have a heavy nylon gym bag with 3 handguns and 100 rounds each in it. The zipper is lockable so the bag can't be opened without a key or a knife (tool) to cut it open.

I get pulled over and asked what is in the bag?

It is in plain view, you can just look in and see it.

Do I tell the officer what is in it? or
Do I give an answer like personal items?

If they ask to inspect it am I required to give it to them? Open it? I am in an incorporated area but unless I tell them there are handguns in the bag there is no way they know that, unless he is superman and uses x-ray vision.

BKinzey
04-27-2010, 1:57 AM
You can ask why did the officer pull you over? Maybe say nothing. Change the subject. Just don't answer there are firearms in the bag.

Since it's in a locked bag and there is no indication of what is in the bag it would be an illegal search. If the officer insists don't try to stop him. It might be good to mention you are not consenting to any searches.

HokeySon
04-27-2010, 2:06 AM
I cannot believe that there is not a standard answer for this question.


There is. It is just lost in all the amateur lawyering in this thread.

vantec08
04-27-2010, 4:30 AM
Ask him to see HIS fishing license.

E Pluribus Unum
04-27-2010, 5:20 AM
Yes, he could have taken you to jail, impounded your car, and done an "inventory search" of your vehicle.

Why??

Because your fishing license was not in plain view while you were fishing. Fishing licenses have to be pinned to you in plain site at all times while fishing. If it is not, it is a misdemeanor and it's arrestable.

Be sure that when you get into a pissing match, you are not facing the wind! :)

Because you were fishing (or hunting) he has a right to search you and your car for game. If you are not fishing, he has to follow all of the standard rules.

Hateca
04-27-2010, 9:38 AM
According to section 1006 I don't see where they have the right to search my vehicle....

1006. The department may inspect the following:
(a) All boats, markets, stores and other buildings, except
dwellings, and all receptacles, except the clothing actually worn by
a person at the time of inspection, where birds, mammals, fish,
reptiles, or amphibia may be stored, placed, or held for sale or
storage.
(b) All boxes and packages containing birds, mammals, fish,
reptiles, or amphibia which are held for transportation by any common
carrier.

That's because you read more into it then is required. The term "and all receptacles" will cover the vehicle and any containers in it. There are more people convicted who were under the impression that "hey you can't do that". Well let me tell you they can and do and it sticks. Laws are written to be vague for a reason. One should not practice law without a license. The warden can search the car, truck, motorcycle, and backpack if it can hide fish or game simple as that.

loather
04-27-2010, 9:49 AM
Because your fishing license was not in plain view while you were fishing. Fishing licenses have to be pinned to you in plain site at all times while fishing. If it is not, it is a misdemeanor and it's arrestable.


Actually, I thought they dropped that requirement last year.

E Pluribus Unum
04-27-2010, 9:52 AM
Actually, I thought they dropped that requirement last year.

If they did, its news to me...

RedFord150
04-27-2010, 9:56 AM
My first rule is 'DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING IN PLAIN SIGHT'.
My range bag looks like a gym bag.
I do not wear t-shirts or hats with firearms related logos on them.
If you have something like ammo or firearm accessories in the back of your SUV, throw a towel or rag over it. I keep an old beach towel in the truck just for this purpose. I also have tinted windows in all of my vehicles.
Anything indicating you may have a gun in your car does nothing but invite trouble, from cops and criminals.
I have lived in my current house over 16 years. Most of my friends and neighbors have no idea that I own guns. Heck, I even put my 12 gauge O/U in the truck without being noticed.
FTR, I own a pick-up with an open bed (no shell or Tonneau Cover) and an SUV with no cargo cover in the back.
A little 'common sense' goes a long way...

johnny_22
04-27-2010, 10:14 AM
If they did, its news to me...


"Sport Fishing Regulation Changes that will be effective on March 1, 2010
Display of Sport Fishing License Is Not Required
Anglers will no longer have to display their sport fishing license on their outer clothing above the waist, but their sport fishing license must still be in their possession while fishing."

from the book:
http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=17779

Chris M
04-27-2010, 10:22 AM
My first rule is 'DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING IN PLAIN SIGHT'.
My range bag looks like a gym bag.
I do not wear t-shirts or hats with firearms related logos on them.
If you have something like ammo or firearm accessories in the back of your SUV, throw a towel or rag over it. I keep an old beach towel in the truck just for this purpose. I also have tinted windows in all of my vehicles.
Anything indicating you may have a gun in your car does nothing but invite trouble, from cops and criminals.
I have lived in my current house over 16 years. Most of my friends and neighbors have no idea that I own guns. Heck, I even put my 12 gauge O/U in the truck without being noticed.
FTR, I own a pick-up with an open bed (no shell or Tonneau Cover) and an SUV with no cargo cover in the back.
A little 'common sense' goes a long way...

The fact that we have to go through all this hassle in order to stay off their radar is really sad.

wolfden
04-27-2010, 11:24 AM
The fact that we have to go through all this hassle in order to stay off their radar is really sad.

That is exactly my point....we as law abiding citizens must hide any evidence that we may have a "legal firearm" in our vehicle is truely a sad state of affairs