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View Full Version : Husband/Wife - using each others handguns


Brumey
06-18-2010, 8:14 PM
Hello:
I own a few handguns and now my wife has started her collection with a Kimber 1911.

we usually shoot at the range or on our own property. We concider the guns a shared pool and pick whatever we feel like shooting on the day without care for who it's registered too. So, I have quetions on the legal stuff involved here:

1) Can my wife take a handgun with permission from me the owner to to a public range and use it without me being there?

2) If my wife is pulled over in a traffic stop and she has an unloaded handgun (securely stored) but registered to me (husband of 20 years), would it be legal?

3) In the event of my wife having to use one of my handguns for self defense at home while I am not home, would this present a legal issue?

She has just passed her Handgun test and purchased a 1911 but I will be breaking it in at the range. Equally, I have a few revolvers she like to shoot.

I am hoping it's legal to pool guns between husband and spouse as long at one of you are the legal owner.

Any guidence would help, thanks.

Cokebottle
06-18-2010, 8:21 PM
1) Can my wife take a handgun with permission from me the owner to to a public range and use it without me being there?
Yes.
Even if you weren't married, it would still be legal for you to loan any non-prohibited person a gun for up to 30 days as long as they have an HSC.
2) If my wife is pulled over in a traffic stop and she has an unloaded handgun (securely stored) but registered to me (husband of 20 years), would it be legal?
Yes. See above... loaning of guns is legal, thus, transport of a borrowed gun is legal.
3) In the event of my wife having to use one of my handguns for self defense at home while I am not home, would this present a legal issue?
This is the only potential issue, as possession of a handgun that is not registered to you can elevate some misdemeanors to felony status, but if it's a "good shoot", I don't think it would be a problem, and the fact that you are married and the guns are registered to the same address would make it even less of a problem.

Crom
06-18-2010, 8:26 PM
Hello:

2) If my wife is pulled over in a traffic stop and she has an unloaded handgun (securely stored) but registered to me (husband of 20 years), would it be legal?

The only thing that I can add to what's already been said, is that I don't think the cop can arbitrarily run the guns serial unless you consent or he has probable cause. The reason for this is the unreasonable search protection clause.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

Cokebottle
06-18-2010, 8:29 PM
The only thing that I can add to what's already been said, is that I don't think the cop can arbitrarily run the guns serial unless you consent or he has probable cause. The reason for this is the unreasonable search protection clause.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.
I agree with you, but it has been made very clear in the LEO forum that when the officer takes your gun back to his car to run the e-check (which is legal), he will also run the serial numbers to verify it is not stolen.

Best answer is... never consent to a search and do not admit that you have a gun in the car. Most cops won't ask anyways.

Crom
06-18-2010, 9:06 PM
I agree with you, but it has been made very clear in the LEO forum that when the officer takes your gun back to his car to run the e-check (which is legal), he will also run the serial numbers to verify it is not stolen.

There is no reason for a LEO to take it back to the squad car to (e) check the gun. He can do that in your presence. If LEOs are running the serial without your permission my understanding is that its wrong without probable cause and they should not be doing that.


Best answer is... never consent to a search and do not admit that you have a gun in the car. Most cops won't ask anyways.

Totally agree with you here.

NightOwl
06-18-2010, 9:16 PM
There is no reason for a LEO to take it back to the squad car to (e) check the gun. He can do that in your presence. If LEOs are running the serial without your permission my understanding is that its wrong without probable cause and they should not be doing that.

If the serial number comes into view while the officer is performing the echeck, they can run it. Then again, there have been times when the officer would take possession of the firearm a 2nd time because they forgot to get the serial the first time and run it anyway, and get away with it. I recall someone posted something to that effect on ocdo, with audio recording, and submitted a complaint to the department with no noticable effect.

norcal01
06-18-2010, 9:33 PM
An officer can run a serial number on anything they want, it isn't limited to guns and the rules aren't any different for guns than they are for something like power tools. As a former LEO I never ran guns if they person seemed cool with me securing it during a traffic stop for officer safety reasons. I only ran them if the person seemed overly concerned with me doing so. I was far more interested in running stuff like tools, electronics, etc, and even more so when the suspect was some unemployed known tweaker driving around with no lights at 3:00am. Generally speaking, neither myself nor any of the other officers I worked with had any interest in depriving someone of their firearms since we're all a bunch of gun nuts and NRA members too. In fact, I only know two officers who AREN'T NRA members....

Cokebottle
06-18-2010, 9:36 PM
There is no reason for a LEO to take it back to the squad car to (e) check the gun. He can do that in your presence. If LEOs are running the serial without your permission my understanding is that its wrong without probable cause and they should not be doing that.
I agree... but I was threatened with a ban for sharing that opinion.

It goes back to the car for "officer safety", just in case it IS loaded :rolleyes:

I was also informed that if I am legally carrying a rifle in a locking window rack, I will be pulled over and the number will be run to verify that it's not stolen.

Cokebottle
06-18-2010, 9:39 PM
An officer can run a serial number on anything they want, it isn't limited to guns and the rules aren't any different for guns than they are for something like power tools. As a former LEO I never ran guns if they person seemed cool with me securing it during a traffic stop for officer safety reasons. I only ran them if the person seemed overly concerned with me doing so. I was far more interested in running stuff like tools, electronics, etc, and even more so when the suspect was some unemployed known tweaker driving around with no lights at 3:00am. Generally speaking, neither myself nor any of the other officers I worked with had any interest in depriving someone of their firearms since we're all a bunch of gun nuts and NRA members too. In fact, I only know two officers who AREN'T NRA members....
Wish there were more cops like you.

From reports here on Calguns, seems like most cops don't believe that anyone BUT cops should own guns.

I've always liked, and had a lot of respect for cops. Several of my friends are cops and I'd take a bullet for any of them... but there is a very visible minority of "bad" cops that have given the profession a black eye.

Rossi357
06-18-2010, 9:41 PM
An officer can run a serial number on anything they want, it isn't limited to guns and the rules aren't any different for guns than they are for something like power tools. As a former LEO I never ran guns if they person seemed cool with me securing it during a traffic stop for officer safety reasons. I only ran them if the person seemed overly concerned with me doing so. I was far more interested in running stuff like tools, electronics, etc, and even more so when the suspect was some unemployed known tweaker driving around with no lights at 3:00am. Generally speaking, neither myself nor any of the other officers I worked with had any interest in depriving someone of their firearms since we're all a bunch of gun nuts and NRA members too. In fact, I only know two officers who AREN'T NRA members....

You need to look up Terry vs. Ohio.

norcal01
06-18-2010, 9:50 PM
Allow me to clarify my above post. An officer can run any serial number when they can view it lawfully. Thus, when someone is detained, or "Terry stopped", they can be patted down for weapons and should a weapon be located, the officer is allowed to secure it for their safety. While securing it he is allowed to run the serial number since it did not require any further unneccesary search in order to view the serial number. Michigan vs Long further extended the officer's powers in that it extended Terry to include the passenger compartment of vehicles, hence the debate over the answer to the question "Are there any weapons in the car?"

Crom
06-18-2010, 10:09 PM
I agree... but I was threatened with a ban for sharing that opinion.

Wow. Thanks for sharing that. It would seem that most of us here in the forum are interested in doing what is right and lawful and learning. It would be a shame if you were threatened for an opinion that you believed to be correct.


It goes back to the car for "officer safety", just in case it IS loaded :rolleyes:

I suppose if I was a cop I'd stand behind the vehicle and (e) check it back there too, but not back in the squad car unless there was reasonable suspicion based on "specific and articulable facts" and not merely upon a hunch.

I do agree with norcal01, if the suspect is sweating bullets at 3:00 am and looks like a tweaker then by all means run it!


I was also informed that if I am legally carrying a rifle in a locking window rack, I will be pulled over and the number will be run to verify that it's not stolen.

I don't know why someone would say that. Pretty sure this would be classified as illegal search. There is nothing wrong with displaying a lawfully owned gun in a rack. Right?

Brumey
06-18-2010, 10:10 PM
Thanks guys. The thread is providing me and others great knowledge.

Rossi357
06-18-2010, 10:20 PM
Allow me to clarify my above post. An officer can run any serial number when they can view it lawfully. Thus, when someone is detained, or "Terry stopped", they can be patted down for weapons and should a weapon be located, the officer is allowed to secure it for their safety. While securing it he is allowed to run the serial number since it did not require any further unneccesary search in order to view the serial number. Michigan vs Long further extended the officer's powers in that it extended Terry to include the passenger compartment of vehicles, hence the debate over the answer to the question "Are there any weapons in the car?"

Terry stop: The bad guy was observed walking back and forth in front of a store. The LEO suspected he was casing the place for a robbery. Thats RS, so the LEO can do a pat down and check ID and seach the car.

(e) check: The LEO is authorized to check if the weapon is loaded ONLY. The LEO may run the serial number later if it's in plain view.

Traffic stop: "Do you have any guns in the car"?
"There is nothing illegal in my car and I don't consent to a search". Sign the ticket.

1JimMarch
06-18-2010, 11:15 PM
Here's the most interesting aspect of this excellent question:

In Cali, if you're packing concealed illegally, it's a misdemeanor if the gun is registered to you AND you have an otherwise clean record. If the gun isn't registered to you under the same circumstances, it bumps up to a felony.

But here's the kicker: California is a "communal property" state as far as property owned in a marriage goes. Does that include guns? It should!

Cokebottle
06-18-2010, 11:20 PM
But here's the kicker: California is a "communal property" state as far as property owned in a marriage goes. Does that include guns? It should!
It does for the most part.

On the "enhancements" for carrying an unregistered handgun, I'm not 100% positive which is why I did not come right out and say "no problem", even though I doubt there is.

On the one hand, if you buy a handgun and give it to your wife, all you need is a simple Operation of Law and $19 to register it in her name... no 4473 needed and no FFL need be involved. It's basically the same as an intrafamilial transfer.

However, for purposes of the 1-every-30 rule, you are indeed two separate people.
I bought my RIA 1911 Tactical, and the day I went in to pick it up, my wife bought her Ruger LCR.

1JimMarch
06-19-2010, 4:02 AM
Well if you look at the alleged "purpose" of the law, it appears to be about tracking the gun to the person. If you have a gun on you that registers back to your spouse, that means it's pretty well linkable to you...?

Crom
06-19-2010, 7:41 AM
Well if you look at the alleged "purpose" of the law, it appears to be about tracking the gun to the person. If you have a gun on you that registers back to your spouse, that means it's pretty well linkable to you...?

This is a very interesting subject and I have wondered the same thing. If there is one, how is the linking process achieved? What if the spouses have different last names? Is the marriage certificate linked to a database that LEOs have access to?, maybe the DOJ has access?

My guess is if trouble occurred due to a question of possession, and law enforcement could not be convinced, then the individual in question would have to go to court to explain everything.

orangevale
06-19-2010, 10:16 AM
3) In the event of my wife having to use one of my handguns for self defense at home while I am not home, would this present a legal issue?


This is the only potential issue, as possession of a handgun that is not registered to you can elevate some misdemeanors to felony status, but if it's a "good shoot", I don't think it would be a problem, and the fact that you are married and the guns are registered to the same address would make it even less of a problem.

My understanding is that California has yet to provide the liability protection commonly associated with a “Stand Your Ground” law. What, if any, impact would the above scenario have in a wrongful injury/death civil suit?

Would there be any difference in the answer quoted above if the wife did not have an HSC?

Would there be any difference in the answer to my question if the wife did not have an HSC?

Thanks, we'll be mvoing back some day, and even if we don't plan on receiving any additional handguns there may be other reasons for obtaining an HSC.

loather
06-19-2010, 10:22 AM
And therein lies the problem with a gun registration scheme.

Cokebottle
06-19-2010, 11:06 AM
And therein lies the problem with a gun registration scheme.
And even CCW.

The license lists up to 3 firearms.
If both you and your wife have CCW, one of those three had better be your wife's gun (if they'll let you, since it needs to be registered to her for her CCW).

Situations like, you're out shopping and she casually hands you her purse while she goes to the RR or dressing room....