PDA

View Full Version : Can LE Check Serial #s or AW Registration #s on the Street?


Liberty Rules
05-17-2006, 5:12 PM
A friend asked me this question and I didn't know the answer. In light of all of the LE attention on OLLs, newly registered 50 BMG rifles, and just plain old registered AW's, he was wondering what records a traffic officer could pull up if he stopped you on the street. Could he run the serial number on a rifle/50 BMG to see if it has an AW registration? If the person carries a slip of paper with the DOJ AW or 50 BMG reg number can an officer run that to verify its status? If so, what comes up? Does it just say that it's registered? Does it just list the first person registered? Or each person registered for that weapon?

Or is the answer more simple? Maybe they cannot pull anything up on the spot and it would have to go back to the station and wait for someone to physically call DOJ.

If someone with direct knowledge could answer the question(s), I would greatly appreciate it. I know we have some people here with lots of LE knowledge.

Thanks.

bwiese
05-17-2006, 5:24 PM
A cop should be able to use his data terminal to make AFS (automated firearms system) inquiries. He can validate that your AW is registered.

If you carry your AW or 50BMG paperwork (copy!!) with you, that can make life easier in case the computers or radio links are down.

I dimly remember that CA AW law bans broadcast of AW ownership over clear airwaves - so the cop can't just call it in unless the radio were secure or it's over his data terminal (or he has a cellphone).

Liberty Rules
05-17-2006, 5:33 PM
Thanks, Bill.

Do you know if the AFS will identify each person registered for that weapon? My friend's concern arose out of joint registration. Would it just come up as registered or would it list his name AND his wife's name (different last name).

MotoGuy
05-17-2006, 5:49 PM
he was wondering what records a traffic officer could pull up if he stopped you on the street.

Last week I was at my friends department, he typed my name into his computer, and it came back with the normal stuff like address etc., but I was suprised it also showed all the firearms registered to me. Never knew a basic name check came back with firearm info.

phish
05-18-2006, 8:46 AM
Last week I was at my friends department, he typed my name into his computer, and it came back with the normal stuff like address etc., but I was suprised it also showed all the firearms registered to me. Never knew a basic name check came back with firearm info.

Those were probably your handguns, which were registered upon purchase. AWs and 50s will need to go over AFS.

EBWhite
05-18-2006, 9:30 AM
I am under the impression that the only info cops can find are handgun registration, AW, .50bmg reg on their computers. Rifles and shotguns are not registered to a name, only your name is listed on the 4473 at the gun store.

magmaster
05-18-2006, 9:35 AM
My LA sherriff friend said that they have to call it in to check. He said most of the time they don't care as long as it comes up with a clean record (not stolen or used in a crime). They have to use the cell phone to call it in as well

MotoGuy
05-18-2006, 9:57 AM
Those were probably your handguns, which were registered upon purchase. AWs and 50s will need to go over AFS.

True they were handguns. Missed the boat on AWs and 50s :(.

Sig226
05-18-2006, 10:52 AM
As a side note--- Bill W is correct in that LEOs cannot call (legally) in serial numbers over NON-encrypted communications. MDT (Mobile Data Terminals), and Cell phones can be used as they are both encrypted and it is a felony to decrypt this data unless authorized.

However-- I listen to scanner locally in SoCal VERY often... And in the last month or two I have heard 4-5 serial numbers called in over "open" non-encrypted airwaves.

Of course there is a privacy issue here, but honestly I don't think it's that bad. But I do know that "bob smith" owns SOME type of firearm as it comes in over the scanner. Oddly enough---You often here the persons address directly after the registration info.

Weak...

ETA: "(Legally)"

bwiese
05-18-2006, 10:59 AM
As a side note--- Bill W is correct in that LEOs cannot call (legally) in serial numbers over NON-encrypted communications. MDT (Mobile Data Terminals), and Cell phones can be used as they are both encrypted and it is a felony to decrypt this data unless authorized.

I believe many older MDT transmissions are not encrypted. It's just an air modem.

A tape recording of the data, slowed down, could perhaps allow a human to count bits and build up the ASCII message without any other hardware.

socalguns
05-18-2006, 11:41 AM
As a side note--- Bill W is correct in that LEOs cannot call (legally) in serial numbers over NON-encrypted communications. MDT (Mobile Data Terminals), and Cell phones can be used as they are both encrypted and it is a felony to decrypt this data unless authorized.

However-- I listen to scanner locally in SoCal VERY often... And in the last month or two I have heard 4-5 serial numbers called in over "open" non-encrypted airwaves.

Of course there is a privacy issue here, but honestly I don't think it's that bad. But I do know that "bob smith" owns SOME type of firearm as it comes in over the scanner. Oddly enough---You often here the persons address directly after the registration info.

4-5 is pretty bad. There shouldn't be any.
So as long as people don't feel its that bad,
the number will inevitably grow.
You should file a complaint.
I bet they don't discuss the names and addresses of officers,
or undercover officers over the airwaves.

gh429
05-18-2006, 5:16 PM
I was under the impression that most departments had auto truncating communications these days - in other words they randomely hop from frequency to frequency and are also digitally encrypted. Is this not the case?

Sig226
05-18-2006, 5:24 PM
I believe many older MDT transmissions are not encrypted. It's just an air modem.


I also believe this is true---However no agency I can hear has any...


A tape recording of the data, slowed down, could perhaps allow a human to count bits and build up the ASCII message without any other hardware.


One may be able to do this very :cool: easily.... But it doesn't make it
legal. The guys over at radioreference.com have the specifics, however there is a federal law on the books dealing with decrypting traffic, and it's specifics.

Basically, I believe, if you decript an algo that could be as simple as A=1 B=2 C=3 etc.. You would be breaking the law---UNLESS they broadcast the Key in a "plain" unencrypted manner. Which would be pointless of course...

It's only a matter of time that this "scared' coutry allows our gov to encrypt ALL traffic---thus not allowing it's citizens to be informed. It's already begun.

bwiese
05-18-2006, 5:25 PM
I was under the impression that most departments had auto truncating communications these days - in other words they randomely hop from frequency to frequency and are also digitally encrypted. Is this not the case?

Many PDs still use ordinary UHF FM radios.

Major metro areas do use 'trunking' radio systems. They can hop around but do not have to (depends on channel congestion). The modulation is still just NBFM (narrow-band FM).

New trunking scanners are available that can follow these channels. Some have gone to digital voice which can be encrypted but often is not. The latest higher end scanners can read APCO25 compressed digital voice data off of a trunked channel, as long as it is not encrypted.

Trunked radios do have their issues. On 9/11 NYPD's system was overtaxed, esp as lotsa trunked radio repeater stuff went down with the twin towers. I think the NYPD may've lost a dispatch center there too. (A late friend of mine - a broadcast engineer/salesman - knew 20 FM & TV broadcast guys that died in the towers on 9/11. Many other radio operations were up there too - police, FBI, cellular, paging, SCADA, and he knew a few of those guys as well.)

Ham radio guys with their 2-meter radios were helping out to fill in for the trunked system failure. Sometimes retro tech is very useful. Motorola had never even simulated a channel loading that high or how it would affect radio software...

bwiese
05-18-2006, 5:28 PM
One may be able to do this very :cool: easily.... But it doesn't make it
legal. The guys over at radioreference.com have the specifics, however there is a federal law on the books dealing with decrypting traffic, and it's specifics.

Basically, I believe, if you decript an algo that could be as simple as A=1 B=2 C=3 etc.. You would be breaking the law---UNLESS they broadcast the Key in a "plain" unencrypted manner. Which would be pointless of course...

It's only a matter of time that this "scared' coutry allows our gov to encrypt ALL traffic---thus not allowing it's citizens to be informed. It's already begun.

Yep, that's it. The orig Moto MDTs used straight ASCII, packetized msgs.

If I can take the tape recorded bitstream, slow it down and convert the 'tone wiggles' to bits, and convert those bits to bytes (everyone has the ASCII table memorized) then it's not encrypted.

There would be no rational expectation of privacy except from idiots.

Encryption is not the same as encoding. Encoding is just rendering a message into a symbol set useful for transmission. There's no goal of information hiding or steganography (hiding the fact a msg even exists!) in this, it's just a representation.

Sig226
05-18-2006, 5:36 PM
4-5 is pretty bad. There shouldn't be any.
You should file a complaint.
I bet they don't discuss the names and addresses of officers,
or undercover officers over the airwaves.

Truth is---If it was my info sent---I would file a complaint. However, as I mentioned in the reply previous to this one our .gov is looking for ANY excuse to encrypt it's traffic--and I don't believe that is wise to allow. (Or help with...)

There have been incidents where dispatchers have alluded to "scanners" or people monitoring and made comments related to those listening. Making them MORE aware of just how many are listening, and where, is not in our best interest.

However, on the other hand, it really did piss me off.

On the other comment RE: U/C work...etc. You would be surprised what you can legally listen to, and you would be doubly surprised what some officers will say on the radio when they think no one is listening.

In a not-to-be-named city I am able to listen to the daily (usually nightly) goings on with a particular Special Investigations unit. (Drugs/Prostitution/"Big" Theft/etc) These guys always talk on their radios about stuff I wouldn't say in my OFFICE, let alone on publicly monitored frequencies.

Lets put it this way--- I could tell you where the "best" prostitute in the city lives and I've never seen/met her. "Best" being defined by some of the funniest public service officers I've ever listened to, rating and comparing Looks/Smell/Location/ and VIDEO!? between the lot.

I should state--None of these officers admitted to enagaging in any illegal activity. (That would be reported) However, I doubt the Capt. would like it if he knew his $XXMillion dollar radio system is being used to rate tail.

BTW- Im happily involved---I don't pay for .....

Supernam
05-18-2006, 10:27 PM
You know, the thing thats dumb about having gun registrations showing up when you name is entered is the presumption that it serves as some sort of "warning" to the officer that you own guns. As if it's something bad. In reality, if someone is found to have registered weapons, that should make the officer feel more safe knowing that they are dealing with a law abiding citizen. Excuse my rambling.

TrailerparkTrash
05-19-2006, 12:14 PM
My LA sherriff friend said that they have to call it in to check. He said most of the time they don't care as long as it comes up with a clean record (not stolen or used in a crime). They have to use the cell phone to call it in as well

WHAT? Your LA Sheriff friend is LIAR. Or he's working in custody and doesn't know jack-squat about patrol.

On the LASD MDT's, one can run basically every single LE data base on the computer instantly. NCIC, AFS, USDMV, DMV, Wanted persons, parole/probation, registered sex offender and arson data bases, etc.... With just the simple Last name, First name, middle initial, sex, race and d.o.b, you can find out anything!!!!! Provided he/she has a record of some sort. If the guy is super clean, he'll only have a DMV record (provided he has a Cal I.D. or license). That's "in a nut shell."

Now, if I want to know if Joe Citizen owns registered handguns OR Assault Weapons, I push a few keys on the keyboard and BAM....that info is accessed within seconds! Deputies could even run an address and if there are registered guns coming back to that address, it will also show the name of the person that registered the gun(s) at that address!

As far as having LASD deputies having to "call in" an AW check via telephone is Baloney. He's lying to you or doesn't know what he's talking about because obviously he's never done a check himself,

Yes the law does state that a cop in CA CAN NOT routinely broadcast via radio that a person possesses an assault weapon. That's it! It only pertains to assault weapons. However, it it's an exegency for public safety, that law doesn't apply.

As far as law enforcment data bases in CA, what I said above really pertains to ANY CA LEO. Any cop in CA under PC 830.1 has access and privledges to those data bases. And I only listed maybe 30 percent of what's out there, in the interest of saving space on this thread.

I can't stand info put out on the internet that usually goes, "...my friend who works for ______________, said...."

I think you just got bad info from your friend.

magmaster
05-19-2006, 12:59 PM
Actually he is on patrol and spent his time working in the jails. Maybe I mis understood him. I will double check with him this weekend and make sure I write it down. Sorry to piss you off as I am not a LE officer.

6172crew
05-19-2006, 1:02 PM
:eek: WHAT? Your LA Sheriff friend is LIAR. Or he's working in custody and doesn't know jack-squat about patrol.

On the LASD MDT's, one can run basically every single LE data base on the computer instantly. NCIC, AFS, USDMV, DMV, Wanted persons, parole/probation, registered sex offender and arson data bases, etc.... With just the simple Last name, First name, middle initial, sex, race and d.o.b, you can find out anything!!!!! Provided he/she has a record of some sort. If the guy is super clean, he'll only have a DMV record (provided he has a Cal I.D. or license). That's "in a nut shell."

Now, if I want to know if Joe Citizen owns registered handguns OR Assault Weapons, I push a few keys on the keyboard and BAM....that info is accessed within seconds! Deputies could even run an address and if there are registered guns coming back to that address, it will also show the name of the person that registered the gun(s) at that address!

As far as having LASD deputies having to "call in" an AW check via telephone is Baloney. He's lying to you or doesn't know what he's talking about because obviously he's never done a check himself,

Yes the law does state that a cop in CA CAN NOT routinely broadcast via radio that a person possesses an assault weapon. That's it! It only pertains to assault weapons. However, it it's an exegency for public safety, that law doesn't apply.

As far as law enforcment data bases in CA, what I said above really pertains to ANY CA LEO. Any cop in CA under PC 830.1 has access and privledges to those data bases. And I only listed maybe 30 percent of what's out there, in the interest of saving space on this thread.

I can't stand info put out on the internet that usually goes, "...my friend who works for ______________, said...."

I think you just got bad info from your friend.

+1, I went for a ride along w/ my LASD buddy and we pulled up all my goodies and one came back w/ the right number but wrong model, and the other one was stolen.:eek: they asked if we needed backup.:D