View Full Version : Sticky for "what to do/say when encountering LEO" regarding guns?

River Jack
02-06-2011, 10:09 AM
Sorry if I missed it. I used the search function and really couldn't find what I was looking for. Anyhow, the recent thread about the LEO encounter in Bee Canyon got me thinking.

I know that it is recommended that when one encounters a LEO in regards to guns, it is advised to: 1) stay calm, 2) don't talk, 3) and seek legal assistance (got this from the Davis & Associates card posted in the above referenced thread). However, I feel that it would be helpful to have a sticky in this subforum that states exactly what the Calguns Foundation advises when encountering LEO at the range, in the field, to/from shooting, etc. Perhaps something that includes the applicable constitutional ammendments, Penal Codes, and whatever else to cite when questioned by LEO regarding guns.

If there already is something to this effect, please point me in the right direction.

02-06-2011, 10:50 AM
Might not be such a bad idea, but there are already a number of stickies in different places, including this one (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=80571) in the CGN's Best Threads (Limited Posting) (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/forumdisplay.php?f=110), but the particular thread I link to relates to OLL travel.

Having advised on this...

The best personal policy to have for oneself is to KYMS (keep your mouth shut).

There is one question that LEOs sometimes like to ask when they see a "vehicle of interest" (VOI):

"Is there anything inside this car/truck you don't want us to know about?"


"You mind if we have a look around?"

In both, or any instance, one's best answer is "I don't have anything illegal in my vehicle, and I do not consent to a search of my vehicle or myself", and hand him a Jason Davis card (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=307715)

It might not be a bad idea to engage in certain "smalltalk" with LEOs (I BSed with a few just the other day in front of my house), but if you are detained, then it becomes "anything you say can and will be used against you" sort of thing.

See this video:


And IANAL...


02-06-2011, 11:19 AM
1) I do not consent to a search of my person or property.
2) I am going to remain silent from this point on until I can speak with an attorney.

Pretty simple.

02-06-2011, 11:48 AM
you are supposed to say nothing

02-06-2011, 11:57 AM
you are supposed to say nothing

I *think* that I recently read something that states you must verbally say that you want to invoke your 5th Amendment right. It's be worth checking up on though.

02-06-2011, 11:58 AM
It depends largely on the circumstances. Most police officers are reasonable. If you are doing something illegal or "doubtful", keep your mouth shut or don't incriminate yourself. (LEO: "Do you know how fast you were going" Me: "I was traveling a speed that is both safe and prudent for the conditions") If you are stopped for a traffic offense, why would you ever consent to having your car searched? What is the police officer's probable cause? This isn't AFG where someone's car might be full of artillery shells and gasoline. Despite the best efforts of those in Sacramento and DC, you still have rights.

If you are at a range or other location that allows shooting, and if you are not doing anything illegal, why would you not engage in small talk? Sometimes the police officer is not looking to be the Gestapo and put you in jail for nothing. The possiblity of civil damages from false arrest and unlawful prosecution are things that most cities and police departments can't afford these days. The efforts of CGF and others to make it expensive for cities and police departments to make such arrests have worked.

Sometimes the cop next to you at the range is just another dude that likes guns...

Blue Ridge Reef
02-06-2011, 12:24 PM
What are the Ca. laws for carrying a gun to and from (for example) the range? Here in North Carolina, it's easy to get a CCW license, and presenting that to a LEO goes a long way. Otherwise, just have them in your locked trunk...
I've never had a chance to refuse a consent to a search, but I will if it ever happens again. The last time was 5+years ago, I had a box of empty wine bottles I was bringing to my Mom who makes mead. The Polk county deputy called them "open containers" (though they were long empty), and then said he had cause to search. I blew a breathalyzer, then stepped aside as he tore my entire vehicle apart and piled everything on the road side -even the change in my ashtray. When he found nothing, I was left to shake the dirt off of my emptied suitcase contents, and try to straighten my belongings. Even my glove compartment contents were in a pile on the side of the road. I never did figure out what I was pulled over for.

02-06-2011, 12:27 PM
What do you do/say?


If you have something you think might raise a question, put it in the trunk or throw a blanket over it. Seeing a blank is not probable cause for a search, and they can't see inside the trunk unless they have x-ray vision.

Purple K
02-06-2011, 5:36 PM
How you say it is just as important as what you say. If you give the Officer attitude or grief he'll give it right back to you. Be polite, but at the same time let him know that you know your rights. Sometimes you may be able to dissuade the officer from going any further and sometimes they'll do whatever they want no matter what you say or do. Be prepared to document the encounter with the audio and/or video recording feature of your phone, etc.

02-06-2011, 5:57 PM
What are the Ca. laws for carrying a gun to and from (for example) the range?
No restrictions on long guns other than that they must be unloaded.
Federal law requires they be in a locked container (or in a locking rack) when within 1000ft of a K12 school.

Handguns get a little more dicey.
California has it's own school zone law that applies only to handguns. Outside of school zones, unloaded open carry is legal, but not recommended.

Most prudent, keep handguns unloaded in a locked container and you're legal.