I hope to not make this too long so please bare with me. I am a retired cop, and avid gun owner. And as a LE I would like to put in my two cents. I have always been a good guy cop. I liked to treat everyone with respect until they did something that warranted my not doing so. However, with the advent of the “officer safety doctrine” and the Patriot Act, our department policy became a very simple one. Everyone was asked, traffic stop or FI, “do you have any weapons.” If someone responded “yes, they are in the trunk” I generally never asked another question about it, with the exception on the occasional stop where the individual(s) elaborated on what he/she had in the trunk, and we ended up having a nice conversation on the accuracy, and affordability of the weapon(s).
Now before I elaborate on the next paragraph please keep in mind a couple of things. First, I am lot older now, and have a much different attitude, and although it was my job, and stealing a line from “Cool Hand Luke” “calling it your job boss don’t make it right” at the time I was doing what our department dictated, and what I was taught.
I had on one occasion a person say something along the lines of “I have nothing illegal in my vehicle.” I asked him if he was LE or an Attorney, and how he was so certain that he had nothing illegal in his automobile. Again he stated he had nothing illegal in the vehicle. I felt that this was being evasive, and as such gave me reasonable suspicion to search his immediate area within the vehicle. Within the vehicle I found 2 spent 9mm casings. Since we were stopped in an area that had a “history” of violent crime, which one can argue is almost every major city in the US at some place and at some point, I felt I now had probable cause to search the rest of the vehicle.
Long story short, we went to court, the court found I was justified in my reasonable suspicion because “of what could be considered an evasive answer to my questions” and my probable cause search was justified because the “spent shell casings were consistent with type and caliber of known assaults in the area”.
The bottom line is two fold. First, if LE wants to look, they will find a way. It is really not that hard, and especially in the current political and world climate, it is almost too easy I am sorry to say. Second and ultimately the only real thing that matters avoid the problem and have nothing illegal in your vehicle. It is really the only defense you have in the long run.
We can write all day here in this forum about how to avoid problems with the police, be it OLL, concealed carry, or whatever. It really is about the facts. If you are breaking the law, you are getting a ticket, or going to jail. Do the innocent find themselves in bad situations unjustifiably? Yes it happens, and I am hopeful that the legal system, flawed in places it might be, can and will protect them.
Know the laws, obey them, and work to educate those who do not, and maybe we as gun owners can one day no longer be looked upon as potential “bad guys”, especially in a society where it is supposed to be our right to keep and bear them.