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  #1  
Old 10-10-2012, 8:35 AM
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Default Quick question on 'searches' to our friends in LE

Hey guys, I was at a range in Norcal and just finished up shooting my glock and AR (both legal in every way) when the local sheriffs deputy came in and proceeded to perform checks on those who may have had high capacity magazines. I was all packed up into my pelican case and literally leaving and he stopped me to check my weapons. I very politely (I really like our law enforcement folks) declined as I had received a message to go home to handle AC failure at home. He basically threatened me with some form of detainment and repeated his need/desire/want to check my gear. I simply sidestepped him and walked out. End of contact.

Now, this literally is the exact course of events and for the most part I'll comply with a reasonable request from LEO but in this instance I felt criminalized for no good reason. I even called the watch commander and mentioned that the deputy seemed out of line.

I guess, my question is - could I have handled it better, could the deputy?? Do we generally feel allowing a consent search is 'easier' than entering a verbal debate over rights especially considering everything was 100% CA approved??

Thanks for you're input guys.....
Cheers.
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Old 10-10-2012, 9:10 AM
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Hard to say without knowing what context the deputy had for making contact with people leaving the range in the first place.

If you are transporting firearms in a public place a peace officer may demand to examine them to be sure they are being transported lawfully. It is not a search and you are required under the law to submit or face a criminal penalty. Since you were leaving a place where firearms can be lawfully discharged and perhaps he saw you putting firearms into your Pelican the deputy has the authority of the Penal Code to examine them.

That the deputy let you walk away I find interesting.
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2012, 9:32 AM
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BigDogatPlay is correct considering this took place at a public shooting range. You are actually lucky that the deputy allowed you to just walk around him and leave like that because it appears the deputy had legal standing. This tells me either the deputy wasn't 100% sure he was within legal bounds or he just didn't think it would be worth the drama.

There is a couple of shooting ranges in my beat, but we generally do not go in the ranges and do weapon checks. The feds show up once in a blue moon and do them. I like to leave folks at the range alone. They are there for recreation, not to rob or murder someone.
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Old 10-10-2012, 9:41 AM
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Be interested to know where this happened, county owned facility? I think the fact that he let you walk away shows he didn't really know what he was doing, as he has the authority to inspect to ensure it is being transported within the law. Yeah you could have handled it better pop the case open and let him look it isn't a search, as said above, you could have been arrested on the spot for 148 PC. Would it have been worth it if everything was legal?
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:04 AM
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This was all on a PRIVATELY ownd range in San Joaquin county. I got the impression the deputy was looking for something that just 'wasn't me' - maybe other people on the range had high caps. I still don't understand though what the PC is to stop me to check a locked case for transport compliance when I wasn't driving. Surely LE cannot come onto private property for that?? I get being in a car - on a public highway or indeed on public shooting ranges but 'transportation compliance' seems a stretch....

Don't get me wrong, I may have acted less than favorably - indeed I may even have failed the attitude test that day but I have nothing but respect for LEO 24/7 - I myself am an academy graduate from only a few years ago so I understand a little of the law (very little)

Thanks for the input guys.....keep it coming!
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2012, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castelle View Post
This was all on a PRIVATELY ownd range in San Joaquin county. I got the impression the deputy was looking for something that just 'wasn't me' - maybe other people on the range had high caps. I still don't understand though what the PC is to stop me to check a locked case for transport compliance when I wasn't driving. Surely LE cannot come onto private property for that?? I get being in a car - on a public highway or indeed on public shooting ranges but 'transportation compliance' seems a stretch....

Don't get me wrong, I may have acted less than favorably - indeed I may even have failed the attitude test that day but I have nothing but respect for LEO 24/7 - I myself am an academy graduate from only a few years ago so I understand a little of the law (very little)

Thanks for the input guys.....keep it coming!
If the shooting range is open for business to the public, it doesn't matter if it is privately owned. Sorry :-(

P.S. The way you felt is understandable, especially since you are unfamiliar with the laws.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:57 AM
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Did he see the guns? If not, how did he know you had guns in the case. If he didnt see them and you didnt tell him there were guns in the case then where is his standing to check the guns?
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:09 AM
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So if you had a hi-cap what is he going to do? Ask if you got them in Vegas over the weekend and hope you say yes? Confiscate them?
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2012, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castelle View Post
This was all on a PRIVATELY ownd range in San Joaquin county.
If the range is a business open to the public then it being on private property isn't an issue. If it's a private club open solely for the exclusive, non-public use of members it might be another story.

Quote:
I myself am an academy graduate from only a few years ago so I understand a little of the law (very little)
When you went to the academy it would have been PC 12031(e) and I'm certain it would have been taught in the LD on point. It's now in PC 25850(b). Note the bolded, which I've added for clarity to to your situation. While many, including me, consider it unconstitutional to some degree or another, it's still the law and it's constitutionality is a subject for a different thread.

Quote:
25850. (a) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when the person carries a loaded firearm on the person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.

(b) 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 the 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.
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  #10  
Old 10-10-2012, 11:49 AM
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Since a phone call of a "man with a gun" will result in an e-check 9at least when UOC was allowed) then will a cal of "MAN WITH A 10+ ROUND MAGAZINE" result in anything different?
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  #11  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spelunker View Post
Did he see the guns? If not, how did he know you had guns in the case. If he didnt see them and you didnt tell him there were guns in the case then where is his standing to check the guns?
Highly highly unlikely....all weapons need to be secured on the line before passing out through the 'office' area - which is where I met him. So my weapons had already been unloaded, secured and squared away long before I saw the deputy. It is possible that he saw me earlier but I highly doubt it. As far as anyone was concered I may and I may not have had a weapon in the case. My Trijicon, Glock logos on the outside may have suggested there were indeed some weapons in the case
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDogatPlay View Post
If the range is a business open to the public then it being on private property isn't an issue. If it's a private club open solely for the exclusive, non-public use of members it might be another story.



When you went to the academy it would have been PC 12031(e) and I'm certain it would have been taught in the LD on point. It's now in PC 25850(b). Note the bolded, which I've added for clarity to to your situation. While many, including me, consider it unconstitutional to some degree or another, it's still the law and it's constitutionality is a subject for a different thread.
Oh I'm quite sure it was in one of the 20+ LD's that I took....I just cannot remember which one....

The range was open to the public, albeit private property and in no way exclusive to members only. I'm feeling that I failed the attitude test to some degree....If I have an oppotunity to meet with that Deputy again I'll let him know I was out of line! I'm not above apologizing for shennanigans.
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  #13  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winnre View Post
So if you had a hi-cap what is he going to do? Ask if you got them in Vegas over the weekend and hope you say yes? Confiscate them?
How did you know I am going to Vegas this weekend?? and its total lies that I would ever acquire magazines for more than ten rounds, especially for my LMT 308 MWS...how dare you!!
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  #14  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spelunker View Post
Did he see the guns? If not, how did he know you had guns in the case. If he didnt see them and you didnt tell him there were guns in the case then where is his standing to check the guns?
No way he could have seen the weapons....unless he's some sort of tactical ninja and can cover ground without me seeing him.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDogatPlay View Post
If the range is a business open to the public then it being on private property isn't an issue. If it's a private club open solely for the exclusive, non-public use of members it might be another story.



When you went to the academy it would have been PC 12031(e) and I'm certain it would have been taught in the LD on point. It's now in PC 25850(b). Note the bolded, which I've added for clarity to to your situation. While many, including me, consider it unconstitutional to some degree or another, it's still the law and it's constitutionality is a subject for a different thread.
The authority for an e-check (now b-check) is clearly grounded that:
1) The LEO must know there is a gun.
AND

2a) in public place in an incorporated city.
OR
2b) in a public place of unincorporated territory where shooting is prohibited.

So, presuming for a moment that the LEO knew there was a gun, either 2a or 2b must also be satisfied in order for a loaded-check to occur.

There is no legislated authority for a LEO to generically inspect a firearm (without reasonable suspicion of a crime) other then the above.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:42 PM
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25850. (a) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when the person carries a loaded firearm on the person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.

(b) 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 the 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. [B]Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to this section constitutes probable cause for arrest [/


Ok my .02

I agree with you on this matter completely and that the OP was in clear violation of this PC 25850/148 and was arrestable. what I question is the likelihood of a conviction from the DA. From what I have seen, without the high cap mag (slamdunk) and the charge is only the 25850 (as I stated from what I have seen happen) my DA would release at booking as "no likelihood of conviction" and if 148 was thrown on, it would be tossed out way before the arrestie's file was given to the intake DA.

Some things in life make no sence and this would be one of those " I will never get the last 2hrs of my life back"....and " I should have been a Fireman"....
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:45 PM
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Im a little worried by the other LEO's chiming in on this stating a legal authority to perform a non-consentual search on private party while engaged in lawful activity and threatening 148 for walking away. There was no crime committed leading up to the contact therefor it is a consentual encounter and the OP has no duty to comply with the deputies request. For 148 to occur the party must be legally detained for investigation or under arrest and as it was stated the Deputy can not be doing an E-Check on private property as the weapon is not in a public venue or roadway. Some of you need a search and seizure refresher course! No wonder so many people hate us! Im sure Im gonna get flamed for this comment so go ahead and flame on.

So to answer your question OP yes you were well within your rights and I would have done the same. Politefully decline and go about your business.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ak_in_ca View Post
Im a little worried by the other LEO's chiming in on this stating a legal authority to perform a non-consentual search on private party while engaged in lawful activity and threatening 148 for walking away. There was no crime committed leading up to the contact therefor it is a consentual encounter and the OP has no duty to comply with the deputies request. For 148 to occur the party must be legally detained for investigation or under arrest and as it was stated the Deputy can not be doing an E-Check on private property as the weapon is not in a public venue or roadway. Some of you need a search and seizure refresher course! No wonder so many people hate us! Im sure Im gonna get flamed for this comment so go ahead and flame on.

So to answer your question OP yes you were well within your rights and I would have done the same. Politefully decline and go about your business.
exactly correct.
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Old 10-10-2012, 1:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mej16489 View Post
The authority for an e-check (now b-check) is clearly grounded that:
1) The LEO must know there is a gun.
AND

2a) in public place in an incorporated city.
OR
2b) in a public place of unincorporated territory where shooting is prohibited.

So, presuming for a moment that the LEO knew there was a gun, either 2a or 2b must also be satisfied in order for a loaded-check to occur.
The OP was leaving a firing range where firearms are used. Other than that we can only speculate to his/her observations. OP was in a place open to the public where shooting is prohibited (he was no longer on the range). If the deputy can reasonably articulate that OP was transporting firearms, that can justify the check under 25850(b), IMO.

I'm not saying the deputy was right or wrong in doing so, it does seem a bit fishy, but I'm saying it can be articulated.

Quote:
There is no legislated authority for a LEO to generically inspect a firearm (without reasonable suspicion of a crime) other then the above.
While you are generally correct (see F&G code for some legislated authorities) I'm not sure I see your point here, assuming that the check was within bounds of 25850(b).
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Old 10-10-2012, 2:17 PM
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If we read PC 25850, section (b) carefully, it says:
Quote:
(b) 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 the 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.
To me, OP was in neither of the bolded areas.

If the firearms are in cases, it is not "on the person". He is clearly not "in a vehicle", nor was he "on any public street" or "prohibited area". To me, a prohibited area would be school zones, federal buildings, etc. To say that the lobby of a gun range is a prohibited area is stretching, even though one would not want a customer discharging weapons there.

Last edited by NytWolf; 10-10-2012 at 2:23 PM..
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Old 10-10-2012, 2:36 PM
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A prohibited area defined elsewhere in statute is anyplace where the discharge of firearms is not authorized. I would take the position solely for the sake of the argument that discharge, other than legitimate self defense, is not permitted off the range itself. As the range is, by the OPs description in a place open to the public, in an unincorporated portion of a county and it can be inferred that recreational discharge would not be authorized where he was at the time, then presumptively the check is within scope.

Again, there aren't a full set of facts here in this thread but the argument can be made that 25850(b) was correctly in play.

Carrying the cases equals on the person as the cases are under the direct control of the person carrying them. I'm pretty certain that there is case law to that effect as I recall my training.
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Old 10-10-2012, 3:16 PM
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I over heard a range master telling someone that you can have 10+ rd pistol magazines if you had them preban, if you're LEO or if you found them somewhere (parking lot, etc). I know having them from preban is ok and an LEO is exempt but is finding a high cap mag a valid excuse to stay out of trouble if caught with one? Seems way iffy. If so, does it apply to rifle magazines?
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Old 10-10-2012, 3:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ak_in_ca View Post
Im a little worried by the other LEO's chiming in on this stating a legal authority to perform a non-consentual search on private party while engaged in lawful activity and threatening 148 for walking away. There was no crime committed leading up to the contact therefor it is a consentual encounter and the OP has no duty to comply with the deputies request. For 148 to occur the party must be legally detained for investigation or under arrest and as it was stated the Deputy can not be doing an E-Check on private property as the weapon is not in a public venue or roadway. Some of you need a search and seizure refresher course! No wonder so many people hate us! Im sure Im gonna get flamed for this comment so go ahead and flame on.

So to answer your question OP yes you were well within your rights and I would have done the same. Politefully decline and go about your business.

The OP did not say that the officer threatened to arrest him under 148. People who put a spin on things and distort the facts, then give a legal opinion based on those distorted facts, get other people who dont know any better into trouble.

According to the OP, the officer wanted to inspect his weapon(s) and had legal standing to do so. The OP never aid anything about searching him.
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Old 10-10-2012, 3:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armed24-7 View Post
The OP did not say that the officer threatened to arrest him under 148. People who put a spin on things and distort the facts, then give a legal opinion based on those distorted facts, get other people who dont know any better into trouble.

According to the OP, the officer wanted to inspect his weapon(s) and had legal standing to do so. The OP never aid anything about searching him.
Wouldn't having me set down my case, unlock, open and provide for inspection constitute as search? If I'm not free to leave until I comply and I so detained until I do so??
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Old 10-10-2012, 3:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ak_in_ca View Post
Im a little worried by the other LEO's chiming in on this stating a legal authority to perform a non-consentual search on private party while engaged in lawful activity and threatening 148 for walking away. There was no crime committed leading up to the contact therefor it is a consentual encounter and the OP has no duty to comply with the deputies request. For 148 to occur the party must be legally detained for investigation or under arrest and as it was stated the Deputy can not be doing an E-Check on private property as the weapon is not in a public venue or roadway. Some of you need a search and seizure refresher course! No wonder so many people hate us! Im sure Im gonna get flamed for this comment so go ahead and flame on.

So to answer your question OP yes you were well within your rights and I would have done the same. Politefully decline and go about your business.
OOOOKAY.....so I've got, yep - arrestable (I must have been lucky that day) and NO, well within rights to treat as a consentual encounter and I ended it by walking away. I'm not up to date on search and seizure law but I'm confused - some of our LEO are saying hook and book and others are saying nope, no crime, no suspicion of crime and therefore no possibility of performing a search persuant to the E check, is that about right?
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Old 10-10-2012, 3:57 PM
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Two things:

1. They can check your weapon to make sure you are transporting lawfully.
2. I don't see that this includes anything to do with magazines that are not inserted in your firearms, whether they have bullets in them or not, or even how many they can hold.

Even if they find hi caps, so what? Burden of proof is on them. The fact he just let you walk away like that is odd though.

When I transport my AR it's in a case that has dual compartments, one for the rifle, and one for other stuff, including mags, so all I would open is the rifle part. I would not consent to a search of any other compartments or my other personal effects. I keep an empty 10 round (not blocked but a real 10-round) magazine in my AR with the bolt locked back so it's real easy for them to see it's not only unloaded but they also need a tool to remove the magazine.
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Old 10-10-2012, 4:05 PM
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Originally Posted by POLICESTATE View Post
Two things:

1. They can check your weapon to make sure you are transporting lawfully.
2. I don't see that this includes anything to do with magazines that are not inserted in your firearms, whether they have bullets in them or not, or even how many they can hold.

Even if they find hi caps, so what? Burden of proof is on them. The fact he just let you walk away like that is odd though.

When I transport my AR it's in a case that has dual compartments, one for the rifle, and one for other stuff, including mags, so all I would open is the rifle part. I would not consent to a search of any other compartments or my other personal effects. I keep an empty 10 round (not blocked but a real 10-round) magazine in my AR with the bolt locked back so it's real easy for them to see it's not only unloaded but they also need a tool to remove the magazine.
I'll have to remember your setup for AR transport - I like that....
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Old 10-10-2012, 4:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castelle View Post
Wouldn't having me set down my case, unlock, open and provide for inspection constitute as search? If I'm not free to leave until I comply and I so detained until I do so??
Different rules apply to a check...so it would be an exception to the search and seizure rules, in that no crime must have occurred to justify the check.

Technically, you're not detained. You can leave, you just can't take the gun being subjected to examination. However, your leaving the gun might be PC for a detention
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Old 10-10-2012, 6:04 PM
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Originally Posted by BigDogatPlay View Post
A prohibited area defined elsewhere in statute is anyplace where the discharge of firearms is not authorized. I would take the position solely for the sake of the argument that discharge, other than legitimate self defense, is not permitted off the range itself. As the range is, by the OPs description in a place open to the public, in an unincorporated portion of a county and it can be inferred that recreational discharge would not be authorized where he was at the time, then presumptively the check is within scope.
If he was on a private range, then he was on a private range.

A public place and a place open to the public are two, totally separate things.

Additionally, a police officer may not force you to stop show safe/legal transportation unless you are physically carrying a firearm in public, and they require a warrant to check the contents of your trunk unless under reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Each locked container (think locked pistol case) requires a separate warrant.
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Old 10-10-2012, 6:18 PM
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Originally Posted by castelle View Post
OOOOKAY.....so I've got, yep - arrestable (I must have been lucky that day) and NO, well within rights to treat as a consentual encounter and I ended it by walking away. I'm not up to date on search and seizure law but I'm confused - some of our LEO are saying hook and book and others are saying nope, no crime, no suspicion of crime and therefore no possibility of performing a search persuant to the E check, is that about right?
The problem here is, you have people chiming in who are not LEO's and who don't know what they are talking about. You asked a question of LEO's and it got answered by LEO's. Perhaps you should consult a criminal defense lawyer. Nobody is saying you should be hooked and booked. We are just telling you what the legalities are because you asked. Im not going to beat a ead horse, so this will be my last post on this subject. Good luck.
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Old 10-10-2012, 6:58 PM
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Under the circumstances that the naysayers here are spouting you can search any persons belongings to see if they are within the law. I have not read anywhere in 25850 that it allows an officer to detain an individual without probable cause. This would apply should someone be detained for legal reason I.E. traffic stop etc... The rational that those here are using on 25850 would allow you to stop and search everyone. Such as someone carrying a backpack in a mall. Just because you have the tools with you to conceal stolen items does not allow you to search everyone with a backpack or bag!
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Old 10-12-2012, 9:18 PM
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Originally Posted by castelle View Post
...some of our LEO are saying hook and book and others are saying nope, no crime, no suspicion of crime and therefore no possibility of performing a search...
brainwashed communist cops versus those who uphold the constitution.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:14 PM
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What range?
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:36 PM
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First, I am not a LEO.

I have a question based on the way a range is classified as a non-prohibited area, or prohibited area. Wouldn't the business as a whole be classified as a non-prohibited area, not just the shooting lanes? As far as the city/county is concerned, they issued a business permit/licence, for a shooting range at a specific address. Doesn't the business owner/manager, make the final determination of where the lanes begin and end?
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Old 10-13-2012, 6:21 AM
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OP: good read!

Although...I would NOT make a habit of "sidestepping" Law Enforcement Officers. It's conceivable that you could end up dead or in a lot of trouble. Just sayin.
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Old 11-05-2012, 4:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanAm View Post
If he was on a private range, then he was on a private range.

A public place and a place open to the public are two, totally separate things.

Additionally, a police officer may not force you to stop show safe/legal transportation unless you are physically carrying a firearm in public, and they require a warrant to check the contents of your trunk unless under reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Each locked container (think locked pistol case) requires a separate warrant.
One warrant can cover the entire vehicle and all containers. You don't need a separate warrant for each container if it is written correctly.
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