Wednesday, December 17, 2008

AZ: Gilbert LEO Disarmed Him

I received the following first hand account via e-mail today and I was given permission to post his experience here. It has been over 8 years since I was last pulled over to be given a speeding ticket, so I have not yet experienced any LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) interaction of this type since I began carrying. The details of the event sent to me are below:

  • I got pulled over, (my license is GUNTOTN).
  • Officer asked me if I was carrying.
  • Officer asked for my license and CCW.
  • Officer Said I was speeding.
  • Officer asked me to get out of the car and put my hands behind my back, thumbs together.
  • Officer grabbed my thumbs, and disarmed me.
  • Officer asked why I had a gun.
  • I told him "it is my 2nd amendment right."
  • Officer wrote me a speeding ticket and requested that I allow him to place my gun in my trunk so that he would not have to hand it directly to me.
This was a Gilbert LEO. I called one of my best friends who is a Gilbert LEO, he told me that the Gilbert PD council said that Officers could not disarm anyone unless there was a suspected criminal violation.

I think he pulled me over due to my plate and I am looking for the law or court case to back up my friends claim.
I am a bit puzzled as to why the LEO disarmed him and asked why he was carrying a gun. Why carry a gun? Isn't it obvious? If that LEO does not yet know why it is a good idea to carry a gun, why does he carry one in himself?

Update 1: Looks like Montana MHP Officers are doing the same thing. H/T to Gary.


Anonymous said...

If the LEO did this to someonw who has a CCW, does he also do it to everyone he stops? The one's he should be worried about are those carrying without a CCW (who could be everyone else).

Richard Lally
Boise, ID

Anonymous said...

There's lots of paranoid cops and cops that are untrained with respect to gun rights. We (gun owners) must find a way to train them so this does not keep happening.

In my state (MI) if I am stopped I am required to promptly show the LEO my carry license and tell him that I am carrying (if I am). I have been stopped twice while carrying and was thanked by the LEOs both times. One of those incidents was the first time I was ever in my life let off with just a warning.

Anonymous said...

I took a CCW course in Sierra Vista Az last summer. The instructor was a SV Police Officer.He said he would handel the situation just as this LEO did if he was to stopped a CCW Holder.

athensguy said...

In GA, the correct answer to any question from a police officer, including a question about whether you are packing is "I am exercising my fifth amendment right to remain silent"

Anonymous said...

FYI, see:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really think having a license plate such as "GUNTOTN" is very wise?. Seems to be willfully provocative, though, of course totally constitutional. Most experts recommend CCW's maintain a somewhat lower profile. Other than the possibility that the LEO targeted the CCW holder due to the license plate, it sounds like the LEO was not out of line.

Anonymous said...

He isn't the only one to have this sort of experience with the police. Here in Georgia we have several who have, some ending up in arrest, and later in lawsuits against the department. I understand why the police are cautious, but to the extreme they are taking, it against CCW holders is a bit much. It is almost as if they are doing the preverbal pissing contest with us

Dustin said...

Anonymous: Under what authority or statute does an officer violate our natural born but constitutionally protected rights by disarming us, even if only for the duration of a traffic stop? Shouldn't the Officer be required to have a reason to disarm? Perhaps due to suspected criminal activity or in order to make an arrest?

Aside from the constitutional questions, what advantage does disarming a law abiding citizen have over the risks created by handling a loaded and unfamiliar weapon?

Does anyone actually think a dangerous criminal would willingly admit he or she even has a weapon? If not, then the only people such an Officer would be disarming would be the law abiding citizens. Sounds like a dumb idea to me. LEO's should assume all people may be armed. If he or she finds a citizen with a CCW, the Officer should proceed as always, assuming the occupant is armed.

Libertarian Cop said...

As an OHIO LEO, I find the actions of the officer appalling (based on this side of the story). I have the authority to cuff someone on a speeding ticket.....but have never done it....the charge is a minor misdeameanor in OHIO (no jail time only fines). I would have explaining to my chief on this and serious mocking from other cops. By definition, the ccw holder is a law abider and I assume everyone has a gun in every encounter. I do not think I have the authority to take the gun unless there is a greater charge in Ohio.

Dustin said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. Very good points have been brought up so far. Another point I just thought of is the issue with Police Impersonators. If it can become standard Policy that LEO's never disarm law abiding citizens unless they are to be arrested for criminal activity, an impersonator asking to disarm a citizen can be asked to wait for confirmation that he is a valid LEO via a phone call to the local PD. It would be very tragic for an unsuspecting person to give up their only means of defense against a Police impersonator who perhaps has vile intentions such as car jacking, armed robbery, or rape.

Daniel Short said...

I live in Indiana and know a couple LEO. This doesn't seem to be a big issue here. I was told by them to tell the officer you have a CCW and to just keep your hands on the steering wheel to until the officer asks for ID. I have never been treated differently or asked why I carry. Also, you have the legal right to ask the LEO to radio another officer to ensure he actually is one. Most officers don't mind doing this either, especially if they are in an unmarked car.

BTW, in Indiana, there is no class needed to obtain a permit and a lifetime permit is offered. Total for the lifetime CCW is $125. Thank you Governor Daniels.

Kent McManigal said...

This LEO (Liberty Eradication Operative) did an evil thing.

Anonymous said...

While not an expert, I would say that this sounds like unlawful seizure. The officer's name and badge number should be on the traffic citation. I would contact a lawyer and see what can be done. You should at least get the traffic citation tossed on police misconduct.

Anonymous said...

I'm the LEO whose friend was mishandled by the Motor Officer. In the State of Arizona, speeding is a civil violation. The Officer was out of line by disarming him. I spoke to our legal advisor and my suspicions of an unlawful seizure were confirmed. This Officer made a mistake commonly made by LEO's due to their concerns of Officer Safety and wanting to get home at the end of shift. This is strictly a training issue which, being a firearms instructor at the PD, I have some control over and believe me, I will do my best to rectify this problem.

As to any legal recourse, lawsuit, or getting the ticket dice. First, although an unlawful seizure, there was no damage (besides a bruised ego) sustained by my friend. His weapon was ultimately given back to him at the end of the stop. Secondly, the stop was initiated for speeding. Knowing how our motor cops operate, 10 MPH over is all that it takes to not only get their attention, but a ticket as well. I know the Officer that made this mistake and, although lacking in his car-side demeanor (according to my friend), is a very good, trust worthy LEO. I KNOW that he did his job (the speed enforcement part) with the high level of fairness and integrity that we LEO's in this department have to operate under. It literally is our job if we are ever found to be in the least bit dishonest (spare change sits for weeks in our break room when found because no one dares take money that does not belong to them...kinda funny).

In short, the motor cop pulled my friend over for a legitimate speeding violation. He had a typical motor-type interaction with the public (overly professional and not extremely friendly-this is why we patrol cops make fun of them) and issued a citation. Due to a lack of knowledge regarding guns and airing on the side of caution, he wrongly disarmed my friend whose ego was bruised and felt extremely wronged by the interaction. It was a simple mistake and he has been educated on these issues.

I hope that helps!

Dustin said...

Thanks for the info. :)

Anonymous said...

What Arizona Law says the LEO can't disarm for their safety during contact with a CCW holder or citizen carry a non concealed weapon? I am curious.....

Dustin said...

Anon: What law allows an officer to disarm a law abiding citizen during a routine traffic stop? What is this talk of "officer safety" - how exactly does an officer handling an unfamiliar loaded weapon make anyone safe?

Officers have to assume all people are armed and act accordingly. The criminals officers need to worry about are not going to admit they are armed.