Got pulled over Tuesday AM…On my way to work. At 7:35 AM. Conditions were fairly dark and overcast.
Speeding. And I was, no question. No argument, no quibble. 56 in a 45. .
Guilty as charged.
When the nice policeman pulled in behind me, I opened my window, put my insurance card and registration along with my drivers licence in my left hand along with my carry permit and placed both hands on the wheel. I wanted the officer to be comfortable and feel safe. Better that way. Don’t want him to do something foolish that might end up with one of us getting hurt. Make this as pleasant for both of us as possible.
He was polite and professional:
Do you know why I pulled you over, Sir?”
“Can I see …oh, thanks.” as I handed him those forms and such. He noticed the pink CHL form as I handed them to him
“Do you have a weapon in the car, Sir?”
“Yes,” I replied “on my hip”
“Would you please step out of the car Sir?”
I did so, and he asked me to turn around. I placed both hands on the roof of the car, and he raised my jacket and removed the pistol from the holster. He took a step back and asked me to turn around. He dropped the mag and said “I’ll have to run this to see if it was stolen”.
“No” I replied. “No probable cause. Get a warrant…..I’ll wait….else it’s illegal search and seizure…I got all day”.
Nonplussed, he looked at me…..”It is in plain sight, he replied”
“Nope,” I said. Terry VS Ohio says you can remove my weapon for your safety. But you have to have cause to go any farther. With respect, state your cause. Or prove it is in plain sight by telling me the serial number right now…. If you can’t then, with respect, stop dicking around….Or call your boss.”
Now understand, this is outside of a little tiny town in NW Indiana, about a mile outside of the city limits…The young policeman (fairly new to the job, I am sure) was on questionable ground. He was far outside of town (and likely his jurisdiction), and was not sure what to do with someone who was older, respectful, but firm in his refusal to be under control. I am fairly certain that he wasn’t sure if I was right or not, and he wasn’t sure what to do with someone who just refused to fit into any of the scenarios in his training. Someone who was sure what the law was, and the limits that it placed upon the police, and was willing to be difficult.
He placed my firearm on the back deck of my car, and told me to return to, and sit down in my car and close the door (it wasn’t asking, but was worded politely) and took my license, registration, and insurance card (and magazine) with him to his car.
4 minutes later, he got out and returned to my door. He asked me to get out again, handed me my documents and magazine, and told me I was free to go. He asked me not to load the firearm until he had left, and returned to his car after thanking me for my cooperation.. I picked up the pistol as he was pulling out and waited until he had gone down the road before inserting the mag and reholstering.
Note: I still had a round in the pipe!.
The stop was valid. I was speeding. Had he written me a ticket, I’d have paid it with no protest.
Yet he knew that I had a CHL, and yet he insisted on going through the ringamarole about taking my firearm. But he NEVER UNLOADED the pistol. He left me in arms reach of a loaded firearm.
Apparently, he needs retraining on how these gun things work. Taking a mag out of the pistol still left me with one shot, had I chosen to use it (not to mention the magazine that I still had on my belt). He did NOTHING to enhance his safety with our little dance. Had I allowed him to take the pistol to his car to check out the serial number, it was entirely possible that he might have hurt himself or his police car (or me!).
I wonder how many legal firearms carriers he intimidates just so he can check out serial numbers. How many people aren’t sure of their rights, and who let him violate them because of their ignorance. How many times he has been lucky because he has not known how to properly make a firearm safe to handle. How many times he has put himself in danger with his actions.
I wonder if he realizes that his time could be better spent hassling people for other reasons, rather than wasting his time checking out serial numbers on guns owned and carried by people who have taken the time and spent the money to have the State do the background check in order to get that little pink slip of paper.
Surely, he can tell the difference between legal concealed carriers and the average “Yo” or meth-head. Can’t he?
If not, then his ability and judgement comes into question….as well as his suitability to be a police officer.