Got a note from a friend of mine here in God’s Waiting Room (aka Florida) about a run in with the popo that her husband had. She wants this story out there for the world to see
Dan got pulled over by a statie today because he didn't get over into the middle lane fast enough when passing their vehicles and a car they'd pulled over.
The trooper asked Dan if he had a weapon in the car, and of course Dan said, "Yes, I'm a CCW holder and my pistol is locked in the glove compartment."
The trooper comes around to the passenger side of the car, tells Dan to roll down the window, and unlock the glove box. He then takes the gun back to his own vehicle, where he unloads it. He brings it back to Dan and tells him to put it back in the glove box in the unloaded state.
Then he says, as if he's doing Dan a favor, "I'm not giving you a ticket today because you didn't make me worry that you had a weapon in your car."
Dan puts up with all this crap - even though he knows it is illegal - because he just wants to go home, doesn't want to be stuck on the side of the interstate for two hours if this prick decides to get a warrant to search the vehicle. After coming home, he called the Trooper's office and left a message for some form of supervisor to call back.
Both a SGT and a LT called tonight. They both indicated this trooper had been on the job for about a year and a half, and that he had no right to touch a lawful weapon, much less remove it from Dan's vehicle and sight. The SGT said, and I quote, "That boy still has milk coming from the corner of his mouth." And the LT said he'd be calling the kid in on his off day tomorrow to educate him on some shit.
The moral of the story: always do what the cop on the side of the road says to do. But don't let him get away with it.
That last part is important, and possibly up for argument. You have to use your judgment to determine how much hassle you are willing to go through at a particular point in time, balanced with your knowledge of how your local police are.
Honestly, Tampa police are pretty darned good in respects to 2A. We’ve never had any issues with cops during our Open Carry fishing events, when we were pushing for OC here in Florida, the TV news station tried to find cops who didn’t like the idea to debate me but instead had to settle for some Brady lady in her kitchen using Skype because the cops here totally supported it.
This doesn’t mean you’re not going to run into a newbie, or a cop with an attitude. I can’t tell you that your best course of action is to roll up your windows, flip the cop off and scream SHALLNOTBEINFRINGED!!!! at the top of your lungs nor can I say that complying is your best option. It’s not black and white because while it’s better for our rights if cops get enough hassle to make it not worth their while (those videos of people refusing to answer questions at ‘immigration checkpoints’ comes to mind), but not everyone can afford the court costs and jail time that may ensue.
This story had a happy-ish ending. The uppers will be talking to this cop and I’m sure he’ll avoid man-handling weapons illegally from now on, at least in the short term. While it’d be cathartic to win a $50,000 lawsuit and see the cop forced to work as a night shift security guard at JC Penny’s, it’s better if we can educate without severe punishment. If it becomes an ongoing issue, then it’s time to pull out the tactical nukes.