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Thread: ALL Officers should know the laws

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    Default ALL Officers should know the laws

    This is the account of the night that I gave to my attorney, Wayne Anthony Ross explaining how two of my handguns were unjustly taken from me while falsely charging me with Misconduct Involving Weapons In The 5th Degree. I apologize in advance for the length of the story

    I was driving down new Seward at a relatively high rate of speed and ended up passing a police officer just before the Tudor overpass. I saw the lights about 5 seconds after that and began looking for a place to pull over. I ended up turning right onto 36th ave then made the first right into a neighborhood and waited for the officer. She then approached my vehicle until she was even with my backseat window. I interrupted her to inform her that I had Firearms in the vehicle. I followed with telling her that there were two handguns, one under each front seat and that they were both in condition one. I also informed her that there were multiple long guns in the trunk as I had just returned from hunting. She took my insurance card that I had retrieved before she got to the car. I then asked her if i could get my Drivers license out and she said to keep my hands on the wheel and to just give her my license number. I proceed to do so and at this point there was a second officer on the scene. Once he had arrived it was asked that I step out of the car so I did. She took me to the front of my car, searched me thoroughly, then had me wait for my passengers to be searched. At this point two more units responded and were watching us. After my passengers were searched as well they had us stand up against a wall about 10 feet off the road and wait. We stood there for roughly ten minutes waiting all the while being asked if any of us had been to jail before. One of the other officers began questioning both of my passengers at which point she took me to sit in the back of her car. I waited there for a good half hour. They questioned both of my passengers and then I saw an officer put both of my handguns in the back of a squad car. She then returned to her car and that’s when I asked her why they were putting my guns in the back of their car. She informed me that they were confiscating them. I asked why and she said I was being charged with Misconduct Involving a Weapon in the 5th degree because it was concealed. I then replied saying that I would have to have been carrying concealed in order to have broken the law. She told me that it was illegal to posses a handgun until 21. I then said that you could own one legally if it had been passed down to you by a family member and that both of mine were passed down to me by my grandfather and that I had been told this by several APD and AST officers that this was the case. She said that as far as the municipality goes you must be 21 to possess a handgun. After this argument she had me get out of her squad car and gave me the paperwork for obedience to traffic control device and Misconduct Involving Weapons-Concealed under 21. They made sure I had my driver's license and then the officers left.

    Both of these handguns were under the front seats in latching compartments. I decided to pay $1,000 to W.A.R. Because I wanted the best representation for criminal defense involving weapons in the state. The first person I thought of was him considering he is on the executive board of directors for the NRA. I just wanted to share this extremely negative experience where I was telling the officer what the law was and then she goes and says as far as the Municipality goes its considered concealed... But follow by charging me with a state Statute. Thank you all for looking and share this story with your friends.

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    I'm not understanding something. If it is illegal to carry concealed while under 21, and you were transporting a firearm under your seat which I do believe in the eyes of the law is considered concealed then what am i missing?


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    This will be an interesting one to follow. OP, keep us posted!

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    In order to be in violation of AS11.61.220(A)(6) One must be less than 21 years of age and knowingly posses a deadly weapon, other than an ordinary pocket knife or defensive weapon, that is concealed on the person. I was 19 at the time and once the DA's office recieved the police report and spoke with the prosecutor they dropped the charges saying that it shouldn't have been cited in the first place. It is a bit of a grey area but I did about a years worth of research before I had a handgun in my car.

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    So all charges have been dropped at this point then? Your last sentence does make a point in favor of the apd. If you researched it for a year, it is not beyond reason that a police officer may have made a bad call on the letter of the law especially when there is some grey area involved. Sounds like you were put in a difficult situation and you handled it correctly.


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    Quote Originally Posted by quest32a View Post
    So all charges have been dropped at this point then? Your last sentence does make a point in favor of the apd. If you researched it for a year, it is not beyond reason that a police officer may have made a bad call on the letter of the law especially when there is some grey area involved. Sounds like you were put in a difficult situation and you handled it correctly.


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    Thank you. I was just trying to put this story out there and voice my frustration with having to have skipped some bills to be able to pay the $1000 retainer for the attorney to show that I did nothing wrong in the first place. It put a great Financial burden on me for a couple months and even now I am finishing recovering from that loss.

  7. #7

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    I am sorry you had to go through that. Not all arresting officers know or understand the laws in their jurisdiction, neither do all the DA's or private attorneys and some times a judge has to scratch their head. I wish you could be refunded for your expenses. There is always a human element and I wonder what would have happened if your hand guns had been unloaded and in your trunk.

    I have always found it interesting that we can give 18 year old kids a rifle and a uniform and send them to some wretched part of the world to kill others and die or get body parts blown off and then tell them it's illegal for them to drink a beer before age 21. Just saying........

  8. #8

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    ALL Officers should know the laws
    Not quite right. All officers MUST know the laws. That's why we hired them. They are LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, not legislators writing laws as they go along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket man View Post
    Thank you. I was just trying to put this story out there and voice my frustration with having to have skipped some bills to be able to pay the $1000 retainer for the attorney to show that I did nothing wrong in the first place. It put a great Financial burden on me for a couple months and even now I am finishing recovering from that loss.
    Not that you want to spend more money, but you can (and probably should) sue the officer and the city for false arrest and violation of your rights. It might be spendy to get there, but odds are if the charges are dropped and the DA says it never should have been cited, you would at the least see a settlement. I was just recently talking about a guy in CO that sued the police because they arrested him on an old ordinance that had been changed. The officer didn't know it was changed and cited him under an old law. The guy sued and was awarded $23,500 in damages. The only way to make them accountable is to hit them in the pocketbook. That forces training on the issues. Also, you spent $1000 for something that was their fault not yours. File a complaint, and if nothing is done, sue.

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    I don't think it is possible for all offices to know all the laws. The F&G regulation book is 5" thick if I remember correctly. That would be like remembering a college physics book and a college Geometry book all together. Even if an officer could remember all of that, many laws are written in such a way that it is up to the interpretation of the officer. In some instances, an officer has to work his way up the chain-of-command to determine the intention of the law. Lots of gray areas out there and from time to time, yea, someone is going to mess up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    I don't think it is possible for all offices to know all the laws. The F&G regulation book is 5" thick if I remember correctly. That would be like remembering a college physics book and a college Geometry book all together. Even if an officer could remember all of that, many laws are written in such a way that it is up to the interpretation of the officer. In some instances, an officer has to work his way up the chain-of-command to determine the intention of the law. Lots of gray areas out there and from time to time, yea, someone is going to mess up.
    Well, except you are required to know all of the laws technically. Courts have been pretty clear that ignorance of the law is not a defense. They may be willing to show mercy or lenience depending on the situation, but you won't get away with violating a law by saying you didn't know it was against the law. While it may be practically impossible to know the laws, it's still incumbent on law enforcement to know the laws they are enforcing. In fact, some argue that an officer should be able to cite the law they are claiming you violated.

    There's a very interesting video called "don't talk to the police" that shows a law professor discussing interactions with law enforcement. One of the related things he says is that there are so many laws on the books at this point that odds are you are violating several and you don't even know it. He cites 16 U.S. Code § 3372 which makes it illegal to:

    to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States or in violation of any Indian tribal law;
    (2)to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce—(A)any fish or wildlife taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State or in violation of any foreign law;

    Did you know that if any state law makes it illegal to be in possession of a fish it's a violation of federal law to be in possession of that fish in every state for any reason? I know that seems like a stretch and it's not likely to be enforced, unless they are trying to pin you on anything.

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    The supreme court don't know the law or at least follow it so how can a cop always be right.
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    Someone correct me if I am wrong. Or, pounce and hammer me. At one time in the State, municipalities such as Anchorage had it's own firearm laws that were different from the State. In an attempt to straighten things out, then Governor Murkowski, pushed through legislation stating that no municipality shall have any firearm law stricter than State law. Whereon the confusion might lay. Anchorage was different at one time and unless whomever is in charge of the "records management" may not of gotten the word out to everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    At one time in the State, municipalities such as Anchorage had it's own firearm laws that were different from the State.
    I believe you are correct. I got a concealed handgun license in 1999 and at that time even though I was permitted to carry concealed in the state I was not allowed to carry in the city of Anchorage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Someone correct me if I am wrong. Or, pounce and hammer me. At one time in the State, municipalities such as Anchorage had it's own firearm laws that were different from the State. In an attempt to straighten things out, then Governor Murkowski, pushed through legislation stating that no municipality shall have any firearm law stricter than State law. Whereon the confusion might lay. Anchorage was different at one time and unless whomever is in charge of the "records management" may not of gotten the word out to everyone.
    Sounds about right. And also, a lot of cities like Las Anchorage will try to slide their laws into play by not removing them and enforcing them in spite of state law. The only way they get removed from the books is when someone runs afoul of them and then sues them. Happens all the time. As long as no one complains, they might as well be valid laws.

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    It is hard to blame the officer without knowing the dissemination process from the law makers to the bottom of the food chain without knowing where in the process it went wrong. Somewhere, I would think there would be an extensive CYA program in law enforcement so things like this don't happen.

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    UH ... so rocket man did you get a speeding violation?

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    I had a similar situation, and it took an email to the AG and the commander of AST to get it resolved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    It is hard to blame the officer without knowing the dissemination process from the law makers to the bottom of the food chain without knowing where in the process it went wrong. Somewhere, I would think there would be an extensive CYA program in law enforcement so things like this don't happen.
    LOL! That's a funny one. Oh wait, you were serious? Sorry, couldn't help myself. I won't claim to be an expert and obviously each department will have a unique policy and procedure. But my experience and discussions with LEO's is that no, there really isn't a program to ensure that LEO's know and follow the laws appropriately. One comment I've heard is, "I just enforce the laws, it's up to the lawyers to determine if I did it right." And of course some officers are better than others, some are worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
    LOL! That's a funny one. Oh wait, you were serious? Sorry, couldn't help myself. I won't claim to be an expert and obviously each department will have a unique policy and procedure. But my experience and discussions with LEO's is that no, there really isn't a program to ensure that LEO's know and follow the laws appropriately. One comment I've heard is, "I just enforce the laws, it's up to the lawyers to determine if I did it right." And of course some officers are better than others, some are worse.
    Yep, serious. Do you expect the LEO's to sit around all day on the internet searching for changes in laws while they eat doughnuts.

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