Controlling gun powder odor in Maryland


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Greg M
June 22, 2005, 09:31 AM
Here in Maryland, we can't even stop to pee driving to and from the range. Since I was a Boy Scout and always like to "be prepared", I've been thinking about what I would do if I had my firearm in the trunk and for whatever reason a police officer asked to search the vehicle. I've learned on this forum that I should ALWAYS deny permission to search my vehicle, but if they call the dogs out, they might detect the gun powder odor.

Would a Tupperware container keep pups from sniffing out my firearm? Do any of you have another solution to this potential problem? I guess a large ammo box would be sniff-proof. Is the gun powder residue on my hands detectable by dog?

Thanks,
Greg :uhoh:

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Fred Fuller
June 22, 2005, 09:36 AM
How about a coffee can?

8^)

cuchulainn
June 22, 2005, 09:40 AM
I'm often thankful that my parents moved us from Maryland when I was a boy, back in the 1970s.

K-Romulus
June 22, 2005, 09:49 AM
can the regular police sniffer dogs detect smokeless powder? I thought their noses were only for drugz? :scrutiny:

DirtyBrad
June 22, 2005, 09:51 AM
This might be the one assinine law here that actually gets changed. Not that I'll hold my breath or anything.

What's the rule with car searches and dogs? It sounds from what you're saying like they can't pop your trunk if you say no, but if they bring out a dog and it indicates that there's something in there, then that's probable cause and they can then search? Am I getting that right?

In either case, I seriously doubt Tupperware would do the trick. You might want to check out High Times's website to try some of their moves, but most of it is probably folklore (coffee grounds, ten rolls of Saran Wrap, etc).

Even if it's not, I'd still be skeptical. You're obviously covered in the stuff after shooting and you're then handling the Tupperware, the bags, your clothes, the keys, the trunk handle, etc. Which brings up another interesting point. I bet any of us who shoot regularly and then throw the guns in the trunk have enough gunpowder residue around on any given day to get the dogs barking and pissing themselves.

I don't know of anyone who's ever actually been bit by this law. I certainly stop at the Taco Bell down the street from my range every single time I shoot. Guns and Taco Bell? Not a law in the land keeping me from that paradise.

I'd love to hear from people with actual experience, but it seems like any cop actually seeing you stop for a leak or a fill-up who found out you just came from the range would let you know you're not technically supposed to do that, tell you no stops next time, and then send you on your way.

CAS700850
June 22, 2005, 10:12 AM
Okay, I don't know the Maryland law you are discussing. My sense is that if you are stopped for a traffic offense by an officer, and found to have a gun in your vehicle, even while lawfully traveling to or from a range, you are guilty of a criminal offense? Is this right? And I thought I'd seen some bad laws in my day.

Most K9's are trained on narcotics. Your concern would need an explosive-trained dog. According to a friend/K9 officer, it is not impossible to have a dog cross trained on drugs and explosives, but not easy, either. Most train for one or the other, depnding on the needs of the agency.

My advice? Get better laws on the books or move. Last time I got ppulled over on the way home from the range, the officer and I spent half an hour chatting about and looking at my guns before he sent me on my way with no ticket.

Keaner
June 22, 2005, 10:29 AM
I don't know of anyone who's ever actually been bit by this law. I certainly stop at the Taco Bell down the street from my range every single time I shoot. Guns and Taco Bell? Not a law in the land keeping me from that paradise.

Lets just say, that if DirtyBrad was pulled over, the least of the dogs worries would be the smell of gunpowder ;) Hell I can see it on the news now... Police dog passes out doing a drug search!

As for smelling gunpowder: I highly doubt that a number of dogs are trained for smokeless gunpowder, just drugs. That being said, burnt gunpowder is one of the most obvious smells I have ever experienced....

DirtyBrad
June 22, 2005, 10:31 AM
No problem if you get stopped for speeding or something. What you are currently not allowed to do is stop for anything voluntarily, including gas, food, or rest stops.

There's a bill up now to change it. You can find it here (http://www.mcrkba.org/GunBills.html) under HB533. There's nothing else wrapped up in it other than allowing folks to get rest and refreshment after a trip to the range.

mtnbkr
June 22, 2005, 10:31 AM
Your concern would need an explosive-trained dog
I'm not even sure that's a problem. I frequently have guns and shooting related gear in my SUV. I also take it hunting. Ever so often, I have to travel to a site that has explosive-trained dogs sniffing vehicles on the way in. They've never alerted on my vehicle. Of course, guns weren't in the vehicle at the time, but I don't keep my SUV spotless either.

Chris

DirtyBrad
June 22, 2005, 10:43 AM
Anyone happen to know what the penalty is for getting caught anyway?

In an expression of utter fantasy, I try to avoid anything that could get in the way of me getting my CCW when it finally happens in this state.

Henry Bowman
June 22, 2005, 11:44 AM
Last time I got ppulled over on the way home from the range, the officer and I spent half an hour chatting about and looking at my guns before he sent me on my way with no ticket. I don't suppose you let slip your occupation? ;)

GhostRider66
June 22, 2005, 11:47 AM
I suppose you could package the ammo, etc. in some type of narcotics to prevent it from being detected..... :evil:

Don Gwinn
June 22, 2005, 11:54 AM
Hey, that's a good point. All it would take is some weed. Surely that's a stronger smell.

Why don't you try it out and let us know how that works out for you, Ghostrider?
:neener:

svtruth
June 22, 2005, 01:58 PM
Or go the other way. If every one sprayed his or her car with gunpowder, pot and cocaine the dogs would get a false positive on every stop. Think of the fun in that.

Preacherman
June 22, 2005, 02:00 PM
Yeah... think of the fun you'll have watching the police as they strip your vehicle down to its component nuts and bolts, looking for what caused the odor - and then hand you back the pieces to reassemble! :D

CAS700850
June 22, 2005, 02:13 PM
Henry,

I can honestly say that, yes, I did tell him what I do for a living. However, as I have made it known on many occassions, if I have done wrong, write me up just as you would anyone else. I have been cited twice by State Troopers in this job. Now, if he or she chooses not to cite me... :D

(For those of you outside the loop, I'm a prosecuting attorney/D.A.).

GhostRider66
June 22, 2005, 03:01 PM
On the side note of the distracting smells, I've often wondered why the big drug cartels don't boil up some pot, put the juice in spray bottles and pay the beggar kids a couple of bucks to go around spraying it on cars, trucks, etc in the border towns. They could pretty much shut down the sniffer dog use as they would be hitting on every other vehicle there. Custom's only choice would be to stop using them or shut the border down. Seems like a simple tactic.

Greg M
June 22, 2005, 03:20 PM
What's the rule with car searches and dogs? It sounds from what you're saying like they can't pop your trunk if you say no, but if they bring out a dog and it indicates that there's something in there, then that's probable cause and they can then search? Am I getting that right?

DirtyBrad, I think I got that impression from threads on this forum, but I don't know if that's the case here in Maryland. Regarding the penalties:

(c) Penalty.-
(1) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to the penalties provided in this subsection.
(2) If the person has not previously been convicted under this section, 4-204 of this subtitle, or 4-101 or 4-102 of this title:
(i) except as provided in item (ii) of this paragraph, the person is subject to imprisonment for not less than 30 days and not exceeding 3 years or a fine of not less than $250 and not exceeding $2,500 or both

It's a fairly severe penalty for having an unloaded firearm in your trunk and I wouldn't put it past the state of Maryland to later say that because you could have been imprisoned for more than a year, you don't qualify for CCW. Like you, I look forward to CCW MarylandShallIssue.org (http://www.marylandshallissue.org) and don't want to have been convicted of a "gun crime".

CAS700850: I don't think getting stopped for a traffic violation would cause one to be in violation of the law regarding transportation of firearms. What I had in mind was someone (not me, of course) who left their firearm in their trunk all day during work because they planned to stop by the range on the way home. Let's say that person was in an accident in the morning and was all nervous in front of the officer who then became suspicious. Not likely, but it's in the realm of possibilities.

308win
June 22, 2005, 03:25 PM
Custom's only choice would be to stop using them or shut the border down.

Not a bad outcome.

CAS700850
June 22, 2005, 03:36 PM
Greg M,

Now, I am truly sorry for you. For once, I can see Ohio law is better than someone else's. Here, so long as the gun is unloaded, and the ammunition stored seperately, you can leave the gun in the trunk for the rest fo time if you so desire. A buddy and I used to leave guns in our trunks routinely on short class days on the chance we might be able to sneak in a little shooting after classes in law school.

I am truly sorry about your laws.

DirtyBrad
June 22, 2005, 03:50 PM
This isn't a law that I -- or anyone else, I'd imagine -- think much about, I have to admit. I have to go north on 95 to get to my pistol range. The choice between leaving my gun (locked and unloaded) in my trunk while I'm at the office or going out of my way in rush-hour traffic to shoot after work is a pretty easy one.

Greg M
June 22, 2005, 04:07 PM
Yeah, I need to just stop being so anal about stuff. I got thinking about this because it's almost time to renew my membership at On Target. It would have been a lot cheaper to just pay for the half dozen or so times I went to the range last year. The range is close to work, but not home so it makes much more sense to stop there on the way home from work.

Thanks for the replies :) .

Greg

Byron Quick
June 22, 2005, 04:15 PM
I once enjoyed visiting Maryland. Several years ago I looked at the way things were going and put it on the enemy territory list. I'm not subject to its state law for I have no intention of crossing its boundaries. The state decided it didn't need the tourism dollars of folk such as me.

DirtyBrad
June 22, 2005, 05:18 PM
Greg, that's where I shoot, too. Is it really cheaper to buy a membership than six trips? I want to say I figured it out once and it didn't make sense for me to join, but I can't remember what any of the rates are now.

griz
June 22, 2005, 05:24 PM
Are you saying that if I am driving to the SASS regional match in Maryland that I can't even stop to buy gas? If that's the case, I may have violated the law. I don't remeber where I bought gas, food, etc. But maybe I, and the other 300 shooters, need to rethink the location of the match.

Greg M
June 22, 2005, 08:23 PM
griz, from http://198.187.128.12/

"(b) Exceptions.- This section does not prohibit: ...

...(4) the wearing, carrying, or transporting by a person of a handgun used in connection with an organized military activity, a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, hunting, a Department of Natural Resources-sponsored firearms and hunter safety class, trapping, or a dog obedience training class or show, while the person is engaged in, on the way to, or returning from that activity if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster; ..."

I would read that fairly liberally as in not prohibiting resonable stops, but as DirtyBrad wrote, there was a bill (HB527) introduced this year to specifically allow rest stops. I don't know where the common perception that one must travel directly to and from the event with no stops originated. Can other Marylanders help explain this?

DirtyBrad, what I was saying was that I wasted money getting the membership because I only went 5 or 6 times. The individual visits would have cost maybe $50, but my membership (family) was $190. I think the individual membership is about $150 and the first year there's a $25 fee. I'm going to use it more this year (I hope) :) . They also have a member's only sale in November that is pretty decent.

Greg

chaim
June 22, 2005, 08:44 PM
It's a fairly severe penalty for having an unloaded firearm in your trunk and I wouldn't put it past the state of Maryland to later say that because you could have been imprisoned for more than a year, you don't qualify for CCW

Umm, worse than that. The Maryland Attorney General has already interpreted a federal law that says if you are convicted and go to jail for a year or more on a misdomeanor you can't own guns as meaning if you are convicted of a misdomeanor where you can be sentenced to a year or more you can't own a gun. People with no jail time are getting their guns confiscated. Certainly, conviction of a misdomeanor that carries up to 3 years would stop you from getting CCW here if it ever passes since current interpretation of the law in MD would already make it illegal for you to even own a gun.

Are you saying that if I am driving to the SASS regional match in Maryland that I can't even stop to buy gas? Yup, that is the law in MD. You can travel to and from your event, but any stops becomes an illegal act in MD.

I would read that fairly liberally as in not prohibiting resonable stops

Then you'd be reading it wrong. Even the small part you posted says you can only transport a firearm to and from certain activities. It doesn't say you can stop on the way.

As you yourself mention, there is even a bill to ammend the law to allow rest stops and the like. Do you really think that the legislature would think that was needed if your interpretation that it is already legal to do so was correct?

Greg M
June 22, 2005, 09:02 PM
Thanks for the input, Chaim. As you state, the legislators clearly think that no stops are permitted. I guess I get confused because when I call my wife from Happy Hour and say I'm "on the way home", it's obvious to me that a stop is part of being "on the way" :evil:

While the law does not state that you can make a stop, it does not specifically say that you can't stop on the way. While I'm making a joke in the previous paragraph, I think one could be stopped at a gas station or restaurant and honestly say "I'm on the way home". Of course that's just my opinion :scrutiny: . I wonder if anyone has ever been busted for this.

Greg

griz
June 22, 2005, 09:03 PM
I'm certainly not a lawyer, but it does seem a reasonable interpatation would include ordinary stops. For instance, as small as Maryland is, there are routes that would require over 200 miles for the trip from the border to the range and back. Are you destined to be a law breaker if you forget to fill up in Virginia? Am I a felon if my car breaks down?

Not trying to nit pick here, but a law that is almost impossible to follow makes very little sense. (not that they don't exist)

Greg M
June 22, 2005, 09:14 PM
It also makes me wonder if we're making it too easy for the anti-gunners. I remember the testimony in Annapolis from people saying that it's impossible to travel to a shooting event with kids and not needing to stop. Is it possible that some of those anti-gun legislators were quietly thinking to themselves "we didn't mean you couldn't make a pit stop when we wrote that law!"?

I'm fairly new to this so I don't claim to know the background of the law or about actual case law or interpretations by the AG.

Greg

DirtyBrad
June 22, 2005, 09:39 PM
Crap! Chaim, that's hard core, man. What a ridiculous state this is. On the plus side, it'll be a cold day in hell before we get CCW here, so that question is most likely just philosophical.

I wish I hadn't asked. I'm sure I'll never get busted for this, but now I might be nervous enough to actually not keep my pistol in the trunk. What a bunch of crap.

At least I'll be twice as ready to put holes in something once I get to the range after sitting in an extra hour of traffic.

When is my job going to open up an office in Virginia?

The kicker is that -- other than it having some of the worst gun laws in the country -- I love this state.

thorn726
June 22, 2005, 11:06 PM
What's the rule with car searches and dogs? It sounds from what you're saying like they can't pop your trunk if you say no, but if they bring out a dog and it indicates that there's something in there, then that's probable cause and they can then search? Am I getting that right?

absolutely correct, why else would they have dogs. but like others said, drug dogs are drug sogs, explosives are seperate more often than not, but you cnat bet on that, and tupperware wouldnt do it.

it would take more sealing than would ever be worth doing.

how harsh is the penalty???

you need to get 75 little old ladies to get busted while buying milk and change that sucker.

Sam
June 22, 2005, 11:47 PM
On the origonal question, An Explosive Decector Dog will most certainly detect smokeless powder in your vehicle.
Tupperware will not seal well enough and to be matter of fact, the residue on your hand from putting it in the tupperware is enough to get an alert.
There are very few EDD's in circulation anywhere in teh nation but Md has more than it's fair share for certain political reasons.

I wouldn't have a dope dog that worked explosives, the dogs response would be a contra survival behavior trait :D

Sam

chaim
June 23, 2005, 01:39 AM
The kicker is that -- other than it having some of the worst gun laws in the country -- I love this state.

I know what you mean, it is a good state, and for me that is compounded by having all my family here.

Due to all the federal jobs and businesses serving the government things are pretty recession proof (well, recession resistant) here. There is a lot of history in this state, and in neighboring states within a short drive. While it is very urban for those of us that like that sort of thing (with all the benefits that being in close proximity to a world class city like DC) we are just a short drive from some pretty rural areas if you like that sort of thing (the best of both worlds). In central MD we are just a 2 hour drive from both the beach in one direction and the mountains on the other. While summers are bad (hot and very humid), they are much better than futher south, and winters are quite mild. Culture, camping, beach, boating, fishing, skiing, professional sports, several world class universities, etc.

As a base of operations for visiting other areas we are hard to beat. 4 hours from NYC and all it has to offer, 6-8 hours from Boston and 10 hours from the skiing and mountains of Vermont to the north. 4-6 hours from Richmond and Williamsburg/Norfolk, and an easy days drive from the Carolina beaches to the south. Within that radius there are tons of historical sites.

The DC area is quite expensive, but outside of that most of Maryland offers relatively affordable housing and living expenses. For example, the Baltimore area pretty much matches the national average.

For me there is the added advantage of the largest Orthodox Jewish community in the US outside of New York and New Jersey (and a 2-4 hour drive from the Jersey and NY communties).

However, Northern Virginia offers pretty much all of these advantages (minus the Jewish community, and an extra hour from family for me) while having good gun laws. The only problem there is expensive housing. If the job situation isn't as important, we are only about 2 hours from Phily so moving to PA is a real option as well (with much improved taxes and gun laws). So, while MD is a good place to live, there are nearby areas that match most of our advantages without the bad gun laws and taxes.

DirtyBrad
June 23, 2005, 01:53 AM
chaim, I'm with you exactly. That's what I like so much about this area -- that there is so much here and nearby. I can hike the Appalachian, go to the beach, paddle the western Potomac, go to Adams Morgan, ride out to Poolesville, etc, etc, etc.

I wouldn't mind moving to Virginia. I definitely feel like Maryland is home, though. I grew up here, went to UMCP, all that. Not to mention that my job is here and it's a good one. I don't know how much sense it makes to get a CCW and not be able to use it five or six days out of the week (I was going to say have to stow my pistol on the way to and from work every day, but this thread has shown that to be a legal impossibility).

Even so, I don't want to flee home. I want home to be better.

K-Romulus
June 23, 2005, 10:47 AM
Both of you have it right on why MD is (otherwise) a great state. And this is coming from a VA guy! :o I would love to move to Philly, but since my wife moved from there to MD, she doesn't want to go back! :eek:

The "stopping to/from" thing, even though the law is vague, is a perfect example of the anti-gun-owner slant that is attributed to MD. Combine that with the nonsense about "no loaded handgun magazines" (even though the law doesn't expressly say that), and you can see that any path to hammer gun owners will be taken, so you should be doubly careful.

As to whether the stopping or loaded handgun magazine "gotchas" have ever happened, I did ask Jim Purtillo of Tripwire fame about the magazine thing. He said that he knew of one person charged with improperly transporting a handgun because he had a loaded magazine somewhere in the car. Purtillo said he thinks he remembers that the judge didn't buy the "loaded magazine" basis for the charge and dismissed the case. I have read several "internet rumors" of people getting busted for stopping for gas.

As the MD handgun law is written, it is by default illegal to have a handgun in public, so YOU have to prove that YOU fit into one of the listed exceptions. Unlike VA, MD courts believe they can "read into" state statutes to see what the legislative reasoning is behind a law, and not just take at face value what is written in the statute, and then apply that "reasoning" to the facts before them. :eek: The highest court in MD has stated that the handgun law was enacted to protect people from themselves! :eek: With that in mind, I can see how some judge somewhere in PG or Monkey Counties may have decided that the law's intent was to prevent having a handgun anywhere in public that "could" be used to commit "gun violence," and therefore hammered the poor defendant who got snared by the "gotcha." ("No Taco Bell for you!") If you are ever charged under these wacko MD gun laws, you better hope you get a judge with some sense!

There is a fish & game statute stating that rifle/shotgun magazines must be unloaded during transport. I emailed DNR about this, and their reply was that (DNR at least) wanted no ammo in the firearm itself. This meant detachable magazines separate from the firearm were OK (I asked), but all internal magazines must be unloaded. That is just some person at DNR's interpretation (never got the person's name), so take that as you wish.

K-Romulus
June 27, 2005, 02:09 PM
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/howard/bal-wilcox27,1,3362038.story?coll=bal-local-howard

Former Terp Wilcox arrested on handgun charge
Member of 2002 NCAA championship team pulled over in Columbia

By Baltimoresun.com Staff
Originally published June 27, 2005, 12:17 PM EDT

Former University of Maryland basketball player Chris Wilcox, now of the Los Angeles Clippers, was arrested early this morning after police discovered a handgun in his car during a traffic stop.

Howard County police said they pulled over a silver BMW that was weaving southbound on Route 29 in Columbia around 1 a.m. A K-9 team in the area also responded to assist, according to police, and the dog reacted to something inside the car.

Wilcox, who was driving the vehicle with another passenger inside, then told the officer he had a gun in the car, police said.

The officer discovered a .357 revolver in a pocket behind the front passenger seat, and authorities said one spent casing was found in the weapon. According to police, live ammunition and two spent shell casings were also found inside the car.

It was unknown when the bullets were fired. Wilcox, 22, could not provide documentation that the gun belonged to him or that he had a permit for the weapon, police said.

Wilcox, of Laurel, was charged with transporting a handgun in a vehicle and released on his own recognizance, authorities said. The passenger, who police did not identify, was not charged.

Wilcox was a member of the Terrapins' 2002 NCAA championship team during his sophomore year. He was drafted by the Clippers that June as the No. 8 overall pick.

brian roberts
June 27, 2005, 07:47 PM
forget the Tupperware & Gladwear, too. the "official" capacity of a dog's nose has been described as: "...even(some absolutely ridiculously minute amount) of the targeted substance wrapped in 800 FEET OF PLASTIC is routinely detected by the canine nose..." in any event, if stopped, don't submit to the search, ask if the officer has probable cause, POLITELY, & do not get out of the conveyance; no, i know my rights, & its too dangerous out there....
but you might try:skunk odor, deer rut, Taco Bell Grande Gas, & how about canine estrus, & on the other hand, male canine urine. man, i'd offload ALL the guns & just get down there BEGGIN' them Brown Clowns to stop me so i could try out all the high-tech S**T. :) :)

deker
June 27, 2005, 08:16 PM
Greg M:

I also tend to shoot at On Target after work (one of these days we should try to get some folks together there, most people I've met there just aren't all that friendly/talkative). It's the first place I ever shot and I've kind of kept going there since it's convenient and relatively inexpensive (if you bring your own ammo and targets). Would a person seriously be in violation for "stopping" at work if they plan to shoot on the way home? Even if the firearm was unloaded, locked in a case locked in a car?

Anybody else here shoot @ On Target?

-d

PS: As far as leaving MD...I've been here my whole life, but I suppose since I'm waiting for my settlement date on a house in PA you know where *I* stand...still be working in MD though.

Norton
June 27, 2005, 09:08 PM
If I recall from the hearings back in February or March there was a statement that there has only been one documented case of someone being prosecuted under this law. Take that for what it's worth.

On the subject of a get together, there is right now a plan to get together at On Target on Wednesday, July 6th. Our very own GirlWithAGun set up the date for us, but we need a time.

I'm free pretty much anytime so do i hear a suggestion?

deker
June 27, 2005, 11:06 PM
is there one around for planning the shoot On Target on the 6th? In a quick look at the "rallying point" forum I didn't see one...

-d

Greg M
June 29, 2005, 09:16 PM
MAN!! Thanks K-Romulus for updating the thread with that story. I heard it on the radio a few days and thought to myself "that's why I asked the Tupperware question!!!"

I hate the thought of getting stuck in a situation like that, but obviously keeping the firearm unloaded in the trunk is a lot wiser than in the pocket behind the front seat.

So let's say I got a large ammo box (supposedly air tight) and installed a padlock hasp on it. Does anyone know if the cops need a warrant to get into a locked container that's carried in a vehicle? My understanding is that a locked glove box or briefcase is off-limits.

Deker, it seems that stopping to go to work (for eight hours) on the way to the range probably wouldn't fly with the cop. On the other hand, who says you have to drive a specific route to the range. I typically drive 30 miles (instead of 20 miles) to work because I like highways instead of roads with traffic lights. Who says you were at work at all that day anyway? In fact maybe I started driving from Annapolis to Continental Arms in Timonium and then changed my mind when I got to the beltway and headed south to On Target!

Greg

Girlwithagun
June 30, 2005, 01:23 PM
I am going to be there on the 6th but I'm not shooting since I'm pregnant. Say hi to me on the way in though.

geekWithA.45
June 30, 2005, 02:18 PM
My take on the bball player whose gun got sniffed is that he'd been had.

"My dog just alerted, is there something you want to me to know about?", implying that confessing now was somehow in his interest is one of the oldest con games in the book.

Nervous guy says yes, instantly providing the presumably missing probable cause.

If an officer really has probable cause, I don't think he'd be wasting much time doinking with the suspect, he'd be tearing his car apart.

Remember: The key to retaining your rights is to force the infringing party out on a limb; offer no assistance, make them break locks.

It's a real shame that an honest citizen can't count on the goodwill of the police, but it is what is is.

BlackCat
June 30, 2005, 08:32 PM
can the regular police sniffer dogs detect smokeless powder? I thought their noses were only for drugz?

Supposedly. In addition to being masters at taking people down to the ground they are supposed to be able to sniff out anything.

Back in high school our cars were subject to random searches by a dog.

This dog could find cigarettes, chewing tobacco, alcohol, all drugs, guns, and ammunition according to school officials. I really doubt there's much truth to that though. They did never find my smokes, but I wasn't taking chances on the rest of the contraband and tried to keep my vehicle empty of that stuff.

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