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Personal true story. RV stop in ILL.

Discussion in 'Legal' started by BBQJOE, Jun 19, 2007.


    BBQJOE Well-Known Member

    This is a true story that happened to me a few years back.
    Some will find this entertaining, I hope some might learn something they didn't know before.
    I learned quite a bit from this experience.

    I used to travel 48 states using my RV to work out of.
    We relocated semi tractors. Our company required three people. We would all travel in the RV to the job site. Once there, we would unload all the tools necessary and take up to eight semi tractors and hook them together making two loads up to four each.

    My wife would drive one load, I'd drive the other, and a third hired hand would follow us in the RV.

    We were all in the RV on our way to the next job passing through Illinois inthe middle of the night. It was winter, cold, and snowing lightly.

    My wife and I were asleep in the back and my friend John was driving.

    I was awakened hearing John announce we were getting pulled over. I quickly hopped out of bed threw on some clothes and at the same time asked him why we were getting pulled over.
    John responded that he had no idea, he wasn't speeding.
    He pulled the RV to the side of the road. By this time my wife was awake and present as well.

    We sat still until the officer came to the vehicle. He did not approach the drivers door but instead knocked on the side door leading to the living area.

    I opened the door. The officer said it's cold may I come in?
    At the time I saw no reason not to let him in, I had nothing to hide, so I let him in.
    I inquired as to why were pulled over, and was told a lane change made was not indicated with a turn signal.( Turned out the bulb was bad)

    The next thing he did was look at a rack in the kitchen mounted on the wall holding kitchen knives and asked if we had any other weapons.

    Still a little groggy from waking up I asked weapons? He pointed to the rack and said WEAPONS.
    I told him there was no weapons that he needed to worry about.
    He then saw that John had a buck knife in the visor above the drivers seat.
    The officer asked what about that? Pointing to the buck knife.
    I told the officer I had no idea why he had that there.
    The officer looked around another minute, and said he would be right back and left.
    Looking out the rear window I could see at least two other units had arrived.
    I thought Crap! What's this all about?

    Another officer enters the RV. He too looks around and asks again, are you sure you have no other weapons, guns etc?

    Being as we stayed on the road three or more months at a time, I decided leaving my firearms at home was not a good idea in case of burglary.

    I told the officer, yes, I do have a six shot .22 pistol, but it's locked in the safe. he asked to see it. I thought of asking him, What? You never seen a .22 before? But keeping my better judgment I resisted, and retreated to the bedroom opened the safe and brought out the revolver, and unholstered it.
    I opened the cylinder and ejected the bullets and handed it to him still open.

    He examined the revolver, closed it and walked out of the RV.

    A couple of minutes later the first officer returned, entered and giving me a nasty looked said, I thought you told me there weren't any weapons on board?

    I told him I remember telling him there weren't any that he needed to worry about.
    By this time there were now six squad cars behind us with all the lights flashing.
    I could hear truckers talking on the CB radio.
    One guy goes, well I bet they caught some drug runners, another chimes back with it's probably full of illegal aliens.
    I told John to shut the dam thing off.

    The officer asks, do you have any more guns in here. I told him no.

    He then says everybody out.
    We were ushered out not even being allowed to grab a coat.

    As we stood on the side of the road four officers and a dog approached, and they all piled into the RV. We could see them rustling about inside.
    Then they came out, and walked the dog around the RV a couple of times and went back in.
    They came out again, and again went around the RV looking underneath and in the side boxes full of tools.
    We were beginning to freeze standing outside in the cold. One of the officers had the decency to allow my wife to sit in his cruiser to stay warm, but John and I were left outside.

    They went back into the RV for the third time, and came out carrying my SKS.

    The officer carrying it came up to me, held it out, and asked, What's this?
    I told him it wasn't much more than maybe a club. I pointed out there was no magazine and the bolt was completely removed, so it wasn't much as far as guns go.

    He walked away with it, and I was asked again by the first officer who was pretty angry by now if I had any more guns inside. I told him no.

    Nonetheless they all piled back in for another look. They went through all the drawers and cabinets as well as the closets.

    We had been on the side of the road now for practically an hour and a half, or maybe more before they let us back in.

    The first officer then wrote us a fix it ticket for the turn signal.
    Another officer returned with the firearms, laid them on the sofa and announced they are registered and clean.

    By this time I had about had it and told the cop that I could have told him that!

    He told me he could tell I wanted to be a good guy and obey the law.
    He then told me I needed to get a case for the rifle in order to carry it properly. I told him I didn't have one. he then proceeded to tell me to grab a pair of jeans and stuff it down a pant leg.
    I inquired, wouldn't that be more like trying to hide it as compared to being stored underneath the bed as he had found it?
    He told me no, so I did as he suggested.
    He then handed me the ticket and told me to drive safely, and left.

    We sat for a few minutes, stunned at all that had taken place. After all the police cars left, I looked around.
    Sure they had tossed the place around a bit. But what really angered me was that they had broken every single latch on every cabinet and closet.
    It was obvious they didn't know how to operate them.
    Twenty latches were destroyed at $12 Bucks each to replace.

    I should have probably filed a complaint but didn't.

    1. I should have not let the first officer in. Doing so gave all the other officers permission to enter as well.
    The RV was my home. Anything in the driver area forward of the seats is fair game for the most part. Anything behind the front seats is your home and they have no right to enter without a search warrant, or I suppose very good probable cause.

    2. I should have directed the officer to the drivers door.

    3. People younger than sixty five driving RV's are highly suspicious.

    I'm sure there are more things I learned but can't remember, although I will remember to stay out of that state at any cost.

    So again in summary, Never let a LEO in your RV without a warrant. I wasn't doing anything illegal, but was treated like some sort of criminal, and forced to freeze my butt off on the side of the road all because I didn't wish for the officer to stand out in the cold.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  2. RoadkingLarry

    RoadkingLarry Well-Known Member

    For my money whenever law enforcement ASKS if they can search your vehicle/home/saddlebags etc the answer is NO!
  3. jselvy

    jselvy member

    If the Polis ask the answer is always no

  4. pcosmar

    pcosmar member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  5. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    1) The stop was legal (burnt out light)

    2) Letting the officer inside wasn't the problem.

    3) You lied to the first officer about weapons, saying "none that you need to worry about". Producing the firearm for the second officer is probably what they based their PC upon for searching your vehicle.

    4) The first officer was probably outside writting your ticket when the second officer comes outside with the handgun. I'm pretty sure that irked the first officer since you told him there wasn't any.

    5) Did they have PC to search after this?? Depends, you'd have to ask the officer(s) involved what their thought process was, but they have a weapon you said you didn't have and..............

    6) Then, they find another "none you need to worry about" firearm.

    7) Apparently the state you were in required the guns to be carried in a case. Next time you should check to see what the requirements are for transporting weapons.

    8) They should not have broken anything. You should have at least called the department and talked to a supervisor.
  6. F4GIB

    F4GIB Well-Known Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  7. jpk1md

    jpk1md Well-Known Member

    IIRC FEDERAL LAW requires that firearms be transported in an enclosed case of some sort when traveling interstate.
  8. F4GIB

    F4GIB Well-Known Member

    Wrong. Federal law has no "requirements" for private transport of a firearm.
    18 USC 926A does, however, provide a safe harbor from state laws if the the firearm is unloaded and in a locked case with the ammunition, if any, in a separate, locked case.
  9. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Well-Known Member

    But weak. I know that cops use stuff like this (burnt out lights, license plate lights out, etc) just to give them a reason to pull someone over to take a closer look at them. In your case, you were suspicious.

    So, that means I could carry an AK into Cali (I don't live there), so long as it is in a locked case, with ammo separate in another lockd case?

    (and do soft cases with a padlock count?)
  10. jselvy

    jselvy member

    as long as you never leave the interstate.

  11. illini52

    illini52 Well-Known Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  12. neoncowboy

    neoncowboy Well-Known Member

    Yes, it most certainly was!

    Compounded by entering into a conversation with said officer.

    'No, I do not consent to a search', 'I have nothing to say', 'Am I free to go?'
  13. BBQJOE

    BBQJOE Well-Known Member

    No, I believe fully that was the problem. If I had made him go to the driver's door and stand out in the cold while he went back and verified registration etc. He probably would have just given us the fix it ticket and left.

    (Unless he was "Profiling" younger white people in RV's driving in the dark)
  14. jselvy

    jselvy member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  15. wdlsguy

    wdlsguy Well-Known Member

    I'm amazed you weren't cuffed and stuffed at that point.
  16. TallPine

    TallPine Well-Known Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  17. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Well-Known Member

    That section of the US Code is what we often refer to as the FOPA (Firearms Owners Protection Act). It applies to interstate travel. There are some prerequisites: First, possession of the firearm must be legal at the place the journey begins, and at the place where the journey ends. UNless you are legally able to possess an AK in California, the law would not allow you to bring one in with you. What it would allow you to do is transport an AK with you if you are driving through California, perhaps on the way from Arizona to Oregon or Washington. But you would really have to be traveling THROUGH California. Stopping to eat, refuel, take a comfort break, etc, are what the law would probably consider activities "in the normal course of travel." I haven't seen any test cases, but I imagine if it's a long trip it the law would even cover spending a night in a motel near a highway interchange.

    But ... take a 50 mile detour to have a visit with Uncle Joe and Auntie Maude on your way through California just might make California a destination of itself, which would remove the FOPA protections unless you can legally possess the AK on Uncle Joe's property.
  18. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    You got a break...a big one...

    You shouldn't have let the officer on board. And you really shouldn't have lied about guns.

    Equals this:
    The provision about possessing a firearm owners identification card doesn't apply to nonresidents.

    So instead of sitting in jail on felony UUW charges, you were given your firearms back, a repair order for a broken tail light and sent on your way, and you have the audacity to complain about it? :what:

    The Firearm Owners Protection Act under federal law doesn't protect you carrying a loaded gun interstate. You didn't check on the laws regarding carrying and possession of firearms in the states you were traveling in, you operated a vehicle that was not legal (inoperable lights). It seems like the lick is on you and you should be thanking the officers of whatever department you were pulled over by for using discretion and not arresting you on felony charges.

    Kind of shoots the heck out of the THR myth that if you are innocently caught with a firearm by an Illinois officer you're on your way to jail doesn't it?

  19. stevelyn

    stevelyn Well-Known Member

    Oh yes it was. Once you invite the vampire in across the threshold, everything he sees falls under the "plain view" doctrine and it only goes down hill from there.
  20. bakerj

    bakerj Well-Known Member

    Didn't he state that the pistol was locked in a safe? Wouldn't that qualify as are not immediately accessible; or
    b](iii) are unloaded

    Not being a wise ass and dont carry loaded guns in my trunk but looks like it would be o.k.

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