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Can bomb-sniffing dogs smell a pistol inside a car from outside?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Richard.Howe, Mar 22, 2005.

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  1. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Member

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    I work for a large multinational oil company with a particular distaste for gun-toting employees. The company policy is very clear; bring a gun onsite and get caught, and you're out the door. No questions asked, do not pass go, do not collect your pension.

    We have recently begun having bomb-sniffing dogs run through the mail room and parking lot, post-911 don'cha know. If I forgot to take my (legally obtained and licensed) CCW out of the car one night, can a bomb-sniffing dog smell it from outside?

    Let me be clear that this is only a question of curiosity. I have zero intent of carrying onsite. Please let me also be clear that I have no interest in discussing whether I ought to carry to work -- different question for a different thread, not here.
     
  2. TheOtherOne

    TheOtherOne Member

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    I'm no expert, but I doubt it. From watching Cops :) (yeah, like I said, no expert) they always seem to have the car opened before the drug dog "hits" on anything and even then I wonder if the dog isn't just reacting so it can finally play with it's kong!

    Still, even if it did hit on a car, does the company then have a right to break into the car (or make you open it) and search it?
     
  3. patentnonsense

    patentnonsense Member

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    And does black pepper really help repel sniffers, or is that a myth?

    (Surely there's no company policy against spilling a little black pepper on your floorboards every now and then??)

    And some states are starting to forbid this sort of parking-lot tyranny, but I guess Louisiana must not be one yet.
     
  4. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Member

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    As with most companies with a similar policy, an initial condition of employment was permission to search my office and vehicle with no prior warning if "probable cause" indicated that a search was warranted.

    Having said that -- ours is a litigious society -- and corporations are particularly hesitant to do anything that leaves them exposed. I'm saying that they aren't going to demand a search without a darn good reason.

    There's not a civil court judge in the world that would question a right to do a search based on a K9 indication, especially if the employee agreed up front.
     
  5. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Member

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    "And does black pepper really help repel sniffers, or is that a myth?"

    What happens with pepper is that during the process of sniffing the dog sniffs pepper up it's nose which puts it immediately out of commission for a day or two. Handlers are usually not too happy when this happens.

    :eek:
     
  6. borderguy

    borderguy Member

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    Depends on the dog. We had a drug dog the once sniffed out cocaine hidden in a scuba bottle inside a full gas tank. Other dogs didn't do as well. I would be inclined to say a bomb dog would be able to find a gun in a car, especially of it had been fired recently. Remember , it's seeking the odors from the chemicals used in bomb making.

    Pepper, Perfume and other scents have no effect on the dogs.
     
  7. skwang

    skwang Member

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    I don't know but it could be fun to put something that smells like a bomb component in or on a few (read all) the cars in the parking lot, could make checking the cars a real pain in the butt :neener: , though that could be a bad idea.

    Logan
     
  8. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Saw "Gus", a drug sniffing Rottie, set up on numerous school lockers where nothing was found. Handler said kids toked up and wiped their hands on the gym towels that were in the lockers. "Gus" also hit on a locker where deputies finally found a cap pistol derringer. "Gus" went ape when the handler thumbed the hammer back.

    Kinda like skwang's idea on corp property. A little fertilizer dissolved in water in a spray bottle...oh, never mind.
    Bob
     
  9. Roadkill Coyote

    Roadkill Coyote Member

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    Well, the devils advocate would find out as follows...

    The dog would trying to detect miniscule particles of propellent or burnt propellent in the air, indicating the POSSIBLE presence of a gun, not the gun itself. So, just take your car to the range, park appropriately, open the passenger side window, discharge a couple of mags safely into the berm from the drivers seat, and roll up the window. Drop the guns off at home, and go to work the next day. If they ask you to search your perfectly innocent, empty car, then you'd know...

    Or you could just look for somewhere off site to park ;)
     
  10. M67

    M67 Member

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    In the world? That's a pretty big place. There is no way a private company could search my car where I live. If an employer were to suspect something illegal, such as drugs, or theft from the company, they could call the police. The police can carry out a search based on a search warrant or probable cause. My car is my private property, my employer can't touch it, no matter who owns the parking lot. It's even questionable whether my employer can legally read my private e-mail - stored on the company's computer at the workplace, sent during working hours.

    But back to the topic.

    I'm no expert on dogs, but I would be surprised if it can't smell a gun (solvents, powder residue) inside a car. I have a friend who used to breed blood hounds. He claims a good hound can track a person driving a car, as long as the window is rolled down.
     
  11. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    I think M67 is right. I also would be surprised if a well trained sniffer couldn't detect an uncleaned gun in a closed car. It would probably depend somewhat on the weather and temp differential inside and outside the car. No generally available car is leak proof.

    I visited one of the largest dog training facilities on the east coast for a demo. In short, those dogs are nothing short of phenomenal. To see them in action is very impressive. They can detect a few micrograms of the substance they are trained to detect, whether it be drugs, bomb materials, gunpowder, etc.

    As Bob F. implied, a good dog will give a lot of false positives, not because they made a mistake, but because something was there at some time or another even though it may not be physically present when they indicate on it. So, in truth, they rarely make a mistake. It is then up to their handlers to determine if a substance is still there in sufficient quantity to be a problem.
     
  12. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    I seem to recall reading somewhere that "gun sniffing" dogs are actually trained to detect the odor of gun oil. I have zero documentation for that--just throwing it out as hearsay.
     
  13. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

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    A friend of mine got in some trouble in high school when a dog detected the shotgun he had accidentally left in his truck one day. This is the same place that let him bring a shotgun to class for part of his senior project :rolleyes:
     
  14. patentnonsense

    patentnonsense Member

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    As richard.howe said, with the usual consent to search in the employment contract you're not in a good position if the company cops decide you're suspicious. (Dog or no dog, I'd expect.)

    In the long run, one approach to this sort of parking-lot tyranny would be to assert liability against companies who suppress lawful carry in the parking lot. Hypothetical: Joe X, who has a carry permit and is competent with his weapon and carries when he can, drives home from work, walks in on a burglar, and is shot and paralyzed. Expert testimony shows that a citizen with Joe's competence is far more likely to emerge safely from the encounter if he is carrying (as Joe usually does). Isn't this a reasonable case for liability?

    Legislative proposal: An employer who prevents or limits employees from possession of lawful measures for personal defense, within the confines of their personal vehicles in employee parking areas, shall be liable for consequences of an employee's inability to use such measures which might otherwise have been available to the employee.

    Anti-gun organizations would hate this, but in some states it might pass.

    Distinguish: firearms outside the car are a different story, because of real safety concerns in some places (e.g. poisonous and explosive gasses), and some legitimate role for the employer in arbitrating the conflicting safety preferences of different employees.
     
  15. cpileri

    cpileri Member

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    test

    Another way to test it out, but would involve leaving your carry piece home for one day, is as follows:

    Don a pair of latex or plastic gloves, and then proceed to clean your carry piece as usual.

    Put the gloves in the trunk or safe or wherever you would store the pistol. If the dog can catch the residue of the cleaning products and powder on the gloves, he can do so on the piece as well.

    You can try to use the 'invisible gun' non-scented products, or cover the area with perfume or whatever. Just do what you think yuo'd normally do, but lock up the gloves and a patch or 2 from the barrel to get some powder residue.

    If you are willing to leave your piece home for a few days, you can use this technique to experiment until you do find what combination will thwart Fido.

    All I know is that a chemical company I am familiar with has a fake scent kits designed for training these dogs, as well as rescue dogs, etc. They have fake cocaine scent, fake you-name-it scent. In particular, they have fake live body scent, fake dead body scent, and fake dead-for-a-week body scent and of a dog can pick up these scents UNDER 4 FEET OF SNOW then they can pick up scent through your trunk safe as well!
    Best bet is to have NO SCENT for them to pick up.

    C-
     
  16. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I like the idea of decoy scents . . . I'd think that if one were to make up a "tea" of something like Hoppe's #9, Outer's Gun Oil, and a double-base powder like Bullseye (containing both nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine) in a volatile carrier solvent like isopropanol, spraying it on tires - or even just around the parking lot - would befuddle Fido.

    And when the company demanded that a LOT of employees open their cars - and nothing was found - backlash would set in.

    But of course, that would be so WRONG . . . :evil:
     
  17. 444

    444 Member

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    "Pepper, Perfume and other scents have no effect on the dogs."

    That is also what I understand although I don't know much about the subject. I am basing this on the fact that I am a firefighter and our department has arson dogs. The dog handlers gave us a class in the academy and said that dogs smell things differently than humans. They smell component parts of things (for the lack of another way to put it). For example, if you and I smell pizza, we think: pizza. When a dog smells pizza, it smells tomato sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, etc. So, if you put black pepper around your car, the dog would smell black pepper, gasoline, oil, human, gun, cigarettes................
    Our arson dogs scent stuff used to start fires like gasoline. The fact that walk into a burnt out building with smoke and steam still rising from the structure, they can easily detect gasoline or whatever: after that chemical has burned or not. I am sure that most houses have black pepper, perfume, cleaning supplies, etc in addition to the powerful smells associated with the fire. Doesn't bother the dog at all. It also doesn't bother the process that people keep things like gasoline in their houses normally. The investigator simply uses common sense to rule out arson even though the dog scents something. For example, the dog scents gasoline in the garage: that would be normal. The dog scents gasoline in the master bedroom, on the bottom of a pair of shoes: that would also be normal. Dog scents gasoline in multiple spots around the living room consistent with the burn patterns on the walls: you are in deep do-do.
    Do you realize that there are dogs that find drowning victims underwater by scenting the air while riding in a boat ?
    I once read a story about a kidnapping in Germany. The police found the getaway car several days or weeks after the fact. They laid a piece of cloth on the car seat for awile and then put the cloth in a glass jar. A couple years later they narrowed the case down to a couple suspects. They brought them in for a line up. They took out the piece of cloth, let a K9 smell it and the dog walked right over to the guy that did it: years later.
    Another thing to keep in mind if the dog is being used by a police department or one of our arson dogs: those dogs are considered to be police officers. If you screw around and injure that dog, it is considered the same as if you had injured a human police officer and you will be punished accordingly. I would bet money that if you injured a dog owned by a private security company (or they say you did) you would be fired or possibly even sued for damages. I am all for personal freedom, gun ownership etc. Part of that freedom is the right to tell people what they can and cannot do on YOUR property as well as expecting that people who do not follow your rules on your property or people who damage your property to be punished.
     
  18. answerguy

    answerguy Member

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    Plus, with this tactic, you have the fun of re-assembling your car before you can go home. :)
     
  19. 41 Redhawk

    41 Redhawk Member

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    I watched a special on TV one day about tracking dogs. There was a blood hound that was tracking the scent of a little girl locked in the truck of a car. He was tracking her on the interstate where the car had driven. He would track past an exit ramp then they would load him up and drive to the next exit ramp...until he tracked off the ramp and down a secondary road. They did this for hours until the handlers gave up...not the dog. The girl was eventually found a short distance from where they pulled the dog off.

    The answer is a dog with a good nose would not have any difficulty smelling your gun.
     
  20. Highland Ranger

    Highland Ranger Member

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    My experiences with Labs (not the best breed for smelling) is that yes; they could smell it from outside the car.

    Now if they are scenting on the propellent (powder) and the gun was clean . . . . not sure about that . . .
     
  21. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    Disclaimer: I would never harm a dog who was not an immanent threat to life and limb. I'm only asking as a reality-check on some scuttlebutt that went around when a previous employer (no, that's not why I left!) brought in a drug sniffing dog.

    Anyway, the guys on the job were saying "just leave a puddle of antifreeze by your car -- the dogs can't resist drinking it, and it poisons them." Any truth to this? Urban legend?

    - 0 -
     
  22. Igloodude

    Igloodude Member

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    I like the "fake scent" idea - if you can't make the target invisible, make lots of fake targets. Getting a little spray bottle full of Hoppes/powder/lead/whatever "perfume" and giving some cars a spritz, and perhaps even taking it in to work and spritzing the occasional chair or coat rack would do wonders. :D
     
  23. TechBrute

    TechBrute Member

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    There was an incident in Oklahoma where some employees were fired for firearms found in their car. The employer had a "no guns onsite" policy and used dogs. I'm currently searching for a link.

    dev_null, antifreeze does poison dogs, however, they can resist drinking it if trained or monitored, just as you don't snatch the coffee from your coworkers' hands in the morning. Dogs can show restraint, just like humans.

    Edited to add links to reference:
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=113443
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=115333
     
  24. firesafety3

    firesafety3 Member

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    I have actually witnessed this happen. Again, a major oil company in Louisiana. The drug, alcohol, and contraband policy was clearly stated and the company decided to lock the gates to the contractor parking lot and have the police dogs come in the "sniff" the vehicles.

    One employee was in the process of moving and had all the normal stuff (blankets, clothes, matress, recliner, etc.) But he did have a .357 in the glove compartment and the dog did indeed pick up on it. He was brought to the vehicle to open it.

    There's no doubt these dogs are good. In the same search, numerous vehicles were found to have drugs (or paraphenalia and traces of drugs).

    I work as a safety professional for an industrial company and our policy and search procedures are very clear and a condition of employment. I could list all the incidents and screen failure percentages...but that another thread.
     
  25. AirPower

    AirPower Member

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    Even if you clean the gun, I have a dog that go nuts on CLP. :D
     
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