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Run-in with ill-informed DNR

Discussion in 'Michigan Glockers' started by GIJoeCam, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. GIJoeCam


    Dec 8, 2003
    Newport, MI
    I had an interesting run-in with an ill-informed DNR officer this weekend. I thought I might share my experience as a learning experience.

    My wife and I along with two other couples were out driving the trails around Kalkaska, Grayling, and Frederick, MI, this weekend. We were out doing nothing more than enjoying the fall colors, taking some pictures of ourselves, our friends, and our trucks in the beautiful pallette mother nature provides every year around this time.

    As we got to the end of one section of trail, our convoy of three trucks (led by me) came up behind another pickup. Just as we neared the intersection of the trail with a main road, a DNR officer rounded the corner, stopped, and rolled his window down to talk to the driver in front of us. They chatted for a couple minutes, and the officer sent him on his way. I pulled forward, rolled down the window, and had the following conversation:

    Me: Me
    CO: Conservation Officer

    CO: Good Afternoon
    Me: Good Afternoon, officer.
    CO: How're you doing today?
    Me: Good!
    CO: Are you out here running bear?
    Me: Huh? {confused look on my face} No, sir, we're just out running the trails, taking pictures of the fall colors. Here's our camera...
    CO: Well, I noticed you all have antennas on your trucks, and the guy behind you has a dog, and... are they just CB's?
    Me: Yes, sir, just CB's for trail communication. We're not hunting for bear or anything... the dog is their pet.
    CO: (noticing the license plate of the guy behind us) You guys all from Ohio?
    Me: no, sir, myself and the third truck are from Michigan, the couple in the middle are from Ohio.
    CO: What about the fourth truck?
    Me: huh? {glances in mirror} They're not with us. I didn't know they were even there.
    CO: OK. Do you have any weapons in the vehicle?
    Me:Yes, sir, I have a concealed weapons permit, and a loaded pistol between the seats.
    CO: {Putting the vehicle in park and exiting the vehicle} Can I see your license please?
    Me: Absolutely. {Hand him my driver's license and CCW permit}
    CO: Can I inspect the weapon, please?
    Me: Absolutely.
    CO: Keep it pointed in a safe direction, but I'm sure you know that.
    Me: {Hands the still-holstered weapon through the window}
    CO: Do you have the registration card for this gun?
    Me: {thinking, 'You moron, we don't register guns here in Michigan, and there's no legal requirement that says I have to carry the safety inspection certificate with me at any time!!} No sir.
    CO: Well, see, that serial number on the gun is on the registration certificate, but it's not on your CCW permit, so you really should carry the registration with you so it can prove to me that this gun is registered to you.
    Me: OK.
    CO: {Holster's my weapon, hands the gun and paperwork back to me} You're all set. Have a nice day.
    Me: You too! {thinking to myself, "You too, you ill-informed moron!!"}

    I darn near bit my tongue off when he asked for the registration card LOL!! Just another illustration that not all LEOs know the laws they're charged with upholding. In this case, I would expect the CO to know the CCW laws... I find it hard to believe I'm the first person he's ever come across with a concealed weapon.

    For the record, there's no legal requirement that the safety inspection certificate be kept with the gun. As far as I know (and please correct me if I'm wrong) there's no legal requirement that the gun I carry concealed even be registered in my name.... In fact, last I checked, Michigan doesn't register guns at all. They perform a 'safety inspection' and that's it. Now, as a back-door registration, the safety inspection can trace the gun's ownership to a particular person, but that person doesn't have to be me in order for me to carry it.

    Furthermore, if the officer has any doubt as to the legal ownership of the weapon, he's more than welcome to call the serial number in and see whose name it comes back with. Why should I have to carry a card that gets him out of doing his job? IMO, the inspection card could be forged way easier than the state of Michigan's database.

    Any thoughts? I think I handled it the best way I could. The only thing I would have done different if I replay the scene in my head is to disclose I had a concealed weapon earlier in the conversation. There really wasn't a good point to interject with 'I've got a CCW and a gun' prior to where I did, as I was following his line of questioning, and prior to that point, I'm not entirely sure I was 'detained' by the officer.... Either way, he seemed like a pretty cool guy (albeit ill-informed). In retrospect, I would have liked to get his name so I could send a letter to his post suggesting that they clarify the CCW and registration requirements with the staff. Oh, well.... Maybe next time.

    Thought? Comments? Suggestions? If nothing else, this might make for a learning experience for someone. It's my first contact with an LEO while carrying concealed...

  2. gsbell

    gsbell Consumed

    Feb 21, 2003
    Nolensville, TN
    CO's generally have a reputation for what you experienced

  3. Glock 19 God

    Glock 19 God Banned

    Jul 15, 2007
    The Mitten State
    COs are generally people who applied to every Police Department in the state and were never hired.
  4. He probably didn't want to take the extra time to run the serial number via his dispatch/LEIN/etc.

    I wouldn't read into it too much, personally. He didn't say you "shall" carry the reg card, did he? Perhaps he is accustomed to people in his area who regularly offer up their reg cards during contacts...

    I've had quite a few encounters where citizens regularly offer up their reg cards [along with their driver's license, carry license, hunting license, FOP cards (lol) ] during contacts.
  5. Trebor


    Jun 22, 2002
    Actually, you got lucky.

    The DNR officers are considered law enforcement officers for purpose of the CPL law. Under the current law if you have a CPL and are carrying a concealed pistol you are "immediately" required to tell the officer you that you have a CPL and you are carrying a pistol. You failed to do that and a hard ass could have caused you a problem about that.

    Granted, if you are both in your trucks it's a little different from a typical traffic stop when you are pulled over for speeding or whatever. Still, he was talking to you in an official capacity and, in my opinion, you were effectively "stopped" for the duration of the questioning.

    Personally, right after "Hello, officer" I would have said, "Just so you know, I do have a Michigan Concealed Pistol license and I am carrying a pistol today. "

    I'm not an attorney and this is not legal advice, etc, just my belief on the matter.
  6. GIJoeCam


    Dec 8, 2003
    Newport, MI
    Agreed. In my defense, as I mentioned before, it was my first ever encounter with law enforcement while carrying.

    However, the law states,
    What defines 'stopped' is debatable. I think in this case, yes, I was probably stopped, but as to what defines 'stopped', AFAIk, the courts have not expressly defined that yet. When I stopped along side his truck, he may have wanted to ask about the weather, or the trail conditions, or he may have wanted to interrogate us because we fit the profile of bear poachers. I think if he had actually gotten out of his truck, waved us down, and asked us to exit the vehicle, that would clearly be 'stopped'. In our case, I think it still falls a little bit into the gray area. At any rate, if he didn't understand the registration laws, I would be surprised if he had evaluated the finer points of the disclosure law.

    In the future, I would agree that it should have been the first thing out of my mouth... LEOs of any sort make me nervous, even when I haven't done anything wrong... I have no idea why. I understand now why the people on Cops sometimes seem like babbling fools!!

  7. JohnJak

    JohnJak sadly spent

    Mar 7, 2005
    They are not to smart here in Michigan.
  8. zbusdriver


    Jul 21, 2006
    se michigan
    that would be "too smart," NOT "to smart" as you stated.

    be careful calling someone, or an entire group of people (Michigan Conservation Officers in this case), stupid; it may reflect poorly upon you.

    as my signature line says:
  9. sjfrellc

    sjfrellc CLM

    Dec 26, 2004
    Novi, Michigan
    You did fine and his comments should roll off your back.
    Stop making allusions to inspections not being registrations. Inspection is a euphemism for registration. Serial numbers are registered in Michigan, no doubt. I as a law abiding citizen am OK with it.
    Of course you don't have to carry the green card.
  10. JohnJak

    JohnJak sadly spent

    Mar 7, 2005
    The word stupid was not used. I believe the term "not to smart" was used. As a former U.S. Marshall I have all the respect for all LEO's.
  11. centennial


    Jun 9, 2004
    Nothing really wrong with what he did or suggested.
    It is a good idea to carry your gren card, but not required by law.
    We DO have registration in Michigan. We do NOT have safety inspections.
    The people doing the registration are not qualified to perform a real safety inspections.
    Had he pulled you out of your vehicles and tore them apart, patted you down, detained you for hours, you may have a gripe.
    Get over it.

    He could have caused you a lot of problems for not informing him right away about your concealed firearm.
    He gave you a break.
  12. zbusdriver


    Jul 21, 2006
    se michigan

    i don't understand the constant criticism of our law enforcement personnel. i think the stop went very well. your green card “does” prove ownership. the conservation officer was just giving the guy a travel tip – no need to take offense . and, you're absolutely correct, the FIRST words out of the opening poster’s mouth SHOULD have been "sir, i have a CPL and i am caring."
  13. steveksux

    steveksux Massive Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    While I'm sure the officer will appreciate that you care, the law requires you notify him you are carrying... ;)



    Jul 23, 2007
    Macomb, MI

    I agree 100%!
  15. zbusdriver


    Jul 21, 2006
    se michigan
    lol – it's not easy being stupid!

    i'm going to have to get my spell checker fixed – why doesn’t it know what i'm trying to say?
  16. PawDog

    PawDog NRA Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    Big Thicket, Texas
    Uh, it's U.S. Marshal, one "L", not two.......most U.S. Marshals, or formers, would know this.
  17. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    I was waiting for the disclosure of your CPL status as the first words out of your mouth. They are LE. They attend the state police academy. They have full arrest powers and can enforce any law that any other police agency can enforce.

    You got lucky. That is it.

    If you are splitting hairs as toe the nomenclature of the safety inspection/registration then you are wrong here:
    You have a Concealed Pistol License, not a concealed weapons permit.
  18. dozing4dollars

    dozing4dollars Plasticized ! CLM

    Please correct me if I am wrong here, but didn't the change in MI law recently allow a CCW/CPL holder to carry another's legally registered ("inspected") pistol legally ? The gun does not have to be "registered to you".

    Case in point- I am carrying my wife's Glock 26 instead of my Glock 27. Under the old law, you could not do this. With the change of May 2006 or so, you can. Not that I would want to carry that lil' 9 sillymeter thing...

    I think that is one area the CO may have been incorrect on due to the change in law.

    From MI State Police website:re: CCW holders & MI Concealed Pistol Laws

    Is it okay if I loan my pistol to a friend?

    MCL 28.432 An individual can carry, possess, use or transport a pistol belonging to another individual, if the pistol is properly licensed and inspected under the Act, and the individual carrying, possessing, using or transporting the pistol has obtained a license to carry a pistol concealed permit from Michigan.
  19. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    Yes, that is correct and the MCL you qutoed is the formal way of saying it. If you have a CPL you can possess any pistol that is lawfully registered in MI.