Columbia Gun Investigations

Due to cases of gun violence, law enforcement can be very tough on gun offenses. This does not bode well for many Americans who use their guns for protection and hunting. Even though the Second Amendment is a constitutional right, prosecutors go to great lengths in Columbia gun investigations to try and get a conviction. To avoid facing penalties, fines, and possible jail time, contact a compassionate lawyer who could provide you with the proper knowledge and advice regarding gun offenses.

Investigative Measures by Law Enforcement

As a standard practice in investigations, law enforcement checks to see who the gun is registered to and whether the serial numbers on the gun have been filed off or if they are able to track gun ownership by the serial numbers. Once the gun ownership is discovered, the question then is whether that person has lawful possession of the gun.

Law enforcement also does a criminal background check on the person for any prior felonies, whether there is a felony possession on their record in South Carolina State Court, and whether the person has a conviction for a violent crime under South Carolina Code of Laws §6160.

The location of the weapon when it was found is important. If the gun found in a vehicle was not fastened or in a latched compartment and the person does not have a Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP), then that is illegal. These are the kinds of the investigative measures the police are going to look at to determine if the gun was possessed illegally.

Common Strategies in the Investigation

If a person feels that they are under a Columbia gun investigation, they should contact an attorney to avoid implicating themselves in a crime and to avoid putting themselves in a position where they can say something wrong or that it could be manipulated later. When someone is driving a vehicle and is pulled over by law enforcement, they should provide their driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration, and then tell the officers that they want to speak to an attorney before answering any more questions.

When an individual does not feel comfortable with the questions that law enforcement is asking, they should request an attorney before answering those questions.

When Can Police Officers Inspect a Person’s Car?

The United States Supreme Court says law enforcement either needs reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or probable cause of a traffic violation to search the car because it is considered a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. If an officer pulls over a vehicle for a traffic violation, the officer needs some type of probable cause. Examples of a probable cause to search the vehicle, the officer must smell the odor of marijuana, or see drugs on the seat, or see a gun laying on the seat. The officer at that time can seize the person’s gun for safety purposes and if they do not have a concealed weapon permit (the gun is in plain view and not properly concealed), they would have probable cause to search the vehicle.

Difference in Investigation if a Person Possesses a Firearm

During a traffic stop, the law allows the officer to ask people in the car to step out and to conduct a Terry frisk (a pat down for protection) checking for weapons. The officer can search the car too without having the probable cause. If a person has a large metal object in their pocket that could be considered a weapon, the officer can do a check for safety purposes. But there is a difference between searching the car versus searching a person. The person has more constitutional rights and expectation of privacy when it comes to car searches. However, many times an officer deludes this and conducts a pat-down to try to get around the law.

Law Enforcement’s View of Gun Laws

Law enforcement and prosecutors treat gun laws seriously and prosecute them aggressively to get convictions. Gang violence and the drug trade both deal with weapons and a lot of gun violence.

South Carolina also has a very strong sentiment regarding the Second Amendment and individual gun rights. This provides two competing theories of trying to get the guns off the streets, crack down on drug trading, and gang activity and upholding Second Amendment for hunters and also people who believe their right to bear firearms shall not be infringed.

To ensure your constitutional rights are not being violated, contact a lawyer who has experience with Columbia gun investigations today.

Columbia Gun Investigations