Because cases involving firearms are fraught with the risk of criminal sanctions, we offer the following overview and general advice pending a confidential consultation:
~ Do Not Talk to the police, except to identify yourself. That means you do not Talk to any uniformed police officers, plain-clothes detectives, forensic technicians, CHP, District Attorney Investigators, your 'buddy' who is a cop, the parking-meter attendent, mall cop, etc., etc., etc...
Insist on having an attorney present for any Questioning beyond your name, address and production of photo identification. These rights are guaranteed by the 5th and 6th Amendments to our Consitution. Invoking these rights is not evidence of anything. Insisting on these rights cannot be used against you in any criminal legal proceedings. ~
~ Do Not consent (by conduct or words) to a Search (or Seizure) of any kind, including, but not limited to any Search of your house, storage sheds, garage, gun-safe, vehicle, RV, or campsite. Nor should you consent to the Search of any container located in any of these places. This is a right guaranteed by the 4th Amendment to our Constitution. If the police have a warrant, they do not need your consent. You Should Not interfere in the execution of that warrant. But neither Should you Assist in the execution of that warrant. The government is not your friend under these circumstances.
Do Not provide the key/combination to your gun-safe, range bag, rifle case, hard-case,
unless these items are identified in the warrant
as a place the police are authorized to search. If these containers are not named in the warrant, and you provide the key/combination, that helpful conduct will be charachterized later by the Court as Consent.
The government can always introduce evidence against you in a Court of Law when you have "voluntarily" Consented to a Search (or Seizure) of a place (or item) by the police. A broken lock, a damaged safe, a destroyed range bag eliminates the amibiguity of manufactured Consent. That fact alone might keep a Judge from concluding that your Consent cured the government's unconstitutional search/seizure! [Oh, and make sure the preople you live with understand this issue. Otherwise keep the keys/combinations to these containers to yourself!] ~
~ The police will claim, and the Courts have backed them up, to have the power to conduct a "pat down" check of your person for weapons. The pretext for this is "officer safety." This is a very limited power. Do not resist, but Do Not consent to any additional search (or seizure) of your person or other containers and places under your control. If the Police insist on conducting further searches/seizures, Do Not interfere.
If you have a license to carry a firearm in public (aka: CCW Permit), inform the officer at the beginning of the encounter that you are armed and that you have a permit. Then follow his/her instructions. ~
~ Do Not post pictures or descriptions of your firearms, ammuntion, magazines, accessories or gun parts on any social media websites or send digital pictures of your guns to anyone you do not absolutely trust.
[If you are posting firearms for sale on the web, be crystal clear that what you are selling, and that the manner of sale, is legal in all of the applicable jurisdictions.]
Do Not discuss your legal issues (of any kind) on social media or over any unsecure communication network.
Do Not discuss any pending investigations or court cases with anyone except your Lawyer, unless your Lawyer has authorized that discussion - and this is important - Before you have that conversation. ~
~ Law enforcement personnel have a job to do. That job is to build a case to convince a Judge to issue a warrant, convince a Grand Jury to issue an indictment, or convince a Jury of your peers to send you to prison. You should always assume that you are the target of that Warrant, Indictment or Criminal Charge. ~
~ Your criminal defense attorney will have a tough enough job defending you from the full might and power of the government without having you provide testimony and critical evidence to the government that will be misunderstood, mischarachterized, misused - and then used against you at your trial. the government is required by our Constitution to develop its case against you without your help. ~
~ Consider this: If that same police officer who is trying to sweet talk you into waiving your Constitutional Rights was a suspect in an investigation, he/she would invoke these rights in a heartbeat, and then call a lawyer.
You should do the same. ~
They aren't rights if you don't exercise them! ~