LEO discretion

So I’ve a question here for all our LEO members in general but specifically to any in Calif.

I’ve been pulled over once while legally carrying. I do all the right things before the officer approaches. Ignition off, windows down, hands on the wheel. I inform the officer I have a weapon and CCW. He asked me where the weapon was and told me not to reach toward it. He asks and I show my CCW and DL, insurance and registration. Got my ticket and was on my way.

But let’s assume for the moment I had a greater than 10 round mag and the officer inspected my weapon and noticed that fact. I have no previous criminal record or even an arrest.

What latitude does the officer have? Understanding that I intentionally and knowingly carried an illegal magazine.

Or say for example I was legally transporting an unloaded AR15 in a separate and inaccessible part of the vehicle, but that AR was not CA compliant. In general what would your reactions be? I understand if I was being a jerk about it or non compliant in some way things wouldn’t go my way. But I don’t.

My reason for asking is that I do consider myself a “law abiding gun owner.” But if I abide every new law that gets pushed on me I will soon end up a “law abiding former gun owner.” It’s hard to keep up and I can go to bed one night a good guy and wake up a bad guy.

In general, do you LEOs have and use discretion or “by the book” enforcement types. I’m assuming (and I could be wrong here) that LEOs on this forum are generally pro gun and pro 2A. How many officers on your force feel the same vs “Citizens shouldn’t have guns” thinkers.

Just curious, Thanks,


As I can’t speak for the laws of each state. Can an officer inspect a weapon for a traffic stop? If he can’t see the firearm, has no idea what type it is, how could he/she have RAS to request a closer look at the firearm.


Well for his safety I assume he can. When I was pulled over my gun was in the console of my truck. Had it been on my hip and the LEO saw that I needed to reach that direction to get my ID, I would assume he would ask me to get out of the vehicle. At that point he would take and empty the weapon. After the encounter the weapon and mag would be returned to me or placed out of immediate reach and the officer would instruct me not to rearm until he has left the scene.

I don’t consider any of that unreasonable given the danger of their jobs.

What I do to avoid that now is I carry my wallet in a cubby on my dash. So I needn’t reach for anything that the officer can’t see plainly.


I carry my wallet on the other side. In Wisconsin, we don’t even need to inform the officer we are armed. If, and I say if I ever get pulled over. It’s been more than a decade. I would hand both my DL and CCL at the same time as I keep them together in my wallet.


I’m not a LEO. But I have had similar discussions with a couple of state troopers (two different states), but take this as anecdotal evidence.

The moment you announce you have a CCW permit you essentially give PC (probable cause) to be searched. I can imagine discretion if prohibited items are found goes out the window with possible “public safety” situations / implications.


The officers I have talked to here in Missouri are more likely to just ask what you are carrying and talk to you about guns and forget to give you a ticket .


I can imagine that as well but I wonder how hard and fast that is. As you point out with a CCW I have consented to be searched. But in my situation the officer opted not to. So there is some discretion. Had my behavior been more antagonistic I imagine that officer may have chosen to conduct that search.

But what I’m trying to figure out is how much discretion those officers have. I also know that what they choose to do may be based just as much on the day they’ve had as my attitude and record.

I guess what I’m looking for is a risk factor. I have my gun and 3, 10 round mags. I’d prefer to have 2, 15 round mags. Better for me and zero more actual “public safety” concern for the public. These laws are so ridiculously stupid (understanding that bad guys don’t have the concerns I do) that I would like to think LE is mostly on my side. I understand if arresting a bad guy that 15 round mag is another charge that can be filed.

(Side note here. There is no written law here that says having only a loaded magazine is a crime. But law cases have successfully used the possession of an otherwise magazine without the presence of a gun the equivalent of having a gun. This so that prosecutors can file weapons charges on gang bangers who ditch their gun in a chase.)

Then the bigger question becomes what are LEOs willing to overlook. I don’t want to think of LE negatively. Understanding of course that I have read “You have the right to remain innocent.” I know not to talk to LE after any kind of legal encounter.

So I hope I can get a response here from some current of former LEOs. Do we know if we actually have any as members?




pretty sure that if you are a “legal” CCW you would be in compliance with what ever laws that your state perverts so it is a moot issue.
having a rifle in the trunk but not announcing it pretty sure falls under a constitutional right about incrimination and again being a “legal” gun owner, magazine issues and being in compliance makes those questions again moot.


Remember the PD is the government.
Do you trust your government?
If they asked if I was breathing I’d take the 5th. :no_mouth:

Many PO’s are my friends and family.
Many do not trust the government either.


LEO discretion…Once that LEO raises his right hand and swears to uphold the Law he has no discretion…too many LEO’s are 100% corrupt as is…they pull over a famous person and let them go, and then arrest average joe for the same thing, LEO pulls over the city mayor or other officer, let’s them go and five minutes later writes average joe a big fat ticket for the same thing…the only LEO’s I have any respect for are those who enforce the law equally across the board to everyone…I have never been arrested, Veteran and have worked my whole life, but one thing I hate is a LEO who thinks the badge gives him the discretion to enforce the Law the way he wants to…If you live in a state that has a 10 round limit and you are driving around with a CCW with 11 or more rounds why would you think the LEO would let you go ? too big of a chance, the LEO should arrest you, you knew the Law, pay the price. I don’t live in one of those states that Infringe in such a manner, but if I did I would not risk my gun rights by carrying more than a 10 round mag, If the LEO would let you go and I am sure it happens and you get caught again and say, Hey Officer Williams let me go last week, the officer this time who follows the Law will cuff and stuff you and then you have no one to blame but you. I think you should be able to exercise the 2nd Amendment as written, but in our current state of affairs I will do what I have to in order to not lose the right to carry…I also know plenty of LEO’s do not agree with every Law, BUT they do not get paid to pick and chose what Laws to enforce, I would have no problem being arrested by a LEO who I knew enforced the Law equally, the LEO’s who pick and choose need to find a different job…


I don’t share the same cynical view of LE, but I understand where your coming from.

You point out here they have no discretion and then give an example that they do.

This point it true and the way I currently live. I follow every stupid gun law on the books. But here’s the thing… We’re I a cop, I know damn well I would turn a blind eye to infringements of stupid laws, but do so on a case by case basis. If I found a guy with a handgun and 30 round supper extended mag (even assuming the gun itself is carried legally) I’d tag that guy for the illegal mag. But if I ran into a guy that had a standard capacity mag for the gun he’s carrying (over 10 rnds) and he had no previous history, I doubt I’d even mention it to him.
And if I saw an AR that had say a forward grip and a detachable mag, (unloaded and safely carried) I again don’t think I’d say a word about it. Assuming of course this is a guy with no priors. If this guy had any arrest record for anything remotely violent it would be a different story.
Let’s take it the other direction. Say a law was passed that said you can only carry if you have blue eyes. Would a cop really enforce that. That’s a stupid example of a stupid law to be sure. But a 10 round mag is a stupid law as well. My core question relates to, at what level of stupid would LE choose to ignore the law? Maybe none. But I’d hope not.

I’d just have a real hard time, for example, pulling someone over near a state border, where he was perfectly legal a mile and a half ago, and put his gun rights at risk because of a line he crossed.
Now truth be told, with this attitude, I probably wouldn’t be a cop for long.

I had this problem crossing from CA to OR. In CA my gun needs to be concealed. As soon as I cross the state line it needs to be visible. Then further there are cities that I can do neither legally. I would have to empty my gun and put it in a locked container away from any ammunition. Those city boundaries are harder to determine. I would hope a LEO would give me the benefit of the doubt and either let it go or have me correct the situation. And I think most would.


Seriously ?? that is my point…the Oath does not give them that discretion, BUT they do it anyway…which means the Oath to majority does not mean anything, which makes the corrupt…


No I don’t trust the government. But when you say you have friends and family that are PO’s (I’m assuming that’s Police Officer rather than Parole Officer) and they don’t trust the government. You’re suggesting they can’t trust them selves?
I trust most LEO’s. (non political government agents)
I have little trust of the courts. (that fuzzy line between civilians and politicians)
I have zero trust of state prosecutors. (full on political)


I see the corruption point as only if they use that discretion based on… well no. Ok. point taken.


SO If you were a LEO you would not follow the Law you swore to uphold IF you thought is was bullchit ? you can’t have it both ways IF your Oath means anything…you posted a bunch of GRAY area and I don’t know of any Oath that say’s YOU can decide what is gray or somewhere in between…and then decide what is the best action…If as you say, you would turn a blind eye to the Law then you should never be a LEO because you would be a corrupt one…


I probably would. And it’s a good thing I’m not.
But where I would have my problem and where I am having a thought war with myself is when rules change in the middle of the game.

So let me ask you this. If the law in your state banned dogs. Would you give yours up?
If they banned all guns. Would you give yours up?
If they banned children. Would you give you’d up?
Or if you were LE who swore an oath. Would you take people’s dogs, guns, or kids?

It’s just a matter of degree.


I would never be a cop because I would get shot by other cops because I would turn in every corrupt cop…IF I was a cop and had to take your dogs, guns and kids I would resign rather than do that…LEO’s can quit at any point they cannot enforce what they feel is Illegal Laws. BUT if they wear that badge they do not get to decide what laws to enforce or turn a blind eye to, at that point they are no better than a criminal, criminals decide what laws they will follow or break, LEO’s are suppose to be better…most LEO’s are not…


Fair enough for the “if you were an LEO” side of the question.
What about the other side. Where do you draw the line on what laws you would abide? And for the sake of discussion let’s assume running from the state isn’t an option.


Go watch some videos on YT of people who do Constitutional Audits at Government and Law facilities and you will see a bunch of corrupt LEO’s News Now Houston has a big channel on showing the corruption of LE and some of it is really sad when you see how corrupt and high handed LEO’s are…

I do not agree with every law anymore than anybody does, If my state enacted something that rubbed me that bad I would do what I could to voice my displeasure and hopefully have a lot of other people join in. West Virginia citizens blew up the phones and email systems and we got Permit less CC…by the time the Vote happened only a few voted against it, the Governor at the time was against it, BUT he signed it because it passed with a huge margin in the house and senate…the people spoke. Time will tell, but I do not see my state ever doing what some of the other states are doing to Infringe on the 2nd Amendment and sometimes the only option is to leave that state…sometimes you cannot win…