EXCLUSIVE: Concealed carrier disarmed, searched, has weapon disassembled by Coral Gables Police

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by Lee Williams

Daniel Oliva has never been in trouble.

Far from it.

The 34-year-old, married father of two works as a court bailiff for

Daniel Oliva

Daniel Oliva

the Miami-Dade Courts, the 11th Judicial Circuit.

He’s assigned to the domestic violence section. It’s a uniformed but non-sworn and unarmed position. There are police liaison officers assigned to the courthouse in case an armed response becomes necessary.

Oliva obtained his concealed-carry license three years ago, but he only carries his Glock 19 when he’s off duty.

“After working here in the courthouse and seeing so many people getting arrested for violent crimes, I felt the need to defend myself and my family,” Oliva told me Wednesday. “As a bailiff, I always get associated with the judges’ decisions. These people remember my face, but I can’t remember all of theirs.”

Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m., Oliva and his wife were driving in

their 2008 Toyota Prius to pick up their seven-year-old son from school, when he was stopped by a Coral Gables Police officer.

The officer told Oliva he had stopped him for driving 26 mph in a 15 mph zone, which Oliva disputes.

As he was getting his driver’s license out, the officer noticed Oliva’s

Daniel Oliva and family.

Daniel Oliva and family.

concealed-carry license in his wallet.

“He asked me if I had a concealed weapon in the car — he stopped abruptly,” Oliva said. “I got a really bad vibe about how he was handling this. Before I could get my concealed-carry license out, he ordered me to put my hands on the dash and lean forward.”

The officer demanded to know where Oliva was carrying the pistol. He told him it was in a belly band on his right side. The officer reached in, under his shirt and seized the weapon.

He removed the magazine and ejected a round from the chamber, which Oliva said is probably still laying in the street near the school.

“He took my handgun back to his car and ran it,” Oliva said. “When he came back I saw he had completely disassembled the weapon. He ordered me to pop my trunk.”

The officer, Oliva said,  dumped the gun parts into his trunk, and then pushed the rounds out of his magazine, one-by-one, into the trunk.

He then issued Oliva a written warning for speeding, and for not Warninghaving a current insurance card.

Oliva and his wife were very scared throughout the encounter.

“He had a very tense — very tense — attitude,” Oliva said. “I don’t know what crime he suspected me of committing, but I didn’t want to confront him, especially in Miami-Dade. I probably didn’t say three words to him the whole time. We, my wife and I, were very sensitive not to disrespect him.

“It’s horrible that a person who lawfully wants to protect their family is treated like a criminal,” Oliva said. “Especially that he did this in front of the school, in front of other parents in line to pick up their children. I don’t know if other parents may now associate my vehicle with that of a potential school shooter.”

The officer, Oliva said, aggravated what should have been a very routine traffic stop.

“I feel my rights were violated,” he said.

Marion Hammer, executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and past-president of the National Rifle Association, agrees.

“I believe this incident involves an illegal search — without provocation — of a law abiding citizen duly licensed to carry a concealed weapon,” Hammer said Wednesday.

Coral Gables Police Chief Edward J. Hudak, Jr. said his officer did nothing wrong.

“He saw the concealed firearms license, which led him to a heightened sense to know the driver was armed,” Hudak said. “Could there have been a more polite way to handle it? I would be more than happy to refer this to IA, and they would do an investigation from top to bottom before it comes to my level.”

The police chief said his officer was well within his rights and department policy.

“The way you have described it to me is that the officer by seeing the card, he would have the right to ask if there’s a weapon in the car,” Hudak said. “The other side of the coin is, if he leaves him in the car with a gun, is that ultimately optimum safety for the police officer? I believe the officer-survival skill is that he asks for the gun. The card is reasonable suspicion that a person inside the car may be armed, at which point the officer stays alive by the way he handled it.  Based on the way you presented it to me, based on the officer seeing it in the wallet. It’s not a bad search.”

Eric Friday, of Fletcher & Phillips, is the general counsel and lead attorney for Florida Carry, Inc. He too has issues with the constitutionality of the search.

Surprisingly, Friday was not surprised by Oliva’s allegations.

“This is not the first time I’ve heard this story– right down to every round out of the mag, disassembling the gun, and throwing it into the trunk,” Friday said. “Given the significant history of  concealed-carry licensees as law-abiding citizens, they should be considered just as trustworthy as any police officer during a traffic stop.”

Friday reiterated that no driver in Florida has a duty to tell police when they are armed.

“Because of repeated instances such as you are describing to me, I no longer recommend that to people today,” Friday said. “I changed my position because of misconduct such as this. There used to be a mutual trust between law enforcement and most concealed-carriers, but police actions in recent years have done a lot to harm that history of mutual trust.”

Friday said police need more training on how to conduct themselves when they encounter legally armed citizens.

“We have a fundamental lack of trust now, and it cannot end well,” he said. “We have numerous examples of concealed-carriers who have stepped up and saved law enforcement when they’re in trouble. But I am not aware of any concealed-carrier who has had to rely on a police officer to save them from a suspect.”

In my opinion, training is always an option, but I strongly believe it’s time for the legislature to create specific penalties that apply when the rights of concealed-carry licensees are abused, or this will continue unabated.

Our preemption statute was continually abused by local governments until the legislature created specific penalties. The lawmakers added teeth to the law — fines that must be paid personally by any public official who decides to tinker and create their own gun laws.

The same type of legal teeth need to be added to the statutes that protect the rights of concealed carriers.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

48 Comments

  1. The exact same thing happened to me in Fort Myers. I was pulled over for speeding on my way to chemo and almost word for word its’ the same. This was a few years ago and I still talk about it. I felt it was totally uncalled for.

  2. Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Concealed carrier disarmed, searched, has weapon disassembled by Coral Gables Police | pistolponies

  3. The officer could have handled it better. However…..isn’t it ILLEGAL to be on school property while armed? I thought there was something about this not long ago but I don’t remember what…..

    • It’s illegal to be armed ON school property, but he was not. He was NEXT to school property on a public street.

      Also note that the exemption for CCW carrying NEAR schools requires a license from that state. Reciprocity will not help you.

  4. Daniel Oliva on

    To address comment about school property I was not on school property the officer made pull over across the street from school. Also to address the Chief of Police response the officer never asked for my gun he just took it.
    Thank you Lee for everything.

  5. Pingback: Police Encounters While Carrying | Shall Not Be Questioned

  6. Is there a possibility to sue, or pursue a lawsuit, based on a 4th amendment violation? At least in Georgia it’s settled law (State v. Jones 2008) that an officer may not seize weapons at a traffic stop absent RS. The case is described as thus: “After an officer seized a rifle from plain view and ran the serial number to see if it was stolen, the Court of Appeals ruled that an officer does not have “carte blanch authority” to secure all weapons at a traffic stop. In order to justify a search of a vehicle for weapons, some conduct on the part of the occupants such as furtive movements or other indications of danger to the officer must be shown, and the officer must have an “objectively reasonable” belief that the occupants of a vehicle are “potentially dangerous.”

    Is there similar case law in Florida?

  7. Earnest Avilles on

    Some officers are such an embarrassment to good officers out there. I would’ve immediately asked the officer to call out his supervisor and respectfully requested the supervisor over see everything from that point on! What an idiot ass officer.

  8. Your article was posted in Florida Open Carry’s FB closed group, and boy are they posting comments like crazy.

    • Lee Williams on

      Thanks, John. It seems to have struck a nerve across the country, no doubt fueled in part by the professional way Mr. Oliva conducted himself.

  9. Clearly it is time for the legislature to put some teeth in the statute. This attitude starts at the top, clearly this chief thinks that he is superior to the legislature and it’s time for the legislature Ryu “correct his attitude”. Concealed Carry is legal in Florida and if this cop doesn’t like it he needs to go work somewhere else.

    • Lee Williams on

      And a legally-carried pistol is not contraband. It’s nothing that needs to be disassembled or secured.

      • seriously man, I agree the cop was 100% wrong but he should not be “killed” for his mistakes. I really can’t understand why people think your a wacko.

    • Oliva and his Chief can go work in a Bolshevik state like New Jersey or better yet, they both need a walking beat in Compton, Ca.

        • Daniel Oliva on

          No worries, I wrote to Lee seeking enlightment and I have gotten that and more. I’m thankful for Lee and all the support I have received with your comments. Our knowledge of our rights is our greatest asset and means of self defense against a system that is criminalizing the wrong people.

  10. The teeth in the preemption statute haven’t been tested in court, yet. There is a case moving in the courts where all but one of the Tallahassee city commission, former mayor and current mayor are being sued for gross violation. I suspect the courts are going to go very slow so they don’t have to boot Mayor Gillium et al. out of office.

  11. It is a very Good thing that this Officer didn’t run into an FFL, who’s weapon was Inventoried in his Bound Book. Taking Possession of an Inventoried Weapon, without the REQUIRED Bound Book Entry, is a FEDERAL Felony, as per the Gun Control Act of 1968. There is NO EXEMPTION in that Federal Statute for local, or State, Law Enforcement. The Officer took possession of his weapon when he removed it from his person, and that constitute a Federal Felony Violation, PERIOD… and if it happened to Me, I would be seeing that STUPID Cop, in the nearest Federal District Court, and be demanding a Trial on those Criminal Charges…. Read the Federal Statute if you do not believe Me… It is only a matter of time before this happens, and some Yahoo Cop ends up a Felon, and no JOB…

    • Unfortunately, many places are willing to employ felons as cops, especially if they became felons after joining.
      Besides which, the federal prosecutor would likely decline to charge, the judge would suppress evidence, and the jury would be stacked with cops and apologists.
      You’d likely end up charged yourself.

      And those on the LawN Order “right” (totalitarian fascists) can’t understand why I am ready to advocate for killing pigs.
      (The Left-leaning totalitarian fascists consider me a right wing wacko, because I believe in a country’s right to close it’s borders and defend itself, and my personal right to be left the F alone. The right also hates me for wanting to be left the F alone. Why are people so stupid? And why is death the only cure for the disease of Liberalism – but we can’t start clearing out that cancer?)

    • I believe you are incorrect. A LEO may examine a weapon in the course of their duties. It does not constitute a “Transfer” unless he leaves the vicinity with the weapon and does not leave an evidence receipt.

      I would recommend NOT accusing cops of malfeasance unless it can be proven. It will just escalate matters.

      If you feel a violation took place, contact your attorney and let him do the talking for you.

      • Nobody of Import on

        “Examine” doesn’t constitute disassembly as was done by the idiot cop.

        I say “idiot” because it constituted a deprivation of rights under color of law. 18 USC 242. Felony offense…if you can get anyone to enforce the law. Biggest reason people have issues with the Cops is that there’s no accountability to these assholes when they go off the reservation like this.

  12. A perfect example is that the police union (AFL-CIO CLEAT) has stopped the Open Carry HB910 being passed, based on an amendment that merely restates Bill of Rights 4th amendment. We have a problem when these organizations are more powerful than “The People”.

  13. Danny Johnson on

    If the Gentleman had been a criminal this would not have happen, a criminal would not have concealed weapon permit to view.

  14. My question is this. How close was he to the school? Obviously the Officer didn’t charge him for having a weapon in a school zone or is that even a law in Florida?

    • Daniel Oliva on

      I would like clarify that I was not on school grounds and had no intention of entering school grounds. I was driving in my vehicle on the street in front of school, officer stood in front of my vehicle and had me park my vehicle on city property. Florida statue addresses the possession of concealed weapon in your vehicle when passing by a school, I have not violated any state or federal laws.

    • Mark, Most States have laws that allow for Permit holders to be within that 500 to 1000 foot rule. If we had to worry about how far away we were from a school at all times we’d be weaving in and out of streets just to go around the block to the corner store.

  15. Jim Wiseman on

    “…they should be considered just as trustworthy as any police officer during a traffic stop.” Absolutely.

    I’d also point out to the Chief that cops have the authority to do certain things, but no more rights than any other citizen. At least no other constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

    • Nobody of Import on

      Heh… The LEO in question didn’t have the Authority to do the thing he did. It’s a felony offense under 18 USC 242 to have done what the sack of shit DID.

  16. Just wait until they link a permit with a driver’s license which I have heard talk of before. Add to that automation of license plate readers via in police car cameras and permit holders may be harassed at any moment. You’ll have a swat team surrounding your car for a fix it ticket. The technology is already here to do just that.

    • Already happening in New Jersey. They got the CCW list from Florida and merged it with the DMV database and started pulling over Florida drivers who had CCW.

  17. “The card is reasonable suspicion that a person inside the car may be armed, at which point the officer stays alive by the way he handled it. Based on the way you presented it to me, based on the officer seeing it in the wallet. It’s not a bad search.”

    But Chief, it was a bad search. He had no reason to believe that a crime had been committed. Therefore, he had no basis for a search nor a seazure of the property.

  18. As I understand this blog it’s not necessary in Florida to advise the LEO that you are legally carrying concealed, correct? I live in Ohio where it is required to IMMEDIATELY inform the officer that you hold a CCW permit and you are carrying at that time. I drive through Florida, carrying, for two months out of the year, and will not extend that courtesy if I’m ever stopped. I guess the key word here it CONCEALED. I’ll mover my permit from behind my drivers license when I’m in the Sunshine State.

    • GunLobbyist on

      Ohio is the outlier. Most states have no requirement that the driver disclose anything if not asked. IAAL and I never do. One tip, do not place your carry permit next to your driver’s license. Concealed means concealed.

      • My understanding is that Florida cops will see on the computer in their squad car that one is a concealed carry licensee. In other words, the cop can see this without seeing the actual card in the wallet.

  19. If you come to Florida, stay out of South Florida and the big cities. That’s just Southern New York, with the same people and the same attitudes. (Many of the cops there are transplants, too.) It’s for them that the state preemption law was needed. In the rural counties of North Florida, the cops wouldn’t bat an eyelash. In fact, they’d probably ask what you carry and if you like it, and give you tips on ammo. You *might* find a jerk, but they’d be the exception, not the rule.

    Also, it is perfectly legal to have your firearm in your car, even in the parking lot of a school, with or without CCW, under 790.115 and 790.25(5) , except that school districts can make an exception for student parking privileges. The street in front of the school has no bearing at all. Mr. Olivia did nothing wrong in the slightest.

    Furthermore, I would note that Florida law 790.06 says that a licensee must *display* his license and some form of proper identification to a law enforcement officer *upon demand*. You don’t have to surrender it to them, and there is NOTHING WHATSOEVER in the law that requires you to surrender your firearm.

    I hope Mr. Olivia sues the pants off of this policeman and his chief.

    • Yep. No license needed to have gun “securely encased” in a car, which includes being in a zip bag or glove compartment:

      (3) LAWFUL USES.—The provisions of ss. 790.053 and 790.06 do not apply in the following instances, and, despite such sections, it is lawful for the following persons to own, possess, and lawfully use firearms and other weapons, ammunition, and supplies for lawful purposes:
      (a) Members of the Militia, National Guard, Florida State Defense Force, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, organized reserves, and other armed forces of the state and of the United States, when on duty, when training or preparing themselves for military duty, or while subject to recall or mobilization;
      (b) Citizens of this state subject to duty in the Armed Forces under s. 2, Art. X of the State Constitution, under chapters 250 and 251, and under federal laws, when on duty or when training or preparing themselves for military duty;
      (c) Persons carrying out or training for emergency management duties under chapter 252;
      (d) Sheriffs, marshals, prison or jail wardens, police officers, Florida highway patrol officers, game wardens, revenue officers, forest officials, special officers appointed under the provisions of chapter 354, and other peace and law enforcement officers and their deputies and assistants and full-time paid peace officers of other states and of the Federal Government who are carrying out official duties while in this state;
      (e) Officers or employees of the state or United States duly authorized to carry a concealed weapon;
      (f) Guards or messengers of common carriers, express companies, armored car carriers, mail carriers, banks, and other financial institutions, while actually employed in and about the shipment, transportation, or delivery of any money, treasure, bullion, bonds, or other thing of value within this state;
      (g) Regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to purchase or receive weapons from the United States or from this state, or regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for target, skeet, or trap shooting, while at or going to or from shooting practice; or regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for modern or antique firearms collecting, while such members are at or going to or from their collectors’ gun shows, conventions, or exhibits;
      (h) A person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition;
      (i) A person engaged in the business of manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in firearms, or the agent or representative of any such person while engaged in the lawful course of such business;
      (j) A person firing weapons for testing or target practice under safe conditions and in a safe place not prohibited by law or going to or from such place;
      (k) A person firing weapons in a safe and secure indoor range for testing and target practice;
      (l) A person traveling by private conveyance when the weapon is securely encased or in a public conveyance when the weapon is securely encased and not in the person’s manual possession;
      (m) A person while carrying a pistol unloaded and in a secure wrapper, concealed or otherwise, from the place of purchase to his or her home or place of business or to a place of repair or back to his or her home or place of business;
      (n) A person possessing arms at his or her home or place of business;
      (o) Investigators employed by the several public defenders of the state, while actually carrying out official duties, provided such investigators:
      1. Are employed full time;
      2. Meet the official training standards for firearms established by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission as provided in s. 943.12(5) and the requirements of ss. 493.6108(1)(a) and 943.13(1)-(4); and
      3. Are individually designated by an affidavit of consent signed by the employing public defender and filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the employing public defender resides.
      (p) Investigators employed by the capital collateral regional counsel, while actually carrying out official duties, provided such investigators:
      1. Are employed full time;
      2. Meet the official training standards for firearms as established by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission as provided in s. 943.12(1) and the requirements of ss. 493.6108(1)(a) and 943.13(1)-(4); and
      3. Are individually designated by an affidavit of consent signed by the capital collateral regional counsel and filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the investigator is headquartered.
      (4) CONSTRUCTION.—This act shall be liberally construed to carry out the declaration of policy herein and in favor of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes. This act is supplemental and additional to existing rights to bear arms now guaranteed by law and decisions of the courts of Florida, and nothing herein shall impair or diminish any of such rights. This act shall supersede any law, ordinance, or regulation in conflict herewith.
      (5) POSSESSION IN PRIVATE CONVEYANCE.—Notwithstanding subsection (2), it is lawful and is not a violation of s. 790.01 for a person 18 years of age or older to possess a concealed firearm or other weapon for self-defense or other lawful purpose within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use. Nothing herein contained prohibits the carrying of a legal firearm other than a handgun anywhere in a private conveyance when such firearm is being carried for a lawful use. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the carrying of a concealed firearm or other weapon on the person. This subsection shall be liberally construed in favor of the lawful use, ownership, and possession of firearms and other weapons, including lawful self-defense as provided in s. 776.012.

  20. To the best of my knowledge after reading Gutmacher’s book, you did what you should. An argument is never going to end in your favor. You are far better off to let the copy be a jerk and take legal action later. Once you get belligerent or argumentative, the officer will feel fully justified in anything they do. So, better to eat humble pie today and then get justice later. You may not get justice fully but you lived to tell the tale so-to-speak and draw attention to this jerk.

    • Daniel Oliva on

      Thank you, that is exactly what I did, I was extremly concerned he would make my gun go off when grabbed it wounding me or my wife. I also felt if there were an accidental discharge he would shoot me or both my wife and I to cover it up. I unfortunately had a mentally ill half-brother shot nine times and beaten by police in front of my eyes, he was just breaking a tv and some furniture and the officer waited for him to walk out his home and he unloaded on him. Unfortunately I now believe South Florida is a dangerous place for concealed weapon permit holders, due to my personal experience. Thanks to Lee I have been enlightened of my rights

  21. Daniel Oliva on

    For the record the officer told me I’m suppose to announce that I have a concealed weapon and permit once initially stopped. I was in the process of pulling both out when he saw my permit on the bottom and commenced his seizing of my weapon. I now know thanks to Mr. Friday that I do not have to disclose this information if not asked by state law.

  22. Pingback: Concealed Carrier Has Firearm Taken And Disassembled By Police During Routine Traffic Stop, Is Then Searched | Concealed Nation

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