Armed Encounter with a Yuma County Sheriff’s Deputy

Yuma County Sheriff’s Substation

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- In early November 2021, this correspondent was doing some target shooting and chronograph work on public land, in an unused sand and gravel pit with a good backstop, off a dirt track north of the Foothills/I8 interchange. The weather was clear and calm, about 72 degrees.

I had just fired my last shot when a Yuma County deputy pulled up behind my vehicle. It was about 0940. I put down the pistol I was shooting. It was suppressed. I waited for the deputy to advance about 50 feet. The pistol was in full view.

The deputy asked if I knew how far I was from houses, I said it was more than a quarter-mile. A quarter-mile distance from occupied dwellings is required to shoot on public land in Arizona. The deputy said that I was an adequate distance from any buildings.

I was carrying my old Glock17, concealed. He asked if I had a firearm on me. I said I did. He asked if I would please refrain from touching it while we talked. I said that was fine.

He indicated someone had called in about someone shooting in the area, and, while what I was doing was legal, I might consider changing the location or geometry a bit.

He asked for ID and I handed mine to him. It was my Arizona driver’s license, with the option of not having the Social Security number on it.

Was that necessary? Probably not. I believe you pick your battles and choose your ground. This ground was about legal shooting, not whether the deputy had the authority to demand to check my ID.

This correspondent has been in his shoes. I knew he was following protocol. It doesn’t hurt that I am known in the county. There have been other incidents where deputies have contacted me during Second Amendment activism.

He checked it out with dispatch. The acoustics were very good on his earpiece. I could not hear anything of the reply. He asked if I lived in the area. I said, yes, then corrected myself and said, I have a place in the area. I asked if he minded if I retrieved my target (25 yards away). He did not have a problem with that.

He reiterated that many people walk in the area, so I should be very careful. He said more winter visitors (snowbirds) were showing up, now that the weather was cooler. He mentioned there was traffic in the area, and I had to be sure of my backstop.

He recorded my information, made a mild suggestion that I orient to obtain a better backstop, and wished me a good day.

It was about 09:56 when we finished. He went back to his vehicle. I loaded up my vehicle. He backed up from blocking me in and drove off. I followed.

He did not ask for any permits. Arizona does not require permits. He immediately recognized I was acting legally, said so, and shifted to promoting firearms safety. He let me know we want to accommodate our winter visitors. (They support many local businesses.)

My suspicion is a winter visitor called. It has happened to this correspondent while open carrying. In a previous case, one deputy opined it was likely someone from Canada. With the current border restrictions, the Canadian possibility was less likely than other visitors.

Most states are not as free as Arizona. In some states, target shooting on public land is rigorously restricted. In other states, there is very little public land. Visitors from those areas are sometimes startled by the freedom we have in Arizona.

One interesting aspect of this encounter was that while I had all the paperwork necessary to prevent legal hassles, the deputy never asked about the suppressor on my pistol.

It would be an improvement to see Arizona emulate Texas with the silencer/suppressor law passed there in the last legislative session.

If Arizona would pass such a law, the deputy would be forbidden from any legal hassle about silencers/suppressors. They would be specifically protected.

The incident shows the importance of selecting sheriffs who are sensitive to Constitutional issues, especially Second Amendment rights.

Most contact with peace officers will be with local peace officers. If the local jurisdiction is administered by peace officers who are Constitutionally sensitive, the chances of problems with exercising your rights are much less likely.

Knowledge of the local laws is useful in preventing problems with deputies and other peace officers.

The Internet makes information about local laws fairly easy to find.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Don
Don (@kivaari)
11 days ago

While a police officer I had similar encounters. Our police range was off limits to the public. It had been a natural place for shooters, but our contract with the property owners stipulated it was for police only. I talked to trespassers shooting there. Since it was formerly a common place to shoot I simply explained the conditions and escorted them off the range. None of us ever arrested a trespasser, we just educated them. We rarely asked for ID as most people were recognized as community members.

HLB
HLB (@hlb482gmail-com)
10 days ago
Reply to  Don

The government shooting range situation is not what it should be. If government were more interested in lowing crime and accidental shootings, which it claims to be, the public money used to provide for these ranges would also provide for the general public. Contractual stipulations are easy to change. If there is one landowner who prefers government only, there will be another who is not biased. If one group is afraid of the other group shooting them, there could be days allocated for the public to shoot and different days allocated for the government shoot. Maybe if they shot on… Read more »

JimmyS
JimmyS (@jimmys)
12 days ago

Why is it okay that “protocol” is in direct conflict with the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution? And you said you “picked your battles”…why wasn’t one of those battles your unalienable rights to be secure in your person, papers, and effects, and to be free from providing evidence against yourself? Yep, it’s boomers like you who enforced unconstitutional laws and policies, and who now excuse that practice by current badge-wearers that are a major cause of the problems we now have as a nation. No thanks, Dean. And for my kids, I will say that I hope you… Read more »

Chuck
Chuck (@borasha)
12 days ago

As a matter of practicality, recognize that: 1) Law enforcement new hires and old timers are people like us, some are stars, some not so much. 2) If every encounter you had every day could wind up sending you home in a box you might also become overly cautious and concerned and even a little paranoid — the pros manage this, the newbies have to learn, some handle it well, others need a new job. 3) That having been said, if someone is truly out of line file a written complaint and start an internal affairs investigation, otherwise remember we… Read more »

HLB
HLB (@hlb482gmail-com)
12 days ago

Some how, treating an officer differently from any other person when you are in your normal life’s passage is not intuitive to me. To start addressing officer’s safety concerns just because their job is dangerous would be starting the drift to subservience. For the officer to expect that from non-officers would be starting the drift to dominance. Since we know both of these drifts are occurring in our society, because there are many places where I will be treated roughly should I exercise my constitutional rights, to accept that would not enhance the future of my rights. Now how does… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago

Will (“TEX”) – 11/17/21 “One months pay !!! TEX” Reply to Will (“TEX”): Why be passive-aggressive? Some people may not understand your reference. For those who don’t, Will is a former LEO and he would give “one months pay” to: Be back in the job again where he has a badge, radio, and firearm; See me driving around with a broken tail light; Pull me over using the broken tail light as the pretext; and Use dumb cop tricks from the 50s to attempt to provoke and escalate the situation to the point where he believes he would be justified… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by JSNMGC
gooder12
gooder12 (@gooder12)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Now you should know better, but then you tried to Play with me in a reply to one of my comments, but in case you did not notice I was way ahead of you, and I ended The Game by saying I was going shooting, which is something I don’t think you do much of. Now you are way smarter than me, but you also started that you will not learn from experience over the coming years, as you cannot understand that I have learned a whole lot from living the course and still doing so. But enough about that.… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  gooder12

Most of that was unclear, but you seem confused. I’m the one who would like to be left alone (“live and let live”).

Last edited 12 days ago by JSNMGC
JayWPB
JayWPB (@fl-ga)
12 days ago

I had a similar thing happen at my home in North Georgia. A nearby weekend renter had called to report “gunshots”.

It ended with the deputy, who lives nearby, asking me to call him personally before shooting because he’d like to join me. He even offered to bring targets.

CaptainKerosene
CaptainKerosene (@jim_macklin)
12 days ago

Legal suppressor. 1/4 mile from a sandpit.
Somebody has no hearing problem. Somebody from Chicago or NYC?

PistolGrip44
PistolGrip44 (@pistolgrip44)
12 days ago

To many boot lickers and pigs around here.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago

You didn’t have a problem with the enforcer because you groveled.

It was unnecessary for the enforcer to ask you for your ID, but it was probably necessary for you to show it to him. Unfortunately, AZ (like TX, FL, MT, CO, and other states) is a “stop and ID” state. Those states had their rights, which were supposed to be protected by the Fourth Amendment, trampled on by “stop and ID” laws. Stop and ID laws are largely driven by pressure from law enforcement.

Last edited 12 days ago by JSNMGC
Finnky
Finnky (@finnks)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Wouldn’t quite describe Dean’s actions as groveling. Merely being polite. To be honest, if I’m interacting with someone I don’t know who is armed – I will get a bit nervous if they handle or pull out their firearm. That portion of the interaction was just the deputy educating Dean on manners. Unlike my experiences with CA-LEO, I imagine the deputy never touched his holster during this conversation. Do agree about “stop and ID”. If I’m not obviously doing something illegal, LEO has no business interrupting my day – much less demanding ID. In Texas, I don’t doubt officers may… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
11 days ago
Reply to  Finnky

I believe you wouldn’t describe it as groveling. I do. If a BATFE agent: Made contact with you while you were engaged in legal activities; Blocked your vehicle; Asked you questions about those legal activities (such as whether or not you know the distance to a residence); Asked if you were armed; Told you not to do things you weren’t going to do (out of concerns for “officer safety”); Demanded to see your identification; Recorded your information; Asked you if you lived in the area (???); Gave you his opinion on how you could be more safe and “promoted safety;”… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by JSNMGC
3l120
3l120 (@cvixx)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

You must really enjoy being an AH. The deputy is acting civilly and you want to push it. What a maroon.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  3l120

No – I really enjoy my rights.

People have been groveling to LE for a long time and it has created a problem.

Dean listened to “copsplaining” with subserviance.

Standing-up for one’s rights is not “pushing it.”

When you were an LAPD employee, I’m sure you enjoyed people groveling when you demanded they respect your perceived authority.

To the people here who selectively enforce “civility” – you do know what 3l120 meant by “AH,” right?

Bill
Bill (@bill1776)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

An armed society is a polite society, except for you, JSNMGC. A police officer has a tough job, and the person he is talking to could be an honest citizen, or a fugitive waiting for a moment when he can spring. It is simply helpful to not make the officer’s job harder. If the officer is acting truly out of line, that is the time for a person to start worrying about rights, but when no harm is being done, and the officer simply wants to know what he is dealing with, why not help him out, instead of being… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  Bill

I gave a fictional example of how things should go (see below). Note in that example, the LEO was polite, I was polite, and the LEO left to go explain the law to the person who called the police.

Standing up for your rights is not being an “AH” (BTW, here is another tribal member who does not have civility conventions enforced upon him).

Are you a former law enforcement officer?

JimmyS
JimmyS (@jimmys)
12 days ago
Reply to  Bill

Cops DO NOT have a tough job. They have easy jobs, which is why so many are fat. It isn’t a dangerous job, either, if you consider that most cops injuries happen in cars driven by cops.
And as for the other: there is no guarantee that the cop that you interact with isn’t a violent sociopath on a power trip who will trample your rights and violently assault you, destroy your property, kidnap you, or even kill you, all with no probable cause or even without any crime being committed (by you).

Don
Don (@kivaari)
11 days ago
Reply to  JimmyS

Being a cop can be quite dangerous. Just today a court bailiff was shot and killed by a police officer. A prisoner gained control of her gun, and when the police officer fired he hit her. I know personally that it is a dangerous job, as I received a broken neck in a confrontation with a suspect. I was lucky I wasn’t killed. Five surgeries later it is still a limiting disability.

Russn8r
Russn8r (@russn8r)
11 days ago
Reply to  Don

Yeah, real tough munching donuts and watching AntiFa punks burn a city down. KUDOS.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  3l120

Will (“TEX”) – 11/17/21:
 
“That’s what he does best! TEX”

Reply to Will (“TEX”):

Oh look, another former gun law enforcer.

Autsin Miller III
Autsin Miller III (@austin-miller-iii)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

So, JSNMGC, I have a question, how would you have handled the same scenario? I am not being sarcastic or baiting you, I am truly trying to understand your post.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago

When he asked if I had a firearm on me, I would have responded with “why do you ask?” If he demanded that I answer the question under threat of arrest, I would have answered “yes.” When he asked that I not touch my firearm, I would have asked that he not touch his as well. When he indicated someone called about the shooting, I would have suggested that he go explain the law to that person. When he asked for ID, even though it took place in a “show me your papers” state, I would have asked why. After… Read more »

Autsin Miller III
Autsin Miller III (@austin-miller-iii)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Thank you for your response. It would have made for an interesting interaction I’m sure. I am not confident however that you would have been able to control the scenario as suggested. Maybe, but maybe not. One thing I would remind you of, had that been you, you would have been on land that was not yours, it belongs to the people of Arizona. Those same people hired the officer who was doing his job responding to a call, something he is required to do. It SEEMS to me he did it with both respect and a genuine interest in… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago

I indicated no desire to control the situation or any person. It was the enforcer who tried to “control” Dean. I did not suggest that I don’t have to obey the law. Where do you get such notions? I stated I would follow even unlawful orders if I was under threat of arrest. The cop should have walked up and said “hello.” I would have responded with “hello.” He should have then indicated that someone called LE about the shooting and he was only responding to the call. He should have then, after observing that nothing illegal was occuring, should… Read more »

Autsin Miller III
Autsin Miller III (@austin-miller-iii)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

I’m sure I misread it and all would have gone well. Years ago, I had a deputy show up at my house because a neighbor called to complain that I was shooting, which I was. It went very much as you stated above. Thank you for the clarification

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago

I’m not sure all would have gone well (by my definition).

My idea of a civil interaction with LE is very different from a subset of enforcers who demand subserviance.

Do you see anything wrong with the hypothetical interaction I described (that ended in both of us wishing each other a nice day and the LEO going off to address the problem – the person who doesn’t understand the law)?

Autsin Miller III
Autsin Miller III (@austin-miller-iii)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

No, I don’t see anything wrong with it at all.

Wild Bill
Wild Bill (@wild-bill)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Hmmm … don’t go to LA or any of the cities in LA county.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

I’m in LA right now.

Why are you attempting to tell me what to do?

Wild Bill
Wild Bill (@wild-bill)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Well, we enjoy your commentary and do not want anything to happen to you. Generaly, LAPD does not take any lip from anyone. Anything less that paying respect gets a smash-mouth response.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

“We?” I don’t give law enforcement “lip.” Government employees (e.g., LAPD employees) who view people who stand up for their rights as “giving them lip” are problems. People who fight cops on cop terms are either not too bright, are overly emotional, or have problems controlling their temper. There are ways for people to exercise their rights and minimize the chances of being beaten. Personally, I side towards: Working to defeat unconstitutional legislation; Working to advance meaningful SAPA legislation; and Ostracizing those who create or enforce unconstitutional laws. I understand there are many who worship LE and won’t criticize them… Read more »

Wild Bill
Wild Bill (@wild-bill)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Yeah, I bet you don’t.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

You would win that bet.

I’m not going to go on the internet and defend people who will enforce any gun control law they are ordered to enforce.

Don
Don (@kivaari)
11 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Just what cops don’t like a smart ass citizen. Jerks are a dime a dozen. What would normally be a pleasant interaction gets turned into a confrontation.

Russn8r
Russn8r (@russn8r)
11 days ago
Reply to  Don

Correction: “Just what cops don’t like [a smart ass citizen] an uppity subject.

Last edited 11 days ago by Russn8r
JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
10 days ago
Reply to  Don

Confrontation? I gave an example of how both parties could walk away after wishing each other a nice day. Why would you turn it into a confrontation? Maybe Dean needs copsplaining about range safety, how to get along with residents and the economics of part-time residents – most shooters don’t. That deputy wanted Dean to kowtow to him and Dean obliged him. It was obvious that a resident was either afraid of someone shooting nearby or wanted to get a shooter in trouble with the law. The deputy should have just said “hello” to Dean and looked around. I’m sure… Read more »

JimmyS
JimmyS (@jimmys)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

There is no law that forces you to provide identification unless you are suspected of an actual crime, and there is articulable evidence to support that suspicion. The 4th Amendment is real.

Stop and ID…..fuck off.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  JimmyS

There shouldn’t be, but there are states with such laws:

https://healinglaw.com/blog/a-new-interpretation-what-is-a-stop-and-identify-statute-a-study-of-50-states/

“Therefore, we defined Stop and Identify States as such:

‘A state which has enacted a statute that can be defined as a stop and identify statute; which is not narrow in scope and broadly allows officers to demand from, or require under penalty of law, an individual to accurately identify himself to police officers or other law enforcement.’“

Laws have been created to infringe on the rights protected by the 4th Amendment, just like they have been created to infringe on the rights protected by the 2nd Amendment.

Chris
Chris (@degraafics)
12 days ago

My wife and I moved from Chicago to Arizona this past summer. Arizona feels like freedom. We’re happy to be here. Seemed like a decent interaction between you and the deputy.

JDL
JDL (@don_lewis)
12 days ago

I have had similar interactions with local and state officers in Tennessee. I do not have to let them know that I am armed unless they ask me, but I always let them know that I am and where it is so they can be a little more at ease. All, that is 100%, of them have been courteous and did not react negatively to my firearm. In one instance, I was on my way to a competition and had several firearms with me. Not only die the local officer not react negatively, he started a conversation about competition and… Read more »

MB
MB (@mbertone1gmail-com)
12 days ago

Sounds like 2 reasonable people having a conversation about safe gun usage. A well trained LEO and a citizen with common sense. This went exactly how it should. Too bad there was a pansy ass that reported you in the first place, they certainly must have known you were no threat, and just wanted to rattle your cage because they most likely don’t like guns.

Wild Bill
Wild Bill (@wild-bill)
12 days ago
Reply to  MB

Yes, some milk-toast manipulator that wanted his will done, but knew that he had not the courage to confront anyone on his own.

DC
DC (@dcchristian)
12 days ago

Just for area comparison, I live in Oklahoma, which is relatively pro-gun, but my city is very liberal. I also live about a mile from the city’s outdoor police firing range, so we hear gunfire most of the day and some of the night. Some visitors freak out, but my neighbors and I mostly tune the sounds out. I’ve shot at that range, and I am glad it’s oriented so that targets are 90 degrees away from my house. I find courtesy goes a long way. I’ve often stopped while plain-clothed/concealed to help officers with accidents/stalled cars, etc., and sometimes… Read more »

Matt in Oklahoma
Matt in Oklahoma (@matt-in-oklahoma)
12 days ago

No reason for him to ask you about the suppresor. Feds want it checked they can send someone out.

Duane
Duane (@duane)
12 days ago

I attended some law enforcement training that one of the scenarios was how to deal with people shooting after hours on a public range.

The rural LEO’s just walked up and told the people shooting the range hours and would they please follow them.

The big city LEO’s want to call out the SWAT team.

There is a huge different in where and how one was brought up and life experience.

Then there is the whole law enforcement management problem.

The more anti gun the management the more anti gun the patrol officers.

3l120
3l120 (@cvixx)
12 days ago
Reply to  Duane

Probably has to do with the fact that big city cops deal with a lot more gun violence; robbery, homicide, rape, etc. than the county Mountie, Most people in South L.A., where I worked, were gang bangers orgeneral bad guys. The locals didn’t carry, not so much because of the restrictive laws, as because of gang retaliation if they shot a aGrape Street, 18th Street or MS-13 member. Best to not make generalities without research.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  3l120

What a load.

Constitution-abiding, non-government employees frequently don’t carry in LA because they are more afraid of LAPD ruining (or ending) their lives than they are of gang bangers.

You were not a hero.

Wild Bill
Wild Bill (@wild-bill)
12 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

That is true. However, to dominate the gangs, the LAPD has to be the biggest, most feared gang in the whole city.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC (@jsnmgc)
12 days ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

That line of rationalization could be used to apologize for the BATFE. They also enforce laws against genuine bad guys (in addition to constitution-abiding citizens).

Finnky
Finnky (@finnks)
11 days ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

That is the feudal method of keeping the peace – through force. Smell A. PD can manage because they are large and densely packed – able to deploy massive force on the scene very quickly. With actual modern military weaponry, of course they can dominate through force. Other approach is to work in concert with the people. Pretty much every non-despotic country in the world has fewer cops as percentage of the population. Key is to be seen as helpers rather than rulers, including avoiding imposition of massively unpopular laws. Then people work with cops instead of pretty much everyone… Read more »

Wild Bill
Wild Bill (@wild-bill)
12 days ago
Reply to  3l120

It also has to do with the seminars that the individual officer has attended. Seminar speakers justify the course by scaring the hell out of the attendees with videos of contacts gone wrong, so as to “elevate awareness”. Pretty soon the entire department has a hair trigger.

Grigori
Grigori (@grigori)
12 days ago

0940 – 1056???? He kept you detained for over an hour on a bs contact/complaint? That sounds a bit problematic to me.

Grigori
Grigori (@grigori)
12 days ago

Okay, that sounds good! Thank You for the clarification, Sir!

Finnky
Finnky (@finnks)
12 days ago

Was wondering about that. You set aside your pistol when you realized law enforcement was approaching. Would you have felt safe picking it up to go while he was right there?