Most people are congenial when they have contact with their local police. Granted we get annoyed when we get pulled over for speeding or we see a cop parked on patrol in our neighborhoods, but most of us realize that the officers are just doing their jobs to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.
And then there are people like this!
A recent video went viral on You Tube shows a trio of police officers responding to a local residence in the midst of a garage sale. The video shows an officer coming to investigate after hearing a report that guns are being sold at the sale. The neighborhood looks like a middle class to upscale neighborhood and there are people wandering around the tables in the driveway looking at various items for sale.
The officer comes onto the property, not unlike the customers and starts asking questions about the possibility of guns on the property for sale at the garage sale. The uncooperative couple, instead of answering the officer’s questions and setting his mind at ease, start resisting the officer, video taping him and demanding that he leave the property immediately.
Now there are some interesting facts that come out after watching the video. Apparently you are welcome on this residential property and can buy their gently used items as long as you don’t have a badge and a gun. Second, it is not illegal to have garage sales or even to sell guns at your garage sales.
Most municipalities have a process whereby residents can apply for a permit to have a garage sale. (It usually involves a small fee or tax.) Likewise states have statues regarding the sale of weapons between private persons. The video doesn’t say where it was filmed, so there is no way I can confirm what the local laws state. They vary from state to state and sometimes between municipalities. In Minnesota, a seller of long gun or hand gun can download a document to facilitate the transfer of the weapon to another private person. A call to the BCA, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, can clear up whether or not a buyer is authorized to purchase a gun. The process is identical to that you’d expect in a gunshop, gunshow or from an authorized licensed dealer. In my state, long guns don’t require a permit to purchase, unless you are talking about the AR or AK style weapons.
Most of the time, doing a routine pre-purchase check takes 20 minutes or less. It can take as much as 5 days, so it pays to be patient. Regardless, the sale of guns between private persons is legal and there is usually a process set up to do it. I would check your local laws before you make a transfer. I would never sell a gun to someone who is out of state as it is too hard to verify his or her status. I would also never sell to anyone who did not either have a permit to purchase or to carry. A quick call to the BCA can confirm whether or not that person’s credentials to purchase are still valid. You don’t want to run into any problems or sell to someone who has a record.
Bottom line is this: we are all concerned about the apparent encroachment of government in our lives. A police state is not something any of us want. But we have laws and we have cops and it behooves us to be polite to the people who wear badges and guns. No one in this video was tazed, no one was set down on the ground, and you just have some cops on routine patrol asking questions. THAT’S THEIR JOB. The homeowner should ask himself or herself, after treating cops this way in the routine execution of their jobs, what happens when I need to call 911? Are these officers going to be very quick in answering my call? Probably not.
Police are people too and it is important that we not forget that fact. Some are good and some aren’t. I’m not convinced that these officers are bad, that they wanted to ‘raid’ the garage sale as the videographer claims. There are so many bad eggs out there willing to do people harm that the officers who enforce our laws have to be super-careful in regards to their safety and ours. It doesn’t hurt us to greet an officer with a smile and a wave. After all, we pay them to do the job that they do. Why not earn their trust when they do it? I would make things go a lot better for all of us.
As for the bad eggs in uniform, they are definitely out there. Keep the cameras warmed up for them. It isn’t illegal to tape officers doing their job, just don’t get involved yourself or interfere. The evidence you gather could lead to the firing of a bad cop and a change in how a local department does business.
Information on transfer of firearms in Minnesota can be found here.