It has come to my attention through various incidents and anonymous persons that there have been an increase of cops asking OCers to draw and handle their sidearms for the purpose of conducting a self-12031 check.
I would like to take a moment and tell those that have decided to OC in California again that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU HANDLE YOUR FIREARM IN FRONT OF A POLICE OFFICER, ESPECIALLY FOR A 12031 CHECK! I do not care if they tell you it is "OK," "You'll be fine," or they offer you free ice cream and pony rides, DO NOT DO IT!
Handling your firearm in that manner is a grey legal area and you are under NO OBLIGATION to comply with that order. Aside from the grey legal issues, it is a perfect way for a cop to ventilate you should they think or you are a threat OR, in light of more recent events, desire to turn you into a bloody example. In addition, there is a possibility for brandishing charges. I may be cynical and sadistic but the truth of the matter is that cops are under no obligation to inform you of the law and if you trip up, you can end up on the wrong end of the stick.
What you should do...
1) DON'T SAY ANYTHING! Don't acknowledge their request or their demand. Just let them come over and do their check. It is a voluntary check on their part and a 4A violation for you so helping them out in screwing you over isn't very smart.
2) SHOULD YOU DECIDE TO OPEN YOUR MOUTH, simply say "I do not consent to warrantless searches of my person or my effects but I will not resist if you choose to do so. If you want to check my gun, you can do it yourself, I refuse to handle my weapon."
3) DO NOT LET THEM COERCE YOU INTO TOUCHING YOUR FIREARM! They cannot MAKE you touch your gun. They can beg, plead and yell at you but DO NOT TOUCH YOUR GUN! You TELL THEM to do it themselves or just be silent and they will figure it out.
Bottom line: DO NOT help cops screw you over and DO NOT give cops a chance to kill you. All the evidence in the world won't help you once you are dead and, short of massive hemorrhaging, subsequent court cases for brandishing and the like are crappy as well.
That is all that I have.
Edited on 3/26/2010 to include references to recent events, e.g. Rob Tuason's death threats.