More and more reports are coming out about certain law enforcement agencies’ misuse of automated license plate readers. These reports have hit the mainstream media, including stories about these unlawful practices in the Wall Street Journal (articles hidden behind pay-walls so we won’t link to them and drive traffic their way).
The readers are mounted, typically on police vehicles, and scan government computers looking for registration information and possible warrants for the owners.
The problems begin when these readers are misused.
Some overzealous cops may use other information that can be accessed, including databases to discover if the registered owner has, say, a concealed carry license, or has attended political rallies. Or gun shows.
The bad cop will then use that profiling information, and then look for or simply fabricate a reason to initiate a traffic stop. From there, it becomes what most of us would term a “fishing expedition”. If only these cops worked so hard to catch real bad guys instead of trying to bust out-of-state card-carrying good guys who left their gun at home.
Remember this when traveling through states, particularly the northeast, with handguns or scary black guns in your vehicle. Remember, under the federal Firearms Owners Protection Act, the gun must be unloaded, encased and inaccessible to the driver/passengers when transported interstate under provisions of the FOPA. You must be legal to possess the gun(s) at your point of origin and your destination and you shouldn’t plan on making any stops, aside from fuel or food, when traveling through anti-gun states where possession of said firearms would be a crime.
Perhaps it’s too easy to use these license plate readers outside known gang leader homes, right?