On my birthday (a few years back) a friend and i (both with valid cc license) went to the casino. Upon leaving in his car with expired temp tags. The BIA Cops (Indian cops) pulled us over.
A cop at both windows of the car we each told the leo's "Officer we are both cc holders and we are both armed at this time."
They removed us from the car, disarmed us, disarmed our guns, began asking us where we bought them how much they were, were they stolen why we carry, do we feel threatened by the world etc. At this point i was offended and explained he is asking questions that are no longer proper. I carry because i have a right and a license to do so.
The then threatened us with a felony for carrying on casino property. explained we know that is a felony which is why we did not do that the guns remained loaded in our locked car.
Cops said does not matter, we are arresting you for a felony.
me - Glad to hear it i could use more money
Rookie and seasoned cop both confused - i explain i am a carry concealed instructor and quoted them the ok state self defense act section word for word stating that we can have our guns in our car regardless of our where we are (except on school property).
Cops then looked shocked and said "alright i will let you go on both issues the tag and the guns"
Next day spoke to the chief of police for this tribes BIA dept. - Both cops were retrained on the gun laws, chief said he is glad we did not get arrested as it would have been a big problem for them.
Which state, on which reservation? (Looks like Oklahoma.)
Remember that Indian reservations are quasi-soveriegn territory. Quite often, they are exempt from state laws of the state they are in. In Oregon, which is *VERY* liberal in its gun laws, Indian reservation can have whatever laws they want, including complete prohibition of any firearms in their territory. Same goes with Arizona.
Oklahoma law has exactly *SQUAT* to do with the Indian reservation and the casino on it. Most legal advice I have seen says that if you MUST travel through a reservation, treat it like a strict state, and keep your gun unloaded, locked in a container. (So that it would be legal to travel through a strict state under the McClure-Volkmer Act. - Although the McC-V Act also says your only stops can be "necessary" stops, and good luck explaining your stop at a casino as "necessary".)
I'm not a proponent of the "if they don't know, they can't prosecute you" school, but if you ARE going to do the "keep it locked away via McC-V" route, don't volunteer to them that you have it... If they discover it, pull the McC-V card. But if they discover it, it means you've done something that got them to thoroughly search your car already.
As a fellow instructor, and police officer I must say you may have gotten away by pure luck.
As Ed Hurtley stated, Native-America reservations are quasi-sovereign territories and if the tribe want to make possession of concealed firearms illegal, the tribe could possibly do it.
Lets review. You got pulled over on an Native-American reservation for committing a traffic infraction, and volunteered information that you possibly committed a felony - if tribal law prohibits it and it's in compliance with national law.
Not only that, but you then stated you have the right to bear arms but yet you have a license. I'm sorry but don't have a right if you're licensed, nor do you have rights if you commit a felony. Your license can be revoked, or not renewed. Just because you have a state license doesn't mean it's valid on tribal land, unless the tribe wants it to be. Regardless, what if you were arrested by these cops it would be hard to explain that you were wrongfully charged with a felony.
Lastly, I'm betting the police chief told you they would receive additional training just smooth things over. Hopefully it was legal for you to carry concealed on tribal land, and they were properly retrained but we don't know. Sorry, but I think you lucked out on this one. I would never return to any tribal land if I were you because the stop was probably recorded in a Bureau of Indian Affairs Police database. Heaven forbid you get pulled over again.
wanted to get some background on Oklahoma law for you so you see my side of it.
We all know the US 2nd amendment. However Oklahoma puts restrictions on this.
Oklahoma Constitution Article 2, Section 26
"The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited; but nothing contained shall prevent the legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons."
TITLE 21 § 1277. Unlawful carry in certain places
UNLAWFUL CARRY IN CERTAIN PLACES
"A. It shall be unlawful for any person in possession of a valid concealed handgun license issued pursuant to
the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act to carry any concealed handgun into any of the following
6. Any place where pari-mutuel wagering is authorized by law; " so it is in fact illegal for me to carry into the casino which i did not do.
subsection B of title 21 1277 also states
"For purposes of paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of subsection A of this section, the prohibited place does not
include and specifically excludes the following property:
1. Any property set aside for the use of any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, by a city, town,
county, state, or federal governmental authority,
2. Any property set aside for the use of any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, by any entity
offering any professional sporting event which is open to the public for admission, or by any entity
engaged in pari-mutuel wagering authorized by law,"
That being said i wanted to provide you with some background on Oklahoma Laws. Additionally the Cherokee Nation does have a Concealed Carry Program and does reciprocate with Oklahoma's Concealed Weapons Licenses.
As far as not going on there land, does not bother me i just carry the Self Defense act instructors book in my car with me, since it quotes the laws title state federal etc. it is there for my to teach anyone including a LEO. Respectfully of course.
Samuel and other LEO's i want to clarify that i do respect your lawful position and duty. I wish you all safety and intend not to make anyone's job harder than it needs to be i pledge to be honest and respectful with any uniformed officer.
However once said officer threatens me with a felony, i then step into professional mode and let them know what the law states. If i am truly breaking the law no problem a judge will see to it that i repay my dept to society. If not then me an my lawyer would gladly resolve this in the courts.
lastly I am not putting this out there to offend you Samuel (or other LEO's) but i wanted to inform you of some of our laws giving you additional background into this matter
I must stress that you may have been on tribal land, and not state property. Tribal land is a quasi-sovereign nation and can regulate the carrying of concealed handguns separately to state law despite from what you think.
Just because you have posted a law that specifically states it's illegal for you to carry a concealed handgun within, "any place where pari-mutuel wagering is authorized by law" does not mean your concealed handgun license is recognized on tribal land, nor does does that law specifically state anything about tribal land. Even being in the parking lot, or a road on tribal land can qualify as being tribal land.
Lots of tribes do not post their laws online, but there are some Oklahoma tribes that make it a misdemeanor to carry a concealed gun, for instance the Seminole Nation unless you have a signed permit from a tribal magistrate. With that being said, most tribes only extend the opportunity to obtain a permit if you're a resident of their tribal land.
I must also stress that you do not have a right if you are licensed to do so - such as carry a concealed gun upon your person. If you truly had the right, you would not need to get permission from the government to exercise that right. Not only that, but you may have been on quasi-sovereign land, that doesn't have to recognize your license from what I'm reading.
If this tribe had the law and it was tribal land, we don't know because there are no actual specifics from what I've read so far but I'm guessing, you could have been arrested. Assuming that this tribe had the laws against concealing handguns for non-tribal members, you got away by luck.
With that begin said, I would never threaten someone in this case. If they felt the needed to threaten you with imprisonment, then the officers needed to follow through, and bring you in front of a judge. If they screwed up, then you will be let go and there might be repercussions for officers.
I don't like it when officers play chicken with people and the law. Either know it and follow through by an arrest, give a courtesy, or apologize and move on.
I know you're respectful to me and most officers. I agree that most officers on their power trip needs a reality check, but there is a proper place and time for it. In this case, I really think you and your friend lucked out in this case.
I don't know if Bureau of Indian Affairs Police have their own database or reporting system, but as a precaution I would assume they do. I would suggest that you do some research on the laws of the tribe, know if the casino and surrounding area is sovereign land, if there are mutual agreements of understanding, what laws are assimilated on the tribal land, if it applies to non-tribal members as well - before returning to the casino or any tribe. Reason being if you or your friend are stopped again, you may be arrested.
I'm not trying to scare you, but simply trying to give you a heads up - proceed with caution.
One thing you may want to check on since I never caught the name of the tribe who's casino it was, the General Allotment Act allotted and destroyed almost every reservation in Oklahoma. While there is trust land casinos are located on that is held in trust by the bia, state law still applies unless its a reservation. I saw Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma mentioned, they do not have a reservation, only a historic area covering 14 counties in north eastern ok. The Cherokee Marshall's are the Cherokee PD and are cross deputized with local counties but the Marshall's can only arrest non-Indians (except under certain circumstances) under their cross deputization powers and Oklahoma laws absolutely apply in Cherokee Nation. Sovereign immunity would have stopped any chance you would have had to get paid for your unfortunate arrest though if you planned to sue the tribe and not bia.
Guess I should also mention, I'm Cherokee and thank you for leaving your money at our casinos.