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I need to frisk my old man
June 4, 2013 12:24 PM   Subscribe

How do you discreetly frisk someone for concealed firearms?

This is not an academic question. I will be attending my mother's 70's birthday in August in the USA in a state with very liberal carry laws, and I want to know if my (divorced) father is carrying if he shows up as invited to the party.

How do I do search him effectively and discreetly when he arrives, presuming he shows up?

Fun facts: for those of you who didn't click on the link, my father is a decorated Viet Nam era vet with untreated PTSD and (remotely) possibly in the early stages of Alzheimer's. I am able enough - and he is disable enough - that I am confident I could overpower him quickly should that be necessary.
posted by digitalprimate to Human Relations (64 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you hire someone who would be trained to do this?
posted by odinsdream at 12:28 PM on June 4, 2013


You can't just 'discreetly frisk' people. It's not legal and it's weird.

Why don't you just ask him? Or talk to him ahead of time about it?
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:29 PM on June 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'd hire an off-duty cop to do it. It seems extreme, you think you can overpower him, but do you want to bet your life on it?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:30 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


No offense intended to anyone and thank you for your replies, but I would appreciate actual and factual advice on how to technically execute this.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:33 PM on June 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


You can give him a big hug, that will cover should holsters and maybe inside-the-belt holsters. But what about pocket holsters, ankle holsters, fanny packs, etc?

No, you can't do it discreetly - he'll need to assume the position, and then you need to thoroughly grope him and search all bags.

Additional thoughts:

1. Does he know that you don't want him carrying at this event?
2. What do you plan to do if he is carrying, refuses to leave, and refuses to hand over the weapon?
3. If you forcefully take it from him, that's assault, and high risk someone is going to get hurt/shot when you wrestle over a gun.
posted by jpeacock at 12:36 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Quietly ask him to step into another room with you, then pat him down. If he's not willing to go to another room, you're not going to be able to frisk him without it looking very odd.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:36 PM on June 4, 2013


Watch him closely to see if anything heavy is moving in a pocket or bulging under the clothes. Give him a long bear hug, and come out of it with a surprise, sweeping pat-down. Ask him over to a corner (if you think you need to) to "say hello privately" (and perhaps discuss why he's there without an invite) before doing this. Have a confederate do the same. Doesn't matter if he figures out what you just did -- done! Nothing illegal here.
posted by lathrop at 12:37 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Where is the party? At a private venue? They might have rules; you can just tell him they have a policy against weapons and you or their staff will be checking.

Do you know where he carries? Shoulder, back, leg? Is it normal or weird for you to hug him? I'd say give him a hug, arm under his armpits, squeeze your arms tight to feel for a bulge. Let your right hand fall and graze his hip while you move around with your left arm still around him. Then step away, let your left hand fall against his hip.

I've got nothing for an ankle or thigh holster, though.
posted by mibo at 12:37 PM on June 4, 2013


If you do manage to frisk him and discover his gun, do you intend to physically disarm this demented person at the front door near mixed company?

Really?

I'm sorry but if you perceive the risk to be that high, and you cannot ensure he will be unarmed, then you should not go. Make it clear to anyone who is curious that you won't attend because you think he is unstable and armed with a lethal weapon.

If you insist on the frisking/disarming route, then I think your judgement is flawed and you are deliberately asking for trouble.
posted by General Tonic at 12:37 PM on June 4, 2013 [39 favorites]


As someone who has a CCW permit, it is (a) not possible to frisk me without me noticing and (b) it is illegal for you to do so. You have two correct actions to choose from:

1. Talk to him about it beforehand
2. Disinvite your father and be prepared to turn him away at the door
posted by workerant at 12:37 PM on June 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


What about some pretext of changing into party T-shirts?
posted by mercredi at 12:38 PM on June 4, 2013


There's no such thing as a discreet frisk. Either he knows you're doing it or you shouldn't bother, because it will give you a sense of security that you have no business feeling. And yes, ideally you could look up a bodyguard service or something and ask them how much it would cost to search one old man. Off duty cop would be best of course, but I don't even know how you'd go about doing that.

What's your plan if he refuses? If you're intent on this, you would have to be willing to exclude him from the event if he doesn't consent to a search. Further, what's your plan if he refuses, you direct him to leave, and he refuses again?

If you're bound and determined to do this yourself... I'm not sure, look for an instruction book I guess? I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to write out my extremely amateur understanding of a skill that should be demonstrated and practiced. If you followed whatever you understood my advice to be, and the entirely possible happened and you missed a weapon, that would be pretty terrible.

FWIW, my "qualifications" are "I'm a student in the practical skills section of MN law enforcement education," and I have had some training and practice with searching under the guidance of an instructor that's a currently-serving officer with many years of experience. Given what little training I have, this seems like a very bad idea.
posted by kavasa at 12:39 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I asked a friend who works in law enforcement in a nearby county, and while he sympathizes with your situation, you are not legally qualified to perform a frisk and you are putting yourself at physical and legal risk by attempting one. His actual factual advice is therefore do not attempt to frisk your father.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:42 PM on June 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


General Tonic: I'm sorry but if you perceive the risk to be that high, and you cannot ensure he will be unarmed, then you should not go. Make it clear to anyone who is curious that you won't attend because you think he is unstable and armed with a lethal weapon.
You assume the OP is only self-interested, above any concerns for the safety of his mother.

It's not the same as a frisking, but it might be possible to rent a metal detector "gate", and hire trained security to monitor the station all day. With decorations (and the unit turned down or off until Dad arrives), it might not even seem like a detector gate to most people.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:46 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not legal and it's weird

As someone who has a CCW permit, it is (a) not possible to frisk me without me noticing and (b) it is illegal for you to do so.

Illegal? Per what? He's not a cop, he's denying entry into a private residence. How does this become an illeagal search suddenly? Just because you have a right to carry a weapon does not give you the right to enter someone's property against their will and they can make your entry contingent on you submitting to a pat down.

That said, a person carrying a concealed handgun will walk with a stiff arm on the holstered side giving them away.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:53 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Let me try this again: my father may be coming to my mother's house for a party with a large group of people in attendance. I would like to know how I, personally and immediately and without recourse to outside persons or gear, can best ascertain if he is carrying a concealed hand gun.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:53 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am confident I could overpower him quickly should that be necessary.

Will this part also be "discreet"?

I agree with General Tonic and workerant. As another CCW permit holder, you cannot secretly frisk someone. Then, assuming you find a weapon, you are setting up yourself and others for danger if you take it upon yourself to relief your father of his weapon, which you have no legal right to do.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:56 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It sounds like you've got the advice you need. There is no way to frisk a person discreetly and there's no way to be confident of whether or not a person is carrying without frisking (or I assume nude visual inspection).

It also sounds to me like your strategy as a whole is essentially delaying a difficult discussion you will likely need to have with your father at some point. Why not cut to the chase and have that difficult conversation ahead of time?

If you are truly paranoid and made of money, how about hiring some discreet, high performance security who can take care of any problems from your father or anyone else before getting to the frisk or leave stage?
posted by kalessin at 12:58 PM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Perhaps you meant "discreet" to mean that it would not be noticeable to the other guests, but it would be ok if your father noticed it?
posted by Melismata at 1:01 PM on June 4, 2013


*restraining self from asking why divorced partner was invited to party for former partner*
After the big hug which might reveal shoulder holster, can you casually drop your hands down dad's back to check his waist band? Hope that dad thinks you are overly affectionate/clumsy for hanging on to him that long.
posted by Cranberry at 1:04 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've seen this graphic on how to stop a hidden handgun, but it won't give you 100% certainty.
posted by Comrade_robot at 1:05 PM on June 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


I would make an excuse to talk to him in private.
posted by bleep at 1:05 PM on June 4, 2013


It sounds like your question has become: How do I SPOT a handgun on someone without frisking them?

If you want to be really devious, prepare an adorable child to ask him "Grandpa can I see yorwa gun?" in earshot of you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:05 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let me try this again: my father may be coming to my mother's house for a party with a large group of people in attendance. I would like to know how I, personally and immediately and without recourse to outside persons or gear, can best ascertain if he is carrying a concealed hand gun.

Can't you just ask him? I mean, I see the demential and crotchety-old-man angle that he might not tell the truth.... but is asking him completely out of the question?
posted by ish__ at 1:09 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would like to know how I, personally and immediately and without recourse to outside persons or gear, can best ascertain if he is carrying a concealed hand gun.

That depends, I think, on what you're going to do about it if you discover that he is, in fact, carrying one.

If your plan is that, if he is carrying a gun, you will be extra vigilant or take some steps to make sure there's no reason for him to think he needs to use it, then the best way for you to ascertain if he is carrying is for you to assume that he is carrying and act on that assumption. There's no reason for you to ascertain whether he actually is carrying unless you're going to somehow confront him on the issue and actively address it by calling the police, asking him to leave, etc.

If your plan, if he is carrying a gun, is to ask him to leave or something like that, then what you should do is ask him to come speak with you in another room, then calmly and politely explain that you would like to make sure he's not carrying a concealed gun and then ask him whether he is carrying or not.

At that point - having asked him whether he's carrying a gun outside the presence of the other guests - you have to decide whether to believe him or not. If you don't think you can believe him when he says he is not carrying a gun, then you tell him that you would like to frisk him to make sure. If he refuses, then treat him as if he is carrying a gun and do whatever you were planning to do if you discovered he was carrying.

But again, it all comes down to the question of what you're planning to do if he is carrying a concealed weapon and whether there's any reason at all for you to not just treat him as if he is carrying no matter what. The only reason not to just assume he's carrying and treat him accordingly is if you are planning to take some affirmative steps to remove him or the firearm from the situation. And if that's your plan, then just take him in another room and be totally open about it with him, since you're going to have to be open about it anyway if he's carrying and you want to do something about it.
posted by The World Famous at 1:09 PM on June 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


As someone who has a CCW permit, it is (a) not possible to frisk me without me noticing and (b) it is illegal for you to do so.
Illegal?


It seems that frisking someone who doesn't want to be frisked would be non-consenual touching i.e. battery.
posted by Jahaza at 1:11 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you considered using a metal detector?
posted by oceanjesse at 1:17 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would like to know how I, personally and immediately and without recourse to outside persons or gear, can best ascertain if he is carrying a concealed hand gun.

If asking him straight out and receiving an honest answer is not an option, then it does not appear that you can accomplish this under these stated guidelines.
posted by elizardbits at 1:20 PM on June 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


Seems like the consensus is that you should not try to frisk him because you don't know how and getting some muscle for your mom's 70th birthday party isn't really in the spirit of the thing. So I think you left with maybe asking him. Maybe in a jocular manner? "Hey Dad, how's things? How about that local sports team? Say, you got your piece on you? I was telling Cindy you always carry it! You never change!"
posted by shothotbot at 1:21 PM on June 4, 2013


I have to side with the folks suggesting this is a really bad solution.

Frisking someone with PTSD who is losing their marbles is a great way to make them feel threatened and set them off. And men I have known who had Issues and carried concealed weapons routinely carried multiple concealed weapons. My ex used to have, oh, like up to eight different edged weapons on him (sheath knife, utility/Swiss army knife, throwing knives, shuriken). Going to an airport with him and hoping he remembered to leave them all in the car was loads of fun. And a friend of ours carried a gun in his glove box, a gun in the trunk, a gun under the driver's seat....etc.

So let's say you successfully frisk him discreetly, get him to hand over his weapon without incident and all that. I would bet you that his next smoke break or whatever would have him coming back in with his back-up weapon. Plus, you likely will be serving food with forks and knives and there are no doubt a long list of other impromptu weapons available. So I think setting him off is just a bad way to start this. You cannot derive him entirely of potential weapons.

If you are worried, a better approach is become his bodyguard. Have a camera. Tell him how much you miss him. Follow him around and take a zillion pictures. Make him feel loved, adored, welcomed and at ease. The camera is a potential weapon if it comes to that but, more importantly, if anyone says or does anything to set him off, you are right there to get rid of the person, try to calm your father and try to de-escalate small things before it turns to violence.

Taking photos of him will allow you to give him a good eyeing without seeming suspicious. If you realize he is armed, you might be able to then discreetly take him aside and say "Hey, dad, I just happened (make it sound completely accidental/happenstance -- this was not planned) to notice you are carrying. This social event isn't really the place for that. Can I convince you to.. (lock that in your car, whatever)...as a personal favor to me/socially polite thing to do/whatever phrase you think works best here?" Appeal to duty, honor and so on. Do not make him feel insulted, offended or accused.
posted by Michele in California at 1:25 PM on June 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


I just looked at the type of handgun you mentioned in the prior thread. This gun has some weight to it and looks like it would require a holster of some sort to carry it on a person. There are several areas of the body this gun can be worn.

Chest and waist; when you walk up to him, hold your arms open and shoulder high. Place your hands on the top of his shoulders and start sliding your hands down his back while giving him a tight bear hug, chest to chest. Be sure to have your arms on top and outside of his during the hug. This will enable you to clamp his arms to his side with your arms locked behind his back in the event you feel anything resembling the gun and summon help. By pressing his chest into your chest, you should feel if he has on a shoulder or front waist holster. Slide your fingers spread hands down his back to the waistband of his pants. Drag your hands from his back to his front keeping your hands just below the waistband. If he has anything tucked into his waist band you should feel it.

Legs or ankles; considering his age and health, he may not be "spry" enough to feel comfortable with the gun on his ankle. If he has on shorts, an ankle holster will be obvious. If he has on long pants, its a little harder. You could pretend to see something on the floor, bend over and slightly "lose your balance" causing your hand to brush up against the ankle and calf area. If you use the back of your hand, it won't be as obvious.

In the event you do feel his gun, I would suggest immobilizing him in a bear hug and have another family member who is familiar with guns to disarm him.

If he has a concealed gun on his body, chances are you will feel it, but there is no guarantee. I am an ex-police officer that used to work undercover. Good Luck!
posted by JujuB at 1:26 PM on June 4, 2013 [27 favorites]


It seems that frisking someone who doesn't want to be frisked would be non-consenual touching i.e. battery.

Exactly. It will vary between jurisdictions, but deception as to the nature or quality of touching will likely vitiate consent to that touching. Just as a breast examination ostensibly (but not actually) carried out for medical purposes will constitute a sexual assault in many jurisdictions.

It's really not OK to do this.
posted by howfar at 1:35 PM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


What are you worried about here? Are you worried about him shooting just anyone, or are you specifically worried about him shooting his ex-wife, your mom? Or another family member that he has conflict with?

The fact that he is an invited guest does not seem to indicate there's a lot of animosity between him and the family, unless there's some hostility there that you know about and no one else does, in which case, you really need to talk to your family about it.

If I were in your situation, I'd look for a local security firm that employs off-duty police officers (or former officers, whatever, someone with real, concrete firearms training) and see if you can request an officer who is not in uniform, and maybe if you really don't want anyone to know, try to pass him or her off as an old friend who's in town and you just can't leave him/her alone (or thought it would be fun to invite him/her) for a few hours while you attend the party.

If he is mentally ill and/or in the early stages of dementia, I would talk to his doctor(s) about your concern and see if there's anything they can do to get the license revoked.

If you want to be really devious, prepare an adorable child to ask him "Grandpa can I see yorwa gun?" in earshot of you.

And then if Grandpa says yes, said adorable child winds up possibly holding a possibly loaded gun. I am not super in favor of this advice. Furthermore, if Grandpa has never carried until recently (see OP's link), how would child even know about it?
posted by IndigoRain at 1:45 PM on June 4, 2013


howfar: It's really not OK to do this.
If I thought my PTSD-affected father was going to bring a lethal weapon near my mother, I'd have to say I'd disagree with you on that nicety of ettiquette and technical legal points. (And your comparison to what seems pretty likely to be actual sexual assault is ... bizarre.)

These are fairly technical legal points. We don't have evidence that the father is liable to call the police on his son for touching him without permission; that's a fairly bizarre reaction to assume. Yes, he might totally sue your ass, but then again, he might kill someone. You seem to be weighing in on the "better he is free to do as he pleases" side.
IndigoRain: The fact that he is an invited guest does not seem to indicate there's a lot of animosity between him and the family
Does not follow at all. My high-as-a-kite, mud-soaked, falling-down-drunk cousin was "invited" to a family reunion; that doesn't mean we weren't concerned when he actually showed up. He always brought drama.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:50 PM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


A big hug will let you know if he's got a shoulder holster. Touching his waist will get you several belt (even inside-the-belt) holsters. It's kind of difficult to casually frisk someone's front waist to see if he's doing the "stuff it in the front of your pants" thing. But you can look to see if it's plausible that he's doing so: Consider what he's wearing at the time - can he reasonably, say, stash a gun in his pants pocket? That's a big enough gun that it's unlikely to work in an ankle holster, but watch to see if his pant legs look weird. Does his shirt or coat move strangely on his body?
posted by rmd1023 at 1:52 PM on June 4, 2013


The right to your safety and the safety of other guests supersedes his right to carry a concealed gun into a private home, especially considering his mental health.

This is your father, not some stranger on the bus. If he doesn't like it, he can press charges against you for battery. You may even get arrested if the DA wishes to pursue the charge. If the charge sticks, you will go before a judge or jury of reasonable people who will determine if what you did warrants punitive damages. If it were me, I'd search him in a second. I'd rather be judged by a jury of 12 than carried out by 6 at my funeral.

P.S. My 16 year old son just came home, I gave him a hug and performed a body search as described in my other answer. We chatted for a few minutes and then I asked him, "Did it feel like I just searched your upper body for a gun?" He was a little shocked and then he started laughing. His answer was, "No, but I kind of wondered why you dragged your hands like that."

YMMV
posted by JujuB at 1:53 PM on June 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


I say be there first, hug your dad and linger a bit using JujuB's advice for technique. Hugs are not illegal. It's going to be hot, his clothes will be thin, you'll find it if it is there.

If it is the "hand cannon" you described in the link, it isn't going to work in an ankle holster.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:54 PM on June 4, 2013


I would call companies that sell metal detectors, and see if you can rent one for the entrance. Hire someone to dress as a staff member, offering directions to the coat closet or whatever, prep them with pictures of your Dad, and have them watch the gauge for him carrying lots of metal. Or see if you can hire a dog that can smell gunpowder, but that seems a lot more obvious.

Does you Dad have a history of random violence, not preceded by an emotional outburst? It's difficult to defend against a genuine psychopath. If he's more likely to become violent when angry or agitated, hire an off-duty cop to act as security/ bouncer.

I'm trying to answer the stated question. If it were me, and I feared that a guest was unstable and likely to be carrying a weapon, I would not attend an event with the person, and would recommend that the person not be invited.
posted by theora55 at 1:59 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


OP, can you please clarify, do you want your father to not know that he is being frisked, or do you want to frisk your father with his consent without others noticing it?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:05 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let me add that JujuB is a trained professional with years of experience. His ability to discreetly frisk his son is not evidence you can do the same with your father. If you plan to try that, as a minimum, please practice it on other people first.

My ex was career military, so was my father. My father is a Vietnam vet and I was once romantically involved with a Vietnam vet. The military trains people to assess and deal with physical threat and body language in a way civilians typically do not understand. I experienced that firsthand when I was extremely upset with my husband and he accidentally got into my physical space and bumped into me. He knew exactly what to do to de-escalate a situation where I was ready to assault him. Instead, I left the house to cool down. I was quite impressed by the incident. It also drilled into me how strong a reaction can be triggered by feeling threatened when there is physical contact. I have a temper but I am not prone to violence.

So I have serious doubts about your ability to fly under the radar and fool a man with that kind of training and paranoia while getting very physically close to him and assuming the worst. I am not a stranger to either of those things (men with military training and paranoia) and my father has Alzheimer's.

I am not trying to bust you or prove you wrong. I am only concerned about you getting in over your head in circumstances where that could lead to (potentially deadly) violence. Forewarned is forearmed. What the police do and the military does are very different things. My husband once remarked when watching the news "They have no idea what they are talking about. You do not want to bring the military into the so-called War on Drugs. Cops are trained to shoot you in the knee and arrest you. The military is trained to shoot to kill."

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 2:16 PM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fun facts: for those of you who didn't click on the link, my father is a decorated Viet Nam era vet with untreated PTSD and (remotely) possibly in the early stages of Alzheimer's

In the earlier, linked post you mention a long history of mental illness. I wonder if there is a way to address this with either the state licensing board, the PD local to the wedding, or your dad's GP?

I don't think there is a way you're going to thoroughly frisk him without him knowing, and ... what exactly would you do with an armed, upset decorated Vietnam era vet with untreated PTSD and ... possibly ... Alzheimers' if you did?

I think people are addressing related questions here because the scenario you describe, frisking without consent, is fraught with conflict, and the person you've described, post-frisk armed and unpredictable, disarming them sounds dangerous too, possibly much more so to yourself and other guests than alternative approaches.
posted by zippy at 2:18 PM on June 4, 2013


OP, can you please clarify, do you want your father to not know that he is being frisked, or do you want to frisk your father with his consent without others noticing it?

I do not mean to thread sit at all; apologies for the clarifications!

I would prefer that he doesn't notice I'm frisking him, but I don't really care if he notices. I am not concerned with his consent or the potential legal consequences thereof (long story, but there's a near zero chance I would be arrested). What I do not want is to obviously embarrass him in front of a bunch of people or cause him distress.

And to clarify: if he is carrying I have no intention of disarming him (especially considering half the people in attendance will be carrying). I will simply call LE and have him removed. I only mentioned that I could physically overpower him in the original question to point out that I believe in a worst case scenario I could prevent him from accessing his weapon, e.g. the "bear hug."
posted by digitalprimate at 2:23 PM on June 4, 2013


If I thought my PTSD-affected father was going to bring a lethal weapon near my mother, I'd have to say I'd disagree with you on that nicety of ettiquette and technical legal points. (And your comparison to what seems pretty likely to be actual sexual assault is ... bizarre.)

The reason it's not OK to do it is that it's a bad idea, liable to escalate any potential situation. In the context of how bad an idea it is, already discussed in other answers, the OP should be well aware of his potential legal liability in the event of anyone getting shot because of a chain of events he triggered.

The OP should deal with this in a sensible manner by talking to his father, not commit a risky and potentially criminal act in order to avoid that.

There is no comparison to sexual assault, it's an illustration of a legal principle. The important part is not the sexual touching, but the deception about the nature of the act.
posted by howfar at 2:24 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will simply call LE and have him removed.

Then you should call law enforcement well in advance of his arrival at the party and make sure an officer is present to witness your inquiry and search so that he can be arrested immediately upon discovery of the firearm. And you should consult with law enforcement in detail ahead of time to ascertain whether there will be any basis for him to be arrested in the event that he is carrying. Otherwise, the scenario is likely to be a) he arrives and you take steps to discover that he has a weapon, b) you either ask him to leave and he refuses and becomes belligerent or you tell him it's just fine for him to stay at the party with his gun and he is set on edge by your weird request to frisk him if you didn't plan to do anything about it, c) you call the police and wait, what 15-30 minutes for a cop to show up on a non-emergency call, and d) the cop arrives and either tells you there's no basis on which to arrest him or tries to disarm and arrest an agitated, angry person with a gun at the party.

I just cannot see anything good coming from this. If he has a gun, there's really no good way this plays out. If he doesn't have a gun, there's no way you're going to be able to be reasonably sure he doesn't have one.

I would talk to a lawyer and/or law enforcement in great detail about what you should do in this situation.
posted by The World Famous at 2:37 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


> I only mentioned that I could physically overpower him in the original question to point out that I believe in a worst case scenario I could prevent him from accessing his weapon, e.g. the "bear hug.

That's not a worse-case scenario. A worse-case scenario has you across the room and unable to reach him in time.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:41 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would like to know how I, personally and immediately and without recourse to outside persons or gear, can best ascertain if he is carrying a concealed hand gun.

It seems like the safest thing to do would be to assume that he is carrying, and act accordingly, whatever that might mean for you. From your latest update it sounds like that would mean having LE remove him from the premises, so the advice above to call LE beforehand and have them waiting for him would be your best move.
posted by palomar at 2:44 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If he is legally able to carry in this state with its liberal carry laws, what are the cops going to do?

You don't want to surprise people with guns. If you don't want him carrying a pistol while in the house, and the owner of the house agrees, then you have to tell your father ahead of time not to show up packing heat. When he shows up, ask him if he's clean. That's about all you can do.
posted by gjc at 2:45 PM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Or, since you say other invitees will most likely be carrying, issue a blanket request to all invitees that they not bring weapons to the party. Your dad has mental health issues that you're aware of, so that's the reason that you don't want him to bring a gun to the party. But what about the other invitees? Are you well informed of all of their mental health issues, and are you prepared to give them the same treatment as your dad?

I sympathize with your concerns, but I don't see how frisking anyone effectively could be so discreet as to go unnoticed by other guests unless you're pulling your dad into a private room to do so. And if you're prepared to do that, then why not take care of the matter before it's even a problem, rather than put him through potential humiliation of being frisked by you or hauled away by the cops while other guests with guns are left alone?
posted by palomar at 2:50 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Take him somewhere beforehand, like a museum or courthouse, that requires walking through a metal detector?
posted by tracer at 3:21 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nowhere in this thread or in your post in the other thread did you give much information on what kind of gun he has, aside from that it's a .40 cal. That doesn't really mean much; there are subcompact .40s that are smaller than an average man's hand and are designed to be easy to conceal. There are also great big full-size pistols (i.e. typical police handgun size) which are more difficult.

It's sometimes possible to look at someone and say "yup, he's carrying a gun" if you know what to look for. But it's basically impossible to look at a fully-clothed person and say with confidence "nope, they're not carrying a gun", though. I hope that makes sense, because it's very, very important to understand.

A lot depends on the quality of the holster and the skill of the person carrying. Someone with a full-size handgun wedged into the waistband of their pants is going to look awfully silly and will be easy to spot even to a casual observer, but someone with a well-designed modern holster and reasonably well-chosen clothing over it probably won't be.

So anyway, this is really not a good idea. You cannot reliably do what you are hoping: an attempt to frisk him risks escalating the situation, which would be a bad idea for the exact same reasons that you're concerned about him being armed in the first place, and neither frisking by an unskilled person or simple observation will guarantee that you won't miss the fact that he's armed anyway.

The solution here is for you, along with whoever owns the property (because if the police get called, it's going to be on them to tell the police to make him leave, not you), to talk with him ahead of time and tell him that he's not welcome if armed. And if you can't trust him to not do that, then you have to just tell him he's not welcome to show up at all and call the police if he does. This is not a "trust but verify" situation, it's a "trust or don't" one.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:54 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You have no right to ask a person to leave a place that you do not own or rent. If this is to be at your mother's house, it is your mother who can ask the person to leave.

Why don't you just ask him not to come?

Also if he actually has alzheimers (i.e. diagnosed by a doctor, not you), you ought to tell the police that he owns a handgun and has a CCW permit and you are concerned about him.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:05 PM on June 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Or, since you say other invitees will most likely be carrying, issue a blanket request to all invitees that they not bring weapons to the party. Your dad has mental health issues that you're aware of, so that's the reason that you don't want him to bring a gun to the party. But what about the other invitees? Are you well informed of all of their mental health issues, and are you prepared to give them the same treatment as your dad?

Yeah, as the situation stands (please clarify if I'm incorrectly stating) it looks like:

Your father is an officially invited guest to a party at which there will be other CCW holders, probably carrying.

You do not want your father carrying, and want him removed if he is.

You do not want the other CCW holders removed if they are carrying.

You want to be sure of whether or not your father is carrying.

Key for us answering the question:

1) Are there reasons that you do not want specifically your father carrying? Would those reasons apply to other individuals? (Ie, someone else with PTSD at the party)

2) Is there a reason you can't ask him not to carry to the party? If you have asked that, has he accepted it as a reasonable limitation?

3) And probably most important, what does your mother feel about all of this? This is, as others have stated, the most important thing.
posted by corb at 6:21 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The suggestions you are receiving range from Rube Goldbergesque to mildly erotic. I mean, taking him to a museum beforehand in the hope that it will have a metal detector? Pressing chest-to-chest with him and running your spread fingers down his back after a tight embrace? I'm not a CCW holder, but I might be packing something after that.

I'm not a big fan of posting answers that don't really answer the asker's question but I think it's a reflection of the absurd nature of this situation that so many people are doing exactly that. I'm sorry, but I think you need to fundamentally rethink this entire situation, or somebody (and possibly more than one somebody) is going to have a Seriously Bad Time.
posted by jingzuo at 6:28 PM on June 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


You need to get him to want to show you his weapon if he is carrying.

Therefore, I would pull him aside when he arrived and tell him some pre-fabricated, as-plausible-as-possible story about wanting to buy a handgun yourself. Ask to look at his. Say it as if you assume that the gun is on his person. If you can get him to hand it over for you to inspect: done and done.
posted by Salamander at 6:56 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


That said, this also bears repeating:

Literally the worst thing you can do, short of attacking them, to an armed person with PTSD is attempt to frisk them for their gun without their consent.

If he has a gun, he will be extra on edge when you go anywhere near the firearm. If he wasn't on edge before, you will be putting him on edge.

Salamander
's advice is spot on. If you want to see if he has a gun, tell him you heard he got a new one and ask if he has it on him. This doesn't have to be a production.
posted by corb at 7:01 PM on June 4, 2013


The 10th Regiment of Foot: "Illegal? Per what? He's not a cop, he's denying entry into a private residence. "

I'm not suggesting that it's illegal to forbid weapons in a private residence and I'm not addressing the "search" aspect of non-consensual frisking. I have no idea if it's legal for a party host to search my handbag (sure would be tacky, though.)

It would be illegal for someone to grope me without my permission, which is exactly what occurs during a frisk.
posted by workerant at 7:09 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you want to see if he has a gun, tell him you heard he got a new one and ask if he has it on him.

Then he says "no" and what? You believe him and forget about it for the rest of the night? Or he says "yes" and you go call the cops on him only to have them show up, freak everybody out, and refuse to arrest him because he hasn't done anything wrong?
posted by The World Famous at 7:10 PM on June 4, 2013


Or he says "yes" and you go call the cops on him only to have them show up, freak everybody out, and refuse to arrest him because he hasn't done anything wrong?

Mind you, I think this is a staggeringly bad idea - I'm just saying that if you want to know if someone has a firearm, ruling out the obvious is a better idea than stealth-searching a crazy armed Vietnam vet.
posted by corb at 7:18 PM on June 4, 2013


Yeah, stealth searching him is a terrible idea.
posted by The World Famous at 7:21 PM on June 4, 2013


You should plan to find out before he has entered (ie go outside to greet him on his way in). Denying entrance is much easier and less prone to complication than forcibly removing someone.

A wand metal detector set earphone-only, with the wand inside something you're holding, should allow you to check without suspicious rubbing during any hugs. Especially if you say "Hey - there's something I have to show you / get your opinion on" and get in each other's space with plenty of time and movement as you both crouch down to examine an aphid infestation or a cracked siding, or whatever.

Whatever you do, practise it a lot with someone first. Attempts at being discreet will fail if you're trying something unfamiliar while simultaneously trying to maintain a pretence that things are fine.
posted by anonymisc at 7:48 PM on June 4, 2013


With all due respect ... Act like an adult here.

Call him a few days before the party and ask him if he's planning to come packing.

If answer = yes, the tell him that makes you uncomfortable, and that while he's welcome, the gun isn't. Ask him what you can do to make him comfortable enough to leave the gun at home or in his car. If his request is reasonable, do that thing.

If answer = no, then you have no problem.

If answer = no, and you think he's lying and will bring the gun anyway, then why are you going to a party with a dangerous liar?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:52 PM on June 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


Would it be too weird for you to wand a few people (plants?) ahead of him, so it's clear that he's going to be checked on the way in, but not clear that he's being targeted?
posted by anonymisc at 7:54 PM on June 4, 2013


Is his license in the same state/county as the party? Different states have different laws.
Some jurisdictions require that a person carrying who's in contact with law enforcement declare that they are carrying.
posted by at at 5:06 PM on June 5, 2013


If you want to be really devious, prepare an adorable child to ask him "Grandpa can I see yorwa gun?" in earshot of you.
Do NOT use a child to ask someone with untreated PTSD (and possibly early-stage Alzheimers) to show them their firearm. Jesus.
posted by blueberry at 6:17 PM on June 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


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