Police use gun-sniffing dogs. Good or bad?


Police officers in Port St. Lucie, Florida are using gun-sniffing dogs to “get guns off the streets”. Apparently dogs can smell gunpowder residue for 2 to 3 days after it was fired and these police officers are using K-9 units to sniff out guns that have been used in an incident and thrown away.

“The dogs are capable of finding a needle in a haystack, so to speak,” Port St. Lucie Officer Will Harris told CBS12.

Over the last week, three guns believed to have been used in a crime were discovered by these gun-sniffing dogs. Areas with heavy brush make it difficult for law enforcement officers to trace these guns. With the help of the K-9s, they are able to recover the disposed of firearms. The dogs were able to trace the guns by the suspect’s scent and the smell of gun powder residue.

“If the gun has a bullet in it, even just one. Or the gun has been fired where there’s gunshot residue on the firearm, he’d be able to detect that,” Officer Harris explained.

According to officers, however, K-9s can still smell the gunpowder residue for 2 to 3 days after it was fired.

The official line is that these dogs help to prevent children from obtaining discarded firearms. And while that sounds laudable, I wonder how long before they use them on honest gun-owning citizens?

Here’s the CBS 12’s coverage:

  • Michael Santarsiero

    The dog will only do what it is trained an told to do, it has no moral compunction. Dishonest officer equals dishonest dog. The dog will alert to whatever cue it is given so an LE can get a warrant for a search with no apparent cause other than he told the dog to falsely alert . Scary

  • Kevin S

    Here we go again…..
    Yet another tool which WILL be abused by law enforcement to carry out even more illegal warrantless searches.

  • JoLa25161

    Good guy with LEGALLY owned and acquired firearm — NO PROBLEM. Any other situation — GOOD DOG you found a bad guy with illegal weapon. — The dog could save the life of policemen (and policewomen). Only BAD cops will abuse this “law” and these bad cops will get around any law if they want to. MOST COPS ARE GOOD COPS.

  • will

    So now we take a bit of powder and some gun oil and mix well. Paint tiny spots all throughout the car – just a little dab will do it. The dog will stop and sit every few feet pointing to nothing. The dog will look dumb as well the cop. It must be the powder and or the oils – Cars are made of metal and have oils in many places. As far as us who carry the cop only need to ask no dog needed

  • Grendel99

    adjective: inalienable –
    unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor.

    The “Right to Bear Arms” CANNOT be justifiably taken away from anyone, even a ‘felon’ who has paid his/her debt to society. Additionally, the “inalienable right” CANNOT be given away by the possessor even if they wanted to (for instance, in exchange for freedom from imprisonment). Thus, every gun law and every gun ‘permit’ is a violation of a sacred inalienable Human Right.

    If a person cannot be trusted to be armed in society, then that person needs to be removed from society. It is proven common knowledge that anyone who wants to procure ‘arms’ can, and will, regardless of State sanctions.

    If Bernie Madoff ever gets released from jail they will not take away his Right to Freedom of Speech, even though speech was the tool he used to commit his crime. Any infringement of our INALIENABLE 2nd Amendment Right is an attempt by the State to reduce the People to serfs and slaves – nothing less. The pretense that such restrictions are to keep us safe, or to keep “kids’ safe, as the propaganda in this article claims, is just more brainwashing through fear, of otherwise intelligent people. Many/most police hav no problem infringing upon our rights in this way – which reveals their stupidity, or evilness, or both. It is clear logic once you look at the situation honestly.

  • Grendel99

    @JoLa25161:disqus – There is no such thing as a LEGALLY or ILLEGALLY owned firearm – since it is an INALIENABLE RIGHT, and therefore cannot be legally taken away or granted, or even given away. The entire concept of legally or illegally owned firearms is a misnomer, and has been used to dupe good people for a long while. What is ‘legal’ today can easily be made ‘illegal’ tomorrow, depending upon the whims of few people sitting in a room. That is why certain rights were ennumerated – to prevent such usurping of the People’s rights. Your buying into the lie that such rights can be restricted harms everyone, and helps no one.

  • Norm Siress

    Having served in a law enforcement capacity for several years in my younger days, I tend to lean conservatively toward giving officers in law enforcement as many useful tools that can be proven as potent & prudent.
    This being said, the K9 police are extremely vsluable ! Let’s train the dogs for every task within their capabilities. The use & application of the K9’s capabilities are strictly & MUST be strictly controlled by the agency officials & the K9 officers.
    Americans that live in communities & or regions where your law enforcement officials could or would mis-use the K9’s capabilities to infringe upon the citizens rights, … Then you problem is more perilous & sinister than any K9 police dog’s capabilities !
    The human character is what to be aware of. Not the police dog’s capabilities.

  • Paul Schuster

    Add some palm trees and you have a third world country. This is a violation of the 4th and 2nd amendments and has the smell of fascism. Is this the kind of country you want to live in? Vicious dogs sniffing you grandmother..

  • Jim

    Thank You. Finally. Someone get’s it. I tip my hat to you sir.

  • will

    So a convicted felon has the right to own guns ?
    A bit confusing – I as a gun owner would prefer they did not have the right as felons

  • James Owen

    The main uses for this would be finding discarded firearms recently used in crimes, and police officers having the dog handy to see if one of the participants in a domestic disturbance is carrying, since domestic disturbances account for a disproportionate number of police officers being assaulted. You need a dog that can find knives, too. And finding recently used weapons will help get violent crimes solved in that crucial 48-hour window after the crime was committed.

    Preventing abuses is easy, too. If some sort of abusive scenario starts up, just fill a cardboard box with tin cans, spray in some WD-40, stick in the muzzle of a .22, and fire. Then scatter them everywhere. Put some KFC in one, and the dog will get it and not be worth much for tracking for the rest of the day.

  • SeanM62

    Great idea! Peace officers need this tool to help in law enforcement!! Let’s have a “gun-sniffing” dog in every police department.

  • SeanM62

    You support of criminals is duly noted.

  • SeanM62

    There are already laws against possession of some weapons by all (tanks, surface-to-air missiles, etc.) and any weapon for some (felons). These are minimal restrictions which ought to be expanded to include other now-common weapons which are dangerous for peace officers and ordinary citizens alike.

  • Glen Spicer

    It is not the fault of the dog and I don’t worry about him. But I do worry about the reaction of trigger-happy cps when they discover you are armed. I have seen them go ballistic when they discover that a person has a carry permit and is armed. People have been shot by cops for less and it is just a bad way to sort out the criminals at the expense, and maybe lives, of the legal carrier.

  • Lisa Palmer

    How about money smelling dogs, to assist in the all important “revenue generating” that monopolizes the resources of many modern law enforcement agencies. Then they can confiscate much much more cash claiming it may (or may not) have criminal origins. Or perhaps the dogs can point out property that is financially healthy and owned outright, once again, assisting in revenue generating via civil asset forfeiture, where property is seized and sold to benefit the police department and for which the owner need not be convicted, or even CHARGED with breaking the law! Come to think of it, where is the REAL DANGER to citizens when such laws exist? Perhaps we should be teaching our little shitzus and chihuahuas to be POLICE SNIFFING DOGS so we can avoid the larger dangers created by these tyrranical laws created not to protect and defend (a quaint, outdated motto, now removed from most patrol cars if you havent noticed) but to rob in a legal way, with a judges consent. Such new methods must make one question the real motives in training dogs to ferret out the single item that currently stands between US citizens and further, even more agreggious “laws” and other methods of enslavement. If we as citizens were wise, these dogs would detect so many arms and ammunition in any populated area that they could scarce sort out one from another! Wake up people!

  • Lisa Palmer

    SeanM62 what is the intent behind your remark? “DULY NOTED” you say!? By WHOM EXACTLY, SIR? And to what end? Is it your intention to threaten this person to prevent him speaking his mind? He is primarily FOR this new method, is he not? IN what way is mr Owen supporting criminal behavior? He mentions the last as a remedy to “abuses” I believe . shall we have no remedy to abuse? Are we not duly bound to uproot tyranny in our founding documents in fact? How incredibly ironic isn’t it, that you should chime in as proof positive, in classic “big brother” style, of the kind of bullying, list making busybody bureaucratic type who is for any and all means available to ensure the letter of the law without regard to the spirit or end result of such, who need so badly to exert Control over others , who knows, better than us “little people” what is in our best interests? How ironic, indeed, that you try to deny mr Owen his first amendment right to free expression of speech as he stands up for the creeping (ILLEGAL UNCONSTITUTIONAL) infringement of his SECOND amendment rights, albeit not wholeheartedly enough to please YOU it seems! Using the implied threat as means of enforcing what you have determined is the acceptable point of view, as always. Never do they use the means of real debate or even attempt to win over the opposition. Why? Because they can not and they know it. Alwsys it is fear, bullying, ridiculing, ignoring, or demonizing. They use the “children” or now “the earth” threatening to Jail climate denyers even! Seanm62 goes into the comment section and at even this partial blasphemy employs threat…this is going on your permanent record! Well bad news, Mr Owens, looks like your name will be right next to MINE! now THATS scarey! Don’t let these pencil pushing MINDERS stop you from speaking your minds, coming together, developing community of like minds! Dont let them win. Our fathers and grandfather’s left home and family to travel around the world to fight evil such as this (no different, Dont be fooled) and many lost life and limb in horrific unimaginable conditions so we could breathe free! If we are silenced by an anonymous posting, by the tiniest shred of a threat, how SMALL do we prove ourselves to be? How undeserving of all their gallant heroism and unspeakable sacrifice!? We must PRESS our rights, SPEAK our minds, WIN over with the truth. Silent we are destined to be slaves and worse than slaves too.

  • SeanM62

    His second paragraph clearly describes a method to perform a potentially illegal act, that is, being complicit in destroying the ability to discover evidence. I worked with homicide cops for a quarter of a century and understand how difficult it is to collect evidence. Yes, there is abuse in the system, but White folks like you (if your avatar is really you) are much less likely to be the victim of this abuse than minorities.

    And my ancestors fought evil in this country and lost, so I know about sacrifice – no lectures, please. Frankly, every war since WW II has been stupid, certainly not fought to guarantee our freedom, only to guarantee that the investment/money interests of the conservative elite could be secured.

    Last, our new President Snowflake is a much more “clear and present danger” than anything I have written.

    Last, I understand where you are coming from in terms of anger. I wrote stuff like this in high school, but went out into the real world – and it was different than I had envisioned. Please keep your passion, but temper it with reality instead of fictitious mumbledyjumble.

  • SeanM62

    I agree that this “confiscate” crap by cops ought to be strictly illegal. It is grand larceny in some cases, and armed robbery in any case.

  • Grendel99

    @JoLa25161, will, and SeanM62 –

    I suggest that you be cautious about the concept of a “legal gun owner” or a “legal gun”. You may become “illegal” to be armed at some time in the future, depending upon the whim of a few politicians and bureaucrats.

    Real life example: I live in NY State. In 1993 I legally purchased, at a gun show, several semiauto magazine-fed rifles with pistol grips, aka civilian “assault rifles”. In 2007 I did an aquaintance a favor and repaired his single-shot shotgun, and he saw some of my rifles at my home. In 2012, the day after the Sandy Hook school shooting, in a closed ’emergency’ session at 11:30pm, the NY legislature and the governor passed the NY “Safe Act”, which, among other infringements, required that such rifles as I owned be registered with the state by Jan 15th 2014. Along with several million other NY citizens I did not register my rifles since to do so would violate my Constitutional Rights. In April 2015 the person whose shotgun I fixed became aware of a $500 reward offerred by the state to turn in the names of people who owned rifles like mine. He gave my name to the NY state police for $500; they searched my house; and I was facing 43 years in prison for owning five rifles that were not politically correct in NY state. I ended up getting five years probation and a felony conviction. They confiscated my valuable rifles, and forced me to sell my military curios and hunting rifles and shotguns; and of course, as a convicted felon, I am not allowed to possess arms. I am 65 years old, with no prior criminal record. I have 2 bachelors and a masters degree; was married to a probation officer for 24 years; was on my local planning board and chamber of commerce; volunteered in multiple civic organizations, and am an upright sterling citizen. My only crime? – not filling out paperwork.

    The irony is that both the leaders of the NY Senate and the NY Assembly, who rushed the “Safe Act” through that night are now in prison for abuse of their office, facing 21 years for millions of dollars in fraud. The governor disbanded the Morland Commission on Corruption after the commission convicted the two legislative leaders, AND the governor’s best friend of 30 years; because the commission’s investigation was now leading to the governor himself. However, the law they rammed through is still in effect.

    You need to rethink the meaning of “legal” and what an inalienable right is. Otherwise, you might be the next person to become a ‘felon’ if you dare exercise your rights. Freedom is not free.


    1) The right to be armed is an INALIENABLE RIGHT that is not to be INFRINGED. I have provided the dictionary definitions at the bottom so that you will understand what that means.

    2) Not all felons are predisposed to violence. If Bernie Madoff were released from prison I wouldn’t be concerned if he were armed.

    3) We live in a (supposedly) FREE and ARMED society. Therefore, arms are materially available to any person regardless of what the words of a law may say. There are also items that can be used as weapons that do not fall under the formal definition of “arms”.

    4) Therefore; if a person is considered so prone to violence that they can’t be trusted with arms in our society, then they do not belong in society. If a person is so adjudicated to be a predicate violent criminal who cannot be trusted in society then they should be removed from society. That is the only just, fair, and effective remedy. A seperate society should be created for individuals who are compelled to violence.

    DEFINITIONS (from entry into Google):
    adjective: inalienable
    unable to be taken away from or given
    away by the possessor.

    “freedom of religion, the most inalienable of all human rights”

    synonyms: inviolable, absolute,
    sacrosanct; untransferable, nontransferable, nonnegotiable;

    “that principle is an essential, inalienable part of having ownership”

    verb: infringe;
    1) actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.).

    “making an unauthorized copy would infringe copyright”

    violate, transgress, break, breach;
    disobey, defy, flout, fly in the face of;
    disregard, ignore, neglect;
    go beyond, overstep, exceed;
    “the statute infringed constitutionally guaranteed rights”

    2) act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on.
    “his legal rights were being infringed”

    restrict, limit, curb, check, encroach on;
    undermine, erode, diminish, weaken, impair, damage, compromise
    “the surveillance infringed on his rights”

  • Grendel99

    @SeanM62:disqus –
    It is “duly noted” that you are a Statist who supports treasonous criminal political dynasties who sell top secret technology to China and fuel for nuclear weapons to Russia. May your chains rest lightly around your neck.