Pubdate: Sat, 10 Feb 2007
Source: Free Press, The (Kinston, NC)
Copyright: 2007 Kinston Free Press
Cited: State Rep. Tim Moore


How many of you have a safe in your home? What about a secret place 
in a closet or drawer where you hide money or mementos or anything 
else? Perhaps it's a truly elaborate hiding place, because what you 
want to conceal is so valuable or treasured that you never want 
anyone else to find it or see it.

Is there anything wrong with these types of arrangements? Of course not.

It's your home and you can hide what you want, how you want it, 
right? If you agree with all that, then our question is: Why should a 
car be any different? State Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, is 
well-intentioned, but seriously misguided when he proposes a new 
state law making it a felony for people to "have any compartment, 
space or box" in their vehicle for the purposes of hiding illegal items.

Let's really think about this. If this law were passed, it would make 
it illegal to have empty space in your vehicle.

Empty space. Why could it possibly be the government's business if 
you want to conceal something in your car? Some folks might want to 
hide sensitive documents, cash, legally possessed guns or a computer.

Moore says he filed the bill at the request of the Cleveland County 
Sheriff's Office, whose officers lament that sometimes they pull over 
vehicles after drugs have been delivered. That is, the secret 
compartment is empty. Sorry, folks, but this is not the way our 
country should work. Innocent until proven empty? Give us a break!

This is like saying, "Your car is capable of going 180 mph, so we're 
going to charge you with speeding."

Carrying illegal contraband is illegal. Carrying space where illegal 
contraband may or may not be hidden is not.

By the way, what constitutes a "secret space" and how does one 
distinguish between secret spaces created for sinister, criminal 
intent and those created for harmless reasons?

Rep. Moore's colleagues in the N.C. House should make no secret of 
their opposition to this piece of legislation. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake