If you want to test the [police] officer in question, simply ask him or her:
In a conflict between a citizen’s Constitutional rights and the concept of officer safety, which value should be upheld?
Nine times out of ten, that officer will say, “Officer safety”.
Then ask him or her for the specific Constitutional language that creates this “officer safety” exception.
UPDATE 12 APRIL 2010 0810 EDT: Read this comment as well:
I get what you are saying, and agree completely with the point, but there has got to be a better way to phrase the question, or a better person to whom the question can be asked.
There is nothing in the Constitution – or any or words written by any man, ever – that can or will override a person’s fundamental right to self-defense. By asking a police officer if your Constitutional rights are more important to that officer than his own right to self-defense (which is a completely legitimate way for him to interpret the question as asked), you are setting yourself up to be disappointed.
The correct response from the officer is that of course “officer safety” is more important to him than your Constitutional rights – unless he decides to ask for clarification of what you mean by “officer safety”… If he did that, not only would he be more intelligent than many folks, he’d be able to get you to re-phrase the question to be something more like the following:
“In an interaction between a uniformed peace officer and a person carrying a weapon, who is not suspected of any wrong doing, should the officer be able to force that person to hand over said weapon for ‘officer safety’?”
Then, when the 9 of 10 answer ‘yes, of course’ – and they will – you can ask where the ‘officer safety’ exemption is spelled out.
Maybe I’m being too nit-picky, but I don’t think so. The right of any individual to self-defense is fundamental. The right of a person wearing a fancy shirt & a piece of tin to disarm a law-abiding citizen … isn’t…