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Old 11-20-2012, 02:17 PM   #1
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Default From a Police Officer's Perspective.

Concealed carry in an automobile.

Concealed Carry- A Police Officer's Prospective

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I have been a Deputy with one of the largest counties in Missouri for some years now. Being in an area so riddled with methamphetamine one can naturally expect a lot of traffic stops during each shift. With a population of over 60,000 people I see a lot of diversity in my traffic stops, not necessarily in race, but in backgrounds. I see the rich, the poor, and everyone in between. One question that I have been asked countless times from all walks of life is “What do I do if I get pulled over and have my weapon in the car?” This question is usually followed up by something to the effect of “My CCW Instructor never fully answered that question.” So in the paragraphs below I will answer that question in the most complete way possible. Please understand that police work is not a science, but an art. Nowhere is this more true than during a traffic stop. I know officers who only pull over vehicles that they believe contain drugs, and I know of officers who pull over every car they see going six miles over the speed limit. This article is to be used as a guide to properly dealing with the police in the off chance that you are stopped while carrying your weapon.


Step 1: Pull Over

For most people this can go without saying, but I cannot count the times that vehicles will drive five or more miles before stopping. Not necessarily because they are running, or trying to get rid of evidence, but because they are either afraid or think that the officer will just get bored and go away. It doesn't matter if you think your innocent, or that he’s got the wrong person, pull over. Once you see the red and blue lights in your rear view mirror find the closest area (preferably on the right side of the road) and pull over. Because the police officer will be getting out of his or her vehicle and approaching yours with traffic buzzing by, get as far right as you safely can. This will allow the officer to position his vehicle in a way which will provide protection to him in the off chance that a vehicle does not see the bright red and blue lights flashing in front of them.


Step 2: Roll Down BOTH of your front windows and place your hands on the steering wheel.

Most people don’t understand why someone would want both of their windows to be rolled down, and without conducting hundreds of traffic stops it may be difficult to comprehend. Mostly seen in high traffic areas (i.e. highways, narrow roads, exit ramps etc.) an officer may feel safer and more protected from passing traffic making the approach from the passengers side. And with both of your hands on the steering wheel it is obvious to even the most rookie of police officers that you are not reaching for anything and that you most likely aren't going to cause problems.


Step 3: Do Not Interrupt! But Mention that you have a firearm in the car.

When I approach a vehicle I start every interaction the same: “Hello, I’m Deputy Bales from the Sheriff’s Office, I stopped you today because <insert reason here>. Could I please see your driver’s license and insurance card?” Almost every officer has a canned phrase to give drivers that he stops. Let him finish before announcing “I have a gun!” After he finishes calmly state “Officer, just so you know I have a Concealed Carry Endorsement and my weapon is <insert location here> would you like for me to hand it to you?” Do not assume that the officer wants you to hand it to him, while 99.99% of police officers will ask that you do indeed hand it to them, there are a few that will ask you to exit the vehicle and they will remove it themselves. Under no circumstances will I return to my vehicle with a loaded weapon still in yours, so don’t get the idea that it is violating your rights for me to hold onto your gun for a few minutes. Most importantly, if you take nothing else from this article please remember that the absolute WORST thing you can do is immediately reach for it without him asking you to. This will result in a very uncomfortable situation for both of you. “Why can’t I keep my gun with me since I've got a CCW and it’s a legal firearm?” Simply put, just because you may know it is legal doesn't mean that I do. And every officer has seen enough horror films in the police academy to last a lifetime and leave the impression that every gun can kill you. Once I have your weapon with me, along with your driver’s license and insurance I then return to my vehicle and provide dispatch with the serial number of the weapon as well as your license information. Now that I know it is a legal firearm we are on to the next step.


Step 4: Getting Your Gun Back

Some officers will approach your vehicle and simply hand you the gun. This practice is largely out dated and most officers are going to the system I was taught. While I am in my vehicle –and after I have been told the gun isn't stolen- I remove the magazine and unload the weapon. I will then take all of the bullets out of the magazine. I will re-approach your car, explain that you are/aren't getting a citation, I am handing you a bunch of bullets to be put straight in the cup holder, and that I am going to place your firearm in the back seat and the magazine a few feet away from it. I then explain that under no circumstances are you to mess with that weapon until I am out of sight. I then return to my vehicle and leave.


And Now for the What If’s:

“What if the officer doesn't ask about a weapon in the car, my state doesn't require that I tell him?”

I live in Missouri, and here –like in most states- you do NOT have to tell the officer that you have a weapon in the car unless he asks. That being said if I find out you have a CCW from dispatch or some other way I will not be very happy when I do ask you and find out that you are carrying a weapon. It is ALWAYS best to be straight forward about having a weapon.

“Why are so many cops against CCW?”

This is the biggest misconception in the firearm world. I have never in my life met a group of people that were such big proponents of concealed carry and the personal ownership of firearms. For example: The Sheriff of my county had the authority to charge up to $100.00 for the fingerprinting and filing of a CCW. He believed so strongly that citizens had the right to protect themselves that he charged $13.81, the exact amount that it cost him to pay a deputy to take fingerprints and run a background check plus the cost of the fingerprint card. Police Officers are your friends, and as a whole, they believe strongly in your right to carry concealed. With that being said, all of us come across those few rotten apples who aren't very friendly about their guns and ruin the experience for the rest of the world. Just be honest and straight forward about the gun that is in your car and you will be just fine.

“What if I have a CCW Endorsement and do not have the gun with me?”

Not a problem. Follow the first and second steps exactly the same as if you were carrying. At the same point that you would tell him that you have a firearm in the car explain that you do not have one with you, even though you have the endorsement.


Conclusion:

While you will still find a few officers who feel it is necessary to either go beyond what they should do, or just not worry about the gun at all, honesty is always the best solution. Just be straight forward about the gun, or lack thereof, and you will be on your way in just a few short minutes.

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Old 11-20-2012, 05:31 PM   #2
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Nope...NOT happening !!

In Pennsylvania, a routine traffice stop is just that...a traffic stop. NOT a felony stop !!

Under our firearm laws, there is actually a statute that states their is no duty to inform the officer that

I'm carrying concealed. And that's a good thing. Why would I want to inject a statement like "I gotta gun"

into a routine but highly emotional situation ( for the cop & me ) when it has nothing to do with the reason

I'm being pulled over. And it that article, the cop who wrote it wants the owner of the vehicle to either hand

him the gun or get out into traffic so he can handle it. Hell no, my gun is loaded, one in the pipe, and most cops

don't know their own firearms ( can you say negligent discharge ) let alone mine... and how it works or is rendered safe.

Don't think so....!!

And that sir...is MY perspective !!

Feel free to comment...

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Old 11-20-2012, 06:24 PM   #3
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Seems like the rules are all over the place on this.

Here's a list ( by no means perfect) of "must inform".

Let us know if you have different info on "must inform" for your state.

Must Inform LEO if Carrying Concealed

STATE NO YES OTHER ID
Alabama x NO
Alaska X NO
Arizona X NO
Arkansas X YES
California DEPENDS ON COUNTY
Colorado X NO
Connecticut X NO
Delaware X NO
Florida X NO
Georgia X NO
Hawaii NON-ISSUE STATE IN PRACTICE
Idaho X NO
Illinois NON-ISSUE STATE
Indiana X NO
Iowa X NO
Kansas UPON REQUEST YES
Kentucky X NO
Louisiana x NO
Maine UPON REQUEST NO
Maryland UPON REQUEST YES
Massachusetts UPON REQUEST NO
Michigan X NO
Minnesota UPON REQUEST NO
Mississippi UPON REQUEST YES
Missouri X NO
Montana X NO
Nebraska UPON REQUEST YES
Nevada UPON REQUEST YES
New Hampshire X NO
New Jersey UNKNOWN
New Mexico UPON REQUEST NO
New York UPON REQUEST YES
North Carolina X YES

North Dakota UPON REQUEST NO
Ohio X YES
Oklahoma X UPON REQUEST NO
Oregon X NO
Pennsylvania X NO
Rhode Island X NO
South Carolina UPON REQUEST NO
South Dakota X NO
Tennessee UPON REQUEST NO
Texas UPON REQUEST YES
Utah X NO
Vermont X NO
Virginia UPON REQUEST YES
Washington UPON REQUEST NO
Washington D. C. NON-ISSUE STATE IN PRACTICE
West Virginia UPON REQUEST YES
Wisconsin NON-ISSUE STATE
Wyoming X NO


Also it seems some places in Pennsylvania require it too .

See last paragraph in link.

http://www.ccpa.net/index.aspx?NID=3094

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Old 11-20-2012, 08:32 PM   #4
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Obviously Cumberland County PA needs a lesson in PA Commonwealth law...

Just because they post "must inform" on their website it doesn't superceed PA State law.

But, that was a good catch there 3T...

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Old 11-21-2012, 02:41 PM   #5
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Michigan is a "must inform" state. When you get pulled over and they run your plate they know if the owner of that plate has a CPL. You still must disclose ASAP if you have a weapon with you. You must present your CPL, drivers license and registration. Very few officers here will want to handle your gun once they know you have a CPL.

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Old 11-21-2012, 03:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHOOTER13 View Post
Nope...NOT happening !!

I'm being pulled over. And it that article, the cop who wrote it wants the owner of the vehicle to either hand

him the gun or get out into traffic so he can handle it. Hell no, my gun is loaded, one in the pipe, and most cops

don't know their own firearms ( can you say negligent discharge ) let alone mine... and how it works or is rendered safe.

Don't think so....!!

And that sir...is MY perspective !!

Feel free to comment...
I totally agree with you. I may have any one of six different makes of pistol on me at any time. I do not want someone who only knows how Glocks work to handle my loaded weapon. Let alone remove all the ammo from the gun and magazine.There is absolutely no reason to remove a pistol from a holster on a routine stop when the officer knows you have a license to carry it.
This officer that wrote the article must really work in a bad area to be so paranoid. He stated he is not against citizens having the right to carry, but evidently not in his presence... I hope I never get stopped by a "richard" like him.
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:57 PM   #7
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Florida Statute 790.06 …. The licensee must carry the license, together with valid identification, at all times in which the licensee is in actual possession of a concealed weapon or firearm and must display both the license and proper identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer. Violations of the provisions of this subsection shall constitute a noncriminal violation with a penalty of $25, payable to the clerk of the court.



There is no need to inform the officer unless he asked. I did get one LEO upset when he asked me "Do you have any illegal weapons in the car" and I answered "NO" I don't have any illegal weapons but I do have a legal gun or two. I am quite sure he now better phrases his questions.

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Old 11-21-2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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Here in Iowa we dont have to inform. However when I got pulled over the last time I did, just to see what the reaction was. After I told him I had a permit to carry and was currently excercising that right he asked me where the firearm was. I told him and all he said was leave it there. I got my ticket and was on my way. So I guess the response you would get would depend on the officer that pulls you over.

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Old 11-21-2012, 11:36 PM   #9
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I think you need to edit the list to show OK as an on demand State.

In Oklahoma the relevant section of the law reads as follows: "Section 1290.8. POSSESSION OF LICENSE REQUIRED - NOTIFICATION TO POLICE OF GUN
...
B. The person shall be required to have possession of his or her valid handgun license and a valid Oklahoma driver license or an Oklahoma State photo identification at all times when in possession of an authorized pistol. The person shall display the handgun license on demand of a law enforcement officer; provided, however, that in the absence of reasonable and articulable suspicion of other criminal activity, an individual carrying an unconcealed handgun shall not be disarmed or physically restrained unless the individual fails to display a valid handgun license in response to that demand."

That is how the law reads. Perhaps I'm too trusting of a soul, but I would not wait for the officer to ask to see the license. If pulled over, I'll hand the officer my CCW, my DL and my insurance card, with the CCW on top. My guess is that when the first thing he sees is CCW, his first question will probably be "Are you carrying?" That allows me to answer with "Yes, at 3 o'clock outside the waistband." That seems like a much safer thing to say than "I've got a gun!"

If the officer want to confiscate the gun, this trusting soul will be losing a bit of trust for that LEO. I'll probably say "You know you are not authorized to ask for that without probable cause of other criminal activity. What do you think I've done?" (Hopefully that won't be "resisting arrest" ) If he still insists, I'll give him the gun and get his badge number so I can register a complaint. But chances are, in Oklahoma, it wouldn't come to that.

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Old 11-21-2012, 11:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimA View Post
I totally agree with you. I may have any one of six different makes of pistol on me at any time. I do not want someone who only knows how Glocks work to handle my loaded weapon. Let alone remove all the ammo from the gun and magazine.There is absolutely no reason to remove a pistol from a holster on a routine stop when the officer knows you have a license to carry it.
This officer that wrote the article must really work in a bad area to be so paranoid. He stated he is not against citizens having the right to carry, but evidently not in his presence... I hope I never get stopped by a "richard" like him.
I think he mentioned that he works in an area full of meth dealers. I'm inclined to give the LEO in that situation the benefit of the doubt. But I would hope that a valid CCW and a peaceful demeanor could enable him to use some judgment about whether I'm a threat.

I'd definitely be upset enough to complain if he returned an unloaded weapon, unloaded magazine and placed them out of practical reach. The very nature of the area makes him paranoid and also places me at risk. And he wants to leave me "defenseless"?
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