Why Concealed Carriers Don’t Need To Stress Out About Getting Pulled Over

Why Concealed Carriers Don't Need To Stress Out About Getting Pulled Over

You look up in the rearview mirror and you see those dreaded blue lights flashing behind you. It can be a nerve-wracking experience. For many concealed carriers, doubly so because they know they have a gun in the car with them. But trust me, it’s really not that bad. In fact, the more stressed out you act in front of a police officer, the more on-guard he will likely be. He’s reading your body language the moment he makes eye contact with you. The reason for that is simple: his life depends on judging whether or not someone means to do him harm.

Always Keep Cool And Address The Officer Honestly

It’s super simple. He’s going to come up to your window and ask for license and registration. Before you move a muscle, tell him you are a licensed concealed carrier and you have the gun in the vehicle with you. The police officer is going to instruct you as to how you need to proceed from there. So long as you are licensed to carry, aren’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and haven’t committed any major crime, the officer is more than likely just going to take your license and registration to do his routine duties. He may ask for your permit, as well.

No big deal.

Just Because You’re Polite And Direct, Don’t Expect To Get Off With A Warning

Online, you’ll read a bunch of different anecdotes people say on social media outlets about how the officer was just super nice and polite and let them off with a warning after they said they were concealed carriers. Don’t expect that. If it happens, great. Nobody wants a speeding ticket or moving violation if they can help it. However, don’t instantaneously expect that your forthright admission of having a concealed carry handgun in the vehicle with you is somehow going to change that police officer’s interpretation of the law.

The easiest way to avoid a ticket is to maintain your situational awareness and follow the law.

Why Do I Inform And Not Just ‘Stay Quiet’?

The reason I say to inform the officer is because you’re giving him the knowledge and the choice as to how to proceed. It’s a ton better than if he sees your gun flop out of the glove box when you reach in to get your registration. More importantly, it’s communicating to him that you value both of your safety. As complete strangers, neither one of you necessarily know if you can trust the other. What you have, as a common ground, is common courtesy.

The police officer is trained to pay close attention to body language, the location of your hands, and how you address him. True, in quite a few states, you don’t have any duty to inform a police officer as to whether or not you have a gun in the car. And I wouldn’t be surprised, if I lived in one of those states, if the officer just said, “cool. Keep it holstered and we’ll be fine.”

It’s about finding common ground and mutual respect. Just because I’m polite to someone doesn’t mean they’ll be nice back. I can’t control another person’s emotions or his mindset but I can control mine. In my defensive mindset, I start out with being polite because it gives me the opportunity to see how that’s returned. If I’m polite to someone — police officer to just random stranger — and that person is rude back, that’s valuable information even if it leads to nothing.

Ultimately, you do what you think is best but there’s absolutely no need to get stressed out about a traffic stop. Just be direct, follow the law, and get on with your day.

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  • burns

    Never had a problem in 50 years

  • Wizzardly

    It’s helpful to turn off the car, put the keys on the dash and keep your hands in plain sight (on the wheel is good). While you’re waiting for the cop to report the stop and run your plate, you might get your paperwork ready to hand over as soon as he asks. Oh, and NEVER say the word “gun” in any context. If you are required to do so or if he asks, tell him you are legally armed and where it is. And in that case, your permit should be among your paperwork.

    • David

      Great advise. Too many people are not aware that the word “GUN” is used, in training, as a quick response trigger word. Never use the word gun when addressing a LEO on the street. Usually, if a cop has a rookie with him, the rookie may approach the vehicle from the passenger side and, while addressing the LEO at your window, the rookie may not hear everything spoken between you and the officer, but he WILL HEAR THE WORD GUN so just don’t use it.

  • Alan Lynn

    fyi, he may already know. In some places when he runs your plate CCW info will come up also.

    • Sparky43207

      That I will attest to. I live in Ohio and my CCW from FL will even come up.

      • But you live in OH where they check their residents. I doubt they have access to that data for people that live out of state.

        • Sparky43207

          That I don’t know. Just out of curiosity I will ask my Block Watch Liaison officer next time I see him.

  • Paladin

    The absolute best option? Don’t get pulled over. Drive carefully, be considerate of others, don’t drink & drive, and don’t tailgate. Haven’t been pulled over in better than 30 years. And no, I don’t drive like great-grandpa out for a Sunday drive.

    • Bdpenn

      That’s great advice until you blink and miss a speed reduction sign. That’s exactly what happened to me 3 weeks ago. First time in over 40 years that I had been pulled over. On top of that I was driving my daughters car with her friend also in the car heading to the gun show in Lakeland, FL. ( largest show in FL, BTW). All three of us are CCW permit holders. The three of us were unarmed and the officer by running the plate and my license would have learned of mine and my daughters status, but, he did not ask. He did however, ask where we were heading and I told him.
      He took my daughters and my information, went to his cruiser and upon returning gave me a verbal warning and bid us a good day, which I thanked him and returned the salutation.
      Yes, Having a Clean record, driving and otherwise, keeping your hands in clear sight, mine were kept on the wheel and being courteous will save the day.

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  • David

    Great advise. Billy Badass invites trouble and will, most of the time, entise or escalate animosity between you and the LEO. ALWAYS COOPERATE with a LEO. If there is a problem, plan on fighting it in court not on the street. Given the option, most LEO’s, will choose the easiest method of concluding the interchange. Allow the LEO to control the situation because It’s his life that is on the line.

  • John H.

    All well and good until the cop that has you pulled over is Daniel Harless. The safest place for my gun is in the holster with nobody touching or handling it. The most likely way that the gun is going to stay in the holster is to keep my mouth shut about it. If I tell the officer about my gun when I am not required to by law, I am inviting them to take it from me and handle it needlessly placing everyone at risk from a negligent discharge. I will not endanger myself or others when it is not required. If the officer wants to know if I am armed, all they have to do is ask. If they are not concerned enough to ask about it, I am not concerned enough to bring it up myself.

    General rules:
    When the lights come on behind you, look for a safe place to pull over. Less busy side streets, parking lots, wide shoulders, lighting if at night, etc. If you know there is a safer place nearby, turn on your hazard lights to let the officer know you see them and drive carefully to the nearby safe place. You can explain to the officer at first chance that you thought this location would be out of traffic and safer for them.

    Before I pull over, I prefer to retrieve my wallet from my pocket and the folder from my glove box which has registration and insurance card. I leave the glove box open. Wallet and folder are in my lap, or on empty passenger seat next to me. Always keep the registration and insurance card in the same, easily
    accessible location so you don’t have to dig through a bunch of stuff to
    get to it while the officer waits.

    When stopped in a safe place, turn off the engine and the radio. Turn on hazard warning flashers. If at night turn on interior lights. If the conditions indicate the officer will approach the drivers side, I roll that window down all the way (note, with electric windows, the key likely has to be in the on position for this, so plan for that). Or the passenger side window if it is clear that is where the officer is going.

    If you don’t feel comfortable rolling the window down all the way, crack the top open and voluntarily present drivers license through the opening so the officer can easily retrieve it. I keep right hand on top of steering wheel, and I like to have driver’s license in left hand resting on window sill.

    Be extremely polite. Use sir and officer lots. But also know your rights and exercise them politely. “Do you know why I pulled you over?” You are not required to answer that because you honestly don’t know why you were stopped. The officer may have stopped you for an entirely different reason than what you think. I respond with a simple and polite “No, sir.”

    If all of that does not set the officer a little bit at ease then telling them about your gun isn’t going to help. Unless the officer is going to see the gun – such as in the glove box – I am not going to invite the officer to disarm me and handle my gun needlessly on the side of the road, unless the state I am in requires me to inform them.

  • I don’t know about that…Yeah, officer, I have a gun. While one should cooperate and be civil with cops, I don’t think it’s always wise to tell a cop if you are armed and if you do it, there are better ways than what you described, like giving him or her your CCW with your driver’s license. It also depends on the state. Some states require disclosure, some do not. My state requires we do if asked. On the other hand, I have heard of people being handcuffed while the cop checks out the gun and the car because they told the cop they were carrying. I don’t know. Is it really his or her business if you are not required to report it?

    • RCBFn#3

      The problem with informing a LEO that you are carrying, no matter how polite and voluntary you are, is the risk of being disarmed, during the stop, and having the weapon returned unloaded, perhaps even dismantled or damaged, leaving you vulnerable for as long as it takes to recover from that… if you can… (what if you don’t get all the parts back)…

      In my state, I am not obliged to volunteer that I am carrying unless I’m asked directly. For the reasons stated above, I won’t volunteer that I am carrying unless asked directly, or unless I’m ordered to “step out of the vehicle.” Of course I’ll be polite and follow all lawful commands, but I don’t think its fare that my safety be compromised for the safety of the LEO… not to that extent.

  • G50AE

    You could always wear your CCW Badge on one of those neck chain CCW Badge holder thingies when you go for a drive.

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    It’s like this: If I am licensed to carry I am legal. If your state is like mine, they already know you are licensed to carry before they approach you. It’s in their data base. I was in an accident. The officer asked if I had a gun in the car. I said no. I told the truth. It was on my person. He didn’t ask if I was carrying. I didn’t tell him. Oh yeah, I was out of the car when he arrived at the scene. Another time I was pulled over on the way to work. I knew what it was for; didn’t have my new license plate tag and it was the new month. He never asked about a weapon, I never mentioned it. Don’t be aggressive, don’t be wishy washy, don’t be under the influence. You’ll be in good shape.

  • Green Hornet

    saying “don’t get pulled over” is a joke
    I travel for work and many places target out of state vehicles and jump on that hidden reduce speed sign
    that aside I never say anything unless asked, even when they are being an a$$

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