Last week I was cruising down I-15 in southern Utah, and I got pulled over for speeding. The thing is, the speed limit was 75, and I thought I was doing 80 (I still do). I saw the officer driving in the right-hand lane.
In other words, he wasn’t hiding on the side of the road. I saw him in the right lane driving slowly, so I simply passed him at what I thought was 80 miles an hour. As soon as I passed him, he zipped behind me and turned on his lights. I obviously got in the right-hand lane and pulled over to the side of the road.
As soon as he approached my car, I had my hands on the steering wheel, and I said to him, “Officer, just to let you know, I have my concealed firearms permit, and I am carrying it at this time.” That’s the line I use every time I get pulled over because I think it’s important to notify the police that you have a gun on you.
When I get pulled over and tell the officer this, he immediately becomes more alert and says something such as, “Okay, keep your hands on the wheel for me and don’t take them off.” However, this police officer looked at me like it was no big deal, and he didn’t say anything or become more alert or stand up straighter at all. He said that he pulled me over because I was doing 87 in a 75.
Also, when he told me to show him my license (he didn’t even ask to see my permit as most cops do), I asked him if it was okay to remove my hands from the wheel to reach for my license that was in my pocket. He looked at me like I had three heads and then said, “yeah, everyone carries a gun around here, go ahead.”
I handed him my license, and he walked back to his car very nonchalantly. When he returned to my car, he told me to slow down, and lo and behold (thankfully) did not give me a speeding ticket.
This whole thing went down in a rural area of Utah that clearly has a gun culture. However, in my opinion, as a former police officer, this guy was way too laid back, and as any cop will tell you, there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop.
And even though this officer thought it was no big deal for me to tell him I had a gun, I’d be willing to bet this is not the case in 99% of this country, and I can tell you it’s definitely not the case when I get pulled over in Northern Virginia.
So if I were you, and I got pulled over while carrying my gun, I would still put my hands on the wheel and notify the officer every time. It’s the smart thing to do even if you’re in good ol’ boy country where they look at you funny for telling them you’re carrying a gun.