How to Deal with Police When Pulled Over While Concealed Carrying

How to Deal with Police When Pulled Over While Concealed Carrying

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.

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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Mike Denney

Do you still notify the police that you have a concealed firearms permit, even if you’re not carrying on your person at that moment?


No and I also do not tell them I have not been drinking.


Yes. Here in Ohio when they run your plate they know if you are a CCW holder. Several months ago I too was pulled over. Windows go down, interior lights go on, car keys placed on the dash, with license and ccw permit both hands on the wheel. I inform the office that I have a CCW permit and my weapon is on my right hip! Only problem is telling the wife I spent $147.00! One more suggestion: at home or in the car practice out loud what you’re going to say to the officer. Use firearm or weapon NEVER say gun!


Do they know if you have a CCW for a state other than Ohio? In other words, to LEO access a national CCW data base when contacting a miscreant?


There is no national CCW Database…


Mike, In Ohio: we must notify only if we are carrying. I notify regardless, when they run your plates, their screen flashes, it’s either a warrant or CCW holder. If I’m in a different car as a passenger and carrying I must notify.

He Who Shall Not Be Named

Although I love reading your articles, I have to comment on this one. In a place like New York where cops don’t get this very much because only a few folks have them, I would recommend handing the officer your permit/license with your DL, reg, & proof of insurance. This will avoid misinterpretation of your statement and intent for making it. It also offers less of an ability for them to play games if they don’t think civilians should have guns…and those guys are out there. This probably sounds ludicrous to people from other states where things make sense, but it would be well to consider this option if you’re from a state such as mine.


In New York CWP holders don’t drive (they’re all billionaires )


How often do you get pulled over?!? Sounds like it happens quite often.


Most cops in utah have this attitude. As you know, there is no legal requirement to tell him you’re carrying. Plus, he prob. knew you were a CCW holder before he even contacted you.

And I’m assuming the cop was UHP, and they’re the most hard nose cops in all of Utah. So I don’t think the cop was too relaxed about your encounter; just highly trained. They are not too worried about you beating him to the punch unless you were holding your pistol in your hand.

Jus saying

How would he know Jason was a CCW if Jason is a resident of Virginia?

Laron Woods

Jason was a CCW carrier and instructor for Utah and would show up when the officer did his ID check.

Jason Henry

That is exactly as I was taught when taking my CCL class here in Utah. I always hand them my CCL and DL if I get pulled over. In Wyoming I got pulled over and followed my normal protocol when I did he just asked if I had it on me thanked me and handed it back. I guess in Wyoming I didn’t need it to conceal. Always better to play safe they will find out you have a CCL when they run your license and if you haven’t told them it could make them nervous.

Albert Lowe

In Michigan, it’s mandatory that you inform the police right away, that you have a CPL and that you’re carrying. IF you don’t have a pistol on you, or in your vehicle, there is no duty to notify. However, to avoid problems, it’s usually a good idea to mention that you have a CPL anyway, since they’ll know this when they run your license plate.

Chubby Survivalist

I live in KS, where there is no duty to inform. I was pulled over once for a burned out tail light, and honestly I didn’t even think about the gun that is always on my hip. I was polite with the officer (nice guy) as I always try to be, and I think your demeanor goes a long way in putting someone at ease. I’m sure he saw my carry status when he ran my license, but he matched my level of cordiality the whole way, and it was a pleasant encounter.

That being said, the officer’s demeanor also goes a long way. Mine was friendly, and we chatted about where I was coming from (fishing with my 10 year old son). If the officer is more stand-offish, or if I think I’m going to have 4th amendment issues, then I play it by the book. I’ll offer no non-required information. So far so good, though.

DannyandArlene Woodfin

I agree! If you are carrying and are stoped did it by the book.

That’s NOT by the book! Where he and I live (VA) there is NO duty to inform. They see our CHP when they run our plates. If they don’t bring it up, I don’t bring it up. The is NO advantage to making something simple, complicated.


It’s legal to carry a concealed weapon on you in a car in Utah even without a ccw.

Jairus Duncan

FYI’s: Utah repealed ‘officer notification’ in 2008, so you don’t have to tell them anything about carrying a firearm in Utah. That being said, I tell students to hand them their CCW card along with their DL in a traffic stop because if they are driving their own car the LEO will know you have a permit before they ever get to your car.
It is also correct that you do NOT need a permit to carry in your vehicle.
It is much easier to drive the speed limit and avoid the situation. LEO encounters within the Ogden-SLC-Provo metro area might not be as casual.


Went through a license, insurance and drunk driving check point (another topic) in rural Missouri, not a required to notify state if carrying but I did, the officer told me just leave it in its holster


Remember you are in Utah. Most parts of that state have very pro gun laws on open carry let alone concealed. That officer ( as he implied) would probably be more concerned about you if you didn’t have one. Last time I was in Utah I watched a friend of mine (not a leo) walking into Walmart. He had to pass between two Utah state troopers drinking coffee and talking in front of the door. He said “excuse me” they said good morning and never gave him a second look. He was open carrying (I don’t recommend) TWO 1911’s one in a shoulder holster and the other sob. There is now way they could have missed it they didn’t know him from Adam but the firearms brought no more alarm than the iPhone on my hip.
The last time I was pulled over here in South Carolina I informed the officer that I was carrying and handed him my lisence and carry permit (as required by law) as he walked up to my car window. He smiled and asked what I carry. When I told him I carry a nighthawk custom 1911 we got into a long discussion that ended with an agreement to meet at local range that Sunday afternoon so he could shoot mine and show me some of his. My conclusion is that when dealing with the police do as you said so that you are prepared for that one officer who reacts out of fear or ignorance, but don’t expect all officers to respond in a negative way

John S

I could not disagree more with this article, unless you are in a state with a duty to inform. I see no reason to introduce a gun into a situation if it doesn’t need to be there. I have my own personal protocol for dealing with a traffic stop. If I am asked, I will inform. If I am “invited” out of the vehicle, I will inform, and if I think it is likely that the officer will 1) notice and 2 be surprised I will inform. Other than that, I do not inform. I was recently stopped in my home town for talking on a cell phone. Here in CT, your town issues your permit, so I am sure the officer knew I had a permit. This stop was kind of odd, to say the least, but guns never came up. I was never even asked if I had any weapons. Backup was called in, and the 2 officers spent a fair amount of time behind 1 officers car, which had the trunk open, and when the officer came to give me my license back, his backup was standing on the passenger side of the car. Here’s how I look at it… if I had informed, the best case scenario is nothing would have gone differently. The worst is I would’ve been proned out and disarmed. You never know how a cop is going to behave with an armed citizen. My philosophy is to avoid the issue.

Rich Kedzierski Jr.

Just so you know, Its the Law when carrying to announce you have your on you in a Traffic stop! Cause once they Run your name in the system it will come back your a CCW/CPL holder. And will raise suspension as to why your NOT informing the officer. Theres no reason to hide it, I open carry all over the place, ive stopped to talk to police officers while open carrying. When Pulled over, I already have my Licenses, CPL, and registration waiting for them. Doing this everytime they let me go no ticket!


Why does ‘everyone’ THINK that because it’s the law in their state that it’s the law in EVERY state???? There are MANY states that do NOT require you to notify the officer! Like Indiana!

There are too many moron Leo’s that feel that it is their duty to DISARM you when you notify them and then attempt to take your weapon apart so that when they return it you’re told not to load or reassemble it until they’ve gone! I’d like just ONE of these numb huts explain what I’m supposed to do when they are trying to unload my weapon that they SHOOT THEMSELVES on a dark road in the middle of BE?


AFTER a traffic stop I once asked a sheriff his opinion and I think I was given the best answer ever!! “I don’t care if you’re wearing a nun’s habit…. I treat everyone the same….to me EVERYONE has a hidden gun on them. Cause I’m going home tonight! I just ask that everyone keep your hands on the wheel and no quick moves.”


They have the right to disarm you in every state. While making a traffic stop, they may or may not, want to secure the weapon during the encounter. So what? If you research the way to handle a traffic stop while carrying, you will find that a vast majority of the recommendations are to put your license, insurance card and CCW permit (on top) when you hand them to the officer. This is the advice given by most instructors and Leo’s. Ask any Leo and they will tell you that EVERY stop is considered to be armed. If you are not up front, they will wonder why you weren’t and will escalate the situation. Most officers will call in your tag and wait until you quit moving around before they approach your vehicle. This gives you ample time to gather all of the necessary documents for the Officer. By being up front with carrying, you will put most at ease and for those it doesn’t, they can secure the weapon – which has the same effect. It is Never a good idea to make a person, that puts their life on the line every stop, uneasy. If you fell uneasy or paranoid about letting an Officer know that you are Legally carrying, there is more to your situation than you are revealing. A good example of not handling a situation correctly happened this past week when a young black man was killed by a high strung officer that when he told the driver to keep his hands on the wheel, after being told the driver had gun. Supposedly, the driver was reaching for his wallet and took his hands off of the wheel. If the driver had took the time to gather his info before the Officer walked up, the declaration of having a gun would have much less severe. The same, if an Officer asks you to get of your vehicle, and you then decide to inform them that you have a gun, the situation will be escalated. Why escalate a situation over what it would have been just by being open with your legal situation? YOU ARE LEGAL, show them there is no reason to consider you otherwise.

Chubby Survivalist

Laws vary. I currently live in Kansas, which does NOT require me to notify law enforcement. In my home state of Nebraska, however, you have a legal duty to inform.

I tend to favor not informing, when legal. Informing the officer shouldn’t really change his behavior. They should assume every citizen is potentially armed, and the people who volunteer their carry status aren’t the ones you have to worry about anyway. My uncle is a retired police officer in Texas, and he pointed out that they pull your license info anyway, and will know if you carry.


It IS NOT the law in either Utah or Virginia, the two States mentioned, that you must inform an officer that you are armed. When they run your license it will come back that you have a permit but so what? that doesn’t mean you are necessarily carrying at that time. There are States where it is mandatory to notify but not these two.

Robie Cagle

It used to be that way when I first got my Utah CWP however, that provision has been struck and it is no longer law.


Sorry Rich. Its the law is some states but not in all states.
I live in Colorado and there is no duty to inform here.


good to know… that is the answer I was looking for

First, It’s NOT the law you must inform in most states, second many states don’t attach permits to vehicle registrations. That may be the case where you live, but that’s YOUR state. If you lived in a anti state you would know better than to volunteer info that isn’t needed.


Permits are not attached to vehicle registration but they are attached to a name and address…the same on on your vehicle registration…that is why they know!


You and Rich must be related and think you know what gun laws are in all 50 states.They are different and most cant tell you have a ccw by running your tag!


Apparently you were so eagerly waiting to jump on someone for their comment that you failed to actually read what this guy wrote. He never suggested that they could tell you had a ccw by running your tag, but he in fact stated just the opposite.



bull. It it depends on which state you live in and in Utah you do not need to announce that. In Alaska you do.

Ron Kay

It may be the law to announce where you are from but not everywhere. Where I live, Colorado, I am under no obligation to announce. Don’t know if I will or not. I’ve never been approached by an officer when carrying. It will depend on the situation.


Rich, not every state has a “must inform” law. And not all states will pop up your CCL info when they run your car tags, only when they run your actual drivers license. If a cop sees you rummaging around in the car when they’re behind you, they get suspicious. When you pull over, turn your interior light on (if it’s night), roll your window down just enough to talk thru, and KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL!! If you do have a CCL, it’s your responsibility to know the state’s law is, and to also know what state has reciprocity with your’s, AND THEIR LAWS.


Dude,you need to do some research on gun laws..

Greg Johnson

There are too many edgy police officers and some who don’t like anyone carrying. Required or not, informing the officer is good practice and gives the officer knowledge that you’ve already been given a clean bill on criminal history. This takes some edge off of the traffic stop. Keep it courteous, keep it safe.


In my state its currently a crime to NOT inform…

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John…they don’t usually call for back up for talking on a cell phone. Chances are better than even that back up was called because it was discovered you had a concealed firearm permit and they wanted to do a bit more looksy at ya.


I work for a law enforcenemt agency, its not that they call for back up but they hear the officer call out that they are doing a traffic stop and most of the time just go. Safety in numbers. Traffic stops are right up there with domestics as one of the most dangerous situations a cop can get into.


I have to disagree with Jason on this one, only because laws and how police react to this sort of situation differs from place to place.

Here in Virginia, there is no duty to inform a police officer of the fact that you are carrying a firearm, far unlike states like Ohio or Michigan, both noted in earlier comments. Thus, I am under no legal obligation to say anything at all. Moreover, the City of Lynchburg (and possibly other localities) has quite an absurd policy when it comes to concealed or openly-carried firearms. In the event that they see a handgun in the course of a police stop or if they are informed of one being present, it is seized, the serial number run (supposedly to ensure it is not stolen), and then returned at the end of the stop.

Because of these sorts of policies, I remove my wallet, place it in a cup holder well within sight, and should I actually be pulled over, I don’t say anything about a gun except in cases like JTHinSD points out in his comment. I’ll even add that, if I do inform, I will push my Fourth Amendment rights as far as I can take them under the circumstances.

I will also add that police can, practically speaking, pull you over at any time, not because they have the immediate legal authority to pull you over at any time, but because a wide range of things can trigger a legitimate police stop. A friend I rode with from my college town to my home town was pulled over in what I learned to be a speed trap, all because one of her brake lights was out. She did nothing wrong, and as we all know from experience, light bulbs burn out all the time. I myself have had them burn out while I was driving. Thus, my claim: Police can pull you over at any time. You need to know now what you will do when it does happen.


I disagree with Jason every time he posts. He is either a novice or a fake. His advice is moronic in my opinion.


The least you could do is provide a reason as to why you disagree. Your statement alone is quite moronic.


Isn’t Northern Virginia a different state than Virginia? (sarc) ๐Ÿ™‚

Harley M. Gentry

There West Virginia and Virginia.

Harley M. Gentry

Seizing your weapon, with you having commited a crime, is against the 5th amendment. Figured you’d want to know that since you like pushing your 4th.

james lagnese

In my class were taught not to tell the cop unless the state I am in requires it. The last thing you want to say to a cop is I have a gun.


So if you choose to say anything say something like:
– not that it should matter, but I’m armed too (as you hand over your license)
– here’s my carry license, & I am armed


I haven’t been pulled over since getting my ccw in early 2011. If/when I do, I have no intention of telling the officer I’m carrying unless I’m required to do so. When I was younger and had long hair, I was pulled over frequently and witnessed several cops saying/doing things that were outright lies and who otherwise acted maliciously and/or unpredictably during the stop. Now that I’m middle aged and have a very conservative appearance, I have learned to say as little as necessary during a stop. Anything I say can and will be used against me…


If you are getting pulled over regularly, it would seem to me that you are going to increase your chances of having an officer over reacting to you carrying a gun, or treating you like you were a criminal. SLOW DOWN!! To be a law abide citizen means to follow the laws, trafic laws too.


To get pulled over that often isn’t responsible. However, I totally disagree with your advise. If you get stopped, don’t volunteer anything unless asked or if its a legal requirement. I’m a retired police officer of over 30 yrs of service and know how things escalate. Just play it cool!


I have been pulled over a few times here in WA State and was asked if I was carrying. The few times I wasn’t asked, I told the cop I was, he thanked me for telling him and that was it.
I believe (right or wrong) that it is better to let them know ahead of time that you are armed.
I only had one bad experience when stopped for speeding while on way to a gun show when I had a bunch of rifles in plain sight. I was than told to get out of the truck and marched to the back of the truck and handcuffed while he proceeded to run the numbers of all the guns I had with me! that was despite the fact that I had my CCW and my membership badge for the gun show on me .

I think he was a bit over the top dealing with me ,but this was my only bad experience (and no, I didn’t get a chance to inform him I was armed)


Learn to
A) throw a blanket over your cargo
B) lock & close the doors when you get out of the car

Shepard Humphries

Cops are, think and behave a lot like people, except they are agents of governments. In other words, evaluate them like you would any human, if they are young and fresh out of the academy and “tactical” then the concept of “officer safety” likely means more to them than eternal salvation in a “top-4” religion. If on the other hand you judge them to be “mature thinkers” then you will handle yourself differently. Whether then or now in Berlin or Salt Lake with their ultimate boss being Hitler or Obama, as a government agent having sworn an oath to their federal government, they have been taught that they are fighting the good and righteous fight and that if they are taken out of commission, they will be useless to their country. They must therefore place officer safety as their foremost concern, tempered only by policy and case law. The philosophic cop that has studied human nature and behavior and is REALLY in control of himself and the situations he places himself in will behave differently than the young punk cop that buys the “thin blue line” stuff.

Jason is right that when a person with a gun halts another person’s free movement, the person’s response might not be the “routine” submissive one that most of us have when the person stopping us is wearing a blue costume with a metallic broach. Perhaps the agent that stopped Jason was too laid back, or perhaps he was one of those that “knew what you would do before you knew.” ๐Ÿ™‚ My first 5 years in law enforcement were badge-heavy “tactical” years and my last 5 I likely appeared to some to be “laid back.” The first 5 years I was much less of a force to be reckoned with, which is of course why I acted otherwise.

After the “getting feet wet” first three years of police work, a cop REALLY begins to learn. One that has studied Samenow, Grossman, DeBecker and has examined human nature and philosophy can predict almost instantly what someone will do in a given moment and the next.

For the submissive citizen that trusts his government and wants to cooperate with a traffic cop or TSA “professional”, it is definitely wise to notify, offer to disarm or disrobe and perhaps kowtow … but as many of the comments herein suggest, more and more people are standing up straight and behaving like men rather than subjects. It is also true that they are more likely to die if they display an “attitude” on a traffic stop. lol


” the young punk cop that buys the “thin blue line” stuff.”

I have no idea who or what you are, but let me tell you this I am a Retired Police officer
and I take offense to your statement.
Police work is not easy we have no idea who or what we are dealing with on
motor vehicle stops. We just buried a fine young man that you refer to as a PUNK.
Keep your mouth shut unless you have been there.

O Miller

I experienced a similar situation as Jason, but agree with John S. comments below, i.e. “…there is no need to inform unless you’re asked.” Living in NYS, on several occasion I too was pulled over for speeding…and just like Jason kept both hands on the wheel. In addition, my “pull-over protocol” dictates that in addition to placing both hands on the wheel, I turn on all the interior lights, roll down all the windows and have my papers out. Being an African American the odds of things getting out of hand increases exponentially. The way I figure it, these guys (officers) have families that they too want to return home to as well, so the more comfortable I can make them feel, the less chances for there to be an accidental shooting…if you now what I mean. Moreover, as most of your readers may already know or experienced…”your rights as a citizen is temporarily suspended if stopped by the police.”

But like Jason, the last time I got pulled over I disclosed that I was carrying and the officer didn’t really care. He didn’t ask for my permit or anything. He just walked back his company issued car…did his thing, (never gave me a speeding ticket though). I was a bit surprised, and surmised that it’s better to keep your mouth shut unless ask. Oh, one more thing…my personal protocol dictates that in addition to the above, I turn off the car engine, remove the keys and place them on the steering wheel between my hands.

Joe Flemion

If in a no duty to inform state, then don’t. It only makes things awkward. You won’t see me in a department store and be the town nerd going up to every police officer I see and saying “Excuse me mister I CCW permit and I’m carrying a pistol.” If you are carrying concealed, keep it concealed. No reason to make anyone nervous around you.


Out of close to 3 years of open carrying, the only people who have been made nervous by it were a few officers (in notoriously liberal anti-gun areas) and a bare handful of sheeple. Most people don’t notice.


I live in Idaho and there is no duty to inform however the Idaho State Police will know you have a CWL from your DL record. I was stopped for 70 in a 65 (it was Thanksgiving weekend) a few years back by a young ISP officer. I was carrying my trusty J-frame and chose not to inform although my wife and I kept our hands visible and sunglasses off as he approached the car. After informing us that “the speed limit is the limit” he took my DL back to his cruiser to run it. Upon return to our vehicle, he acknowledged that I had a permit and asked if I was carrying. I replied that I was and then he thanked me for taking responsibility for my own protection and implied that other LEOs in Idaho were happy to have armed citizens. Obtw, I only got a warning. I love Idaho!

Wes Phillips

Here in the godless state of hellinois we cannot legally c & c . Sad, I feel like a 2nd rate citizen as I cannot enjoy the same rights as my friends & loved ones in other states.


In O’sama’s Illinois, is it legal to conceal carry in a vehicle much like your home. What about open carry? Curious what the future might bring if O’sama and Hillary continue.

Wes Phillips

No, u cannot conceal / carry in hellinois, & open carry ? LMAO @ the gun range its fine. The mast vajority of folks I know agree IL would be a decent state if we could just excommunicate chitgago into wisconsin or somewhere else. We dont even have castle doctrine in this wretched state.

Bob M.

We don’t want Chittagong up here either.


I dont agree. Key word “cocealed” that
means its a secret. The cop doesnt need
to know you have a weapon unless it
is relavent to being pulled over. Most
law enforcement dont even know the
law. By telling them you are just asking
for trouble. Most cops dont even believe
in our 2nd amendment rights. First dont
get pulled over, obey the law. Keep
your mouth shut. Only tell the cop you
have a weapon if he ask.


In WI it is not tied to the Driver Licenses and if you are carrying you are to tell them you are carrying is how I understand the law. Having said that DUDE you need to slow down think about your kids speed limits are there for a reason even on open roads. I was pulled over and asked for my insurance when that was passed as a law other than that about 19 years ago coming home from a baby class for my first child late at night in a company vehicle. They only pulled me over because I was in a company vehicle late at night, but when my wife circled the block and pulled up yelling at them and she was very pregnant the police did flip out. Funny now but then seeing 5 police circling your pregnant wife was not so funny.


I wish people would bother to read the laws which were printed on the license application… you did initial saying you’d read & understood them, didn’t you? (Of course you did, or you wouldn’t have your license.)
That being said, what the DOJ put on the license application, & in their FAQ, doesn’t accurately represent the law.

IF the officer is acting in an official capacity and with lawful authority,
AND asks to see your license,
AND you are carrying concealed (other than your own property or business), or in one of the ‘protected’ places where only a licensee may carry,
THEN you are required to display your carry license & driver’s license (or state ID).

There’s some question whether speeding (or a burt out taillight) gives lawful authority to ask about a carry license, since being armed has nothing to do with the supposed reason for the stop. Probably better to show your licenses, but realize that it may not be required.


Wow, reading these comments, I am quite concerned. As the girlfriend of a LEO, the sister of one, and as a ccw permit holder, you should always inform your officer you are in possession of, or even If you’re NOT currently carrying during a traffic stop. First off, the WORST thing you can do as you are getting pulled over is start moving around and reaching for things in your car. Do NOT undo your seatbelt, reach for your wallet, permit, keys , etc until the officer has asked you to do so and AFTER you have informed them you are/are not carrying. Moving around, digging for objects make LEO’s nervous. Law may not MANDATE you disclose this fact to the officer, but It’s professional courtesy and something you should extend as a law-abiding, trained and educated ccw permit holder. Mentioning you have your weapon is NOT going to “ramp up” the call and make the LEO “wig out.” Any professional officer will respect you more for declaring this and, in most areas, they are already alerted when they ran your plates. Being honest, straightforward, and respectful to the LEO will most often cause him or her to treat you on the same manner (I understand sometimes you will still get the ‘prick’ cop). If we are trying to put forth an image that citizens with their ccw are professional, educated, we can only blame ourselves if we act on the contrary. Know your laws, be smart, and be respectful. Why make the LEO’s job more difficult and dangerous or ruin our reputation? Just one girl’s opinion and experience.


1. It may not cause an escalation as you define it, but as has been the experience of several law-abiding citizens in my city, it does often lead to an officer either taking the firearm on sight or requiring you to step out of the vehicle to have the firearm removed from your person, all to have them collect information on your firearm. That, to me, is an escalation. Nevermind that we have a great example, in (recently vindicated?!) Canton Patrolman Daniel Harless of how an officer being informed (even in a duty-to-inform state) can, in fact, escalate the situation.
2. Assuming we are talking about a freedom-to-stay-silent state, an LEO’s job is made no more difficult if I respectfully decline to disclose whether or not I am carrying and still act in a manner as you otherwise suggest. If I reach for my wallet, registration, and whatever else is necessary upon being ordered to do so, and if I make no false moves, I’ve just made his job easier to begin with, have I not?


“..As the girlfriend of a LEO, the sister of one, and as a ccw permit holder, you should always inform your officer you are in possession of…”

Wow, Actually none of those things make you an expert on the law.
The info you are providing is flawed.
Obey each state law accordingly.


Professional courtesy??
If they’re going to give me the professional courtesy of treating me the same as they’d treat another cop, then OK, I’ll volunteer that I’m lawfully armed (just like they are).
Statistically, a cc licensee is less dangerous (to everyone except criminals) than cops are.

My telling them I’m armed can do nothing to make their job easier (or safer). In fact, it might make their job harder by triggering departmental policies which require them to do a felony stop, handcuff me, steal & search my pistol, etc.

T.H. Idema

Requirements re notification lof LEO as to your CCW status varies by state. Before traveling check with WEB and publication resources as applied to your route and act accordingly. Notification IS REQUIRED in many states. J.S. Kappas wrote a TRAVELERS GUIDE TO THE FIREARM LAWS OF THE FIFTY STATES that is an excellent resource.


Dont take for granted cops are good people
most are, alot are not. Dont put yourself
in a situation where you will be ask.


When I first received my license, I called the issuing judge & he told me to put the license on top of my dl & tell officer that i was armed. I have been in license checks & stopped once for speed (once in 45 yrs of driving) & the officers at checkpoint don’t even ask for any other paperwork as they all said ” if I have gone to the trouble to get a permit ,then I will have a dl & ins.” the speed cop just asked where it was & asked that i not touch it.


Okay, here we go again, Jason. First, you’re a Utah resident now and a Utah CFP Instructor. As such you know that when you go through the course, taught by BCI, they take great pains to impress upon students that police officers in Utah are very pro-gun for law abiding citizens and that you SHOULD NOT expect any problem from police officers on traffic stops.

Next, when you lived in Northern Virginia it was and still is to some extent a different story. To that end it IS NOT recommended that you inform police officers in Virginia that you are armed. It’s not required and it’s not part of any protocol advocated by any pro-gun organization. It just complicates matters. Even the Virginia Citizens Defense League says “don’t ask don’t tell”.

You’re giving advice that complicates matters, gives uneducated police officers a reason to make sometimes serious mistakes and that, in turn, fosters resentment toward the large number of good cops just trying to do their job.


Here in Iowa you do not have to notify. I smacked a dear at 3:30AM on the highway. The officer that responded has quite the reputation. I had my pistol laying on the front seat. To my suprise when he asked for my license and registration, he had his flashlight aimed right on in and never said a word about it.


Last time I had an meeting with an officer at an accident where some guy rolled his pickup. I said several of us were carrrying concealed, as he walked away he said we should all be carrying. Zim

Barbara White

I was told when I took my CCW class that when you were pulled over or go through a license check to always hand the offiicer your premit with your drivers license. An I have two nephews who Police Officers and they both told me to Always tell the Officer as he is coming to your window that you have a loaded gun in the car.


Depending on where you are, this might be either unnecessary or too little. Virginia does not require you to inform an officer that you are carrying, yet Ohio requires that practically the first words in the situation is you informing the officer. Always consult local laws. Do NOT take an instructor’s word for it.


I agree with Blair – never take someone’s word on the law, unless it’s a lawyer you’ve hired. Some of the worst malarkey (I’ll be kind) I’ve heard related to concealed carry (or carry of every kind) has come from cops & instructors.

When I teach my WI ccl class, I put the number & text of the relevant statutes in the powerpoint so my students can read for themselves.
The UT cc class powerpoint comes with the UT statute numbers & text.

Bruce Lerner

It’s illegal to carry almost everywhere in California. Don’t volunteer that you are carrying.


Actually while it is impossible to get a carry permit in many counties in Kalifornia, the laws about where you can carry are quite lax. You can carry in a school, you can carry in a bank, you can carry in church.


Without a permit issued by the state in which the school sits, it’s a federal felony to carry a usable firearm within 1000′ of the edge of a school property. IIRC, CA permits are only usable in the county of issuance, & are not valid where most needed – in big cities.


I live in the state of Pennsylvania. The laws say that we do NOT have the duty to inform.

Let me tell you a situation I was involved in where my friend was driving and he did inform the police officer at his window. He said, “Sir, before we proceed, I wanted to let you know I have a gun…..” The reason I stopped in mid-sentence is because his backup on the passenger side of the vehicle heard the word gun and drew his gun on both of us immediately since he heard the word “gun”.

If you truly wish to inform the officer (I don’t like to unless I have to), have one hand on the wheel and in your other hand have your driver’s license and your documentation for CCW, or CHL, or LTCF (whichever it is called in your state). At this point, ask him, “how would you like to proceed, since I am carrying currently?”. The trigger word “GUN” or “FIREARM” isn’t being used and his back up isn’t going to go ape on you, as was the case with my friend and me. Check with your particular state if there are certain regulations on how you are to inform in case they differ with the way I explained here.

Personally, in my state, I don’t inform unless I’m asked directly, I’m asked to step out of the vehicle, or if I’m in a situation in which they are sure to find my firearm and I do not wish to surprise them.

Brian K

I disagree. If your state does not have a notification law you should keep your mouth shut unless you are directly asked if you have any weapons, if you are asked to step out of the car or if you believe the officer might see your gun. Those are the only three reasons to announce it, again unless required by law in the state where stopped. All LEOs should assume everyone is armed at all times anyway and announcing you have a gun during a routine traffic stop is just silly. You may as well announce what color underwear you are wearing.


I think im more likely to not get a ticket if i say im carrying than to just be friendly and not mention im carrying. I think officers appreciate it and are willing to let a minor traffic violation slide. So yeah, i do it, just cause any chance i get to avoid blowing my monthly ammo bill on something other than ammo, ill take it.

Cee Veem

This is a rather ignorant statement.

A CCW permit is NOT a get-out-of-a-ticket-pass.

If you are being pulled over, chances are, YOU ARE BREAKING some type of traffic law(s).


You are missing the point. LEO’s feel like you have done them a good deed by being up front about having a permit and being armed, therefore they might let you slide on running through a stop sign.

Adam Cook

Did my NRA Basic with a retired LEO. I was told it’s best NOT to inform unless asked. Causes undue stress and complications.

Ted Gregorius

I commented on this in the forums a year or so ago. Here in NY there is no duty to inform. Since I have had my ccw I have been pulled over three times. Two speeding and one inspection overdue. Each time I have dl, reg, ins, and ccw in my hand ready to give the officer. Each time I was thanked for the ccw and there was no further discussion about it. I did not receive any citations. Fyi, two were nys troopers and the other was a sheriffs deputy.

My advise, say nothing. If your first words are ” I have a gun” you can expect the next level of stress from the officer. Hand the ccw with your dl. He knows what it means and will put him more at ease.

Be safe.


From your description, it is unlikely the Cop knew how fast you were going since he didn’t have time to “pace” your speed. Since it was no big deal to the cop whether you were armed or not, why was it a big deal to you since it is not required by law. Cops are almost never shot in a traffic stop of a licensed Concealed Carry individual. It does not make him any safer to tell him you are armed. A criminal would never tell him he was armed.
I live in Kalifornia and I would never notify a cop who had stopped me. It’s not required and an overwhelming number of police forces here are idiots about Concealed Carry. I don’t want some fool cop (the only kind that would demand control of the gun) handling my gun and putting but me and him at threat of an accidental shooting.


not required in Florida to notify. so I don’t unless I’m asked. never been asked and never told. I have been in 2 no falt accidents this year and never had a problem

Tony B.

I live in the Phoenix area and have used the same tactic after being pulled over by the local police. It’s been my observation that the officer seems more at ease once I inform them that I am carrying concealed. I’ve even been complimented by one officer on my revolver with the laser sight on it. In AZ a CCW is tied in with your driver’s license so they know before you stop if you have a permit. I have no problem letting them know that I am in possession of a loaded firearm.


Why did you have your pistol out of its holster at all, much less around a LEO???
Unless you’re using it or putting it in another holster or a safe, there’s no reason to be handling it. The less it’s handled, the less chance you have of an ND.


Funny you begin an article talking about breaking the law intentionally?
speed limit was 75 and I thought I was doing 80?
so which qualification makes it legal to exceed the posted limit intentionally?
Must be the CIA part, I would think and Eagle Scout would have higher standards….. lol
Living in Oregon there is no requirement to notify when carrying. I have randomly asked a few
different law officers, I have yet to have one say they would like to be informed.
Since I do my best to obey all the traffic laws unless I have a bulb burn out, or an officer notice the un used seat belt beside me, I am very rarely stopped. (twice in the past 6 yrs)

Linda Miller

Of course he didn’t get a ticket, he has a special out because he was a former police officer, former CIA officer and an NRA instructor. If his license didn’t give him away, calling or using the computer to find out more about him would tell the officer who stopped him that he had stopped a fellow officer. No ticket would be issued. They always give a bye to their own,


In Wisconsin, it’s not required to volunteer concealed carry, unless you are asked by an officer. The “hands on the steering wheel” idea might not be a bad itea though.

Keith Cromm

I 100% disagree with you on this.
Unless of course, they add to the law that I must also declare my need to take a piss or poop.
But, hey, some may indavertently do that anyway when they see the red lights…

Laron Woods

As a former UT LEO, and a current CCW in UT, I would, out of courtesy, advise the officer that I had a weapon with me. Some of the young inexperienced officers won’t handle this well. Others, particularly those more accustomed to traffic stops, such as Utah Highway Patrol would likely handle this much better.


If they didn’t handle it well, and the person stopped were a UT instructor, they’d be sitting down to a chat with their training officer. Maybe even the same day. I love that provision in UT law.

David J

Did a California Stop and got blue lighted. Conversation with LEO was almost verbatim and my hands stayed on Steering Wheel. LEO didn’t want to see my weapon and thanked me for letting them know I had my Carry Permit and was armed. For that I didn’t get a ticket and I appreciate that. If I was a LEO I would want to know because my life is on the line on every traffic stop.


It is exactly because they are at risk that they must assume _everyone_ is armed. If most would have the sense god gave a kumquat, they’d realize that someone holding a cc license is not a threat. Unfortunately, there are lots who still think anyone not a cop who has a gun is evil incarnate.


I live in Tennessee and you are not required to alert the LEO that you are carrying your weapon. Here in Tennessee they run your license plates before ever getting out of their squad car. They are informed that your plates are registered to a CCW permit person. They know before they ever approach your vehicle. I have been stopped 1 time because the police office didn’t think I was buckled up in my seat belt because I don’t have a shoulder strap on my seat belt. I did have my lap belt buckled. As he approached the car I had my window down and both DL and CCW permit in hand. He took both and glanced at CCW and handed it back to me after making sure the pictures matched. When he told me why he pulled me over I told him I was going to open my door so he could clearly see that I was buckled up. Old Cars didn’t have nothing except lap belts…..LOL. He smiled and handed me my DL back and told me to have a nice day and I say the same back to him. I have had a few friends get stopped and each time the officer approached their car already aware that the driver might be legally armed. None of them were asked if they were armed except 1 and he said he was. The police officer complimented him on taking the precaution of being able to defend himself. He followed it up with saying we can’t be every place at once. Bid my friend a farewell and walked back to his squad car. I think for the most part more and more law enforcement officers are accepting the fact that there are many people that are now legally armed and are becoming more comfortable with it. Now with that said, I think if your state does not have your license plate informing an officer that you are armed and that officer does not stay fully alert that is not good. They need to stay crisp on every traffic stop…………..JMHO

Dennis Hobbs

Per comments below, NEVER TELL THAT YOU HAVE A GUN! As mentioned, it makes most “idiot” police so scared and immediately they start to concieve a negative story about you. When I told an Officer in Florida, he changed immediately, commanded me out of the car, searched me without my consent. You can’t trust police, especially, in Florida.

The Shot Shop

It seems as if there are more people against this article than for it. Let me say, it may not be the law in your state/city to inform a LEO that your carrying a firearm, however, if your legally carrying that firearm there should be no problem. Yes, there are those officers that hate the fact that citizens carry, but in my experience theses are a small number of officers. If your legally carrying, volunteering the information shows your not hiding anything if it comes up later in the traffic stop.


Since I’m not doing anything illegal, what business is it of the government, or its agent (the officer)?
To put it another way, if you’re not doing anything illegal in your home, would you be OK with your local PD putting in cameras to watch you? What do you have to hide?

Dan Ess

If you are legally carrying Concealed and your weapon is truly concealed, then know one knows you are carrying, so what’s to inform them of? The whole point of a concealed weapon permit, is so no one knows. What if it isn’t a real police officer? Oh, hey thanks let me see that please; then they point it at your head and say get outta the car. Sure it only happens in the movies, right . . . . not true, it does happen in real life. Late at night, in the middle of no where and typically when it does, it happens to women. So, if they are not real police, they will not be calling anything in, and they won’t know you are a permit holder and you are still armed if you end up needing to be.

Ken W

Part of the issue is the CHL and carrying. In Texas, you are not required to inform a LEO if you are licensed or carrying….but the general consensus is just had the officer you drivers license and your CHL. As soon as he runs the license, he will see you have a CHL. Now the other issue is speeding, you admit you were 5 over, so why get surprised at being pulled over. The legal speed limit is 75 mph and you were over. People have come to expect to get by with 5 to 10 over which is wrong. Speeding is speeding.


Facts are Facts. The Florida Statue 790.10 is upon demand by a law enforcement officer. If you tell before they ask you are actually breaking the statue. I run a gun school and most officers could not care less if you have a firearm or weapon in the vehicle. So I agree with John S. below. Also, I think it is in our best interest to follow the law not to make it up.


You think that by exercising my right to free speech (choosing to inform the officer that I’m carrying, just like she is; not that I would) I’m somehow breaking a law???
That’s bass ackwards.
Show us the statute that prohibits informing an officer? I don’t think there is one, and unless there’s a law against something it’s legal.
I agree it’s not good to make up things & claim they’re the law.

Mike Brickman

I have been stopped twice while carrying, and just hand the officer my CCW Permit with my DL and POI…I don’t make a point of telling the officer I’m armed, nor do I avoid it…He will see that I have a CCW Permit when he runs my DL anyway…Open your window 3-4 inches, turn on the dome light at night, and then keep both hands on the wheel or at least in plain view…Relax…Be polite and businesslike, neither chatty nor jerky, and do as he requests/tells you…You’ll be OK..I got warnings both times…