Skip to comments.Concealed Carry- A Police Officers Prospective(MO)
Posted on 11/20/2012 6:01:49 AM PST by marktwain
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 hes 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 dont 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, Im Deputy Bales from the Sheriffs Office, I stopped you today because . Could I please see your drivers 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 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 dont 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 cant I keep my gun with me since I've got a CCW and its 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 drivers 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 Ifs:
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.
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.
It’s not necessary or legally required, correct. However, I’ve always erred on the side of giving them my CWP at a minimum. It’s been several years since I’ve had a cop at my car door, but seeing how things have been going in this country as of late, I’ll likely be abstaining from over-providing of information from now on.
Do you have a citation for your comment that FBI and DEA are warning about steroids.
Life is tougher when you are stupid.
I hit the wrong reply button...my request for citation was intended for yefragetuwrabrumuy
Officer orders, "Sir, I need you step out of the vehicle." Okay, I tell him and that I have a dog and need to secure him. I roll the window halfway up, turnoff the vehicle and take the keys (smart dog).
As I exit the vehicle, he walks up and gives me the need to see my license routine. I remove my wallet for the license, he shines his light so I can find it. I pulled out my CCW permit first and hand it to him.
He asks, "Are you carrying?" I respond, "Yep, right front pocket." He responds, "Let's just leave it there."
He suggests that we walk back behind my truck to for safety. I follow, he says he stopped me for crossing the "fog line". He lets me go after he sees I'm not DUI, and we shake hands on it.
Agreed. There is no reason to advise an officer that you are packing unless required by law. All that does is ensure that you are going to have a worse experience than a ticket. I was a passenger and the driver advised the officer, and it wound up being a MAJOR hassle that took almost an hour to write a ticket.
By the time the officer leaves, we were sitting in the car, ticket in hand, pissed off and retrieving the gun from the trunk (which was searched by the officer before locking it there) and asking ourselves how that was helpful.
Never volunteer this information to Law Enforcement unless required.
I’ve had two experiences with being pulled over by police officers while I was carrying. Once in a speed trap (I was guilty) by the Kenmore (WA) police, and once by the Washington State Patrol on the Olympic peninsula for expired tabs. On both occasions I handed them my permit along with my license, registration and proof of insurance and told them that I had a firearm on my person. They both asked me where it was and I told them it was in my right front pocket (j-frame S&W in a pocket holster). They then told me to simply leave it where it is, and thanked me for telling them about it. Both officers behaved in a very professional manner and treated me with courtesy and respect. We conducted our business and I went on my way...with a deserved citation for speeding in the former case, and a friendly warning in the other. I did have both hands on the wheel as they approached, as I’d read that advice in the past.
With all do respect to the LEO here, someone intending to shoot him, isn’t going to hand over the gun.
I’ve seen enough LEOs trying to check firearms at gunshows, to know that many will accidently shoot themselves with my gun, if they take it back and try to unload it. I wonder if I will then get charged or sued?
Terrible advice. In Colorado if you have a gun, shut up. The cop doesn’t care unless you are handling one or pointing it at him. Simply let him do his job and stop trying to be a self-centered idiot bragging that you have a CCW or that you are “a responsible citizen exercising my right to carry in a vehicle”. He doesn’t care. Just don’t go making an issue about it.
P.S. In Colorado we are not required to tell the cop about a CCW, hand it to him, or tell him about any firearm unless he asks. Hell, he can go back to his vehicle and find that out pretty quick. It is totally a non issue and cops don’t appreciate someone trying to make it an issue.
In the 18 months since I have had my CCW, I have yet to be pulled over. However, I have a course of action all ready:
Hands on steering wheel, I state, “Sir, I am licensed to carry concealed. How would you like me to proceed?”
Holding onto your weapon for a couple of minutes OK. Handing it back to you unloaded and in pieces is BS. Once its established that you are a legal CCW that should be the end of it. 90 million legal gun owners didn’t shoot anybody yesterday.
I had 14 years at a state LEO level. I never once unarmed anyone who was legally carrying, only told them don’t touch it while I am here. I told many a female on the side of the road the benefits of carrying.
The problem with differences in how officers handle this stems from who runs these agencies. Almost every guy I worked with did not care that you were carrying and felt basically like I did, they expected you had one somewhere. The goobers that write articles like this are the ones who get promoted for their “insight into public interaction”, my big a__.
I expected everyone I stopped to be carrying legal or not ( and my term for not was you are not committing a crime or a felon ).
As a private citizen now I do not tell them I am carrying unless they ask me to get out of car and then only if it is actually on me and not in console. If this micro-managing pansy unloaded my magazine and put my weapon in the back seat, I would exit vehicle and re-gain control of MY weapon it would be re-loaded with one of my many extra clips before he got his seat belt back on. Jerk.
Thank you for your service. We could use more like you.
They are out there but they do not get publicity in the MSM.
I have not, and would never take anybodies gun on a traffic stop. Carrying concealed is a “get out of ticket free” card with me.
Louisiana requires about 8 hours of instruction as part of the permit process along with a background check an etc. The instructor was a retired LEO.
Now, I'm going to make a couple of observations that are my opinions only. 1.) This deputy has had very little experience with CCW holders (or for that matter people legally possessing f/a’s.) I draw that conclusion from his remarks about he'd be unhappy if he found you were legally possessing a f/a but didn't tell him (unless it's required by state law), his need to seize your legally held firearm(and yes, when an officer takes your property it's a seizure), running it for stolen, unloading it and then telling you not to mess with it until he's long gone! This all smacks of someone who believes all gunowners are potential cop killers.
2). This deputy is NOT an advocate of citizens legally carry f/a’s. If he was, he'd appreciate the fact aCCW holder went through the trouble to become licensed and has taken on the personal responsibility not to become a victim.
3.) This deputy does not even like guns. It has been my experience that law enforcement officers who are firearms aficionados usually respond to a CCW’s notice that they are armed is “What’ca carrying? Oh, yeah Kimber’s are great guns. Could I see it? Nice! Here's your gun back. Thanks. Have a nice day, sir.”
4.) Final note to the deputy. Licensed CCW holders ARE NOT a threat to you. They are law abiding citizens exercising their constitutional rights. Be respectful of their decision even if you don't agree with it. After all, you're asking them to respect your constitutional authority to stop and investigate them!
Just my .02 cents for what it's worth.
Here is one that is DOJ, via the DEA.
In states like California, cops are becoming bagmen for transferring the citizens’ money to the state. The days of Officer Friendly giving you a warning are over.
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