Your CCW Interactions with Police Need to Be Good Ones
Nowadays, citizen interactions with the police are constantly in the news. The stories showing bad experiences with law enforcement officials are the ones most frequently displayed in the media. It’s critical for the police to recognize that we carry as a law-abiding citizen, for just those type of encounters.
Carrying a concealed firearm in public doesn’t make us criminals, however for a cop that is constantly on alert and ready to deal with violent criminals, seeing a gun on someone could make that cop particularly ready to defend himself. That instinctive reaction combined with his or her adrenaline at the sight of a gun might lead to unwanted outcomes, depending on the officer and their experience.
Always be polite and stay cool, whenever you get pulled over for a traffic stop. That is just common sense. But for gun owners that carry, it is even more important to stay level-headed and work with police so that our experience with the police does not go awry.
Below are some suggestions to help you during a traffic stop:
1. Hold Your Gun Out of Sight:
You don’t want to put a policeman on edge as he approaches your window because your gun is sitting out in the open on your passenger seat. Always keep your gun concealed (if allowed by your state’s laws) in a safe place for your vehicle.
2. Maintain Brief and Polite Conversation
It is foolish to get mad and cuss out a police officer. Remember, “whatever you say, can and will be held against you in a court of law”, so keep your answers brief and respectful. It doesn’t do you any good to pick a fight with the officer, in fact, it could get you arrested. You are more likely to have a better experience with law enforcement if you are polite and respectful and know your rights.
3. Keep Your hands in Sight
Once you know you are being stopped, pull off to the side of the road, turn off the vehicle and the radio or music, and place both hands on the steering as the officer approaches you. Hold your hands at the steering wheel until the officer requests that you hand over your license and registration so the officer can see that you aren’t reaching for anything incriminating or a weapon. Always tell the police ahead of time, before you start to reach for something.
Never physically touch a police officer, even innocently–the officer could misinterpret your intentions.
4.Understand Your Rights, in particular Your CCW Rights
Many law police officers nowadays are young with less experience as compared to previous generations. With inexperience, it is possible that CCW laws are misinterpreted due to misinformation. You need to know what the law is in your state and county if you carry a firearm, both as a responsibility and for your own protection. You could find yourself in an unpleasant situation, if a young cop does not know the CCW laws and you have a gun and you don’t know the law. “Knowledge is power.”, as the saying goes.
5. Do or Don’t Inform the Police?
There are two schools of thought on whether you should or should not tell the officer whether you have a concealed weapon during a traffic stop. Some gun owners say to stay quiet about it. Others say it can be helpful if the you let the police know ahead of time. I think you should only bring it up if the situation requires it.
The best practice is to show them your concealed carry permit at the same time you show them your driver’s license. Some states, such as Arizona, Alaska, Oklahoma and a few others, actually require you to inform the police officer before you are asked to. You should know if you’re in such a state and know where your CCW permit has reciprocity. Texas requires that you hand over your CCW permit as soon as the officer asks for identification. Georgia is the most the only state that has no requirement. Most states would suggest that you inform the officer but only a few really require it. Regardless, if you are carrying– have your permit ready to hand over.
Always remain calm, polite and cooperative. Don’t forget to take down the officer’s name and badge number and file a complaint with the precinct, if you think your CCW rights have been violated. after which file a grievance with the precinct later. Show that you are a knowledgeable, responsible gun owner by knowing your rights and maintaining common sense.