CCW and When Encounter the Police

Discussion in 'CCW' started by blueice, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Excellent article and a must read.

    Cops and Concealed Carry

    Cops and Concealed Carry
    Tips for CCW holders on dealing with police.

    By Bob Pilgrim


    Being stopped for, say, a traffic violation? Depending on
    where you live, if you’re a card-carrying CCW citizen you may have to tell the officer you’re packing. It can be a tricky situation, one you want to handle correctly.

    Over the past several years, the number of CCW holders among law abiding citizens including retired lawmen has grown to millions nationwide, and many states have reciprocity with other states that permits limited interstate concealed carry. With this fact and open carry laws, it is very likely that a local, municipal or state police officer will come in contact with a lawfully armed citizen. When this occurs, what do cops want or expect from these individuals?

    Most officers I have spoken to want to know if a person in their presence is armed, regardless of whether they are sanctioned by the state or city of their residence. Their reactions to this information will obviously vary.

    I was stopped by a state trooper for speeding one night after a long day of firearms instruction. I was under no obligation to inform him that I was armed, but when I did he jumped back a couple of feet. I kept my hands in plain view on top of the steering wheel and, remaining in my vehicle, we went from there. There was no further reference to the firearm, and he simply departed after he issued me my ticket.

    Another deputy sheriff, whose state does not require such notification, advised he would thank the CCW holder for the courtesy, and if circumstances permitted might even ask to see the gun.

    Forty-eight states issue concealed carry permits to private citizens; only Illinois and Wisconsin deprive their citizens of the right to carry.

    Of the 48 governments that allow citizens to carry concealed after specified conditions are met, only 10 (Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas) require armed CCW permit holders to advise law enforcement officers--officers who are acting in an official capacity--that they are CCW permit holders and that they are armed.

    What discretionary actions the officer takes after being apprised of such a fact could range from temporary arrest and disarming to that of the appreciative deputy sheriff I mentioned above.
    I could not determine what the penalties were for not volunteering that information if for some reason you were subsequently discovered to be armed.

    In the presence of an officer where state law requires you to ID yourself as a CCW holder and if you are armed I suggest you do the following:

    • Wait until there is a lull in the situation, so the officer is not distracted from the task at hand.
    • Wait until the officer is facing you.
    • Make eye contact.
    • Keep your hands in plain view.
    • Inform the officer and offer to show him your credential.
    • Tell him where the credential is on your person.
    • With the officer's consent, retrieve your credential.
    • If the officer directs you to surrender your weapon and/or submit to temporary detention, protest but cooperate fully.
    • After the incident, determine if you have any legal remedies
  2. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    Excellent Post, Blueice.

    As a long time CCW Instructor, I have always taught my students that they should do just as you posted.

    If there is NO state law requirement for you to inform the officer of your CCW status, then I recommend you do NOT do so unless asked by the officer.

    The reasoning is this: IF the state LEOs felt that there should be a requirement for you to announce this information, they would push for the law to be passed. For those LEOs who want to know, all they have to do is ask. For those who are savvy enough, or experienced enough to judge the persons they are dealing with as possible trouble sources, it is up to their discretion to ask if they want to know. Along the same line, why bring it up if the LEO does not ask, and interject data into a situation that could possibly cause it to escalate into more than what either party desires? Once you voluntarily declare you are armed and have a license to be so, the LEO then has to make a new set of decisions they may not have been concerned about in the first place.

    Bottom line: If they do not ask, do not volunteer the information, unless it is required by law to do so. This leaves the stopping officer in control of the scene, and does not give him reason to wonder why you are giving him the info.

    I have been stopped at different times by LEOs, for various situations, in states that did NOT have the requirement to volunteer the information. I did not mention I was carrying, and the LEOs did not ask, because the situations did not warrant it. Nothing occurred, other than the business of the traffic stop.

    Unless you are acting strange, or doing something that makes the LEO nervous, there should not be a problem with this policy.

  3. Blueeye and Ten Man: You both are spot on. As retired LEO and a retired Firearms Instructor specializing in CCW Instruction, I too believe just as you have put forth in the actions recommended. I have one small additional situation for thought. I know that in the State of Nevada the fact that you have been issued a CCW comes up on the data screen with the first page published about you. Therefore, I always recommended to my students that they keep their CCW card next to their driver's license and present BOTH to the PD Officer when asked for DL. The Officer will ask if in fact you are carrying concealed right at that moment or not. All during this is a great time to keep your hands on the top of the steering wheel and NOT make any movement that the Officer has not asked you to do. Obey any order that the Officer gives you slowly and methodically. Older Officers might ignore the CCW and the fact that you are carrying. I certainly did at times. Green Officers might get a little excited and direct you to exit the vehicle and allow them to remove your carried handgun "for their safety" during the traffic stop. After all is processed, they will return your handgun usually unloaded and direct you to not reload until they have departed. It varies all over the map. One just has to stay cool and none confrontational. It is not helpful for the PD Officer to get the info about your CCW status from his dispatch and/or off his data screen. before you have informed him/her. Hope this little Bon Mot helps. ... Big Cholla
  4. Mooseman684

    Mooseman684 G&G Newbie

    Here in Alaska , I am required by law to inform an officer that I am Carrying Concealed and Licensed to do so. IF I fail to do that , My License can be revoked.Sometimes they will ask to see the weapon and run the serial Number , but most of the time they dont worry about it...
    Funny thing is that NOW, NO license is needed to Carry Concealed in Alaska , but if you travel outside to the Lower 48 , you can still get the Alaska License and have some Reciprocal states that Recognize it.
  5. Big Cholla & Ten Men, thank you for your suggests which I shall follow to the letter...

    You are both a big helf, on this website, with your backgrounds!

    BTW, for those like me that travel, I thought this was very pertinent information...
  6. Ninja Piper

    Ninja Piper G&G Evangelist

    Really interesting information from all here! I had wondered that myself (if WI ever decides to stop being retarded) and how it would best be handled. I have no experience in being armed as a civilian, but I have plenty of experience as a military LEO. When I get pulled over I do what I would like to see in a vehicle that I had pulled over myself. I turn off the radio, turn on the dome light, have everything ready when the officer approaches and keep my hands on the steering wheel throughout the entire encounter. I also keep my insurance information where it is easily accessible so it doesn't look like I'm going all over the inside of the truck. My thoughts would be that in the event I was pulled over while carrying, I would present my license along with my DL and insurance information. I had kind of figured that the fact that you had a permit would automatically come up during a DL check, so it prevents the officer from any surprises after the initial contact.
  7. mike63

    mike63 G&G Addict

    Mississippi doesn't require you to tell them anything, but when they check your drivers license its gonna come back showing you have the firearms permit. Our drivers licenses, and firearms permit have the same I.D. number. Don't know if thats the way its done in other states or not.
    If I ever get stopped I think I'm just gonna tell them in the friendliest way I can while both hands are plainly visible on the steering wheel.
  8. Dutch

    Dutch G&G Evangelist

    All it does is put the cop on edge, if there is no compelling reason for them to know then don't tell them. In my state, on a standard traffic stop, there is nothing they can do about it anyway, so all it does is make for a tense time while he writes you a ticket. Think it through, what exactly does the knowledge do for the cop?

    Reasons for them to know include if they ask you, if you stuck it in the glovebox with your registration, if they ask you to step out of the vehical, or any other scenario that might end up with Officer Fife putting a .40 in your chest.
  9. danf6975

    danf6975 G&G Newbie

    as someone that was a law officer in one of the states that required you to profess I can say this: law enforcement officers are people too and sometimes handle the situation wrong and the law was intended to facilitate safe interaction. unfortunately it does not allow for variation in the attitudes of either party.
    that being said most officers i knew had no problem with individuals carrying unless it was discovered after the fact especially since in most our routine questions we asked " Do you have any weapons on you at this time"
    i didnt comment in the other thread posted because i dont know the facts but what i do know is that it appeared that judgement calls where made mased on allegation not based observable facts
  10. TheLastMountain

    TheLastMountain G&G Evangelist

    In Missouri it is against the law for a leo to ask you if you have a weapon, unless they have probable cause, ( to my understanding). Our CCW permits have the same number as our drivers license, so they can already assume you have a weapon on you.
  11. danf6975

    danf6975 G&G Newbie

    in no state is it against the law to ask if you are armed . it is granted that if you are being asked anything whatsoever by a law officer that there is some reason to approach and in the course of duty for the safety of all individuals in the area we may ask the status of armature of anyone even other law enforcement officers.
    now for declaration there are exemptions but the declaration is on the other side and does not prevent the askance of the initial question.
  12. .22guy

    .22guy G&G Enthusiast

    Thanks for the good information!
  13. G. Green

    G. Green G&G Newbie

    I had a shift a few weeks ago where I stopped 3 CCW holders in a row. ALL 3 rolled down their windows and stuck both hands out the window as I approached. They then advised me they were carrying and presented their DL and CCW license. No muss, no fuss. A lawfuly carrying civilian does not bother me at all. After the last one I kinda wished I had asked who they got their training from, they were so uniform in their conduct. (all 3 got warnings)
  14. CrazyIvan

    CrazyIvan G&G Enthusiast

    Here in Colorado, we are not required to tell the officer we either have a weapon in the car, are carrying concealed, or have a CCW Permit. They will find out though, when they run your license.

    I usually don't say anything. Last time I got pulled over, the cop got a bit upset at me for not telling him. I just apologized, and he let me off with a warning for my minor traffic offense: "Turning right on a 'No turn on RED' light" Though I was thinking: (If you want me to tell you, then take your case to the lobbyists and get a bill going that would require me to do so...until then...I am not obligated to say chit...:) )
  15. alowe56

    alowe56 G&G Newbie

    IF you are stopped in Michigan, you need to let the Officer know ASAP. The way I've done it, is simple, I keep my CPL right behind my drivers license, so if I get pulled over, I hand both to the officer, along with registration and proof of insurance. I also inform him/her, that "I have a CPL, and I do have a pistol."

    I try to avoid the word "gun." It's more of a hot button for LEOs.

    So far, any time I've been stopped, I've followed the above practice, and either it's because I'm such a nice guy, or just luck, I've never gotten a ticket, and none of them have asked to disarm me. I'm sure it might happen some day, I'll run into a paranoid noob, who will go overboard, but so far, it's not happened yet.

    (CPL="Concealed Pistol License" which is what a CCW permit is called here in Michigan.)
  16. TACAV

    TACAV G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    You can ask anyone if they have weapons, drugs or contraband in the car at anytime. you dont need probable cause to ask a question on a traffic stop or anywhere else for that matter unless Miranda applies which in this case it does not.

    If people tell me they have a CCW permit and are carrying. Ill just ask them where the gun is and then where the permit is and Ill have them hand me the permit.

    If its legit then off we go continuing as normal.

    Note to people traveling through MD, this state does not recognize any other states permits.... and its hard enough to get a CCW permit if you do live in this state.

    People from PA for example always come into MD and forget to take their gun off and secure it in the trunk. Then depending on where they are or who they are dealing with they may get jammed up for it. Anything from arrested to losing their gun either temporarily or permanently. So don't take the risk and do it.

    On one hand the out of state CCW holder should know that before hand...
    One the other we realize people make mistakes... but
    and there is always a but...

    Not all the LEOs or jurisdictions that work in this state feel the same way. So one person who gets stopped by X cop in Y town might get a "take that off, lock it in the trunk and get out of here." experience and someone else getting stopped by A cop in B town might get yanked out of the car, arrested and charged with a handgun violation.

    So I'm not trying to be an *** here but I'm just telling it like it is and I dont want to see any G&G members get in a pickle over something like this.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
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  18. mitchr

    mitchr G&G Evangelist

    Good advise TACAV. Anytime we are making a trip into another state, I check laws on NRA-ILA & US Handgun Laws. I also have a list of states which reciprocate with Texas & will drive out of my way to stay out of those that don't. The exception to this is Illinois because I have a son living there. It's a weird feeling to know that the only people with guns are the bad guys & I don't like it. Luckily, this year, our son is coming to visit us here in Texas. Don't know if it had anything to do with his decision, but on our last trip up there (fourth trip) I told him we'd seen all of Illinois we wanted to see & we needed to arrange to meet somewhere else. :yup:
  19. sniper762

    sniper762 G&G Enthusiast

    let me tell you how arrogany (or stupid) some cops are.

    im a ccw instructor and am well aware (and strongly teach) notifying an officer, when approached if you are packing..

    i once was pulled for speeding, 50 in a 35. i had my 10 year old son with me in the vehicle and really didnt want him to know i was packing, sso when the officer approached i handed him my ccw permit along with my driver's license. he looked at them both, then said in a harsh voice; "you mean that you have a concealed weapon)?
    i said "yes sir, thats why i gave you my permit". he replied; well not only am i going to give you a citation for speeding, but also one for failing to tell an officer that you had a concealed weapon". i said, "but i gave you my ccw permit". he said; "but you didnt TELL me"'

    i went to court and told the judge how it went. the da whispered in my ear; "would you be willing to pay 100 bucks for us to drop this whole thing"? i said yes, in fear of jeapordizing my instructor certification and also to keep the speeding ticket off my driving record.
  20. alowe56

    alowe56 G&G Newbie

    Ok, I gotta ask, why didn't you want your son to know? Doesn't he know any thing at all that you carry a weapon?

    Reason I ask, my sons have known since they were 5 and 7. I don't hide it from them. But I have drilled them, it's a "family secret," they are not to tell anyone else, even if daddy does.

    After the first few months, it was no longer an issue for them.