Welcome back to another edition of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week we looked at some of the best options for summer carry. If you missed that article, don’t stress and check it out by clicking the link here. This week, it’s all about interacting with police in various situations depending on what part of the country you live in. Throughout my travels and training with various police officers in training courses, I’ve heard a number of perspectives I’d like to share in an effort to help you guys out if you happened to get pulled over or stopped by police with a concealed handgun on your body. These tips are straight from my personal experience as well as police officers with field experience. Let’s take a closer look at what to do around police.
Concealed Carry Corner @ TFB:
The number one reason why everyday law-abiding citizens interact with police officers is during traffic stops. Whether it was speeding, turning without a turn signal, or just going through a questionable yellow light, things happen and you have to interact with police officers from time to time. Traffic stops happen all the time and there are things you should do as well as things you certainly shouldn’t do. Let’s take a closer look at a few things that can help ease tensions as well as a few things to avoid.
Things To Do
One of the first things you want to do when being stopped by an officer is to turn off your vehicle, put your driver-side window down, and put both hands on the steering wheel. This will be the first sign to the officer that you aren’t an immediate threat. The next big point is to be polite and courteous to the officer. One of the biggest mistakes that often occurs is the driver becoming upset or frustrated because they don’t think they should have been pulled over. If you’re kind and respectful to the officer it will go a long way with them. In Michigan, it’s required by law to declare a firearm first thing to an officer if you’re carrying a concealed firearm.
Not every state is the same though, which if you’re not sure is fairly easy to figure out with a simple Google search. Regardless of your state though, I think it’s a really good way to defuse any tension there may be. Officers will often times run your plates before walking up to the vehicle and it will say if you have a concealed pistol license or not. For some, this can be a touchy subject since not everyone likes telling people they have a concealed firearm, but honesty truly is the best policy. Even if you don’t have to disclose the fact you’re carrying a firearm, it will help the officer be at ease and generally make the stop much easier overall. Adding the location your firearm is located also lets the officer know where you have the firearm.
Things to Avoid
When it comes to bad advice, there’s some truly appalling bad advice out there. I’ve seen everything from holding your gun out the window to putting your firearm on the dashboard so the officer can clearly “see the firearm.” These are both terrible advice and should be avoided at all costs. There’s absolutely no reason to have your firearm out in open view when being stopped by law enforcement. Having an officer see your firearm first thing sends a red flag into their head immediately and instantly escalates a simple traffic stop. Keeping the gun right where it is and calmly speaking to the officer is the best bet. Raising your voice or immediately questioning also escalates the situation and can put the officer on edge.
Part of carrying a concealed firearm is being the absolute best version of yourself in public and talking to an officer is the pinnacle of being your best self in public. No matter how you cut it, carrying a concealed firearm makes you instantly more of a formidable threat to both criminals as well as officers who are used to dealing with unarmed motorists. At the end of the day, police officers are just people trying to do their jobs to the best of their ability so try to make it easy on them and be honest when asked questions.
Traveling in the Gun-Restricted States
Although it’s good to be transparent and honest with officers, sometimes it can be stressful traveling through gun-restricted states like Illinois, Maryland, or New York. I can talk from experience trying to find parking in a higher-end part of Chicago. On that day, I was minding my own business trying to park on the street when all of a sudden I had an officer turn his lights on and stop me. I remained calm but then realized a second squad car arrived on the scene shortly after. Once both officers were present they approached my vehicle from both sides and asked for my license registration and proof of insurance.
As I was handing them my information, I said I was a licensed concealed carrier and was not carrying. They ran my information and came back shortly after. All they said was to enjoy my time in Chicago and drove off. This also happened to my father about three months later and he happened to ask why he was stopped. The officer said he was an out-of-state concealed carry permit holder and they suspected him of illegally carrying firearms in the Chicago area. I know many of you say you carry no matter what, but it’s important to take into account you may be stopped in very restrictive areas if you are a license holder. I try to avoid visiting areas like Chicago just from these experiences but that’s not always possible so it’s important to at least take into consideration.
Being pulled over and interacting with police officers is a natural part of life. It may be stressful for some since it’s not an everyday interaction but if you remain respectful and transparent with the officer, things should remain relatively calm with no issues. Being a concealed carrier means you are held to the highest standard of yourself possible. Remain calm and be honest with the officer that you’re carrying a firearm. Allow the officer to inspect the weapon if they request to but often times they will just say thank you and move on.
Let me know what you guys think about interacting with police officers when carrying a concealed firearm. Do you voluntarily tell the officer you’re carrying or do you prefer to keep it to yourself? Let me know what your thoughts are down in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying concealed or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you next week for another edition of Concealed Carry Corner.
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