How To Behave During A Traffic Stop When Carrying


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kengrubb
August 23, 2006, 01:12 AM
First and foremost, if the statutes of the state in question require one to notify the officer that one is carrying, then one better well comply. Violation is likely a criminal act rather than a non-criminal infraction.

However, here in Washington state, and in a number of other states, there is no statute requiring one to notify an officer that one is carrying. If there is no compelling reason for me to volunteer the information, then I'm going to remain polite, courteous, respectful and honest.

If I reasonably believe the officer is about to find out I'm carrying--like being asked to step from the vehicle, conduct a pat down search or search of the vehicle--then it is time to politely volunteer the information BEFORE the officer finds it. Cops don't like surprises.

"Officer, I have a license to carry, and I do have it on me." Concise and informative. No need to provide the make, model, caliber, middle initial of the holstermaker, et al. If the cop asks where it is, speak using words only and not using hands or arms. Do not point and do not reach. Pointing can look a lot like reaching.

The exclamation "I'VE GOT A GUN!" while factually accurate is tactically unsound.

In the 8+ years I've been carrying, I've been stopped for a traffic stop 5 times while carrying. Twice for a light out, once for failure to signal, once for running a red light, and once for speeding.

For the light out stops, I did not volunteer that I was carrying, admitted I knew the light was out, and was not ticketed.

For the failure to signal stop, the officer was aggressively patrolling that intersection stopping anyone for anything. Probably had been an accident or two there recently and he'd been assigned there to prevent another. Just a verbal warning, didn't even ask for my Driver's License, and asked in parting "You don't have any bazookas, hand grenades, nuclear weapons in the car do you?" I chuckled and said no. I presume that's a tactic some cops use to detect one's level of tension. If you're a BG who's doing something wrong, or planning to do something wrong, your reaction will be one of seriousness. For everyone else, it's so ridiculous it's funny.

For the red light stop, I was shaking my head in disbelief at what I'd done and the cop was actually chuckling and snickering as he approached the car. Had he not been paying attention as well, we would have collided. He composed himself long enough to say, "That coulda been bad". Then he continued snickering. I apologized and said I had not been paying attention. He said don't worry and asked for my licence, registration and proof of insurance. I gave it to him and added "and here's my Concealed Pistol License". He asked if I was packing and said just to keep my hands away from it. No ticket, just a verbal warning to pay attention in unfamiliar areas.

For the speeding stop, the officer was running radar and his mood was decidedly dour. I was apologetic given I knew I was speeding, and I volunteered that I had a license to carry. It didn't alter his mood any, and I got a citation.

In my anecdotal experience (all both anecdotes), volunteering that one is carrying won't get you out of a ticket that you were otherwise going to get.

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Jomax
August 23, 2006, 01:55 AM
Back in NYC, BEFORE the cop actually got up to your car, the drill was to shut the engine off and put the keys on the dashboard, turn on the domelight if it was at night, roll the driver's window all the way down and keep both hands open and on top of the steering wheel. That was for ANY traffic stop.

Does any of that procedure fly outside of NYC?

kengrubb
August 23, 2006, 02:08 AM
shut the engine off and put the keys on the dashboard, turn on the domelight if it was at night, roll the driver's window all the way down and keep both hands open and on top of the steering wheel. That was for ANY traffic stop.
Come to a safe stop, shut off the engine, I leave the keys in the ignition, at night I do turn on the domelight, window down, and hands in view. Yep. Should be taught in high school and ICE should teach it to folks coming into the U.S.

RustyShackelford
August 23, 2006, 02:24 AM
I remember Massad F Ayoob writing an article about this subject about a year ago. For my part I'd do the following;

1) pull over to a safe location, take out my DL, CCW, vehicle reg, insurance card, etc.
2) put my hands on the steering wheel or dashboard and wait for the LEO to come up to my vehicle window(some LEOs now come up at an angle or to the passenger side which is a smart move, ;) ).
3) I would wait until the LEO says; "Do you have any weapons or anything I need to know about in the vehicle?" before I would tell them I was armed or had a valid CCW.
4) I would also obey all the commands of the LEO(s) and go through the traffic stop.

I think these steps are safer and more prudent for a citizen to go through a traffic stop. To pull out your concealed weapon(s), stick your hands out of the window, get out of the vehicle and/or blurt out that you have a gun as soon as the LEO comes up to you would be a mistake. I've worked in law enforcement and I know what LEOs deal with when they stop vehicles. Most LEOs are concerned with officer safety and want to make sure the occupants of a vehicle are not wanted criminals or a safety threat. I would be honest and polite when dealing with LEOs. Even if they issue a ticket I doubt they would get upset if you acted the way I just described when you carry concealed firearms.

RS

USMCRotrHed
August 23, 2006, 03:17 AM
I did get pulled over a couple of weeks ago. 57 in a 50. I was guilty. Before the deputy got to the car I had my CCL on top followed by my license, registration, and insurance verification. I then kept my hands on the steering wheel or where the deputy could see them the whole time. When he got to my window and asked for my information, He quickly looked at my documents, handed back my CCL and told me I was only getting a warning because they were only "collecting stats".

After I got my warning, the deputy asked me what I was carrying and shared info on his off duty carry weapon.

He was real nice. I whole heartedly believe it was because I let him know right up front that I was carrying, kept my hands in plain sight, and was polite through the whole thing.

Low-Sci
August 23, 2006, 03:19 AM
Out of curiosity, why would you not volunteer that you are carrying legally to a cop that's pulled you over? I'm not asking it as accusatory. Could you not put your CCP card underneath your driver's license?

More directly, why wouldn't you do that, aside from just "well, I don't have to," which I know is a fair enough reason.

RustyShackelford
August 23, 2006, 03:45 AM
A traffic stop is not the time or place to play "Judge Judy" with an LEO. The LEO(s) are concerned about their safety and the safety of the general public when they conduct a stop.

You must understand how difficult and risky traffic stops are to sworn LEOs. When an officer or trooper stops a vehicle, they need to make sure they are safe, the occupants of the vehicle are safe, the other drivers/vehicles are safe, etc. To make an LEO upset or argue with them while wearing a concealed firearm is not a smart move. Avoid sudden movements and speak clearly.

Rusty
;)

evan price
August 23, 2006, 04:01 AM
In OHIO we are required to notify. We are also required to CARRY OPEN in cars.

I personally would not be rooting around trying to find DL, Ins, Reg, etc to be ready to hand to the LEO while he is walking up to the car.

The last time I got pulled over was for speeding, I was in my former boss' Lexus 430 to get his oil changed & wasn't used to how dang fast that car was without feeling like it was even moving. The municipality was one known for strict speed enforcement and lots of tickets. The officer lit me up and I signalled I had seen him and drove a few extra feet down the busy two lane to find a nice commercial loading dock to pull into so we weren't sitting there half in the traffic. The LEO actually acknowledged that it was a nice thing to do and since I was polite, truthful, and had nothing to hide he let me off with an unheard-of warning in that little town!

My drill is always, shut off motor, roll down windows, turn on dome lights, hands on wheel, then notify officer if I am moving ("I'm going to get my wallet out of my back pocket now." "I need to get my insurance card out of the glovebox.")

BruceB
August 23, 2006, 09:49 AM
A couple months back, I was driving a company van home a wee bit too quickly. A Nevada State trooper pulled me over, wrote the ticket, and said, "You don't have any firearms with you, do you? I SEE YOU HAVE A CCW"

Meaning, of course, that the CCW database is integrated with the drivers' licence info and appears on the cruiser's computer when they run your documents.

Interesting.

TX1911fan
August 23, 2006, 10:31 AM
My CHL instructor advised us to provide our CHL with our drivers license, even if we weren't carrying. In Texas you don't have to volunteer it, but you have to tell them if they ask. However, he recommended just telling them anyway, because when they go back and run your license, the computer will tell them you have a CHL, and then they will be all panicked because you didn't tell the,m and now they may have an armed person in the car. So, just tell them outright and be done with it. It also lets them know a lot of good information about you (no felonies, mentally stable, not a drug addict, etc.).

gregthehand
August 23, 2006, 10:39 AM
Actually in TX the way I understand it is if your carrying you HAVE to tell them. If your not carrying you have the option but it's a good idea to do so.

peteinct
August 23, 2006, 11:30 AM
A reason you might want to keep quiet about legally carrying is that the police may not think that "civillians" should carry and give you a hard time. I read on a cop forum where one cop confiscated every gun he came across to run serial #s on it. I think this is a reflection of the attitudes of the area, the police in a city or in the northeast being the least comfortable with armed citizens.
pete

deanf
August 23, 2006, 12:24 PM
If your not carrying you have the option but it's a good idea to do so.

The option to do what?

Snarlingiron
August 23, 2006, 12:32 PM
[QUOTE]Texas Penal Code:
411.205. DISPLAYING LICENSE; PENALTY. (a) If a
license holder is carrying a handgun on or about the license
holder's person when a magistrate or a peace officer demands that
the license holder display identification, the license holder shall
display both the license holder's driver's license or
identification certificate issued by the department and the license
holder's handgun license. A person who fails or refuses to display
the license and identification as required by this subsection is
subject to suspension of the person's license as provided by
Section 411.187.
[QUOTE]

In Texas it is not an option. If you are asked for identification by a peace officer, then you are required to produce your CHL if you are carrying.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has a link on their website outlining proper conduct for a CHL holder during a traffic stop:

Proper Conduct (Texas) (http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/stop.htm)

thebeastisbest
August 23, 2006, 12:54 PM
I have only been stopped once since I have had my CHL. I gave the officer both my licenses right away. He asked if I was had any thing with me tonight. I told him I had one behind the seat. Beyond that he didn't appear to care. He wrote the speeding ticket and I was on my way.

IMO, As far as a police officer responding in a negative way I think it comes down to the individual. There are many officers that firmly believe "law abiding civilians" should be armed. I know both of my cousins are among them. They may even cut a like minded individual some slack.

By the way, this is my first post, what a great forum.

The_Shootist
August 23, 2006, 01:34 PM
Probably a good idea to speak English, not Arabic :evil:

TX1911fan
August 23, 2006, 04:40 PM
Right, in Texas, if you are not carrying, you don't have to present your CHL with your drivers license, but I think it is a good idea to do it anyway. Otherwise, he goes back to his car, runs your DL and sees you have a CHL. Now he is wondering if you are carrying and just didn't tell him, so he is viewing you as a threat rather than just another joe.

Barbara
August 23, 2006, 05:16 PM
I got stopped about 6 hours ago in East Lansing..someone else was driving, we were looking for an address, and got pulled over for going considerably over the speed limit. She told the officer who came to my side of the vehicle that she had a carry permit but no gun, although I had one. The officer asked if I had a permit, which I do, and he just said, ok. Took her insurance and registration, ran them, came back, gave us directions and reminded us that the speed limit in that area was 25, too. No complaints from me. :)

Green Lantern
August 23, 2006, 05:35 PM
I've only been in one stop, a traffic check. I was not carrying at the time, but nonetheless made sure I didn't appear a threat. I put both hands on the wheel and waited for the officer to instruct me to to give him my DL, registration, and insurance. He spent a moment at the back of the car, I guess making sure my tag was up to date.

I've given some thought to it happening again now, and figure that like the OP said, I would FIRST say I have a carry permit and then say that I am carrying. While still keeping both hands on the wheel unless being told to produce the permit and gun. (NC is a MUST-inform State. Though I spend quite a bit of time in TN where you don't have to inform, so the mention that telling the LEO is a good idea if s/he's going to find it anyway is good food for thought).

CCW'ers are not the ONLY ones in fear of a bullet from a bad guy. IMO, doing everything possible to appear non-threatening to an officer is a good move.

neoncowboy
August 23, 2006, 05:41 PM
There's no 'duty to inform' in my state.

I've been pulled over twice while armed. Once for speeding and once for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign.

As far as I am concerned, whether I am carrying or not is nobody's business but mine. That's why we call it concealed carry. So, I just politely do what I'm told and couteously give them my license, accept my citation and go on my merry way.

I haven't met an Officer Tackleberry out there yet, though my guess is there are a few out there.

Art Eatman
August 23, 2006, 06:30 PM
I've noticed that courtesy and politeness and some common sense will help avoid all manner of problems. Been pretty helpful, so far. So, whatever works is good.

Takes more muscles to frown than to smile--and I'm lazy.

:), Art

Barbara
August 23, 2006, 06:37 PM
We didn't exactly look like gangbangers. She's 40-something and was wearing a skirt, and I'm 30-something and was wearing a business suit. Had we been 22 year old males, it could have been different..who knows?

TallPine
August 23, 2006, 07:52 PM
Out of curiosity, why would you not volunteer that you are carrying legally to a cop that's pulled you over?
Because it's none of his/her business anymore than whether I'm carrying a spare tire, jack, and flashlight in my pickup.

Besides, in Montana I would assume that all LEOs would assume that there is a gun in every vehicle they stop, since it is perfectly legal even without a permit.

Saying the above does not mean that I would be anything but friendly and pleasant to the officer making the stop - it's even likely that I might greet him/her by first name ;)

But I haven't been pulled over in more than 20 years. I did stop at a game checkpoint a few years ago, and the F&G officer seemed unconcerned about my openly carried revolver.

50 Freak
August 23, 2006, 09:27 PM
A reason you might want to keep quiet about legally carrying is that the police may not think that "civillians" should carry and give you a hard time. I read on a cop forum where one cop confiscated every gun he came across to run serial #s on it. I think this is a reflection of the attitudes of the area, the police in a city or in the northeast being the least comfortable with armed citizens.

Here in California (SF area) I would not mention I have a CCW if ever pulled over by a LE. This goes for Highway Patrol the SFPD, SDPD and LAPD. They are extremely anti and don't believe "civilians" should carry (unless they're celebrities). Mere mention of a CCW could have you sitting on the sidewalk while they run your peice and even confiscation of the firearm for "verification". Heck my CCW instructor (SWAT trainer for a small county) told the entire class to watch out for the "big city" cops.

CA does not require we inform the officers about our CCW. Now if I get pulled over in a more rural area, then thats a different story.

gezzer
August 23, 2006, 10:13 PM
In NH give him your drivers license and registration all that is required.

Leagaly you do not have to answer any Questions, but most won't ask if your carrying. Mst NH PO's are not scardy cats like the LEO's in the new CCW states. Truth hurts.

symbiont7
August 23, 2006, 10:20 PM
A few questions...

What if I'm a passenger? The LEO only asked for the drivers info, do I still say something?

And as a passenger who carries, where should I put my hands? (Be nice!)
On the dash? Fingers interlocked over my head?

And what about road block type stops? You know, checking for DUI, child seats, seat belts, where they stop everyone. Obviously if they ask directly I will answer, but what if they don't?

I'm trying to read and understand all the laws, even just bought a book that helps explain them all, but geez they can be confusing.

kengrubb
August 23, 2006, 10:26 PM
Out of curiosity, why would you not volunteer that you are carrying legally to a cop that's pulled you over?
I could answer a question with a question and ask what good could come from volunteering the info. However, I will answer your question directly, and I don't take offense at you asking.

The same could be said of what harm does it do, if you KNOW you aren't doing anything illegal, to just let the officer "look around" in your trunk. Well, there and then on the side of the road it's probably no harm no foul. However, over time, I think it tends to weaken the 4th Amendment. Cops already have come to expect citizens to comply with a request to "look", and most people I suspect would say "it's not worth the hassle and I know I have nothing to hide."

I don't see any difference here. If the cop wants to ask me a relevant question, fine. Let him ask. Why do I have to volunteer info? Then we get into the asinine court decisions compelling one to provide ID as to who one is. What's next, a national ID card or a microchip up the arse?

Back on point. If we're compelled to disclose that we're carrying, then on some level it sends the message that, "Yeah, he's got a license to carry a gun and all, but there's still something slightly sinister about the practice." It's normal. We should to the extent possible treat it as normal behavior.

Feel free to use the wood from my cross to construct a nice footbridge.

kengrubb
August 23, 2006, 10:29 PM
NH PO's are not scardy cats like the LEO's in the new CCW states
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner for most painfully accurate statement of the day.

kabbie
August 24, 2006, 12:31 AM
In SC it is required to show ccw permit when ever you are stopped by LEO.

Being a cab driver I get stopped quite often..Usually for a reason,,mainly speeding.. never had a problem..at night..inside lite on , hand over ALL PAPERS and PERMITS.. then just see how the LEO feels about my pretty face..LOL..
BUT...

About a year ago I was leaveing my office late at night and it is in a high crime area,, I did NOT turn on my turn signal when I made a turn, being I was more concerned with a car speeding up on my back bumper with only driveing lights on... I had eased my weapon out of my pocket and onto my seat when I noticed it coming up on me so quickly.. It was a local LEO.. When the blue lights came on I relaxed, and pulled over.. 2 LEO's got out and came up on both sides of my car and imformed me that I had Not used my turnsignal.. I explained why and while I was he was going thru my papers... When he got to my CCW Permit he damn near paniced... Wanted to know where my weapon was, and so I told him on the seat beside me.. I then got a lecture on where i COULD AND COULD NOT CARRY IT .. I informed him he was wrong and that I was in compliance with the law...BAD MOVE ON MY PART...I then had to listen to a speach from him about weapons and safety ect.... BUT he finally let me go..AFTER makeing me lock my weapon in the glove box...

THE next morning, armed with a printout of the state laws regarding CCW rights and reg's.. I went to the local police dept and asked to speak to the duty officer.. I then told the above story and then showed him the printout..He acknowledged that I was right..I then asked that he call the officer from the night before to inform him of what the law was.. He finally did so..

Was I a jerk??? Most likely...BUT If I didn't correct the LEO WHO WOULD ?? and what would be the result next time he was wrong??

I have since moved my office tho....;)

cassandrasdaddy
August 24, 2006, 02:24 AM
works. i was a moron as a young man as a result i lost my license for 18 years. i pulled 12 month county time for a real memorable speeding/reckless driving ticket.
i was cut a lotta slack due to being respectful, particularly bu=y not lying. i imagine it getsold having folks b/s you all the time.i remember one state tropper who was pretty hostile when he pulled me over for almost 3 times the limit. when i told him the truth whwn he asked did i know how fast i was going. he changed demeanor and cut me some real big slack.i was scruffy looking sob sometimes and used to carry , get pulled over always told em if it was on car seat i'd let em know before they got in a position where the were "exposed " to me easily and keep hands away from gun and where they were clearly visible. they usually would go pick it off seat through passenger window and then proceed from ther normally. they always thanked me for letting em know.nowadays i get fliiped off for going slow 18 years of riding a bicycle taught me something and now i get pulled over its cops that look too young to be weanedand they cut the poor old man who works for a living slack. a truck full of lumber and tools and a respectful attitude get you well treated too.

kengrubb
August 24, 2006, 02:27 AM
Was I a jerk??? Most likely
There are times when it takes a jerk to do the right thing. This was one of those times.

LiquidTension
August 24, 2006, 03:47 AM
In SC you can keep a gun in a glovebox, console, or trunk - not on the seat. Obviously you can have it concealed on your person if you have a CWP. You do NOT have to inform the officer that you have a CWP if you're NOT carrying. CWP info does not show up when they run your DL info.

Sam Adams
August 24, 2006, 06:06 PM
Actually in TX the way I understand it is if your carrying you HAVE to tell them. If your not carrying you have the option but it's a good idea to do so.

The first part is absolutely correct, and I suspect that the 2nd is not bad advice. I've always found that it is better to put yourself in someone else's shoes, and act as you'd like someone else to act toward you. If I was a police officer, and I knew from running the vehicle's plates that the owner had a CHL, I'd be a bit on edge if the person didn't hand over the license and let me know right away that they weren't carrying. Does failure to do that constitute a crime? Of course not, but remember that the officer is a human being also, likely with a family, and he/she has real and valid fears about not coming home. It is a simple act of decency - and, for that matter, practicality on your part (since I'm sure it is easier to obtain the benefit of the doubt and get a warning when being polite, etc.) - to put the officer at ease by being upfront.

Just my $0.02.

enfield
August 24, 2006, 08:09 PM
Here are a couple videos on the subject. DIALUP WARNING - the files are huge.

http://www.legallyarmed.com/trafficstopprotocol.htm

cassandrasdaddy
August 24, 2006, 09:23 PM
"I've always found that it is better to put yourself in someone else's shoes, and act as you'd like someone else to act toward you."

what an out of date idea! sam adams you must be a relic...;)

kengrubb
August 25, 2006, 01:24 AM
The Washington State Patrol, and I suspect other state LEAs, give advice for behavior during a traffic stop.

http://www.wsp.wa.gov/about/pullover.htm

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