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How To Behave During A Traffic Stop When Carrying

Discussion in 'Legal' started by kengrubb, Aug 23, 2006.

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  1. kengrubb

    kengrubb Member

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    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.
     
  2. Jomax

    Jomax Member

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    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?
     
  3. kengrubb

    kengrubb Member

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    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.
     
  4. RustyShackelford

    RustyShackelford member

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    traffic stop conduct...

    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
     
  5. USMCRotrHed

    USMCRotrHed Member

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    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.
     
  6. Low-Sci

    Low-Sci Member

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    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.
     
  7. RustyShackelford

    RustyShackelford member

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    Judge Judy....

    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
    ;)
     
  8. evan price

    evan price Member

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    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.")
     
  9. BruceB

    BruceB Member

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    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.
     
  10. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

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    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.).
     
  11. gregthehand

    gregthehand Member

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    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.
     
  12. peteinct

    peteinct Member

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    it depends on your local police

    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
     
  13. deanf

    deanf Member

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    The option to do what?
     
  14. Snarlingiron

    Snarlingiron Member

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  15. thebeastisbest

    thebeastisbest Member

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    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.
     
  16. The_Shootist

    The_Shootist Member

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    How to Behave?

    Probably a good idea to speak English, not Arabic :evil:
     
  17. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

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    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.
     
  18. Barbara

    Barbara Member

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    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. :)
     
  19. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Member

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    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.
     
  20. neoncowboy

    neoncowboy Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2006
  21. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    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
     
  22. Barbara

    Barbara Member

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    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?
     
  23. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    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.
     
  24. 50 Freak

    50 Freak Member

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    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.
     
  25. gezzer

    gezzer Member

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    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.
     
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