A LEO has stopped you and you're carrying a gun.
What should you do?
It’s a common question. ‘If I get pulled over, should I inform the officer right away that I’m carrying a gun?’
Informing an officer that you are carrying a firearm is a 5 step process.
Step 1) ‘Officer, I have a Permit to Carry.’
What did you just do? You did not say, I Have A Gun! No, that could make many people immediately nervous. What you stated was that you have gone through 3 background checks and came up clear. You are an upstanding citizen. Even if I’m NOT carrying a gun at that moment, I still start with ‘Officer I have a Permit to Carry’ because it speaks to my character.
Step 2) ‘My permit is located _______’…
… in my front left pocket, my back right pocket. Note, I did not say get it out. Don’t Move. Everything is strictly verbal at this point. All you are doing is letting the officer know where your legal documentation is located.
Step 3) ‘I am carrying today’
OK, now we’ve stated that we have a gun, but only after telling the officer that we are legal and where the legal documentation is located.
Step 4) ‘My firearm is located ________’…
…on my right hip, in my pocket, in my purse. Remember, the only thing moving at this point are your lips. Do NOT reach for anything!
Step 5) ‘What would you like me to do?’
Literally, I’ve spoken to Police, Sheriffs, State Patrol, FBI and even Secret Service agents that I’ve worked with. All of them said, ‘If you treat me with that much respect, I will treat you with that same respect.’
Now the above is by the book, but through working with law enforcement from time to time, I’ve altered or rather added some preliminary items.
If you get pulled over, try to pull over as far as you legally can so as to leave the officer plenty of room to walk up safely and not get hit by passing traffic.
Before the officer approaches, do the following expeditiously but without a lot of movement.
1) Shut your engine off.
2) Get out your driver’s license, Permit to Carry and insurance card and lay them on the dash in front of the steering wheel.
3) Open all your windows. Since you’re not hiding anything or doing anything wrong, open the windows and let the officer see in the car and see that there are no hidden dangers.
4) If at night, leave your headlights on low beam and turn on your inside dome lights. Again, let the officer see what’s in the car. They can then see that there is no apparent danger.
5) Keep your hands at the top of the steering wheel and let them see all 10 fingers. Let them see you’re not holding anything. Most importantly, Don’t Move!! Stay still as the officer approaches and follow their instructions. All movements from you should be slow. Don’t not move quickly thinking you want to get this over with quickly.
Okay, WHY?? Why all this caution? I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not a bad guy. It’s just a simple traffic stop.
There is NO simple traffic stop. Every one of them is potentially life threatening to the officer. Unfortunately, officers get shot often.
When you rolled that stop sign, didn’t use your blinker or were speeding, the officer doesn’t know you or your character. Maybe you just robbed a local convenience store. Maybe you’re a drug dealer. Since you’re willing to break one law, maybe you’re willing to break several. The point is, EVERY traffic stop is potentially very dangerous for the officer. Do them a favor and do yourself a favor.
Follow these simple and courteous rules.
You’ll have a much better experience with them.