Skip to comments.Concealed Carry- A Police Officers Prospective(MO)
Posted on 11/20/2012 6:01:49 AM PST by marktwain
Concealed Carry- A Police Officer's Prospective
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I have been a Deputy with one of the largest counties in Missouri for some years now. Being in an area so riddled with methamphetamine one can naturally expect a lot of traffic stops during each shift. With a population of over 60,000 people I see a lot of diversity in my traffic stops, not necessarily in race, but in backgrounds. I see the rich, the poor, and everyone in between. One question that I have been asked countless times from all walks of life is What do I do if I get pulled over and have my weapon in the car? This question is usually followed up by something to the effect of My CCW Instructor never fully answered that question. So in the paragraphs below I will answer that question in the most complete way possible. Please understand that police work is not a science, but an art. Nowhere is this more true than during a traffic stop. I know officers who only pull over vehicles that they believe contain drugs, and I know of officers who pull over every car they see going six miles over the speed limit. This article is to be used as a guide to properly dealing with the police in the off chance that you are stopped while carrying your weapon.
Step 1: Pull Over
For most people this can go without saying, but I cannot count the times that vehicles will drive five or more miles before stopping. Not necessarily because they are running, or trying to get rid of evidence, but because they are either afraid or think that the officer will just get bored and go away. It doesn't matter if you think your innocent, or that hes got the wrong person, pull over. Once you see the red and blue lights in your rear view mirror find the closest area (preferably on the right side of the road) and pull over. Because the police officer will be getting out of his or her vehicle and approaching yours with traffic buzzing by, get as far right as you safely can. This will allow the officer to position his vehicle in a way which will provide protection to him in the off chance that a vehicle does not see the bright red and blue lights flashing in front of them.
Step 2: Roll Down BOTH of your front windows and place your hands on the steering wheel.
Most people dont understand why someone would want both of their windows to be rolled down, and without conducting hundreds of traffic stops it may be difficult to comprehend. Mostly seen in high traffic areas (i.e. highways, narrow roads, exit ramps etc.) an officer may feel safer and more protected from passing traffic making the approach from the passengers side. And with both of your hands on the steering wheel it is obvious to even the most rookie of police officers that you are not reaching for anything and that you most likely aren't going to cause problems.
Step 3: Do Not Interrupt! But Mention that you have a firearm in the car.
When I approach a vehicle I start every interaction the same: Hello, Im Deputy Bales from the Sheriffs Office, I stopped you today because . Could I please see your drivers license and insurance card? Almost every officer has a canned phrase to give drivers that he stops. Let him finish before announcing I have a gun! After he finishes calmly state Officer, just so you know I have a Concealed Carry Endorsement and my weapon is would you like for me to hand it to you? Do not assume that the officer wants you to hand it to him, while 99.99% of police officers will ask that you do indeed hand it to them, there are a few that will ask you to exit the vehicle and they will remove it themselves. Under no circumstances will I return to my vehicle with a loaded weapon still in yours, so dont get the idea that it is violating your rights for me to hold onto your gun for a few minutes. Most importantly, if you take nothing else from this article please remember that the absolute WORST thing you can do is immediately reach for it without him asking you to. This will result in a very uncomfortable situation for both of you. Why cant I keep my gun with me since I've got a CCW and its a legal firearm? Simply put, just because you may know it is legal doesn't mean that I do. And every officer has seen enough horror films in the police academy to last a lifetime and leave the impression that every gun can kill you. Once I have your weapon with me, along with your drivers license and insurance I then return to my vehicle and provide dispatch with the serial number of the weapon as well as your license information. Now that I know it is a legal firearm we are on to the next step.
Step 4: Getting Your Gun Back
Some officers will approach your vehicle and simply hand you the gun. This practice is largely out dated and most officers are going to the system I was taught. While I am in my vehicle and after I have been told the gun isn't stolen- I remove the magazine and unload the weapon. I will then take all of the bullets out of the magazine. I will re-approach your car, explain that you are/aren't getting a citation, I am handing you a bunch of bullets to be put straight in the cup holder, and that I am going to place your firearm in the back seat and the magazine a few feet away from it. I then explain that under no circumstances are you to mess with that weapon until I am out of sight. I then return to my vehicle and leave.
And Now for the What Ifs:
What if the officer doesn't ask about a weapon in the car, my state doesn't require that I tell him?
I live in Missouri, and here like in most states- you do NOT have to tell the officer that you have a weapon in the car unless he asks. That being said if I find out you have a CCW from dispatch or some other way I will not be very happy when I do ask you and find out that you are carrying a weapon. It is ALWAYS best to be straight forward about having a weapon.
Why are so many cops against CCW?
This is the biggest misconception in the firearm world. I have never in my life met a group of people that were such big proponents of concealed carry and the personal ownership of firearms. For example: The Sheriff of my county had the authority to charge up to $100.00 for the fingerprinting and filing of a CCW. He believed so strongly that citizens had the right to protect themselves that he charged $13.81, the exact amount that it cost him to pay a deputy to take fingerprints and run a background check plus the cost of the fingerprint card. Police Officers are your friends, and as a whole, they believe strongly in your right to carry concealed. With that being said, all of us come across those few rotten apples who aren't very friendly about their guns and ruin the experience for the rest of the world. Just be honest and straight forward about the gun that is in your car and you will be just fine.
What if I have a CCW Endorsement and do not have the gun with me?
Not a problem. Follow the first and second steps exactly the same as if you were carrying. At the same point that you would tell him that you have a firearm in the car explain that you do not have one with you, even though you have the endorsement.
While you will still find a few officers who feel it is necessary to either go beyond what they should do, or just not worry about the gun at all, honesty is always the best solution. Just be straight forward about the gun, or lack thereof, and you will be on your way in just a few short minutes.
Just wow. Down here in Texas the officers generally trust CHL holders; we’re required to hand them the CHL with our license. And as for non-CHL but with a weapon in the car - you’re only required to state you have a weapon if they ask “do you have any weapons in the car”.
There’s no reason for them to unload the damn thing and bring it back to you in pieces. The only time it’s an issue down here is if you run into a solo rookie, which is also quite rare.
We are required to reveal if we have a weapon. The one encounter I had the H Patrolman said nobody identifies themselves and you could tell he didn’t quite know what to do.
He never touched or even looked at it. He probably figured I was a typical white guy clinging to my guns and bibles.
What the hell!? Why would the officer take your weapon back to his car? Sounds like a recipe for theft to me.
I disagree with this article’s author, but I live in Florida. I’ve NEVER had to hand over my weapon, and in the event an officer asks, I would ask, “Am I under arrest or do you have reasonable suspicion to confiscate my firearm?” If the answer is yes, then there are bigger issues at play. If the answer is no, then I politely tell them that if they do not have a legal reason to confiscate my weapon, I do not have a legal reason to hand it over.
In an overwhelming number of cases, a CWP holder in the state of Florida is NOT going to be a criminal, and by offering up the CWP during a stop as a supplement to my DL and registration, I am telling the officer that I am not only a law-abiding citizen but I am also not trying to hide anything.
I would be beyond livid if an officer handed me a bunch of loose ammunition and tossed my weapon and magazine in the back seat. While he’s driving away, there’s that brief minute or two while I’m reloading my magazine that I could be in danger, and that officer would be the reason my life’s in danger at that point for effectively disarming me.
If it ever comes to this sort of BS in Florida, I’ll just abstain from telling them that I’m carrying. To assume that a CWP holder is carrying an illegal firearm is overly presumptuous and arrogant of any LEO.
Turn the weapon over to the officer in this scenario? Hah! That will be the last time you see it. He’ll either keep it or take it back to the station and gift it to one of his buddies. His traffic cam will somehow missed that part of the exchange.
Police are not your friends in these times. They exist to draw chalk lines around your body and string yellow tape at the site.
There is no situation that can not be made worse by injecting the police into it.
i don’t see the point in MI in telling an officer that i have a cpl- it comes through on their system when he runs my plates, before he even walks up to my car, that i do have one.
we don’t have to hand over out firearm here in MI either unless we are under arrest. worst an officer can do is ask me to place it, temporarily, in plain sight.
“That being said if I find out you have a CCW from dispatch or some other way I will not be very happy when I do ask you and find out that you are carrying a weapon.”
Well, boo friggin hoo. Police also get unhappy if you don’t give your consent for them to perform an unconstitutional search of your vehicle, or allow them to question you without an attorney. That doesn’t mean that waiving those rights is a good idea though.
This advice seems designed to make the police officer’s job easier, but remember the police officer’s job is to arrest YOU, for some crime or another. It’s not usually in your best interests to make his job easier.
99.99% of psychotic ones.
Oh, but of course us citizens exist only to ensure your happiness. /s
Lots of bad ideas in this one.
First of all, lock your doors and only roll down your driver’s window four or five inches, enough to communicate.
Do put your hands on the top of the steering wheel.
You do not want the officer to be able to snatch your door open, or to send two Taser probes into you through your open window.
Be advised that the DEA and FBI now regularly put out warnings to police departments all over the US about the abuse of steroids by police officers. Such drugs may make otherwise good officers unpredictable, so look for the telltale “weight lifter body”, and be extra polite and relaxed.
You must learn your state’s law about weapons in vehicles. If it is not in open display, and you are not required to mention it, don’t. The one exception is if your gun is in the same place as your registration and proof of insurance.
Lots more ins and outs to all of this.
“Be advised that the DEA and FBI now regularly put out warnings to police departments all over the US about the abuse of steroids by police officers.”
I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t understand your comments.
Especially not if you have a dog with you.
I think he forgot to add “Kneel down and kiss my ass.”
But all that aside, those damn slaves do not need weapons. The weapons are for the masters and overseeers. The slaves need only to do as they are told, how they are told, and when they are told.
So one slave kills, robs, or rapes another slave? Big deal. The masters and overseers will handle that problem.
The thig from my perspective is that at one thim long ago, the policeman was just a member of the community. More than one policeman has told me that he had no problem with good people having/carrying guns. Several went on to say, “Before I was a policeman, I kept one with me all the time.” I never thought that I would live to see the day that Americans would enjoy being slaves so much.
This article is loony, I have been stopped twice during holiday DUI roadblocks(I don’t drink) and both times I informed the officers I was armed and had it on my person as I was handing them my DL and CCW permit, neither even blinked or asked me to disarm but I told them right up front,anyway they sent me on my way quicker than they were others that were being stopped I might add.
It’s not necessary or legally required, correct. However, I’ve always erred on the side of giving them my CWP at a minimum. It’s been several years since I’ve had a cop at my car door, but seeing how things have been going in this country as of late, I’ll likely be abstaining from over-providing of information from now on.
Do you have a citation for your comment that FBI and DEA are warning about steroids.
Life is tougher when you are stupid.
I hit the wrong reply button...my request for citation was intended for yefragetuwrabrumuy
Officer orders, "Sir, I need you step out of the vehicle." Okay, I tell him and that I have a dog and need to secure him. I roll the window halfway up, turnoff the vehicle and take the keys (smart dog).
As I exit the vehicle, he walks up and gives me the need to see my license routine. I remove my wallet for the license, he shines his light so I can find it. I pulled out my CCW permit first and hand it to him.
He asks, "Are you carrying?" I respond, "Yep, right front pocket." He responds, "Let's just leave it there."
He suggests that we walk back behind my truck to for safety. I follow, he says he stopped me for crossing the "fog line". He lets me go after he sees I'm not DUI, and we shake hands on it.
Agreed. There is no reason to advise an officer that you are packing unless required by law. All that does is ensure that you are going to have a worse experience than a ticket. I was a passenger and the driver advised the officer, and it wound up being a MAJOR hassle that took almost an hour to write a ticket.
By the time the officer leaves, we were sitting in the car, ticket in hand, pissed off and retrieving the gun from the trunk (which was searched by the officer before locking it there) and asking ourselves how that was helpful.
Never volunteer this information to Law Enforcement unless required.
I’ve had two experiences with being pulled over by police officers while I was carrying. Once in a speed trap (I was guilty) by the Kenmore (WA) police, and once by the Washington State Patrol on the Olympic peninsula for expired tabs. On both occasions I handed them my permit along with my license, registration and proof of insurance and told them that I had a firearm on my person. They both asked me where it was and I told them it was in my right front pocket (j-frame S&W in a pocket holster). They then told me to simply leave it where it is, and thanked me for telling them about it. Both officers behaved in a very professional manner and treated me with courtesy and respect. We conducted our business and I went on my way...with a deserved citation for speeding in the former case, and a friendly warning in the other. I did have both hands on the wheel as they approached, as I’d read that advice in the past.
With all do respect to the LEO here, someone intending to shoot him, isn’t going to hand over the gun.
I’ve seen enough LEOs trying to check firearms at gunshows, to know that many will accidently shoot themselves with my gun, if they take it back and try to unload it. I wonder if I will then get charged or sued?
Terrible advice. In Colorado if you have a gun, shut up. The cop doesn’t care unless you are handling one or pointing it at him. Simply let him do his job and stop trying to be a self-centered idiot bragging that you have a CCW or that you are “a responsible citizen exercising my right to carry in a vehicle”. He doesn’t care. Just don’t go making an issue about it.
P.S. In Colorado we are not required to tell the cop about a CCW, hand it to him, or tell him about any firearm unless he asks. Hell, he can go back to his vehicle and find that out pretty quick. It is totally a non issue and cops don’t appreciate someone trying to make it an issue.
In the 18 months since I have had my CCW, I have yet to be pulled over. However, I have a course of action all ready:
Hands on steering wheel, I state, “Sir, I am licensed to carry concealed. How would you like me to proceed?”
Holding onto your weapon for a couple of minutes OK. Handing it back to you unloaded and in pieces is BS. Once its established that you are a legal CCW that should be the end of it. 90 million legal gun owners didn’t shoot anybody yesterday.
I had 14 years at a state LEO level. I never once unarmed anyone who was legally carrying, only told them don’t touch it while I am here. I told many a female on the side of the road the benefits of carrying.
The problem with differences in how officers handle this stems from who runs these agencies. Almost every guy I worked with did not care that you were carrying and felt basically like I did, they expected you had one somewhere. The goobers that write articles like this are the ones who get promoted for their “insight into public interaction”, my big a__.
I expected everyone I stopped to be carrying legal or not ( and my term for not was you are not committing a crime or a felon ).
As a private citizen now I do not tell them I am carrying unless they ask me to get out of car and then only if it is actually on me and not in console. If this micro-managing pansy unloaded my magazine and put my weapon in the back seat, I would exit vehicle and re-gain control of MY weapon it would be re-loaded with one of my many extra clips before he got his seat belt back on. Jerk.
Thank you for your service. We could use more like you.
They are out there but they do not get publicity in the MSM.
I have not, and would never take anybodies gun on a traffic stop. Carrying concealed is a “get out of ticket free” card with me.
Louisiana requires about 8 hours of instruction as part of the permit process along with a background check an etc. The instructor was a retired LEO.
Now, I'm going to make a couple of observations that are my opinions only. 1.) This deputy has had very little experience with CCW holders (or for that matter people legally possessing f/a’s.) I draw that conclusion from his remarks about he'd be unhappy if he found you were legally possessing a f/a but didn't tell him (unless it's required by state law), his need to seize your legally held firearm(and yes, when an officer takes your property it's a seizure), running it for stolen, unloading it and then telling you not to mess with it until he's long gone! This all smacks of someone who believes all gunowners are potential cop killers.
2). This deputy is NOT an advocate of citizens legally carry f/a’s. If he was, he'd appreciate the fact aCCW holder went through the trouble to become licensed and has taken on the personal responsibility not to become a victim.
3.) This deputy does not even like guns. It has been my experience that law enforcement officers who are firearms aficionados usually respond to a CCW’s notice that they are armed is “What’ca carrying? Oh, yeah Kimber’s are great guns. Could I see it? Nice! Here's your gun back. Thanks. Have a nice day, sir.”
4.) Final note to the deputy. Licensed CCW holders ARE NOT a threat to you. They are law abiding citizens exercising their constitutional rights. Be respectful of their decision even if you don't agree with it. After all, you're asking them to respect your constitutional authority to stop and investigate them!
Just my .02 cents for what it's worth.
Here is one that is DOJ, via the DEA.
In states like California, cops are becoming bagmen for transferring the citizens’ money to the state. The days of Officer Friendly giving you a warning are over.
OK, I have to ask. What is the ‘fog line’?
Sorry, if I am instructed to exit my vehicle, it will be locked as I exit. And no LEO is going to enter my vehicle without my permission.
I believe that entering the vehicle constitutes a search and that requires more faith in the LEO than I am going to have based on what I can percieve of the LEO's knowledge of the Constitution.
The only reason I can figure why he was checking me out was because I had a 16' extension ladder in the back of the truck - longer story...
Btw, that was the first time I had heard it called that too.
Well I’ve been pulled over in two states where I have held or do hold a CCW, namely NY and PA. I know in NY, having a CCW means you get a NYSPIN associated with your driver’s license, or at least it did in the 80’s/90’s when I had a CCW there. NYSPIN is NY State Police Identification Number. This number was assigned to convicted criminals and CCW holders, so that a LEO making a traffic stop knew either you were a bad hombre or a good hombre who might be CCW. I learned this from my brother, who was a LEO in NY at the time. I’m sure the dispatcher would tell the LEO which you were, upon running your license.
I was pulled over several times in that period (my younger days) and was never once asked if I was CCW, nor did I volunteer that info, nor pre-emptively show my CCW. I never had a hassle. Friends of mine with NY CCW’s have been disarmed at roadside, one who got his loaded/holstered weapon handed back at the end of the stop and the other who was given the “unload pistol and take the bullets out of the mag” treatment.
In summary, your mileage may vary. Since moving to PA, I’ve never been asked about CCW and never volunteered it, but I’ve only been stopped once. The key is to keep your CCW card right with your driver’s license. After producing the DL, I leave my wallet right on the dash, so if the cop wants the CCW card, I dont have to dig for it and make him nervous. He can see my hands and see the wallet because it’s all up in his line of sight.
My brother told me to roll the window down about 1/3 rd the way and then put both hands on the wheel. The partial roll-down is enough for the cop to see into the car but not enough for a perp to be able to get the gun out the window and engage the cop as they approach the car. A wide-open window allows a perp to lean out and get the gun out the window/clear of the door frame, to engage the cop. Cop asks for license, I say “it’s in my back pocket, may i remove my seatbelt to get it?”. Cop asks for reg/insurance, i say “it’s in the glovebox, may i reach over and get it?”
As my brother (the cop) instructed me, this procedure doesn’t make you an oppressed slave of the police state, but does tell the cop that he is in control of the situation and you are following orders. A cop who feels in control is a happy cop, since it lowers the stress level of the situation for him and now you can work on explaining why you don’t deserve a citation and the cop will be relaxed enough to maybe actually stand there long enough for you to have your say.......
Unfortunately, I have found through research and personal experience that there is no set policy across the state of MO or probably any state for that matter. I have asjked departments for their CCW policy and have had no clear consensus.
Bottomlin- know your state’s laws ( and the laws of the state you are in!). In MO, there is no requirement to volunteer such info, but it is required to answer if asked. Of course, LEOs run your plates and will know (if you are driving your own vehicle) that you are a CCW endorsee.
As far as the good deputies directions about rolling down both windows etc, BS. Crack the driver’s side window down far enough to communicate, nothing more. Pull over where safe and do indeed keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the LEO in the RV mirrors so you are not surprised. Don’t be bothered getting youu DL, Ins etc until asked. Then be able to obtain them w/o a lot of fuss (all in one place is a good idea).
If the LEO asks and you are armed, he/she may indeed demand your weapon. I have heard of only one such policy, and that was explained as a result of your indiscretion for getting pulled over in the first place (not due process mind you, but hey, they are cops, they have QI).
The best advice is to not be driving/acting in such a manner to draw attention to yourself-even though local MO LEOs state they will usually let you proceed w/o citation, but a warning. Don’t give the CCW an bad name.
One SD stated that if they seized your arm for the stop, they cannot by other policy give it back until the next day-you have to come to the SD to pick it up, so they must sign it in, secure it etc-too much a pain the butt, so they will not bother unless they are keeping you too.
Once again, avoid getting pulled over in the first place. If you are stopped for any reason, be polite, professional and courteous. Don’t let a traffic stop cause more problems than need be.
I once was stopped on my way to a High Power competition in MO. The officer was polite, mentioned that my plate light was out and that he wanted me to know. He asked about CCW, I told him yes, i was armed. He said “cool, just leave it be wherever it is”. He saw my shooting equipment(scope stand, stool, gun case etc) in the truck and we talked a few minutes. He was coming off shift in an hour, so I invited him to the range a few miles ahead and he showed up during the match. He now is a fairly decent rifle shot.... Not all are problem children.
There is a lot of worry about LEOs and steroids, because for a lot of LEOs, brawling is part of the job, and though most of those they brawl with are drunk and stupid, it takes its toll.
I have met some cops who can just read off a litany of their injuries: a dislocated thumb, a knife wound, half a dozen scars, a tooth or two knocked out, broken nose, etc. It gets real tired in a hurry.
Not so much peer pressure than job pressure. But, I imagine, if one officer in a department starts using, and it works for him, the fact is not lost on his peers.
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