Pulled Over While carrying By J. Peters

Pulled Over While carrying By J. Peters

This is a discussion on Pulled Over While carrying By J. Peters within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I got this in an email, and I don't see anywhere where it's copyrighted so I think it's OK to post ( If not, Mods ...

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  1. #1
    Ex Member Array Treo's Avatar
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    Pulled Over While carrying By J. Peters

    I got this in an email, and I don't see anywhere where it's copyrighted so I think it's OK to post ( If not, Mods feel free to delete)

    Pulled Over While Carrying...
    ..My goal here is to provide food for thought when dealing with a police encounter on the street or in your vehicle, while you are armed....
    by J. Peters
    I am a cop.
    I stop you for a violation of motor vehicle code or law.
    You have a weapon.
    You have a concealed weapons permit.

    What happens now?

    I am writing this article as a cop. I am and have been that armed citizen, but that is not what I want to focus on. I am writing this article as a guide to dealing with us cops. Now, everyone has a story about cops. A large majority of those stories may not be what one could describe as "the most wonderful and joyous occasion in recent memory".

    Realizing that we are always judged as a group, I try not to be "one of those cops". I have a background in the Marine Corps and grew up shooting and hunting from my earliest memories. My part time job (most cops have some other gig) is working in a local gun shop selling firearms.

    I do not question the armed citizen's reasons behind carrying a gun. I understand and promote the concept of an armed and educated citizenry. There are differences in how you and I carry and employ weapons and how we may be involved in a deadly force encounter, but that isn't what I want to focus on either.

    My goal here is to provide food for thought when dealing with a police encounter on the street or in your vehicle, while you are armed. I want to do this from my prospective as it may help you to understand it better. Sometimes in order to see things clearly, we have to see it from the reverse angle.

    Where I work and live, in Michigan, folks who have a concealed pistol license are required to inform the officer stopping them that they have a weapon with/on them. They can be subject to a civil infraction fine if they do not disclose this information. When not carrying the weapon, they need not do this.

    I realize that other states may not require this disclosure to be made. Some people may say that it is none of my business whether or not you have your weapon on you or in your car. To a certain extent, I can understand this. It seems intrusive when you are stopped and detained on a traffic offense. It certainly seems intrusive when you get a ticket right?

    My question is why not tell the officer? What do you have to lose by telling me that you have your weapon on you?

    Are you lawfully carrying your weapon? Yes.

    Is that the reason I stopped you? No.

    What are the ramifications of the officer knowing that you have your weapon on you (lawfully)? Well, I have heard many stories about cops doing things such as taking possession of the weapon during the course of the traffic stop. I have heard of officers who may instruct the weapon to be placed in a visible spot in the vehicle until the stop is concluded.

    I have heard all sorts of stories about the cops that don't even know how to unload a different weapon than the one that they carry. I do not do any of these things, and I would not recommend these practices to other officers.

    Truth be told, I very rarely come into contact with concealed pistol licensees in general. Why? CCW people just don't break the law that much. Upon occasion, I have stopped those with weapons permits in my jurisdiction.

    My concerns when approaching the vehicle are primarily the occupants of the car. Traffic is always a secondary concern as is the rest of the environment of the stop, but that is my problem, not necessarily yours.

    What I look for may be the positioning of the hands. What I like to see is both hands visible. A good place for the driver is on the wheel, 10 and 2 if you will. It is easy for me to see this as I approach from either side of the vehicle.

    Passengers in a vehicle who may be armed can place their hands in their laps if possible. This may seem somewhat remedial, but you would not believe how many people start digging in their vehicle like they were mining for gold.

    Picture yourself in my situation; just clearing an intensive domestic assault call or stand off with a suicidal subject and my first traffic stop afterwards is searching frantically around the car for god knows what.

    1. Don't dig around...

    Don't dig around looking for your paperwork, that French fry you dropped when the lights came on or your kid's pacifier. I do not enjoy putting you at gunpoint. It is stressful for both of us. We can avoid this problem by staying put and keep our hands comfortably visible.

    I say 'stay put'; I mean stay in the vehicle. I realize that some jurisdictions may ask you to step from the vehicle. Do so when asked. Again, this may seem remedial, but someone who exits a car, without being asked, on a traffic stop gives an impression that he is either going to do us harm or run from us.

    2. Eye Contact...

    Make eye contact with the officer. Nothing says "I'm crazy" or "I have something to hide" like the 1000 yard stare down the roadway. This behavior has led to several searches, arrests, and some altercations upon further investigation.

    3. Smile!

    Like Mr. Rourke of Fantasy Island was fond of saying "Smiles everybody, smiles!" Make eye contact and smile. It will let the officer know that he can communicate with you.

    4. Keep it hidden...

    If you have the gun lying on the seat next to you or in plain sight, plan on having that muzzle related talk mentioned earlier. We know that an action beats a reaction almost every time. A visible weapon is an accessible weapon to a suspect. Concealed Carry means CONCEALED. Unless regulated by statute, I do not want to see your weapon. It would seem obvious, but even if you know this officer, this is no time to play a prank or joke.

    I don't come to your work area and play practical jokes on you, do not do it to me. Your motives may be playful but the results could be devastating to you and the officer. I have had people do this before. For the life of me I do not know why and the resulting opinion is that the officer is a jerk for not getting the joke.

    5. Take it easy...

    No sudden movements to see if he is paying attention. No furtive movements to joke around.This may not be a potential lethal force encounter to you. It is to us, all of the time.

    6. When do you tell him?

    The time to inform the officer is upon his greeting. Do not say "I have a gun". Never utter this phrase. Never utter any variation of this phrase. There is no good that can come from that phrase when said to an officer. All we hear is "have a gun" and the rest is implied. The highway can be a noisy place and we may not hear everything you said. (I really want to draw attention to the above because I say it almost every time this topic is discussed )

    7. How do you tell him?

    Greet him and tell him you have a concealed weapons permit and the weapon is on your person/in the car.

    8. Hand your permit...

    Hand him your permit with your operator's license and any required paperwork like your registration and proof of insurance. The officer will likely ask where the weapon is. Tell him. There is no reason not to as long as you are abiding by local and state laws. Do not reach for the weapon unless asked to do so. Most officers, me included will not tell you to do this.

    9. Then what?

    The officer will most likely tell you very specifically to stay put or give further instructions based on training, experience, and departmental guidelines or operating procedures. Bear in mind that some agencies may have procedures and some may not. If you feel that action was taken that was unnecessary or infringed on your rights, check into the existence of a guideline or policy in the department involved.

    If you are polite and proper, you may just even get out of a citation. You may not agree with the citation. This is not the time for that discussion. There are hearings for that. Even if you get a citation, thank the officer and be on your way. Take him to court to air your grievances.

    Remember that you are a representative of all the concealed weapons permit holders out there, just as we are all the same cops. You have a responsibility to your fellow armed citizens to act in a manner that reflects well on your peers.

    A bad incident involving a permit holder will resound with all the power that the media can muster. Your good behavior will not make headlines on a regular basis what so ever, but you may save the day once in your life.

    In that respect, we are a lot alike.

    J. Peters is a Law Enforcement Officer with over 10 years experience as certified officer, and was in the USMC Reserves from 1989-1998
    Obvioulsy I don't agree W/ his stand on informing but the article is (IMO) very well written and has some good, usefull information in it


  2. #2
    Member Array Passin' Through's Avatar
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    Sounds like reasonable advice to me. I'm in a non-disclosure state and probably would inform the officer.
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array First Sgt's Avatar
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    Treo...Thanks for posting. Good article.
    Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.

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    Ex Member Array Deanimator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passin' Through View Post
    Sounds like reasonable advice to me. I'm in a non-disclosure state and probably would inform the officer.
    I live in a disclosure state where disclosure has been used to falsely arrest somebody because he didn't disclose for ***51 seconds*** when ORDERED NOT TO DO SO.

    There was a North Carolina man who was falsely arrested by Fairfax County, Virginia LEOs for a variety of things which in fact were NOT crimes in Virginia after notifying when not required to.

    The envelope always gets pushed. We're required to notify WHEN ARMED, so of course there are those who insist that we inform when NOT armed.

    Ohio's notification statute needs to be eliminated immediately and I would not notify if not required to by law.

  5. #5
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    My nephew is a police officer, and I asked this question of him after I got my carry permit....whether or not to inform the officer during a traffic stop. His response surprised me. He said, "If you're carrying legally, why would you?"

  6. #6
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    CT doesn't require disclosure. Since I try to talk to a police officer as little as possible during a traffic stop, I do not disclose. I simply comply with all orders and stay very polite.

  7. #7
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    If your in a must notify state, you have no option. In a not required state (such as VA) it is up to you to decide how you want to proceed. Since the fact that you have a permit comes up when the police run your license here, I opt to inform.
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    Thanks Treo
    I agree, well written, by an LEO who sounds as if he's got his Thinking Cap on the right way.

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  9. #9
    Ex Member Array Cold Warrior's Avatar
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    Good, it also applies to Ohio. The first time that I was stopped by a cop, after getting my CCW license, he informed and reminded me that I had a concealed weapon hidden inside my vehicle, getting it from his computer, because I had forgotten to tell him about it. Still, during the past 30 years, I have always remembered to show both hands, outside my window and especially during a night-time traffic-cop stop, and wiggle my fingers so that they could see them in their lights at night. The same about going real slow when I opened that glove box to get my registration and proof of insurance.

  10. #10
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    As a LEO and a concealed weapons permit holder and Florida resident I feel that the information and advice given by Officer Peters is excellent. Thanks Treo for taking the time to post it. Notification in Florida is not required but from my viewpoint very appreciated. It is not on the Florida Drivers License so if there is no reason to search the driver, his passengers or the vehicle I would never know if there was a weapon in the car or on the person. That said if I run your DL and it comes back that you have a minor warrant for traffic and I must place you under arrest and now find out that you have a weapon in your vehicle or on your person I would look at you in a different light. No violation of the law in Florida was committed by you for not telling me. That is just me. If I am stopped by law-enforcement in a DUI Checkpoint ,ect.or by Florida Wildlife on the water when I am fishing to check my catch the first thing I let them know is there is a firearm in the vehicle or on the boat and I am a law enforcement officer. I do this out of respect and courtesy. I appreciate it and so do other officers. This is just my personal feelings.
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array peckman28's Avatar
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    Good article written from the perspective of a cop in a duty to inform state. If I didn't have to inform though, I wouldn't. I don't agree with his stance on that. Otherwise a lot of good things to think about.

  12. #12
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    I have no problem with informing, even in a state that does not require it...can't hurt, could help set a better tone.OMO

    No bad advice given I can see...
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    I am constantly amazed at the reticence of the legal weapon-carrying public to inform a LEO at an encounter. Some say, "Why do I need to?" Well, look at it this way. The officer has no way to know you're a legal gun-carrier. If, at some point during the stop, your weapon is discovered by the LEO, and you haven't informed him you are armed, you may very well find yourself having a Glock stuck in your ear, eating some asphalt and wearing chrome bracelets while the LEO sorts out what's legal and what's not. Remember, he does not know you're a "good guy".

    Think about it, what's the harm in informing? At worst case, your weapon may be confiscated for the duration of the stop and returned to you unloaded. While I DO question a reaction that extreme, on the street is NOT the place to argue it. Make a citizen's complaint to his supervisor afterwards.

    It's not about a macho power trip or a jack-booted Gestapo LEO squashing the individual's constitutionally-granted rights to go about armed - IT'S ABOUT SAFETY, both his AND yours.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array Devone6's Avatar
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    Good post

    8. Hand your permit...

    Hand him your permit with your operator's license and any required paperwork like your registration and proof of insurance. The officer will likely ask where the weapon is. Tell him. There is no reason not to as long as you are abiding by local and state laws. Do not reach for the weapon unless asked to do so. Most officers, me included will not tell you to do this.
    That's exactly what I teach in my CCW classes, even though we are a "not required" state. It's just a good practice, and also will keep you legal if you travel into a "required" state, without memorizing where you do and don't.
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    A good common sense post.
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