So I got pulled over last night by both Florida Highway Patrol and local police, guess they were both in the area. My fault, made an illegal u-turn, but this is my first with my handgun in the car so thought you all would like to know my experiences....
FHP comes to the window, and first thing he asks for is my license and whether I have any guns or knives in the car. I immediately put my hands on the steering wheel and say "Yes I have a securely encased firearm locked in my glove compartment." He asks if I have a concealed weapons permit, I say not yet, took the course, waiting for Tallahassee to process. He asks the local officer to remove the firearm. He unloads it and takes it to the squad car.
The FHP calmly tells me no problem, and to "sit tight".
This is where the situation gets interesting.
While the FHP is checking things out and writing the ticket, the local police officer comes over and tells me - straight out - "You know there are supposed to be three steps to get to your gun". I was shocked the officer did not know the law. I told him I have researched the law through my brother, who is an officer and my father who is an attorney, as well as through my firearms instructor, and I am not aware of any "3 step rule" in Florida, and that my firearm was legally encased in a locked glove box. His answer was "Hey you are talking to the police here!" I assured him that my little bro is one, and I have all the respect in the world for cops, but that I have seen nothing in statute 790 that talks about a 3 step rule.
Then he says "well next time make sure you tell the officer immediately about your gun or you will find yourself on the floor in handcuffs!" I told him that the other officer asked me about the gun first thing and I told him immediately. I was getting a little nervous by now, thinking this guy was fishing for a reason to arrest me.
Then he says "What kind of work do you do that you need to carry a loaded gun in your car?"
I answered "Well officer, I would much prefer to have you ride around with me all day, but I don't think I could afford your fees."
He did not laugh. I then told him "Seriously, this is not a good neighborhood." I work in a rather bad neighborhood, and was driving home.
After the FHP officer came back, I waited for him to give me the handgun back and waiting until both officers were in front of me, and I asked the FHP officer "Excuse me, I just want to make sure I did everything correctly. Did I do anything wrong with regards to my firearm." The FHP officer told me "On the contrary, I wish every one I stop acted the way you did."
So I continued "Ok I just wanted to make sure, because there seems to be some confusion with this other officer about how I had my gun encased, and whether I told you about the gun. Last thing I want is to do anything illegal or make you guys feel uncomfortable." The FHP officer repeated that I had done everything correctly. Then the FHP said that the only thing he would have preferred is if I already had my CCW - which I completely understand.
The local officer stood there, with nothing to say.
I found it shocking that the local police was so ignorant of the gun laws in Florida. It makes me think that if the FHP officer wasn't there, I would have been in handcuffs for storing a firearm locked in my glove compartment.
What do you all think?