First Traffic Stop While Carrying a Non-Event
Several days ago, for the first time since 1985, I was pulled over on the way back from the grocery store (wife and twenty-year-old son in the car). It was around 7:30pm (so already dark). I was waiting at a traffic light, second car in line, when the light turned green and I pulled out. I crossed the intersection and had driven less than thirty yards when blue lights went on behind me. I literally couldn't think of anything I had done wrong (light was green, I wasn't up to the speed limit yet--I hadn't had time), so I assumed that the cruiser was answering a call. So I pulled over to let the officer pass.
He stopped too. :confused:
Okay...I turned off the ignition and the lights, rolled down the window, and put my hands on the steering wheel. The officer walked up and said, "Sir, I stopped you because your license plate lights are burned out. May I see your driver's license?"
Oops. I said, "Oh, my goodness, I was wondering what I had done wrong. Officer, I want to inform you that I have a Handgun Carry Permit and that I am currently carrying a firearm on my right hip. How do you want me to proceed?"
He answered, "Just let me see both of them." "Yes, sir. Both are in my wallet which is in my left back pocket." Keeping my right hand on the steering wheel, I retrieved my wallet from my pocket, then pulled out my license and my permit and handed them to him.
He took a quick look at both of them, handed them back, and said, "Thank you, sir. Just get those burnt-out bulbs replaced right away. I don't want to give you a $116 ticket for something like that. Have a good evening!"
I thanked him and told him to do the same. The whole process took about a minute.
Lesson learned? Include license-plate lights in maintenance checks. :embarassed:
Otherwise, no problem. Tennessee is not a "must-inform" state, but I had decided long ago that I would do so if I were ever stopped. When I informed the officer, he didn't skip a beat or act concerned in the slightest.