Pulled Over With A CCW? Follow These Tips To Prevent Headaches
One thing I can tell you before we get started: go ahead and ignore the sovereign citizen internet drivel. Driving is a privilege – not a right. Driving on a public highway requires a driver’s license, plain and simple. I just wanted to put that out there, as that type of caustic entitled mentality usually breeds conflict right off the bat between citizen and officer. Trust me, reciting some nonsense about articles of confederation, free inhabitants, and statutes of Uniform Commercial Code doesn’t get you off the hook. It only adds fuel to the fire. Sorry, that is pure delusional fiction.
Now to the meat and bones of the article, what you should do when pulled over with your concealed weapon on your person. You’ve gone through the course, filed the proper paperwork and fingerprints, and paid the fees. The day comes and your permit arrives in the mail. You’re giddy as a school-girl heading off to the big winter mixer.
Congratulations! You’re officially allowed to carry a concealed weapon in that respective state. Depending on the state, you have to follow certain rules and need to be aware of other state’s laws when traveling to reciprocal territories with your firearm. This article will serve as a guide to prevent any unnecessary conflict if you’re ever pulled over by a police officer while carrying your firearm. I’ve also provided a humorous video at the end, as a dessert, detailing the proper way to handle a traffic stop with your CCW.
A LEO’s Perspective of the Hands
I can’t even recall the amount of times I pulled someone over who was in possession of a legally concealed firearm. Most ignored their instructor’s teachings and started fumbling around, heightening the situational danger.
The most dangerous component of a human being is their hands. They are the mechanisms capable of stabbing, shooting, punching and choking. The hands are the ultimate controller of any physical confrontation. This is why you will always hear officers commanding a suspect to show their hands. Controlling the hands is key to stopping the threat.
The First Steps – Pulled Over With CCW
So here we are, the cherry and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror. The adrenaline pumping out of natural instinct. Not because you’re a hardened criminal, but you’re facing an authority figure. Not to mention the minor traffic violation. Just remember to breath.
Pull over to a safe position on the RIGHT side of the road and put your vehicle in park. Turn down the radio. Don’t be that jackass blaring Nine Inch Nails “Closer”. If it’s dark outside, go ahead and turn on your overhead dome light – this will just ease with any vision issues.
Next, roll down the windows. If you have tinted windows, roll down your back ones as well. Any concealment adds stress to the officer approaching. The less stress an officer feels, the more likely the scenario will proceed without a hiccup and in your favor.
Keep both hands cemented at “10 and 2” on the steering wheel, in plain view. Don’t worry about getting your paperwork out yet, if it’s not readily available, and DO NOT start fumbling about the carriage for your firearm or your license. If the approaching officer sees you moving around in furtive motions, it will put them on edge.
Use Your Words, NOT Your Hands
When the officer makes initial contact with you, and asks for your license and registration, the first words out of your mouth should be as follows:
“Hello officer, I have a valid license and concealed weapons permit. My firearm is located [location of gun on your person or detail where it’s in the car].” I know some states don’t require you to announce the possession of your concealed firearm, but I would just suggest you say something as a courtesy to the officer. If you have a CCW, you’re not breaking any laws and officers tend to use their discretion when people are honest and upfront with them. As an officer, people lie to you everyday, it’s always refreshing to interact with honest people…just saying from experience.
At this point, depending on the officer, they may ask you to confirm where the gun is located. This is where you use your words and ears. DO NOT take your hands off the steering wheel unless they directly tell you to do so. Calmly tell them where the gun is located, repeating if necessary. Listen to their commands, as any sudden movement will only heighten their defense mechanisms. They will tell you how they want to proceed.
Depending on where the firearm is located (i.e. on your hip), they may have you angle your body so they can remove the firearm. Some officers like to secure the firearm for officer safety during the stop – others do not. Again, keep your hands planted on the steering wheel and listen to their commands. Sometimes they may simply take your paperwork and not touch the gun.
The officer will then run your information. So long as your permit and license are valid, you should be good to go.
Leaving the Stop
If the officer did remove the firearm, they will then secure the firearm in either your trunk, or somewhere that’s not readily accessible to you. After they instruct you to leave, wait until you can pull off into a safe place and park your vehicle – away from the officer – before reaching for your concealed firearm again.
Final Thoughts and the Video I promised
Trust me, following these steps will save everyone lots of headaches. The less headaches, the greater chance of getting off with just a verbal warning for your traffic violation. Too often people forget what their CCW instructors tell them. There’s nothing worse for an officer, or a citizen for that matter, then having to draw down on someone when they catch a glimpse of the “surprise” gun in the car. Above all else, just listen to the officer’s commands and the stop should go smooth. Regardless, congratulations on your CCW! Stay safe ‘Merica!
Disclaimer: This article is directed at the readers possessing a valid CCW and driver’s license. It is NOT legal advice, but merely provides suggestions on to how to handle the situation. Not every situation is the same when being pulled over with a CCW permit. You are responsible for abiding by each state’s specific laws regarding concealed weapons.