A routine traffic stop can become ugly fast if you don’t know the right way to handle it.
Police, especially today, have an increased concern for anyone armed (other than them), and the old advice of telling the officer: “I have a gun” will usually not end well for you.
That’s why in today’s article, I’m going to cover:
- 3 tips for the right and wrong way to handle a traffic stop when you’re carrying
- How to handle being asked to step out of your vehicle when you’re carrying
- Cool video showing EXACTLY how it’s done
Without further ado, let’s get started.
You’ve got your SHTF guns or your hunting rifle equipped with a 6.5 Creedmoor scope and you’re ready. But if you’re driving while carrying a firearm, traffic stops can get tricky…fast. There are good ways and bad ways to handle this, and you need to know the best way.
Guns & Ammo Host Tom Gresham and Lethal Force Institute’s Massad Ayoob give us the best how-to’s for handling a traffic stop when you’re carrying.
In the U.S. every state has its own laws about firearms. Knowing the laws in your state is the crucial first step.
FIRST TIP – Your License For Carrying A Firearm
When you hand the officer your license, registration, and proof of insurance, include your carry permit.
This is a more “relaxed” way to inform the officer you’re carrying, and have the documentation to do so.
It signals to the officer that you know what you’re doing, take gun ownership and carrying a firearm seriously, and should help lower his or her concerns.
Also, it helps keep this fact between you and the officer, which, if you’re in a crowded area, is usually a GOOD thing!
Being heard saying “I have a gun” to a policeman can get folks upset nowadays.
Arizona, Texas, and Michigan requires you inform any police officer you encounter when you’re carrying.
This is the best way to handle letting them know.
In the video, the presenter asks the officer how he’d respond to someone saying “I have a gun,” and the officer pretends to draw his weapon and replies “me too.”
Obviously something to avoid.
Another important part of this tip pointed out in the video: An experienced police officer may not get ruffled when you say the word “gun.” But what about his rookie sidekick fresh from the academy?
His reaction to the word “gun” might get things rolling down a bad path for you both.
SECOND TIP – Step Out of The Vehicle
What do you do if the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle?
This is where things get a little bit tricky.
Trying to hand the officer your permit and license, etc. at this point could seem like non-compliance to the officer, and you do not want that!
The best bet according to the video is to inform the officer (before you move from the car):
“I’m licensed to carry, I have my license, and I am carrying. What would you like me to do?”
This gives the officer some peace of mind, because it again shows you know what you’re doing, and that you’re one of the “good guys” who knows how to use his firearm properly.
Remember that he or she doesn’t know you, or what you might be thinking about doing with that firearm.
THIRD TIP – Use Your Body Language
Keep your hands visible and away from your firearm. It sounds obvious, but please don’t make any sudden, or fast movements.
You might be nervous, too. And it’s important to remember to act as calmly and precisely as you can.
Be smart. Use your body language to tell the officer he or she is safe — you are NOT going to even touch your firearm.
Some officers will “secure” your weapon, some won’t. Either way, be calm. It’s only going to help you.
Don’t remove your seat belt until the officer tells you to. Here’s the video source for this article:
And that’s it! Now I’d like to hear from you:
Have you ever been pulled over while carrying a firearm? If so, what was your experience?