Police only have a few split seconds to make a decision whether or not someone is a threat to them when they see a firearm. Because of this, it is crucial that you know what to do and what not to do when you are pulled over for a traffic violation by a police officer when you have a firearm in your possession and have a concealed carry license.
Prepare for the Police Officer to Approach
When you get pulled over for a traffic violation, you will generally have a short period of time before the police officer will approach your vehicle. The reason for this is because, most of the time, they'll need to run your vehicle's tags through the system to see if your vehicle is connected to any outstanding warrants and/or call in to dispatch. During this short time, do not make any sudden moves or any moves that could look suspicious to the police officer.
However, you do want to roll down all of the windows, especially if they are tinted. This will allow the police officer to easily see you and the interior of your vehicle. When the windows are down, place both of your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the police officer to approach. If anyone is with you, they should place their hands where they can easily be seen when the officer approaches.
Informing Them About Your Firearm
It's important to know the laws in your state regarding your duty to inform a police officer when you have a firearm. The majority of states require that you tell a police officer when you are asked. However, in some states it's your duty to inform the police officer that you have a firearm, even without being asked. One way to get a clear understanding about the laws you'll need to follow when you have a concealed carry license is to attend classes at a company like Chauncey's Pawn & Gun.
When the police officer approaches your vehicle, tell him or her immediately if you have a duty to inform. If not, wait until he or she asks. When telling the officer that you have a firearm, tell them the following:
- where it is
- what it is
- if it's loaded
*****Then wait for further instructions. Do not move until you are instructed to do so.*****
If you live in Georgia or Maine where there is no duty to inform and you are not required to answer whether or not you have a firearm—or the police officer has not asked if you have a firearm—it's a good idea for you to voluntarily inform the police officer that you have a firearm before accidentally exposing it to them. For example, if you keep your firearm in your purse and need to reach into your purse for your driver's license, the police officer may become uneasy when he sees your hand very close to a firearm. It's better to be safe and inform the police officer first and wait for further instructions before reaching for anything.
Move Slowly When Reaching for Anything
Move slowly when you are given the instructions to reach for your firearm, concealed carry license, driver's license, vehicle registration, and/or insurance. Do not make any sudden or unexpected movements. That way, the police officer won't become alarmed to the point that he or she places themselves in a defensive mode. If reaching for the item(s) requires you to contort your body in a strange position, such as when reaching to the floorboards of the back seat in your vehicle, explain what you need to do before you do it so the police officer is aware.