Even after you’ve taken the proper steps to carry your personal firearm with you in your vehicle, a routine traffic stop can be a nerve-wracking ordeal. Police officers don’t know what to expect when they pull you over, and you face the challenge of effectively communicating that you are within rights carrying a weapon.
These situations are completely manageable, but enough people foul them up on a regular basis for you to learn a great deal from their mistakes. Here are a few things to remember if you’re in the car with a legal weapon and the lights come on behind you.
Treat the Situation Like It’s Normal
Yes, you’ve got a weapon, and, considering the 18% jump in the production of the revolvers, you aren’t the only person that’s been in this situation. Don’t place extra emphasis your weapon in a way that shocks the police officer. As with any traffic stop, the first things you’ll be asked to do are stop the ignition and roll down the window.
Wait until you’ve made contact with the officer and they understand that you mean them no harm to disclose that you have a firearm.
When the officer approaches the window, the best way to make them feel safe is to keep your hands on the wheel. Once you’ve exchanged hellos, calmly and politely inform the officer that you are carrying a permitted weapon, and tell them where it is located. Many states have laws that dictate that you must disclose this information. Find out what your state law says if you do plan to carry a weapon in your vehicle.
Present the documents the officer will be looking for, like your license and registration, along with your concealed carry permit. Keep the dome light of the car on, and don’t make any sudden movements. It’s also a good idea to avoid using the word “gun” in your initial conversation and instead say “firearm”. Don’t make any attempts to leave the scene until the officer informs you that you may go.
Avoid Common Mistakes
It might sound shocking, but plenty of people make the mistake of getting too excited when officers pull them over. Either they are nervous that they must disclose that they have a weapon immediately, or they are actually eager to show the weapon off to the police officer.
While most US police officers carry guns, not every one of them is a gun aficionado, and regardless of how they feel about guns, any police officer is going to be startled to see you brandish a weapon out the window. The gun should not come near your hands during a traffic stop or any other encounter with the police.
Stories about police officers checking out people’s guns and striking up a conversation are certainly out there, and you could have one yourself. Just follow the tips we’ve laid out to make sure that story ends happily. Making a mistake when it comes to situations involving guns and the police can have high consequences that you don’t want to deal with.
Scott Huntington is a writer and car fanatic from Harrisburg, PA.