A few months back there was an officer involved shooting of a person that was carrying concealed with his permit. His name was Philando Castile and unfortunately passed away when the officer was forced to make a quick judgement call when he went to reach for his wallet.
This post isn’t about analyzing who was right or wrong. As a concealed carrier this should catch your attention because most of us are not perfect drivers. Most of us will get pulled over and put in the same scenario where one wrong move can make a difference.
Officers place their lives on the line on a daily basis. Many of them have been involved with active shooter situations. So they never know what to expect when approaching your vehicle. One wrong move could force an officer’s hand to make a quick judgement call.
How to Handle Traffic Stops While Carrying Concealed
- Know your state laws
This blog post isn’t meant to give you legal advice. It should go without saying that as a concealed carrier you should be familiar with your local and state laws. Knowing this will help you to determine how to handle a traffic stops while carrying concealed.
- STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE!
If you jump out of your vehicle after an officer pulls you over it is going to put them into high alert. Not many innocent people jump out of the vehicle when being pulled over unless they have plans to take off or attack the officer. SO KEEP YOUR ASS IN THE VEHICLE!
- Keep important documents on your dashboard
Now this isn’t a requirement by any state law or anything like that. It is my personal preference to already have my license, registration, insurance and concealed carry permit available on the dashboard. I keep them in a small organizer on my dashboard every day when I am driving.
This helps two ways. One, it keeps the documents in an easily accessible area so I don’t have to go digging around through my car frantically searching for them. I know where they are at all times. Two, it keeps the officer at ease. Typically when you are digging through your glove compartment the officer is at high alert watching your hands and aware of sudden movement. This especially includes when you go to reach into your pockets for the requested information. With your information on the dash it removes all of those problems.
- Keep your hands visible
Typically officers prefer to see your hands at 10-2 on the steering wheel. That way they know you are not digging around for a weapon or trying to hide something. Again, this will prevent the situation from escalating any further.
- Don’t be a dick
Officers have signed up to protect and to serve their community. So if you are pulled over for speeding or anything else don’t be a dick about it. They are just doing their job. Typically when you become offensive officers tend to get suspicious wondering if you are intoxicated, on drugs or could become violent. This is another action that will put them on high alert. You don’t want that.
The officer is going to ask you a lot of questions. They might ask you if you have anything illegal. If you are carrying concealed with a permit then you don’t have anything illegal.
If the officer asks if you have a weapon then let them know where it is located. DO NOT REACH FOR IT! Typically when I am pulled over I will let the officer know that I am carrying concealed and ask them “how shall I proceed.” Most of the time officers will tell me, “Don’t reach yours and I won’t reach for mine.”
There is a very small chance that the officer will ask you to step out of the vehicle so that they can secure your weapon for the duration of the traffic stop. This doesn’t happen often but if it does then COMPLY! Like I said in point 5 don’t be a dick about it.
- Don’t spazz out
If you are arrested don’t flip your lid and spazz out on the officer EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE WRONG. Simply let the officer know that you choose to invoke your right to remain silent. Then provide them with your lawyer’s information.
This is why it is great to have conceal carry insurance through companies like USCCA. You pay a small monthly fee and they take care of all of the legal work for you. That way you don’t have to pay a large amount of money to keep a lawyer on retainer.
You could choose to fight charges yourself but the court system is complex and can be stressful. I prefer to allow a legal team to take care of that for me. It’s what they go to school for.
Overall this is how you handle traffic stops while carrying concealed. If you any questions please leave a comment below. Also leave a comment if you have any suggestions or advice. Your feedback helps the prepper community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.
Photography by fourbyfourblazer