“Do you really think you’re gonna win this?”
I was waiting my turn at a toy store the other day (shut up, I like LEGOs) when I heard the above phrase, spoken by an exasperated mother whose child wouldn’t stop begging for something-or-other. That particular sentiment applies in a different way when it comes to citizens who carry concealed and traffic stops. As a CCW permit holder, your most likely interaction with law enforcement is during a traffic stop. What do you need to know about dealing with the police when you’re carrying a lawfully concealed gun? Here are three important things to remember.
You Did Break the Law Just Now
Minor traffic infractions like speeding, driving with expired tags, or rolling through stop signs are extremely common—so much so that it’s easy to forget that committing one is, in fact, breaking the law. Since the load-bearing wall in the CCW platform is that these rights are for law-abiding citizens, it’s important to remember that if you’ve been pulled over by a cop, you’re already starting off at a disadvantage with that officer. Is it possible that, in fact, that LEO is wrong and shouldn’t have pulled you over? Sure, but that’s a matter for the courts. You have the right to contest a ticket, but the breakdown lane isn’t the place to do it—and a cop who’s trying to go home alive tonight isn’t the final arbiter. Speaking of “going home alive”…
That Cop Doesn’t Know You
You may be the neighborhood grilling champion, deacon of your church, and soup-kitchen volunteer of the year—but the officer who just clocked you doing 71 in a 60 doesn’t know that. When that cop is approaching your driver’s-side window, the thought at the forefront of his mind is that he’d like to go home to his family tonight and you might just be the guy who prevents him from doing so. All he knows about you is whatever info his system pulled up when he ran your plates, and what he’s going to glean or infer from your behavior behind the wheel. (And, depending on what state you’re in, he may already know that you’re a CCW permit holder.) The first few moments of your interaction with him are crucial for establishing that you represent no threat to him.
This Isn’t Personal
Nobody enjoys being pulled over for a traffic infraction. It can really feel like you’re being singled out (what about all the other people who were speeding, too!?!), or like the universe is conspiring against you (why today, when I’m already late for work and I spilled coffee on myself and I think I feel a cold coming on!?!). Remember that it really isn’t personal—that cop is just doing her job, which is to enforce the law. You may not agree with her; you may be right that the stop wasn’t fair. But it’s important to remove as much emotion from this interaction as you can…and to remember the mom’s admonishment from the first sentence of this article.
So what should you do when you’re stopped by a cop? That’s an article for tomorrow…
Trace, a proud Special Farces who goes commando, is dedicated to pubic service. Although he’s a legend among YouTube commenters, he actually began life as a humble dingleberry farmer. Now, no subject is too moist or sensitive for his incisive odor and scintillating lymph nodes.