We tackled the “theoretical” aspect yesterday, but what do you do when the…ahem…rubber hits the road?
So, we’ve talked about the mindset that is best to adopt if you must deal with the police while carrying a concealed firearm. However, the proper mindset is only part of the story. What do you do when the, ahem, rubber meets the road…maybe a little too quickly? What makes this a complex and thorny question is that the “best practices” for CCW permit holders vary from state to state, while frequently enforcement varies from precinct to precinct—even officer to officer. So, we’re going to have to start this list with the glaringly obvious:
1-Research your local laws.
“Yes, Trace,” you may be saying. “Water is wet, the sky is blue, and bears 💩 in the woods.” But we’d be irresponsible not to mention that, because although some facets of carrying concealed are simple common sense, others are a bit more counterintuitive. For example, in some states you’re required to tell any law enforcement officer with whom you interact—for any reason—that you have a concealed carry permit and a firearm. In some, you’re expected to do so immediately. In others, you don’t have to mention it if you don’t want to. (Here’s a great place to start your research.) [Link: https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-gun-laws/]
You may discover that the statutes are confusing, or apparently contradictory. If you have any questions, your best bet would be to contact a local attorney who specializes in Second Amendment cases. For the price of a consultation, you might be saving yourself a lot of headache and worry down the road. So to speak.
2-Use nonverbal cues.
Long before the officer arrives at your window, give him some nonverbal cues that you’re not going to be a problem child today. Signal immediately as soon as you see the cherries n’ berries, then pull over at the nearest safe place. Turn your engine off, remove your sunglasses if you’re wearing them, then put your hands on the wheel. Don’t do anything else until the officer approaches your window. (Cops really don’t like to see busy hands in your car while they’re waiting on your information. Makes ‘em antsy.)
If you’ve never seen the 1989 Patrick Swayze classic Road House, then I can probably get away with the fib that I was Swayze’s stunt double, and that he told me that his speech about the importance of being nice to the drunks you’re bouncing was actually inspired by my manly and magnanimous demeanor. But it’s good advice even if I’m lying about Swayze and I then going on to be nice to Chuck Norris, and therefore living another day. You don’t need to kiss up to the cop, or admit any fault in the traffic infraction…just be polite. That alone will set you ahead of about half the interactions that officer had that day.
You may discover that many LEOs are actually comforted to learn that the citizen they’ve pulled over has a CCW permit. It’s proof that you care about following the law (even if that light was a little pink just then), and it means that you’re able to pass a background check. You probably shouldn’t count on that being the case, but knowing that might help you to relax—so it won’t be too hard to fake being nice.
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