how to talk to police while carrying a gun

How To Interact With Law Enforcement While Carrying A Firearm

Law enforcement routinely stop gun owners who carry every single day without incident. The vast majority of police and state troopers appear to support most law-abiding citizens' right to carry. That said, police generally appreciate the respect shown to be returned in due form.

In this article, we'll discuss some general points concerning police interactions while carrying a gun. Why general? Because each state has very specific rules and some are extremely strict when it comes to carrying a gun and police interactions. That information is your responsibility to research and this article should only be taken as general considerations.

Keep Your Hands On The Steering Wheel

If you are pulled over for a routine traffic stop, it's important to let the officer know you are compliant. Keeping your hands on the steering wheel, keeping adjustment to a minimum, and remaining polite all go a very long way in keeping interactions civil.

Do You Have A Duty To Notify?

Some states, such as Texas, require a concealed carrier to notify the police officer upon request for identification. Other states, like Georgia, have absolutely no duty to notify the police officer. Because of the general disparity in state law requirements, it's generally good to hand over your concealed carry permit alongside your driver's license and registration. This lets the police officer know you are a legally carrying. He will then likely ask you if you are armed and you may answer accordingly.

Never Volunteer To Show Your Firearm

You may have a duty to inform a police officer that you are carrying a concealed firearm but you should never, under any circumstances, attempt to remove or display that firearm until specifically requested by that member of law enforcement. That police officer that just came to your window likely wants you to go home after his interaction with you is through. He also wants to go home to his or her family. Someone waving around their gun or even reaching for it does not bode well for that sentiment.

Be Honest With Yourself And The Police Interaction

If you've been driving under the influence, you're in the wrong. If that wrong leads to you being pulled over and you have a a firearm on you, you need to contact your attorney as soon as possible and follow his instructions to a letter. In states like Louisiana, you are legally obligated to inform the police officer that you are under the influence and you are armed. This is for that police officer's safety as well as yours. If it comes to that, do not attempt to explain yourself or use any words you don't explicitly have to. Simply informing him of the conditions is good enough. As a trained member of law enforcement, he'll know what to do from there.

Get Your Passengers On The Same Page

Your passengers are your responsibility while they're in your car. If you have a duty to inform law enforcement and you do, your buddies and travel mates need to be aware of that as well. Make sure they conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and do nothing to endanger you, the officer performing the stop, or themselves. In states like North Carolina, you and your passengers are legally obligated to inform law enforcement at first contact. States like Kentucky greatly appreciate this information but do not require it and doing so many let the officer know that you are indeed a law-abiding citizen with no intention of harming yourself or others.

Again, the vast majority of all traffic stops conducted in the United States end with little to no issues. As long as your state reciprocity is good, you are compliant with the police officer's lawful requests, and you understand your duty to inform – your police interaction should run very smoothly.


About The Author

James England (@count_england) is the contributing editor for BigFoot Gun Belts. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan for L-3 Communications. He presently lives in New Hampshire where he advocates for veterans issues through the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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