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Tuesday, April 6. 2010
A friend of mine was recently pulled over for speeding. The constable, ambling over to his driver's side window asked "Are you carrying, Mr. Smith?"
"No, sir. I am not carrying today. But why do you ask?"
"I ran your plates. Have a good day, sir, and watch your speed."
The cops around here know that if you have a carry permit, it means you've been well-vetted by the local PD, the State Troopers, the FBI, and who knows who else - and that you have been found to be a solid citizen.
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Pardon the crud out of me -- a plate check revealed that the vehicle's owner has a CCW permit? That's not the purpose of a vehicle's identification. This policy should be stopped as a violation of privacy. A cop making a traffic stop (this will sound odd but it's true) has no special right to know if I have a carry permit.
How nice. All you fine, well-regarded upstanding citizens just carry on doing what you're doing. We will tell you when to jump, assuming that we allow jumping on that particular day. Remember to keep your trigger lock's key in a separate, locked location, and everything will be just fine. We will continue to let you feel like a "free man" as long as no unseemly allegations arise.
Obviously , this story did not take place in Texas, with its concealed carry permits, or Arizona, which has open carry. As Geoff says, the cop overstepped his bounds. But Dan D, those of us who have concealed carry permits do not have to have trigger locks in place when actually 'carrying'. We are considered to be grown-up enough not to carry side arms already cocked or in an otherwise dangerous condition. Some states require trigger locks, but I can't imagine that they would expect the weapon's owner to have the trigger lock in place when he/she is carrying.
I guess it depends on whether you have a powerful anti-gun lobby in your state.
Geoff, once the cops pull you over, they can query for about anything that is in the legal system. Why the surprise about a carry permit?
Marianne, my comments were directed to the New England states and their fellow travelers. They impose trigger lock requirements for guns within the home in several states. The once free people of those states have stood by and allowed their rights to be taken away in the name of security. Step by step they scoff away their birthright as not worth defending. And officers may cross-reference auto registration with carry permit lists today, and much more tomorrow.
I have friends and family in Mass, Conn, NY, etc, and enjoy visiting, for a few days. Couldn't live there, though, they too much are inclined to give away their freedom.
Couldn't happen in Vermont. No permits, just be a resident.
....and if the reply to the dear constable's question were say;
"YES, I am. "
or how about "none of your business"?
or "what is your reasonable, articulable, suspicion of criminal activity to ask such a question"?
or "that is an interrogatory and I am not required to respond to it"?
What would his next move be?
I suspect he would be calling for back-up and hauling your ass out of the car and confiscating your sidearm for challenging his "authority".
but you can go on feeling all "well-vetted", like a "solid citizen" about such an encounter if you want to.
If I get pulled over for speeding, and the officer drops it, why give him attitude? Why try to change his mind? Sometimes these guys are decent folks who do not want to harass decent folks. This isn't simply feeling "well-vetted" about myself, if I was clearly in the wrong in the first place.
A polite response and a polite query regarding relevance is exactly what happened in the story. No need for invective.
Whether the CCW should show up on a plate check is a worthy discussion, but the officer is going to - and should - use all the tools at his disposal to identify miscreants. If he realizes I am not one, good for me. It's certainly not his fault if the CCW-tag linkage is bad policy.
I have been a concealed carry license holder (Ohio) for four years. There are now over 300,000 of us in the State!
Any time you come into official contact with an LEO, you are required to inform before anything else is said. When the officer approaches your car (if he has run your plate) he knows you have a CHL. Unfortunately some officers use this as a pretext to catch you out, should you forget to inform.
On balance, however, most cops are pro-gun and realize that the qualification process prescreens the license holder as one of the "good guys." Now if only my wife felt the same way!
Folks, you have 3 choices: Carry illegally, Do not carry, or Carry legally under the laws of your state. If you chose to legally carry, then you must accept the state-imposed rules. A traffic stop is not the time to be hostile or have a debate over any component of the Bill of Rights. It will, in all likelihood, not end well for you.
I usually get stopped for speeding a couple of times a year. Tennessee requires a permit holder to disclose he is carrying only if asked by an officer. However, my procedure is to greet the officer respectfully, hand him my DL and my permit, and to explicitly tell him I have a permit. I'm then either on my way quickly or we hang out and discuss firearms, holsters, ammo choices, etc. In the 10 years I've had my permit I haven't received a single ticket.
Before I get hammered, let me say I do not like the permit system. I believe every law abiding citizen should be able to carry without government interference as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. But in reality, you either deal with the world as you would like it to be or you deal with it as it is. I chose to deal on an as is basis.
Chipper - you've got it! The right picture and the right attitude. I think a cop doing a stop should have the right to know that there may be a firearm in the stopped vehicle, especially if there's a DUI issue. Through my taxes, I pay a lot for those state troopers, and I don't want them hurt!
If I were to be stopped, I like the notion that the officer knows as he/she approached that I do not have a criminal record and have been (perhaps too) thoroughly vetted.
I'm a Westerner living in Connecticut which changed its laws to become a must-issue state, and have recently found the process less cumbersome than obtaining a driver's license.
When taking a conceal carry course you are told that when stopped to immediately inform the Officer whether you are carrying or not! It's part of the deal, you know this when you apply for the permit! It's not a problem! Know the law and comply, you received the permit because you understand the reasoning behind the inquirey from the Officer, out of respect to him and yourself. Their job is tough enough as it is......don't make it any worse!
There's a lot of difference between telling an office when carrying a firearm, which is probably a good idea, and having one's CCW status linked to the vehicle ID. If states can't even keep track of which registration tags link to valid auto liability policies or bonds, why in heaven's name can they link to CCW data?
This is not the officer's "fault". It's a poor policy that smells like it's linked to an anti-gun attitude at the regulatory level.
On a real-world level, of course one should always be civil to cops and one should be careful when carrying a weapon.