Skip to main content

Cops and Concealed Carry

Cops and Concealed Carry

Tips for CCW holders on dealing with police.

Being stopped for, say, a traffic violation? Depending on where you live, if you're a card-carrying CCW citizen you may have to tell the officer you're packing. It can be a tricky situation, one you want to handle correctly.

Over the past several years, the number of CCW holders among law abiding citizens including retired lawmen has grown to millions nationwide, and many states have reciprocity with other states that permits limited interstate concealed carry. With this fact and open carry laws, it is very likely that a local, municipal or state police officer will come in contact with a lawfully armed citizen. When this occurs, what do cops want or expect from these individuals?

Most officers I have spoken to want to know if a person in their presence is armed, regardless of whether they are sanctioned by the state or city of their residence. Their reactions to this information will obviously vary.


I was stopped by a state trooper for speeding one night after a long day of firearms instruction. I was under no obligation to inform him that I was armed, but when I did he jumped back a couple of feet. I kept my hands in plain view on top of the steering wheel and, remaining in my vehicle, we went from there. There was no further reference to the firearm, and he simply departed after he issued me my ticket.


Another deputy sheriff, whose state does not require such notification, advised he would thank the CCW holder for the courtesy, and if circumstances permitted might even ask to see the gun.

Forty-eight states issue concealed carry permits to private citizens; only Illinois and Wisconsin deprive their citizens of the right to carry. Of the 48 governments that allow citizens to carry concealed after specified conditions are met, only 10 (Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas) require armed CCW permit holders to advise law enforcement officers--officers who are acting in an official capacity--that they are CCW permit holders and that they are armed.


What discretionary actions the officer takes after being apprised of such a fact could range from temporary arrest and disarming to that of the appreciative deputy sheriff I mentioned above.


I could not determine what the penalties were for not volunteering that information if for some reason you were subsequently discovered to be armed.

In the presence of an officer where state law requires you to ID yourself as a CCW holder and if you are armed I suggest you do the following:

€¢ Wait until there is a lull in the situation, so the officer is not distracted from the task at hand.

€¢ Wait until the officer is facing you.

€¢ Make eye contact.

€¢ Keep your hands in plain view.

€¢ Inform the officer and offer to show him your credential.

€¢ Tell him where the credential is on your person.

€¢ With the officer's consent, retrieve your credential.

€¢ If the officer directs you to surrender your weapon and/or submit to temporary detention, protest but cooperate fully.

€¢ After the incident, determine if you have any legal remedies.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

Taurus G3c

Taurus G3c

Taurus introduces the compact version of their wildly successful 9mm pistol; the G3.

Teaching New Shooters

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Handguns editor Scott Rupp fires some Federal Punch .380 defensive handgun ammo into ballistics gel the range for a performance test run.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review Reviews

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review

James Tarr - August 21, 2020

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.

The Smith & Wesson Model 13 revolver was a combat classic back in the day.Smith & Wesson Model 13 Revolver Revolvers

Smith & Wesson Model 13 Revolver

Payton Miller - July 31, 2020

The Smith & Wesson Model 13 revolver was a combat classic back in the day.

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but these six compact high-capacity 9mm pistols stand out from the rest of the field.6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns Compact

6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns

Jeff John - July 08, 2020

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but...

The new Ruger-57 looks to put a charge into the 5.7x28mm pistol market—and you know you want one.Ruger 57 Pistol Review Reviews

Ruger 57 Pistol Review

James Tarr - June 05, 2020

The new Ruger-57 looks to put a charge into the 5.7x28mm pistol market—and you know you want...

See More Trending Articles

More Training

This drill will help you improve your draw speed and target transitions—along with recoil mitigation, and sight picture and trigger control.Improving Draw Speed and Target Transitions Training

Improving Draw Speed and Target Transitions

Josh Froelich - August 01, 2019

This drill will help you improve your draw speed and target transitions—along with recoil...

The Hard Swing Drill will help you improve your draw speed and target transitions—along with reloading skills and sight picture and trigger control.Hard Swing Drill Training

Hard Swing Drill

Josh Froelich - September 12, 2019

The Hard Swing Drill will help you improve your draw speed and target transitions—along with...

Good stance capitalizes on posture and joints to minimize the effects of recoil.Shooting a Handgun - Stance Matters Training

Shooting a Handgun - Stance Matters

Eve Flanigan - June 14, 2018

Good stance capitalizes on posture and joints to minimize the effects of recoil.

If you're looking to add an element of fun to your next range day, consider these pop packs.Bring Some Pop Packs To The Range Training

Bring Some Pop Packs To The Range

Richard Nance - July 26, 2018

If you're looking to add an element of fun to your next range day, consider these pop packs.

See More Training

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now