Interacting With Police While Carrying
My concealed carry instructor gave me the low down on how to stay out of trouble with police when I interact with them and I am carrying my concealed pistol. She emphasized learning the law before I actually start to carry my pistol.
“I know you want to put your gun in a concealed carry purse or in an on-body holster right away and go out the door, but that is a big mistake!”, she said. “Think about what is going to happen if you get stopped by police while you are driving. Do you know all the rules that are required by the state when you carry a concealed pistol? Do you know how to let the police know that you are carrying a gun, without causing a problem for you or the policeman? It is a matter of thinking ahead. Most of the time when you are stopped when driving, the policeman will get all the information about your concealed carry permit when they put your driver's license number into their computer. You need to be fully prepared in how to use your pistol if you need to. But your training is not complete until you know all the laws about concealed carry. Then you can start to carry your pistol.”
It kind of scares me when I hear about all the shootings that happen when people are carrying guns and they improperly interact with police. My CC trainer said that if I know the law and operate within it, I should have no problem. She gave me a booklet that has all the concealed carry laws in it. We went over most of the laws during my training to get my concealed carry permit. My state does not require that I notify a policeman that I have a concealed carry permit and I am carrying a concealed pistol. But my trainer said it is better to let the officer know upfront that you have a gun and where it is. Then ask them what I should do. Don't ever let the fact that I have a gun be a surprise to any officer. Their reaction may not be positive if it is a surprise.
In some states the training prior to getting a concealed carry permit can be very short and not cover all the laws and some of the situations that a person who carrys concealed might encounter. I was very fortunate in that my instructor gave me a good understanding of both of these areas.
She told me that when I let the policeman know I am carrying a gun to do it in a positive manner. It should be something like “Officer, I have a concealed carry permit. I have a pistol in my purse. What should I do?” The timing about letting the policeman know should be at the very beginning of our conversation. Sometimes the police will ask you if you have a gun. Always comply with all the requests that the officer makes of you. Don't do anything that they do not request. This is not a time to act like you know what is best. This is especially true nowdays since we have had so many shootings. The police are operating in a mode that will protect themselves and the citizens that they encounter.
If I have to use my pistol in self defense the police will be very active in separating me from my pistol. If I shoot an intruder that has broken into my house the police will take my gun as part of the investigation. I should inform them that I have a permit and produce it for verification along with my identification. If I shoot an attacker that is in the process of killing a child the police will investigate the incident and turn all evidence over to the judicial system. These are actions by the police that I need to be aware of before I start to carry a concealed pistol. Knowledge of the laws and the actions that will be taken by police when they are involved in an investigation are important to know in advance of when they actually happen.