Gun Control

In Light of the Philando Castile Shooting, Should You Tell That Cop You Have a Gun?

Ten states and D.C. say you must.

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Cabela's

Philando Castile was trying to avoid trouble when he informed the police officer who pulled him over that he was carrying a pistol. But as everyone who has followed the case knows, the disclosure quickly set off a chain of events that led to Castile's death. The officer who stopped him, Jeronimo Yanez, panicked and shot Castile as he was reaching for his pocket, apparently to retrieve the driver's license that Yanez had requested. Had Castile said nothing about the gun, he in all likelihood would still be alive.

The shooting, which happened nearly a year ago in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, led to criminal charges against Yanez, who was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter on June 16, and a $3 million civil settlement announced this week. The horrifying incident also reinvigorated an old debate about how people who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon (CCW) should handle interactions with police.

Minnesota, like most states, does not require CCW licensees to inform law enforcement officers that they are armed. But police generally prefer to be told so as to avoid unsettling surprises. For that reason many gun owners argue that disclosure is considerate and prudent, while others worry that it will escalate a routine traffic stop into a tense, unpleasant, and possibly life-threatening encounter. Even if an officer does not react as Yanez did, he might insist on taking possession of the gun and unloading it, which could be dangerous if he is unfamiliar with the weapon.

"If you're carrying legally," writes one gun owner at usacarry.com, "you should have nothing to worry about, even with an overzealous rookie. I'd prefer to notify over having the LEO catch a glimpse (for whatever reason) on their own and go into panic mode. I don't like kissing pavement." Another participant in the discussion takes a different view: "I do not want an untrained or poorly trained officer putting me in danger while he is trying to unload my gun." He adds: "What does your legally carrying a concealed weapon have to do with a legally conducted traffic stop? There is no surprise because it doesn't come up. There is no scary dash cam video possible because you are a law abiding citizen simply executing your constitutional right….I have no problem with anyone who wants to notify, but I do believe that presents the possibility of everyone involved being put in danger if the officer decides to take possession of the gun."

Regardless of where they come down on this question, gun owners agree that the conversation should begin with an understanding of the relevant legal requirements, which vary from state to state and sometimes even from one local jurisdiction to another. The most common rule requires that someone carrying a handgun keep his CCW permit with him and present it to police on demand. Colorado's law, for example, says "the permittee shall carry the permit, together with valid photo identification, at all times during which the permittee is in actual possession of a concealed handgun and shall produce both documents upon demand by a law enforcement officer."

Ten states and the District of Columbia go further, requiring an armed person stopped by police to immediately disclose that he has a gun. In Texas, for example, "if a license holder is carrying a handgun on or about the license holder's person when a magistrate or a peace officer demands that the license holder display identification," he is obligated to "display both the license holder's driver's license or identification certificate issued by the department and the license holder's handgun license."

The District of Columbia demands that a licensee "disclose to the officer that he or she is carrying a concealed pistol," "present the license and registration certificate," "identify the location of the concealed pistol," and "comply with all lawful orders and directions from the officer, including allowing a pat down of his or her person and permitting the law enforcement officer to take possession of the pistol for so long as is necessary for the safety of the officer or the public." Ohio is even more prescriptive:

If a licensee is the driver or an occupant of a motor vehicle that is stopped as the result of a traffic stop or a stop for another law enforcement purpose and if the licensee is transporting or has a loaded handgun in the motor vehicle at that time, the licensee shall promptly inform any law enforcement officer who approaches the vehicle while stopped that the licensee has been issued a concealed handgun license and that the licensee currently possesses or has a loaded handgun; the licensee shall not knowingly disregard or fail to comply with lawful orders of a law enforcement officer given while the motor vehicle is stopped, knowingly fail to remain in the motor vehicle while stopped, or knowingly fail to keep the licensee's hands in plain sight after any law enforcement officer begins approaching the licensee while stopped and before the officer leaves, unless directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer; and the licensee shall not knowingly have contact with the loaded handgun by touching it with the licensee's hands or fingers.

As the Texas example shows, you cannot assume that disclosure is optional in a state with relatively permissive gun laws. The converse is also true. Hawaii has strict gun laws, and getting a CCW permit there is very difficult. But according to handgunlaw.us, the lucky few who are allowed to carry guns are not legally required to disclose that fact upon contact with the police.

In addition to the 10 states that require immediate disclosure (red in the map below) and the 38 that do not (green), two states have mixed rules (purple). Although California has no law requiring people with guns to tell police they are armed, usacarry.com reports that "some counties (Orange County in particular) require that during any contact with law enforcement, you must 'immediately announce' you are carrying a concealed weapon and have a license to do so." Handgunlaw.us likewise notes that "some Issuing Authorities [in California] are putting a restriction on issued Permit/Licenses that the holder must inform any Police Officer that contacts them [in] any type of official capacity."

Maine, which since 2015 has allowed people to carry concealed weapons without a permit, says someone who is stopped by a cop while taking advantage of that option "shall immediately inform that law enforcement officer of the fact that the individual is carrying a concealed handgun." By contrast, an armed person with a CCW permit (from another state, say) "shall display the same on demand of any law enforcement officer."

JZS

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  1. “I have a confession to make, officer: I carry two fifteen-inch pythons with me at all times.”

    *kisses biceps*

    1. Officer: [tazes Crusty for a full minute]

      1. And nothing else happened.

      2. Since when do cops give people what they want?

        1. Crusty wanted two minutes. The cop is a tease.

          1. What happened to the baby snakes?

    2. “two 15 inch pythons”……Wow, very impressive! Those 16 oz. beer can curls are working!!!!!!!

  2. Relevant, from the archives:

    https://reason.com/blog/2011/07…..n-the-mout

    As an Ohio resident with a CCW permit, I am required by law to notify an officer that I am carrying a weapon. I have only been stopped once since I received my CCW permit, and the officer asked me if I was carrying as soon as he approached the window, since CCW status is one of the bits of information that shows up when they run your license plate. I told him that I was carrying, where the gun was (my right hip) and where my drivers license was (my right rear pocket). He told me to get my license and I slowly reached for it after repeating back to him that I was going to reach for my drivers license. The rest of the stop went without incident and he just gave me a warning. He was very calm and didn’t seem concerned about the weapon.

    I think the training for police should inform them that if a person with a CCW permit discloses that they have a weapon (whether required to by law or not), the situation should immediately de-escalate. CCW holders do not shoot cops.

    1. An Ohio resident might be concerned that the quoted law refers repeatedly to a *loaded* weapon, raising the question of a licensed carrier with an unloaded weapon failing to disclose the presence of that weapon which a cop then catches a glimpse of. Is the cop going to assume that since the law requires notification of the presence of a loaded weapon the weapon must be unloaded or assume that since the law requires notification of the presence of a loaded weapon that he’s facing an armed criminal?

      1. What does “loaded” mean in this context? I carry my Glock with a loaded magazine but I keep the slide locked back. So the gun isn’t actually ready to fire. A flick of the slide lock “loads” it.

        1. In most states, if there is ammo in the cylinder (revolvers), the chamber or in a magazine attached to the gun (semi-autos), then the gun is loaded.

          More likely than not, carrying with the slide locked back is still carrying a “loaded” firearm…

        2. Semi automatic, self-loading handguns are designed to be carried safely with the chamber loaded and the slide closed. If you ever actually require a gun for self-defense you really shouldn’t risk a jam while trying to save your life.
          A loaded gun is generally defined as a gun with ammunition in a magazine that is in the gun. A gun with ammunition in a magazine that is NOT in the gun or in a speedloader with the gun is generally not loaded.
          With a GLOCK a properly designed holster is an essential part of operating the firearm safely.

      2. I imagine that this happens somewhat frequently, if slightly differently. The law also refers to transporting a gun, not just carrying a weapon concealed on one’s person. I think the more common occurrence is that someone might have an unloaded handgun in the vehicle, perhaps stored in the trunk or backseat after coming back from the shooting range. Ohio has strict laws regarding transportation of firearms (they must be locked in storage or in the trunk, unloaded, with ammo stored separately away from the weapon), but these regulations do not apply to someone who has a CCW permit. There is therefore some ambiguity about whether or not you should notify the officer who stops you that you have an unloaded gun somewhere else in the vehicle.

        This has only happened to me once in my life and I did not notify the officer.

    2. One time I got rear-ended (my car, that is) and a cop shows up to write the incident report. This old white dude runs out of the house and tells the cop that he saw everything and would be happy to be a witness. “Oh, and by the way, officer, I have a gun,” he says as he points to his hip. The cop, who was by himself, sort of looks nervously at the guy’s hip and says “ok” and things go on from there. No one freaked out and no one got shot. I believe it is because it was an old white guy. A black guy running out of the house with a gun on his hip would have probably gotten shot.

      1. Generally if you approach a cop you are not required to report or inform. I’ve started many conversations with cops about directions, or some other topic and do not mention guns unless the cop asks. If asked, [ in Kansas ] then you are supposed to tell.
        Kansas passed concealed carry effective in 2007 and passed Constitutional Carry a few years ago. In Kansas any person, not prohibited by Federal or state law from possession of any firearm may carry openly or concealed without a license. I think the number of Constitutional Carry States is approaching a dozen.
        No matter where you are, no matter what the law, whether it is Washington, D.C. or NYC or Kansas, Arizona or Alaska or Wyoming, any officer who intends to go home each day will assume that anybody wearing clothes is heavily armed and homicidal until proven otherwise.

  3. What it comes down to is bad cops making unpredictable decisions on unknown criteria, ie they are human, but there is no accountability, so do what you want, do what you will, you have no control and little influence over the situation. Yes, you can put your hands on the steering wheel and only move one at a time when the cop tells you, but that still won’t stop him from getting his freak on when he thinks he catches a glimpse of a gun as your shirt moves. You can get all the documents out as soon as possible and put your hands on the steering wheel before he shows up, but that just sets up his freak earlier in teh schedule so now he scares himself when he sees that movement in your mirror and he never even gets close enough to see your hands on the steering wheel.

    tl;dr: You’re fucked and have no control and little influence on how you get fucked.

    1. A properly trained officer will shoot first and ask questions later. If you’re concerned that you might be shot by an officer misunderstanding the situation, well, maybe you should take a page from the officer training manual and shoot the cop before he has a chance to shoot you.

      1. You’re right. This officer’s didn’t receive the training on how to react without visible nervousness. If he had just shot a couple of times and ended the threat, he’d have staged it properly. All that nervous twitching and squirming betrayed his lack of training.

      2. With dash cam footage for proof. “I calmly informed the officer, as required by law, that I’m carrying, he then drew his weapon and I defended myself, roll the tape.”

        10-15yrs, tops.

    2. tl;dr: You’re fucked and have no control and little influence on how you get fucked.

      The number of deaths from getting shot by police is about 1000 / year in the US. If you look at those deaths, more than 95% of them involved an actual violent confrontation. Your risk of getting shot by police for no reason in a traffic stop are negligible and it is foolish to worry about it.

      1. but are you less likely to be killed by a terrorist?

        1. depends if he’s permitted? or made of lighting? I forget how it works now.

      2. Well Duh. We’re discussing what happens during a traffic stop when you have a twitchy cop and a legitimate concealed weapon. That’s where you start the odds calculation.

        1. You can be as irrational as you like. But most Americans rationally conclude that getting shot by a cop isn’t something worth worrying about, and hence they are not particularly interested in it as a political issue come election time.

      3. Cops sometimes shoot other cops. Undercover officers doing narc duty, plain clothes security on NYC subways have been shot and killed by uniformed transit police. Proper training covers police and civilians. If you’ve just survived an armed assault by some thug[s] don’t be stand there gun in hand wait for the police to arrive.
        Being able to re-holster with one hand [ your cell phone is in the other hand ] is important.
        You want to be the first one to call 911 and get the facts on tape before the gang bangers homies tell their story.

      4. You are twelve times more likely to be accidentally shot by a police officer than a ccw carrier.

        1. While I think this is very probably on the right order of magnitude, still…

          Citation needed.

        2. Which is why I and most other Americans don’t lose sleep either over police or concealed carry.

  4. Had Castile said nothing about the gun, he in all likelihood would still be alive.

    Uh…

    if he has the, the guts and audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and her life by giving her secondhand smoke . . . what care does he give about me.

    Sure.

    1. And if the cop had seen the gun without being told it was there, he would have flipped even harder and probably shot the kid too.

      1. If the ‘smelled like weed’ story is to be believed, I see no reason to believe that they weren’t going to pull everybody out of the car and that the weed itself caused the officer to be(come) uneasy. More interaction, more opportunity for miscommunication/understanding.

        Had Philando survived the stop, I see no reason to assume he was not going to have a bad night, maybe even a few bad years.

        1. But still alive. Once again, Technically Correct is the best kind, yo.

    2. That was just some bullshit he made up after the fact, though. I very much doubt he had that thought during the stop.

      1. That was just some bullshit he made up after the fact, though. I very much doubt he had that thought during the stop.

        Prior to the fact, Castile was a robbery suspect. I’d love to believe Sullum, I’d love to believe an officer of the law, too. As it stands, ‘in all likelihood’ seems optimistic. Decreased his chances of being killed? Between maybe and probably.

        1. Yeah, the cop seems to have been in high anxiety mode from the start, so maybe it was inevitable. Impossible to know at this point.

        2. That seems to be made up after the fact BS too.

          He certainly didn’t approach the car as though he were approaching a dangerous robbery suspect.

          1. That seems to be made up after the fact BS too.

            The robbery suspect angle was picked up by at least one third party over the police band at the time of the incident, well before the trial.

            Normally, you’d think an officer of the law would be beholden to the truth, but then you’d just stop robbery suspects as robbery suspects rather than the B.S. taillight crap. The problem with that is, if you get your ass is in a sling you can’t run six different renditions of what happened in order to generate a shadow of doubt.

          2. The robbery suspect thing actually was prior to the stop. That is why he called his partner for backup. BUT…. if you read Yanez’s statement, he had just started his shift, and basically was bored and looking for something to do. He was watching around the area where the robbery occurred and Castille happened across his path. Yanez had worked the robbery the previous week. Basically he was a bored cop, saw the black guy and though, “meh, could be” and decided to pull him over (hey, if nothing else, he can get a ticket out of the guy and generate some stats) to look like he was doing stuff.

      2. Yeah, there’s no fucking way he had time to think about that, but he couldn’t very well admit that he lost his shit over “Negroes and Devil’s Weed.” That wouldn’t play well with the jury. So instead he claimed to be concerned about the health and well being of the child, and the mouth breathers on the jury lapped up that pile of horseshit because “for the children” always short circuits what little brain capacity the morons who are too stupid to get out of jury duty have.

        1. That union rep really earned his pay with the concern over the child story.

          +1 emotions

  5. One more thing about Ohio that sucks, quelle surprise.

  6. Things like this are why I’m actually opposed to nationwide concealed carry. PA has very nice laws already in this area, and I’m worried that a federal law would just end up imposing all sorts of additional restrictions picked up from elsewhere in the country.

    1. I have a PA carry permit, but have never used it. I don’t trust law enforcement’s reaction to me actually carrying, more so I guess that I think I’d ever use my weapon even in self defense.

      1. I got pulled over for the first time just a few weeks ago. PA, resident permit, .357 on my hip, right next to my wallet. The trooper never mentioned it and neither did I. At least in the rural parts, I’d say don’t worry about it.

        1. The state boys tend to be more professional. It can get worse the more local the police you’re dealing with.

    2. Agreed (as far as that goes).

      One of the reasons I’m really happy with AZ’s Constitutional carry. I’ve never had the previously available AZ CC permit for that very reason.

      Problem is when we go to CA (which we frequently do on vacation) I’m breaking the law by even carrying a loaded weapon in the car – but I do it anyway.

      But, if we get Nat CC Rec then I’ll bit the bullet and get the AZ CCL.

      It is a risk – running into the wrong cop and he freaks over you CCL.

      But I figure very shortly the number of CCL’s will over whelm even the worst states and they’ll start getting used to it.

      I’d rather be able to travel freely legally than continue to run the risk of breaking the law.

    3. All of the proposals have been to only require states to recognize other states permits.

      Don’t be opposed to requiring NJ to recognize PA’s permits just because of some imagined fear.

    4. Read HR 38. There are no federal standards being imposed. The laws basically says that every state shall honor every other state’s carry license. The laws of each state will apply to that state.
      HR 38 will require that any legal handgun or ammunition shall be legal in any state.
      If you read the Fourteenth Amendment Section 1 you will see that it isn’t limited to freed slaves.
      In part it says ” No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;”
      Section 5 says Congress shall enforce this.
      Since the 2008 Heller SCOTUS decision many gun laws are in violation of the 14th Amendment. Congress has a duty to pass HR 38, with amendments to be sure that DC doesn’t think it isn’t covered.

  7. Why should anyone have to disclose to a cop? The 5th amendment says you do not have to be a witness against yourself. You don’t have to answer any questions the cop may ask. Yes, you have to produce documents like a license and proof of insurance but beyond that you say nothing to the officer’s questions. What if you’re carrying an illegal weapon? Must you disclose to the officer you are committing a crime? The 5th amendment says, “No”.

    Following the Castile murder, telling a cop you have a weapon, legal or not, is a virtual death wish. All such laws should be repealed. If you have to take a class, pay a fee, and ask permission, it’s not a constitutional right.

    1. Well, it would be really stupid to tell the cop you are carrying if you are doing so illegally. And if they found the gun and charged you with failure to disclose, there might be a 5th amendment issue. But they will still bust you for illegal carry.
      If you are carrying legally, I don’t see the 5th amendment issue. You are not being asked to incriminate yourself since it is legal to have the gun.

      I do agree about repealing the laws. And the permit requirements.

      And if you are carrying concealed in a car or in public, make sure it stays concealed.

    2. “Why should anyone have to disclose to a cop? The 5th amendment says you do not have to be a witness against yourself. You don’t have to answer any questions the cop may ask. Yes, you have to produce documents like a license and proof of insurance but beyond that you say nothing to the officer’s questions. What if you’re carrying an illegal weapon? Must you disclose to the officer you are committing a crime? The 5th amendment says, “No”.

      5th amendment rights notwithstanding creating an antagonistic exchange with a police officer while you have a weapon is not good advice.

      “Following the Castile murder, telling a cop you have a weapon, legal or not, is a virtual death wish.”

      This is a broad supposition stated as truth.

      1. The 5th amendment says you do not have to be a witness against yourself.

        Judged by 12 rather than carried by 6. You can plead the 5th all the way to your coffin. etc.

  8. Seems like it’s still a good idea to let the cop know. I think a cop discovering a gun on his own is more likely to lead to escalation than being told about a gun verbally. Unfortunately you just have to take the cop’s potential mindset into account when you tell him. Keep your hands on the wheel, communicate your planned actions clearly and wait for the cop to accept those planned actions before you reach for anything. If the cop starts to get agitated return to the default position of both hands on the wheel and do your best to follow instructions.

    You shouldn’t have to be the one taking charge of de-escalating a traffic stop, but it’s still a good idea to do so to the best of your ability.

    1. Unfortunately you just have to take the cop’s potential mindset into account when you tell him.

      First thing to consider: are you a black male?

      1. And given black male homicide rates, that’s unfortunately rational.

        1. Because black men have higher homicide rates, it’s rational to assume that a black guy pulled over for a traffic stop who tells you he’s legally carrying a gun will murder you? Somehow, I think that scenario accounts for about 0% of homicides committed by black men.

          1. Because black men have higher homicide rates, it’s rational to assume that a black guy pulled over for a traffic stop who tells you he’s legally carrying a gun will murder you?

            That’s not what I said. What I said is that it’s rational to take the cop’s potential mindset into account when you tell him, i.e., be extra careful.

            And Castile did not tell him that he is legally carrying a gun, he said “I have a firearm” while reaching for his pocket. It’s easy to see how a cop might misinterpret that as a threat, and it’s the opposite of being extra careful.

    2. You shouldn’t have to be the one taking charge of de-escalating a traffic stop, but it’s still a good idea to do so to the best of your ability.

      Cops are hired help for the community, like street sweepers or sanitation workers. They aren’t the brightest folks around or they wouldn’t have taken such a lousy job. The majority of people in a community are going to be smarter, calmer, and more emotionally mature than a traffic cop. If you want cops that are more like yourself, then ask yourself why you didn’t become a cop, and you’ll have the answer why things are the way they are.

      1. The police union says that if they hired smarter cops, they would ‘get bored’ and eventually quit which is why the police academy don’t really like ‘smart guys’ applying to become an officer. It’s official police policy all over the nation to bar people who are ‘too smart’ from becoming cops. I believe this was ruled to be perfectly fine sometime around 1999.

        1. The police union says that if they hired smarter cops, they would ‘get bored’ and eventually quit

          And I strongly suspect they are right.

          In any case, it’s up to your local community, so if you don’t like your cops, change the rules.

  9. I’m in FL, so I don’t have a duty to inform. I frequently keep my pistol in the center console of my truck or glove box
    of my car when driving. I haven’t been pulled over in quite a while, but my plan is in the truck no disclosure as my reg/ins is in the glove box, but in the car I would say something before opening the glove box and risking a deputy catching a glimpse on my Sig.

    I’ve only had one instance where this came up. My car was sideswiped while parked curbside. When I called the police to file an accident report he asked me for proof of insurance, which I wasn’t expecting. I informed the deputy that it was in the glove box with my firearm (we were both standing on the sidewalk). He just said, “What do you have?” and when I told him a P250 in .40 he just said “Cool. Go ahead and grab your insurance card.”

  10. The important thing is: if you inform the officer that you have a gun, keep your hands on the steering wheel while doing it and wait for him to give you further instructions. Castile’s error wasn’t in disclosing the gun, it was in disclosing the gun while reaching for his pocket (the officer overreacted, but that doesn’t bring Castile back to life; no amount of whining will improve the composition of the police force).

    It’s also good to avoid the word “gun”, so you might say, “Officer, I have a concealed carry permit and I am currently carrying. What would you like me to do?”

    I also tend to keep my driver’s license in view so that I don’t have to reach for my pocket at all.

    1. According to Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car, the officer asked him for his license. So he did essentially what you suggest, and got shot anyway.

      1. The other thing to do, I guess, is to put your hands back on the wheel if you get confusing or ambiguous instructions. That could well have saved Castille.

        Not defending the cop. He was unsuitable for the job and fucked up big time and it’s a travesty that he wasn’t convicted. But in hindsight, that would have been the better move, I think.

      2. The sequence of events as I understand it was that the officer asked for his license, he started reaching for it, and while reaching for it disclosed that he had a gun. Saying “I have a gun” while reaching for something is not a smart move.

        The recommended way of dealing with this situation is to keep your hands on the steering wheel and say “Office, I have a concealed carry permit and I am carrying. Would you still like me to get out my driver’s license? It is in my back pocket.”

        Even better, don’t carry your driver’s license in your pocket while driving.

        1. I don’t disagree that this probably would have been the best thing to do, but it’s pretty illogical to think that a guy planning to shoot you is going to tell you has a gun right before he pulls it out.

          1. but it’s pretty illogical to think that a guy planning to shoot you is going to tell you has a gun right before he pulls it out.

            Well, if only our streets were populated with Vulcans.

            Humans use guns for threats, as in “I have a gun, [so get the f*ck away from me or I’ll shoot you]”. Not logical, but probably pretty common.

        2. Even better, don’t carry your driver’s license in your pocket while driving.

          Even better, the fucking computer in the cop car already shows a digital copy of the license, so what’s the point of the hardcopy in the interaction still? If you don’t look like your picture anymore, ok.

  11. The thing is, even if you don’t have a gun, the cop may well shoot you thinking you do. Remember this guy, who got shot by a cop when he went to get out the license the cop had just asked him for? http://www.latimes.com/nation/…..story.html

    I’m not really sure there is a right way to deal with them. Anything you do could get you shot. Reach for your license when asked, he thinks you’re going for a gun. Don’t reach for the license when asked, he thinks you’re being non-compliant.

    1. “I’m not really sure there is a right way to deal with them.”

      STOP RESISTING!

    2. Following the advice from this thread probably helps reduce your odds of getting shot. But you are right. You never know and there’s always a chance that something bad will happen.

    3. Anything you do could get you shot.

      Yes, and a meteor could fall on your head too or get struck by lightning. Getting shot by a cop for no good reason during a traffic stop is about in that category of risk: it happens, it’s sensationalized, but there are far bigger risks you ought to worry about.

      1. Yep, like wrong-door raids, for example.

    4. I’m not really sure there is a right way to deal with them.

      Immediately lay down on the ground with your hands on the back of your head? Of course, then the cop will probably think you’re being a smart ass and beat you down or shoot you for that too.

      1. CA-
        Nope. Remember the caregiver who laid down before being prompted and got shot anyway?

    1. No amount of training or protocol is worth jack when there is no accountability for cops who wet their pants and start shooting.

  12. In my state of California I know of no “duty to inform” re: CCW but statutes can vary from county to county. In general it’s like deciphering a stack of street signs when parking in a busy metro area — also known as the curbside SAT test — better safe than sorry.

    The best general rule is to use common sense. Is the weapon on your person? In your trunk? Glove compartment? Under your seat? If it’s visible to an LEO when he stops you incur some risk if he/she sees it without you disclosing why you have it.

    No two situations are alike but if you’re just an average citizen (and not a felon, in the act of, fleeing or suspect of committing a crime, etc.) an experienced LEO should communicate calm, clear commands as to what to do with the firearm and what he/she is going to do in response to it. Officer Yanez did not do this and created the exigency himself (based on his ‘fear’).

    Keep calm, follow instructions, no funny movements, but most importantly know your rights and have a plan already in mind for dealing with police officers.

  13. “I’ve got a gun, and I will not hesitate to shoot you. Keep your hands where I can see them, and don’t make any sudden moves.”

    “Now, where do you keep your ticket book? Reach for it…slowly…that’s it…take it out with two fingers.”

    “Write me that ticket, and if we all stay calm, everybody goes home safe tonight.”

    1. Geese, Gander.

  14. Never volunteer information to a cop.

    1. In some states [as where I reside] you are legally obligated to inform the officer approaching your car that you have a CPL [hint: they already know that from running your plate] and if you are or are not armed. If you don’t volunteer that information you are setting up an adversarial situation from the get go, and that is generally a bad idea.

      I guess when you secure a CPL you are taking on a certain measure of risk, in that you could encounter a nervous or possibly down right crazy cop for having a burned out taillight. In my State the level of legal intoxication, if you are carrying a weapon, is .02, which isn’t much. You could easily get that from A beer.

      Some things to consider before you go there.

      1. You can probably blow .02 an hour after eating a big bowl of fruit salad.

  15. Why mention the roles for disclosure in DC? Any interaction between a cop and legal carrier is going to begin with, “Do you know who I am?”

    1. we also would have accepted “My security detail would like a word with you, Officer.”

  16. To a great extent how Texas cops treat legal carry depends on local politics. Austin and Houston can get a bit tense. San Antonio and Fort Worth tend to be laid back. Rural areas trend toward conversations comparing sidearms.

    As the Texas example shows, you cannot assume that disclosure is optional in a state with relatively permissive gun laws. The converse is also true. Hawaii has strict gun laws, and getting a CCW permit there is very difficult. But according to handgunlaw.us, the lucky few who are allowed to carry guns are not legally required to disclose that fact upon contact with the police.

    The Dirty Little Secret about discretionary states, as opposed to shall-issue, is that they tend to have fewer restrictions on where or how licensees carry. This makes a lot of sense. After all, if the powers that be only issue licenses to politically-connected cronies, street cops won’t want to inconvenience them.

    California is mixed on disclosure because their county-based issue is mixed, with some jurisdictions restrictive and some permissive.

    1. Hawaiian CCW licenses are valid for one year and none have been issued in several years. Hawaii, California, New Jersey have complete discretion on whether to issue or not, after you have spent hundreds of dollars on non-refundable applications fees. Washington, D.C. is also unlikely to issue a carry license to any ordinary person.
      Donald Trump was able to get a NYC carry license, I imagine that as President of the United States he can carry without a DC, CA, NJ or other license.
      In California, in some counties getting a license to carry is almost “shall issue” and in some counties the sheriff refuses to issue a license to anybody.
      Of course illegal aliens in those sanctuary cities in California have not trouble getting a stolen gun or carrying same. And of course gang member dealing drugs also carry and use guns, strict licensing laws only affect the honest citizen.

  17. Here is a bit of advice for all police; everyone in the country who is a legal citizen has a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. You should assume they are exercising that right, and be respectful and attentive during any interactions with them.
    Any silly ass laws the local or state legislators think override the constitution are invalid, and you are duty bound to ignore them.
    So much for the actual legal issues; if stopped, whatever you do, do not disclose the claymore in the driver’s door!

  18. those who made excuses for not making a real statement about this case since the initial soft statent might want to check how the nra has no issue dealing with this stuff,

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..mg00000009

  19. Castile should have notified the officer where the gun was before reaching for anything. “Officer, I have a ccw and my gun is in a holster in the small of my back. My license is in my vest pocket. May I reach for my license now.” This isn’t law, but it’s good sense.

  20. The rule of reason: The justification for a police officer to ask about weapons, needles, etc., is so the cop can avoid any unpleasant surprises and defuses any potentially lethal confrontation. Nothing wrong with that. The problems are two-fold: (a) too many police officers are poorly trained on what to do when they hear something they don’t want to hear, and (b) most civilians are (perhaps justifiably) too edgy in such situations.

    It is up to the law enforcement officer to maintain a calm and professional demeanor. It can be done. If anyone doubts it, watch Alaska State Troopers and see how highly trained professionals get it done, usually without incident. The real problem lies, in my opinion, in turning officers out onto the street with insufficient initial training and in not bringing them back in for follow-up training at least every couple of years.

    All that said, no: avoid any actions that can be misconstrued. I was carrying a 12″ bowie and pepper spray in my glove box, where I also had my registration and insurance. I so informed the officer. At his request I opened the glove box and removed my hand, allowing him to see into the glove box, remove the items and place them on the floor. I then got the documents. He stayed by the car while his partner checked them. After he returned them he replaced them, gave me the go-ahead and Bob’s your uncle. Yes, I’m older and white. But staying cool and being polite is always a good idea regardless of color and age.

    1. The biggest issue is the culture that cops jobs are dangerous and that they are in a war zone. I have met many cops and they all claim their job is dangerous which it is not.

      They all think it is a war zone and act as if it is. Sadly, 18 year old Marines in Iraq acted better in a real war zone and were less uppity.

  21. I won’t judge the actions of either man, I wasn’t there and was not on the jury. I do think the jury decided the correct criminal resolution.
    I will advise an officer, when ever I’m carrying legally, which is always. But I will not use the word GUN. Many police officers are trained like Pavlov’s dogs. The word GUN is a trigger word.
    Saying I’ve got a gun can be an advisory required by law or a threat, “I’ve got a gun and I’m going to shoot you.”
    Then and particularly if you move or reach to fast or don’t respond immediately to a command, you become a threat.
    Any time there is any confusion, STOP what you’re doing and put your hands palms up in view and grasp the steering wheel. Then ask what to you want me to do one step at a time.
    Personally I will say, if stopped, “I AM LICENSED TO CARRY. I’ll then say that my DL and CCHL are in my wallet in my hip pocket, about 4 inches below my holster. Would you like me to get out so you may see my wallet is the only thing in my hand?”
    I’m not going to be seen digging for anything during the stopping process or while the officers are observing me.
    I’ll be happy to talk “guns” with the officers after everything is concluded.
    I just won’t say GUN until we are friends.

  22. If you’re not required to don’t say anything. Remain silent which is your right.

  23. It seems to me that those legally carrying a handgun are in far more danger of being killed by a cop than vice versa.
    How many cops have been killed by someone legally carrying a firearm?

    What if a cop feels threatened by the red socks you’re wearing? Can he legally make you remove them?
    Can a cop make you stand on one foot, pat the top of you head, and rub your stomach in a circle all simultaneously?
    Those items are just as logical as the fear for his life Yanez claimed to feel.

    It is extremely unlikely that legal gun carriers are going to open fire on a officer for a traffic stop.
    Cops should just get over this irrational fear. If they have to fear something then let them fear those carrying a weapon illegally.
    And there isn’t much they can do about that. No one illegally carrying a weapon is going to inform an officer.

  24. From a Texas resident with a permit: The permit shows up when they run your license. You are REQUIRED to tell the officer if you are armed, though you do not have to say anything if not armed.

    However, in the interest of clarity, I always say right up front, “Hi, officer, I have a carry permit and HAVE (or DO NOT HAVE) a weapon in the vehicle.”

    In the meantime I already have my DL and permit in hand (so I don’t have to reach for anything), hands on the top of the wheel, fingers open, and remain still while awaiting instructions. I have never had a problem, and in fact have had officers thank me for putting them at ease immediately.

    Castile’s shooting was clearly criminal, but we don’t know what he was doing with his hands that may have caused the officer to react as he did (however wrongly and prematurely). It sounds as if he were reaching for his wallet or permit.

    So the lesson is, keep your hands up and in the open, and don’t do ANYTHING without instructions, then do it slowly and carefully.

    1. What a good trained slave you are :/

  25. Should you tell him? No. Surprise him instead. LMAO Idiots.

  26. Yes, you should tell the police that you have a gun. Then don’t go grabbing around your pockets, just leave your hands on the steering wheel.

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