Police Gun Owner Interactions While Carrying Concealed
By VCDL Member, Tony Johnson
Covington VA – -(Ammoland.com)- This is the account of the first time I was pulled over by a LEO while carrying concealed.
I had just finished making a night-drop deposit at the bank of about $3,000 when I proceeded home around 11:45 pm. I lived in Pulaski County, VA at the time. I noticed the LEO's lights in the mirror and silently rebuffed myself for not having replaced my burned-out headlight. One very important aspect of an encounter with a LEO, especially at night, is to start things off properly, so I pulled into a well-lit public parking area, rolled down my window, turned on my dome light, turned off my engine and remaining headlight, and kept my hands on the top of the steering wheel in plain view.
He approached my car and asked me if I knew why he had pulled me over. I responded that it probably was the headlight I had not replaced as I had worked overtime that weekend. He said I was correct and asked to see my license and registration. At that point I politely responded “Officer, before I do that I want to inform you that I am a CHP holder and am currently armed with a 9mm on my person.”
I was carrying IWB. He politely asked me if I would open the door from the outside and step out of the car. Note: never reach back inside the car if a LEO suspects or knows you are armed. Why add tension to the situation? I reached through my own window and opened the door from the outside and stepped out of the car keeping my hands on the very top of the door in plain view. He asked me where my firearm and wallet were, and I told him I was carrying IWB in front on the left side and my wallet was in my left rear pocket.
He asked me to show my firearm so I slowly moved my left hand and lifted that side of my shirt by grabbing my shirt near the top. Do not lift it from the bottom as that puts your hand very close to your firearm. The LEO removed my firearm and placed it on the rear of the car, he also removed my wallet and handed it to me. I removed my license and CHP and handed them to him. He took my firearm with him to run my license. He returned and handed me back my license and CHP which I put back in my wallet and laid it on top of the car (again, no hands on the body).
The LEO removed the magazine from my firearm and handed it to me. He ejected the round that was in the chamber (I carry with one in the pipe). The round ejected and fell at his feet. I politely asked him if he would like for me to pick the round up for him and he said he would. I did so and held it in my hand. He complimented my firearm, as it is one of the smallest 9mm's available today, and we continued to chat for several minutes about its performance, cost, etc.
He was very friendly, and didn't give me a ticket either. The main thing that made this a polite encounter rather than a disaster is the fact that I took most of the stress out of his experience. My step-dad is a retired Virginia State Police officer, and I have other friends and family that are or were LEO's. When a LEO stops a vehicle he or she is literally placing themselves in the position of being a potential target.
Encounters with LEO's are not the time to hold a 2-A protest. Most of them are just doing their jobs and want to go home to their families alive at the end of the day like the rest of us. In addition, every LEO that I have asked said that he or she wished law-abiding people carried concealed. If we understand encounters with LEO's to be what they are (i.e. somebody just doing their job) and not what they aren't (i.e. personal insults or attacks against us as individuals) we can all go home to our families alive at the end of the day.
Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right. Visit: www.vcdl.org