If Stopped By Police While Carrying Concealed Is It Sufficient Notice To Just Hand Over My CPL Card
Michigan – -(Ammoland.com)- – Q: If I get pulled over by the police while I am lawfully carrying a concealed pistol, is it considered sufficient notice to hand over my Concealed Pistol License (CPL) with my Driver's License?
A: Maybe not.
MCL 28.425f(3) states: “An individual licensed under this act to carry a concealed pistol and who is carrying a concealed pistol and who is stopped by a peace officer shall immediately disclose to the peace officer that he or she is carrying a pistol concealed upon his or her person or in his or her vehicle.” The penalty for a first offense includes a $100 fine, and a CPL suspension of up to six months.
In one case, the driver handed his CPL over to the officer who stopped him. He did this because he had been told by a reliable source (an experienced police officer from another jurisdiction) that it is considered dangerous to use the word “gun” when talking to an officer on the road side since officers yell, “Gun!” to one another when a dangerous person displays a firearm. The driver was ticketed for the non-disclosure. In subsequent trial, the dashboard video camera record showed that it was approximately 40 seconds after the officer arrived at the driver's window that the driver verbally disclosed his concealed pistol.
The court found that the simple act of handing over the CPL was not adequate disclosure and that the 40-second delay before verbally disclosing was not “immediate disclosure.”
So, the only safe course of action if you are pulled over is to make your disclosure as soon as the officer gets up to the window. In order to try to avoid what police officers often refer to as “a heightened sense of awareness.” (their way of saying that they are alarmed or frightened,) you should maintain a calm tone of voice and demeanor and simply tell the officer that you have a valid Concealed Pistol License and that you are carrying. You do not have to use the word “gun.”
Note that the statute does not require you disclose when you have a CPL and are NOT carrying. However, some officers will be alerted to the fact that you have a CPL before they approach your car. You may want to have a brief conversation with the officer even on days when you are not carrying, simply to avoid any confusion or misapprehension.
Note also that it is a good idea to avoid rummaging around in your passenger compartment as the officer is walking up to your vehicle. If it is dark out, turn on your interior lights, turn off your car stereo and keep your hands in plain sight on the wheel until the officer establishes contact. Remember that the police have dangerous job and your interaction will go more smoothly if you show that you are not a threat to the officer's safety.
Steve Dulan (www.StevenWDulan.com) is a member of the Board of Directors of the MCRGO and the MCRGO Foundation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the MCRGO Foundation. He is an attorney in private practice in East Lansing and Adjunct Professor of firearms law at The Thomas M. Cooley Law School. as well as an NRA Life Member.
The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Formed from just eight people in 1996, we now have thousands of members and numerous affiliated clubs across the state. We're growing larger and more effective every day.
Our mission statement is: “Promoting safe use and ownership of firearms through education, litigation, and legislation” Visit: www.mcrgo.org