9 May 12
In a recent YouTube presentation, I saw a “school solution,” purporting to show the “ideal way” for a legally-armed citizen to interact with police, in this case during a traffic-stop.
The depiction, as is usually the case, was a mixture of truth and error.
It shows the citizen being courteous, polite, and truthful, which is always recommended. However, it also shows him answering questions that were never asked and otherwise volunteering irrelevant information. In addition, the citizen is shown handling his pistol in the presence of the officer and using the word “gun” several times, none of which is commonly recommended.
In the end, the citizen is rewarded by not being issued a ticket, which is far from realistic!
The makers of this film were obviously trying to perform a service, but were pretty naive.
Some states, like TX, require, in statute, that the citizen “inform the officer” of his armed status sometime during the contact. The vast majority of states that issue CCW permits, like mine (CO), do not! Even in TX, exactly how the officer is to be “informed” is not described in detail in the legal text.
My suggestion to all legally-armed citizens is not to use the word “gun” in the presence of police officers. No good result is likely! The best way to “inform” officers is to say something like, “I have a permit. Would you like to see it?” That probably fulfills the legal requirement (when present), without elevating everyone’s blood-pressure.
Don’t elaborate! The officer doesn’t need to know the brand of your pistol, caliber, type of ammunition, how much you paid for it, where you bought it, after-market sights… ad nauseam! When the officer asks where your pistol is, point with a finger, without giving the impression that you’re reaching for it.
Most officers prefer citizens not talking about, much less handing, guns in their presence. My department’s general policy with regard to concealed guns is, “Don’t ask.”
With regard to brief, positive, and infrequent contacts with police, my advice is:
1) Be non-confrontational/non-threatening. Be polite and truthful, but never chatty. Don’t volunteer information, and don’t answer questions that weren’t asked! Stay in your car with your hands in plain view, unless directed otherwise. Don’t voluntarily bring up the subject of guns, nor your armed status, unless required by law. When asked for “permission to search…,” answer with something like, “Officer, I really don’t want you looking through my personal things.” As soon as the officer indicates you’re free to go, depart immediately without saying another word.
2) Have a “normal” appearance. Don’t look like a freak! Who insist on covering most exposed skin with tattoos, wearing “unconventional” clothing, “unconventional” hairstyles, and having a “face-by-Ace-Hardware” will find themselves jacked-up with annoying frequency. It’s a free country! Dress any way you like. But, having the outward appearance of an idiot is seldom in your best interest.
3) Don’t go to stupid places, associate with stupid people, do stupid things. When you elect to “go armed,” stupid places are off limits! While you’re at it, cast-off your stupid friends. They can get hurt all by themselves, without your presence/participation. Immediately disengage and separate from all stunts, arguments, disputes, fights. Get out of there!
4) Be in bed by 10:00pm (your own bed)! Denizens of late-night activities typically lead short and unhappy lives! Nothing “good” happens late at night. Police are suspicions of everyone in the “after-midnight” crowd. Who are up during the day, and asleep at night, typically miss out on most of the ills to which flesh is heir!
5) Don’t fail the “Attitude Test!” Who go looking for trouble often find much more than they ever wanted. Adopt the motto, “Courteous to everyone. Friendly to no one.” Espouse non-confrontational language and personal lifestyle. With the right attitude, most lengthy/unhappy interactions with police, and nearly everyone else, and easily avoidable, or can be derailed early-on.
“Suffering or boredom. You can have both, but you can’t have neither!”