Over at usacarry.com, AussieRogue tells of an encounter with the cops. The po-po pulled the poster for speeding. AussieRogue’s response was typical of many “innocent” citizens who see complete compliance with the police as good citizenship. And/or automatically cave to authority and do what they’re told. What would you—or have you—done in these same circumstances? Make the jump for AussieRogue’s adventures in warrantless searchland . . .

Well guys and girls I was pulled over for speeding tonight was going about 48 MPH in a 35 MPH zones. I did what I have read here and on other sites pulled to the side of the road opened my window turn on the interior light and turned the car off. The officer walk to my car and asked if i new why I was pulled over I answered I either did not changed lane properly or was speeding well it happens i was speeding.

When the officer asked for my drivers lic I informed the officer that I was armed she asked me to put my weapon on the seat next to me and to get out of the car and then asked If i had been pulled over for speeding before I answered no. Now here is the part where I know that a lot of you will say that I did wrong but I do not think I did she then asked If she could run my weapon to see if it was stolen and I said no I then returned to the car and waited the officer returned after a couple of minutes and gave me a warning about speeding. OK sorry about being a bit long winded but thought you would like to know

33 Responses to Question of the Day: Gun Owner Pulled Over for Speeding. What Would You Do?

  1. Well, if its legitimately your weapon and you know its not stolen why should you let some cop run it? All you do is open yourself up to some kind of error or the other and you end up with your weapon on a record somewhere.

  2. Haven’t been pulled over while carrying (yet), but I think I’d have done the same. I’d have said something like, “Officer, I can assure you it isn’t stolen and I’d prefer that you didn’t take the time to run it.”

    If he/she pressed the matter, I’m guessing that I’d have eventually given in, though.

      • They wouldn’t. Which is why I’d initially say no. Wanting to check the gun is ridiculous. Probably borders on harassment. But ultimately, I have nothing to hide, so I’d let them do it if they made a stink. Probably not the right thing to do for the libertarian in me, but avoidance of any kind of confrontation with a LEO is generally good policy.

  3. I would’ve done the same thing. More likely than not, the officer probably just wanted to practice running a gun through the system, but there is no legal justification for the request which makes Aussierogue’s “No” completely warranted. It’s the same response I would’ve had.

  4. In my experience here in Texas, that’s fairly typical. The LEO was in effect, asking you for permission to run your weapon’s serial number. This is the same as you granting the LEO permission to search without a warrant (which I usually do in the case of searching my vehicle).

    Here in Texas, CHL holders must present their CHL along with their driver’s license during any routine traffic stop. The LEO has the authority to disarm the CHL holder during a routine traffic stop but unless arrested, the LEO must give the weapon back to the CHL holder before leaving the scene.

    • Where is it in the law that they have the right to disarm you or take your weapon. I really do need to know the answer to this one. If any has the Code please let me know.

  5. I was just pulled over the other day for the first time while carrying… I gave the officer my CCW with my license and reg, and he asked where the weapon was and what I was carrying. Told him it was holstered IWB, and he said “good choice, that’s right where it should be”. He thanked me for keeping everyone at ease……… but still gave me a damn ticket. 🙂

    Still, it was a comfortable encounter all around.

  6. I live in Florida.. when I was stopped for speeding ( no ticket issued) I operate under the “dont ask dont tell” mindset. The officer didnt ask if I had a firearm and I didnt tell him.
    We had a nice conversation about my edict..Window down, interior light on, vehicle off, hands hung over the top of the steering wheel and tell them you are getting your wallet and which pocket it is in. Answer all questions honestly with a “Yes Officer or No Officer”. They worked hard to be a LEO so I show the respect.

  7. It may just be a semantic-type of thing for me, but he said he told the officer that “he was armed” and not a licensed concealed carrier (or something to that effect). When you say “I am armed”, in my mind it is the same as “I have a gun”… at which point the police might have a heightened response, whereas if you say I am licensed, I am a CCW (CHL, or whatever term you use in your state)… that may put them at ease.

  8. I have been pulled over 5-6 times while carrying, with all but one being completely professional. One of them asked me what I had, when I told him it was a 226 he said that he was an instructor and they used to carry P250s, but now they had to carry the G22, “a good learner’s gun” as he put it. The one marginally bad experience was a local (not in my locale, but rather in one a bit more urban) who asked me why I had a carry permit. The exchange went like this:

    Me: I have a CCW and there is a pistol in the car
    Po-Po: Why do you have a carry permit
    Me: ? Uh, I don’t understand the question. (I wasn’t trying to be a smartass, I really didn’t know what he meant)
    Po-Po: Your CCW, why do you have it?
    Me: I am sorry, I really don’t understand what you mean.
    Po-Po: (frustrated) Are you some kind of security guard or is it for personal use?
    Me: Uh, personal use I guess.
    Po-Po: Stomps back to car. Writes ticket for 75/65 on a stretch of highway were the speed limit was raised to 70 a month later.

  9. I see nothing wrong with telling the officer they cannot perform a search with no reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Obtaining the serial numbers off your legally carried weapon is just such a search, and in the case of being pulled over for speeding (or any other traffic violation), there is no such reasonable suspicion or probably cause related to the gun. No RAS, no PC, no search.

  10. In case of having to eat on the quick, sometimes I’ll have a plastic sandwich bag on the backseat filled with light-colored protein powder. I can guess what that might look like from afar or in dim light. Never had the fun yet of being stopped and getting asked if they can search the car, to which I’d likely say no.

  11. Traffic stops are a tough call. Provide the info necessary according to your state, but beyond that, I’d say “no” to additional searching. Although, if the cop were persistent or offered reason why he thought additional searching was necessary, I might relent. (Standing by principles is fine – but waiting on the roadside for 2 hours while a warrant is processed = lose-lose for everyone).

    Sidebar: When I lived in an apartment in NY State, I routinely refused to allow local apartment inspectors to enter (if I was home). I suspect my landlord (per the lease terms) followed him through when I wasn’t around.

  12. Any lawyer will tell you never to consent to any kind of search. If the cops go ahead and search anyway, you can’t stop them, but always make it politely clear that the search is happening over your objection. Especially now that so many police cars have video cameras as standard equipment. It’s rare, but there are bent departments out there that will “find” drugs in your car, then seize the car, and threaten to press charges if you object. There was a department in West Texas (I forget which) that got busted for this practice a few years back.

    On the other hand, the cops have the power to detain you beside the road for hours while they call in a drug sniffing dog, etc., and pretty much ruin your whole day. Some cops take it personally when they don’t get total compliance, even if they’re constitutionally out of line.

    Being a conservative older white guy can definitely help in dealings with the police, but not always. My appearance can be a bit scruffy, shall we say, if I’ve gone too long without a haircut, and it’s earned me some extra scrutiny from rural cops, though I’ve never had anyone ask to search my car, thankfully.

    Glad to hear that you stood on principal, and that the officer in question accepted that.

  13. Greetings:

    Many years ago, when I was living in Idaho, I got stopped for speeding in Utah by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper.

    I was wearing my loaded Ruger “Security Six” .357 magnum revolver in a holster on my right hip, and when the trooper came to my window, I informed him that I was armed.

    He asked if the gun was registered, and I explained that there was no requirement to register firearms in Utah or Idaho, and no license was required if the weapon was worn in plain view.

    The only requirement in Utah was that the first two chambers of the revolver’s cylinder had to be empty, or if an automatic, the chamber had to be empty and the safety on, with the intent of the law being that two (02) actions must take place before the gun could be fired.

    Since I had to explain that to a Utah Highway Patrol trooper, I was curious about where he was from, and why he didn’t know the laws governing firearms in Utah.

    He replied that he was from New York and had just recently begun working in Utah.

    He ran a check on my gun, and wanted to know where the serial number was, and why the Social Security number scratched into the frame didn’t match my own.

    I told him the serial number was covered up by the Pachmeyer grips, and the Social Security number belonged to the guy I purchased the gun from many years earlier, a fellow officer on the Department of Defense Police force, who now was a deputy sheriff in Weber County (where I’d been pulled over).

    He returned my weapon to me, and issued me a ticket for speeding.

    As I pulled away, I could see additional Utah Highway Patrol cars parked to my front and rear, where they’d responded at his request.

    I’m also reminded of a time in American Fork, Utah, when I stopped at a convenience store to get some gasoline and goodies.

    It was Oh Dark Thirty in the morning, and I was wearing my revolver (either on my hip or in a shoulder rig – – – I don’t remember which), and when I went to pay the clerk, who was a very young fellow (probably a college student), he was quite concerned that a private citizen could walk around wearing a loaded pistol.

    I was amused and informed him that this was legal in most Western states.

    He told me he was from California, and he didn’t think it was right that private citizens could be armed.

    Thank you.

    John Robert Mallernee
    Armed Forces Retirement Home
    Gulfport, Mississippi 39507

  14. While I haven’t been pulled over for speeding, I have passed through 2 late night DUI checks while carrying. One was in a large city, and one was in a small town. Both went pretty much the same way. I gave the LEO my drivers license and my CCW permit at the same time. At this point, each officer asked me where my weapon was, and I replied on me. After that, they both let me go on my way with no issues.

  15. When pulled over by the police, STFU. I would not volunteer any information that was not specifically asked for. Do not confuse this with being belligerent, which I would never be, to the police or anyone else.

    Do not consent to a search of your vehicle for any reason, whether you have something to hide or not.

    Unless you unfortunately live in a state that forces you to admit to the police that you are carrying a gun with you, why would you volunteer that information? For every one person who tells a pleasant story about how the policeman appreciated the sharing of information and all the mutual respect and hugging that went on as a result of you “being honest about it”, there are a bunch of other folks that got yanked out of the car or harassed in some other way that they would not have if they had chosen to just keep quiet. My $0.02, YMMV.

  16. Police already have all the authority they need to conduct investigations. If they can articulate a reason to search my car or run the serial numbers of my possessions they don’t need my/your consent.

    Giving up your Constitutional rights to be secure in your person, even for “common sense” searches, is no different than giving up other rights for “common sense” reasons.

    I wouldn’t mention I have a CCW/weapon until I was being taken into custody and searched. No reason to make it an issue when it isn’t one in a routine traffic stop. If they specifically ask then I would tell them, but wouldn’t answer any tangental questions.

  17. I’ve been pulled over three times while carrying. (Yeah, little bit of a lead foot here.) Each time, it went exactly the same:

    Lights in my rear-view mirror. Pull off on the shoulder of the road (or turn down the very next side street). Engine off, window down, wallet in hand to retrieve vitals – license, registration, insurance, CCW ID.

    Officer: “Afternoon. Do you know why I stopped you?”
    Me: “I’ll go ahead and guess I was speeding.”*
    Officer: “That’s right. License, registration and proof of insurance.”
    Me: “Sure. Here’s all that. Also, here’s my CCW license, and just so you know, I am currently carrying a weapon.”
    Officer: “Where is it?”
    Me: “It’s [under the newspaper on the seat next to me/stuffed between the seats/holstered under my left arm]. Would you care to inspect it?”
    Officer: “No. Sit tight; I’ll be back in a minute.”

    Ten or 15 minutes later, he returns to the car. Only once out of my three encounters was I actually ticketed for speeding – I was doing 17 over the limit. The other two times I was let off with a warning.

    I think the key is immediately informing them you do have a weapon in your car or on your person, and offering to let them inspect it. Michigan law says they have the right to do that, so I see no harm in offering. It seems to lighten the tension that arises when you let them know you have a gun on you.

    * My favorite response to the “Know why I stopped you?” question is: “Because you have nothing resembling real police work to keep you busy.” This response, however, is reserved for days when I’m not carrying. It also guarantees that you will get the ticket for whatever you were stopped for, plus whatever else the tax feeder can imagine. IMO, it’s worth every penny every time to let them know exactly what I think of them.

  18. As a (retired) lawyer, I’ll tell you that John Fritz’s advice to STFU is the gospel truth. If you are asked if you know why you were stopped, say no. Do not spill your guts. In a traffic stop, if you’re carrying in a way that the cop is likely to notice, leave your piece where it is and provide your CCW when you hand over your driver’s license. Don’t announce “I have a gun” unless you have a burning desire to get shot. You probably don’t need or want to disclose that you are carrying well-concealed unless that’s required under state law. Do not consent to any kind of search. I think it’s best if you ask why the officer wants to perform a search, and then say no. Don’t tell the cop that you know your rights. That’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull (pun intended). As Nancy Reagan once said in a different context, “just say no.” No is the second shortest word in the English language for a reason.

    • And here’s the kicker: it was designed by The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. It’s an exact copy of the flag design used in their poster campaign. (As a one-off, TTAG’s flag gun qualifies as art, exempt from charges of copyright infringement.)

  19. If a police officer runs the serial number of a firearm on your person or in your car, I only know of two possibilities: To check if it’s stolen or to do an ATF trace. Either one can cause you problems. A gun could have been reported as stolen with an erroneous or duplicate serial, or a slightly different model, or your gun could have been stolen at one time (a dealer isn’t allowed to check guns to see if they’re on the stolen database).

    If your gun is traced through ATF, then, no matter how innocent, ATF will call it a ‘crime gun’ and permanently retain your information, and the gun identification in one of their databases. The original owner (and you if different) will be considered a ‘suspect’, and the original dealer will be reported as having sold a ‘crime gun’.

    For further information, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ETrace

  20. Reading is fundamental- The driver is NOT a ccw holder- NM does not require a permit for open OR concealed carry in your vehicle.

  21. well that sounds like an interesting, situation sometimes when things, happen like that but maybe putting in commas, where one ought to place periods and leaving meaning, to the reader’s, understanding when the sentences run ontogetheer which difficultys the comprendos, but, what do I know?

  22. If you have a Concealed Handgun License in Texas (and probably elsewhere), the police officer who runs your license plate will know you have it.

  23. Fortunately I live in a state where there’s no duty to inform, and I take that to heart. Hasn’t been an issue for years (not that I have that many stops).

  24. I’ve been pulled over five times while carrying and have informed them each time. Have never been searched, disarmed or hassled and have only been given one ticket. Registration was out so he had to.
    I was told I was doing almost 90, but again, only a warning. Every time they’ve been more interested in what I thought about this gun or that.
    Four of them have been in a car full of guns. The last time I had my old Mosin, mossberg500, HK usp, glock19, and ruger lcp. I was on my way to my friends house for some clays. This was the “90” stop. We talked for about twenty minutes about 91/30s. Pretty cool guys. Every single one of them were Texas State Troopers. If you’re not a dick, speak up, and have some respect, they’ll usually return the favor.
    The DPS and NRA stickers in my back window probably help too.
    My brother his a Captain down in Harris County. I’ve asked him if he helped me out any, but he said nope. Lol

    ETA: While you have a legal requirement in Texas to inform, there is no penalty if you do not, therefore it is not “required”.
    I have informed every single time by handing them my CHL with my DL. They ask, I tell them what I have and where it’s at and what condition it’s in.
    And like I said, they’ve never disarmed me, searched or given me any problems.
    Turn your car off, window down, lights on and don’t be a dick. It’s really that simple.

  25. I tried to clarify my last post to jaywalker, but it won’t let ms edit it.
    Here in Texas, when they run your lisence, there IS NOTHING SAYING YOU HAVE A CHL. If you do not inform the officer, and they don’t see it, or ask then they will not know you have it.

  26. I’m glad I double checked, I missunderstood my brother apparently. It shows up on drivers license check. But not plates.
    Sorry for the confusion. Really wish I could edit posts.

    But I was right about informing. GC §411.187. (a)(2) was stricken from the Texas Government Code. Therefore you are required to inform as per section 411.181 but cannot be penalized if you do not. Though I still do.

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