Since the news broke of licensed permit holder Philando Castile’s death, I’ve questioned the event. Not because a cop shot a citizen, because the victim was licensed to carry a gun. I focused squarely on the effect this could have on civilian gun rights.
To help me think clearly about the incident, I called police Sergeant JJ Rouanzoin. JJ owns Colorado Gunfighter training. I attended his CCW class with my father. He’s been a good friend for 12 years.
“It’s a tragedy for both sides when a human is killed,” JJ told me, straight off the bat. Discussing the case, he didn’t take the cop’s side and he didn’t take Castile’s. As a cop, he wants to know the facts before forming an opinion. JJ hoped for the eventual release of body cam video, knowing that the case could boil down to he-said, she-said.
JJ also said those who question police shootings of other civilians aren’t responsible for the murders of police officers. The man who pulled the trigger in Dallas is responsible for the dead cops. “Let’s not be like the left and blame the NRA every time a mass shooting happens. We shouldn’t automatically blame the police whenever they shoot someone.”
JJ affirmed the advice given by this site and many of its commentators. When a cop pulls you over keep your hands on the steering wheel. Don’t make ANY sudden movements. Regardless of local duty-to-inform laws, disclose the fact that you have a permit and are armed and tell the cop where the gun is.
According to JJ, 99.99% of the time, cops are happy to see a gun permit. It tells them two things. 1. You are clean, with no record and 2. You want to do what is needed to keep your gun rights in tact. So you aren’t a threat.
Maybe Castile freaked out the cop. Maybe the cop was jumpy and over-reacted. Who knows? Unless we see bodycam footage, we may never know. But clear communication is key when you’re pulled over. And giving the impression that you’re trying to work with the police, rather than against them.