Monday, April 29, 2013


By Dave Dargo

I mentioned in a previous post that I carry a gun everyday.  When I carry that gun concealed most people will be completely unaware that I have it.  Occasionally, I'll move a certain way and the gun will "print" and an observant passerby may see that there's something under my shirt and, if knowledgeable, know that it's a gun.  Printing is when the physical outline of the gun can be observed in the garment that covers the gun.

My wife and I drive across this beautiful country a lot.  It seems that at least once a month we're driving between Arizona and Louisiana with the dogs and much too much stuff to carry in the car.  I've mentioned previously that when carrying a gun across state lines one must be cognizant of the variety of laws in effect when crossing from one jurisdiction to another.

What does one do, for example, if pulled over by the police for a traffic violation?

I mentioned in the Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry post the police officer I had an interaction with merely asked me to assure him that I wasn't going to "blast" him.

Every jurisdiction has its own rules.  For example, the state I live in, Arizona, only requires one to inform a police officer of the presence of a gun if asked and, if asked, one isn't allowed to lie.

Other jurisdictions, such as Louisiana, require someone to inform the officer of the presence of a gun during an official interaction with the officer whether asked or not.

The more conservative action to take is to inform the police officer of a concealed firearm whenever you have an official interaction with that officer and to not wait for the police officer to ask if you have a gun.

In the video below a person in Ohio is pulled over and attempts multiple times to inform the officer that he is carrying a concealed handgun.  The video is quite long but it shows what none of us want to have happen, at least not to us.

Charges of failing to promptly inform the officer were dismissed.  The officer in this case was fired but won the right to get his job back.

There's a U.S. Supreme Court Case, Haynes v. United States, that shines a light on the complex legal issues facing both law enforcement officers and felons.  It would appear that someone who is prohibited from possessing a gun can't be convicted of failing to inform an officer because that would violate the felon's Fifth Amendment rights.  The rest of us, though, better be prepared to inform as soon as possible.

The one time I had to inform an officer I did so and it simply generated conversation.  I've often wondered what the best way to inform an officer would be and have settled on presenting my license to carry a concealed weapon along with my driver's license.

I know that I will not start the conversation by yelling, "I HAVE A GUN!"

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