Letting the Police Know that You Have a Concealed Weapon

April 23, 2012

Security, Self Defense

routine traffic stop

For several years now, I’ve read Massad Ayoob’s Firearms articles in Backwoods Home Magazine. His articles provide good insight into weapons for those seeking a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. Recent articles include Affordable Firearms, Tailoring Guns to Females, and Cold Weather Shooting Considerations.

If you’re not familiar with Massad Ayoob, he’s pretty well known in the firearms and self-defense industries. He’s written quite a few books, 20+ according to wikipedia. He is also pretty active in police and law enforcement circles and serves on a couple of advisory boards. All in all, he impresses me as being pretty knowledgeable. (I do not know Mr. Ayoob personally, though)

I was recently reading a blog post on The Firearm Blog that had a link to a YouTube video that Mr. Ayoob had made. In it, he discusses and demonstrates a good way to let a police officer know that you legally have a concealed weapon without alarming him. Here’s the video.


It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been pulled over for a moving violation. Frankly, I’m not sure what the law requires if you are legally carrying a concealed weapon during a routine traffic stop. I’d imagine that the requirements vary by state; some states requiring that you let the officer know while other states take a less intrusive approach. I’m going to look into it more for my home state.

Nevertheless, I’d agree with the video. While letting an officer know that you have a weapon, it’s good for everyone if you choose your words wisely. The last thing you want to do is agitate the officer and make a scene that quickly spirals out of control.

What do you think? Have you been stopped for a traffic violation while carrying a concealed weapon? How did you handle it?

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24 Comments on “Letting the Police Know that You Have a Concealed Weapon”

  1. R Says:

    This is my first time on the site here, and I can say i’m more than a little curious to find out more….and that’s what lead me to this article.

    I am a concealed weapons permit holder in my home state, and while it wasn’t a traffic stop, I was approached by an officer for acting “suspicious”.

    A friend of mine and I where standing in an area next to his house at around 11 PM one evening when a marked police unit drove by really slowly and he stared at us and we stared back….haha.

    He then made a u-turn and pulled into the driveway area and turned on his spot light….now me being originally from southern california (where the police ask for your identification and then shoot you when you reach for your wallet) knew how to keep my hands visible and open and to stand in a wider than normal stance so the officer would know I wasn’t going to make it easy for me to run at him.

    He told us to place our hands on the hood of a car there, and told us for his “safety and ours”….lol….he was going to search us for weapons or anything that might hurt him….(I might add that in retrospect we did look more than a little suspicious and with property crime up 68% in two months I was actually suprised they were even stopping us)….I told him that I was a permit holder and that I was armed, he asked where it was, and I told him, he asked if I had a retention holster and I told him that I didn’t but I did have a holster that was tricky to get off ( if you weren’t wearing it. He placed my hands on my head and pulled my glock out and attempted to remove the hoslter (follow link watch videos, best holster I have ever concealed), after a bit I explained to him that it could be made safe without removing the holster and thus making said pistol not dangerous to my nether region in his hands….so I made the pistol safe……..gave him my id with license, ran the gun and the license to make sure everything was right….then offered to buy the holster I was using….ha….turned out to be a rather nice guy.

    If you’re calm, cool and collected with the police, they usually treat you with the same respect. Guilty people are nervous, innocent people are not. If you are nervous, they see you as guilty and try to figure out what you’re guilty of. Not to mention like everyone else if you treat them like poo poo they will screw with you as much as they can.

    Know your state, know your laws, know your rights, know how your cops react……best advice I’ve ever recieved from anyone concerning concealed carry.

    Hope this helps.


    • Titus Brutus Says:

      that cop violated just about all of rights. if you were on foot, you absolutely do not have to provide police with an ID. Nor do you have to submit to a search, or put your hands on a car. Learn your rights so they don’t punk you again.


      • B. Hill Says:

        I think you are a smart azz little punk who is anti-establishment and anti-police. You will no doubt find yourself in jail for resisting a police officers orders.


        • Dennis Harley Miller Says:

          I don’t think you are a punk, I think you are smarter than these guys calling you a punk. You are very correct in what you said . They would give up their rights in a heart beat.


        • Dennis Harley Miller Says:

          Just because you know your rights and know how to use them doesn’t make you anti police. I have a son and two nephews that are police officers. I know my rights and use them. You should know yours and use them before they are taken away from you .


      • Sandy Zike Says:

        In Florida and I’m sure in most other states you have to have ID on you and show it to police when asked. I agree with B. Hill, your just a Punk


    • MKEgal Says:

      By running the serial number on the pistol without having reasonable articulable suspicion that the pistol was stolen, he committed a civil rights violation – the 4th Amendment protects you against things like that.
      There was no reason for him to search you or your friend at all.

      But… once you told him you were carrying concealed, he had reason to demand your carry license (usually cc is a crime, and a defense is having a valid license).

      Go to and watch their videos on how to deal with police, or look them up on YouTube.


  2. D. Johnston Says:

    Even if it is not the law in your state I would suggest letting the officer know you have a concealed weapon. When an officer gets a nasty surprise on a stop the conversation can become less than friendly for a few moments.


    • joge Says:

      How about just abolish the whole CCW sysetm and recognize our natural right to carry, concealed or open, on all public property and any private property where the owner allows it? I’m definitely in favor of the trend this resolution proposes, but I think it does not send a message that we actually need to go MUCH further with this issue. The SC General Assembly needs to be reminded that our rights come from our creator and not them. I should not have to ask for permission (apply of a PERMIT/LICENSE) to carry a firearm period!


      • Joe Says:

        I’d agree, Joge. The system should change. We shouldn’t have to get permission to do something that is/should be a natural right of the citizenry.

        However, until that changes, I’m going to follow the law of the land. I’d rather the fight for abolishing the CCW system take place in the court system than on the side of the road, outside my vehicle.


  3. Beck Says:

    I was involved in a traffic stop. Since I kept my insurance and vehicle registration in the glove compartment (where my pistol was located), I informed the officer that I did have a pistol in the compartment and I wanted him to be aware of it. I also told him that I had a permit to carry the pistol. After he checked my insurance and registration information, he was more concerned about the information on my pistol permit.

    It seems that even within the same state, different counties require different information on their permits. My permit, issued in one county, did not require the serial number of my pistol and did not identify my pistol on the permit. I was stopped in a different county within the same state and they required both. The officer informed me that my permit actually permitted me to carry a small machine gun. I assured him that I wasn’t interested in carrying one of those.

    Bottom line should be to check what information is required and to find out if it varies county to county.


  4. EST Says:

    I am a CCW holder in Ohio, and it’s very simple. You HAVE to tell the officer you are a permit holder, otherwise it is a misdemeanor if the officer chooses to charge you. If you do not tell him, and go for your weapon (not thinking, and very idiotic), it becomes a felony. Best bet is to stop, keep your seat belt on, hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them, tell him you are a permit holder, and do not move to get anything without telling him/her first. Puts them more at ease with the traffic stop.


  5. Billy Kingery Says:

    I am a CCW permit holder in Missouri. We are NOT required to inform LEO’s. I have been stopped twice in the last 3 years. Both times I kept my hands on the wheel and when the officer asked for my drivers license, I said “Sir, before I reach for my wallet, I just want to let you know I have a concealed weapon.” Both officers have asked where it was, and then told me to leave it there and we will both be fine.

    I have a friend who is a State Trooper, and he told me this is the best way to handle it. He said if he sees a gun, without knowledge of it, you WILL see his.


  6. David Says:

    When living in Alaska (Constitutional Carry, ie no permit needed) it is required to tell LEO you are carrying if interacting with a LEO. I had mechanical difficulties during a cold winter night (about -20*) and looking at my engine while waiting for a friend to come by and pick me. A cop stopped, I told him I’m packing (somewhere beneath a scarf, parka, sweater etc). He looked at me like I was an idiot and asked if I needed help. Boy, I miss AK. Constitutional carry makes you feel like a citizen, not a subject. I didn’t know that until moving to the lower 48 and filled out a permit asking for permission to exercise my Constitutional right….


    • Joe Says:

      Good point, David. We often say that we are free, yet we must get permission from the government to exercise those freedoms – carry permits, building permits, hunting permits, etc.


  7. Jack Says:

    CPL holder in MI. The day after I received my CPL, I went out and celebrated it by purchasing a new handgun, enjoying the no longer needed 5 day waiting period. I was carrying it on my on the way home. As luck has it, I got stopped going 12 mph over. My wallet was already out, so I removed my license and CPL, had them in my hand, placed both hands on the wheel and waited for the cop. She came up, I rolled down the window, said hi, handed her them both, waited a sec for her to see the card, then told her that I do have a pistol on my right side in a IWB holster. She said ok, took my info and went back to her car. Came back, and told me that she was giving me a warning, that I was the only warning she had given of her 20 or so stops that night, and that it is excellent that both I and my wife carry. That last part surprised me that my wife showed up when she ran me, but whatever. I thanked her, and went on my way. Biggest thing is to be calm, be unthreatening and forthcoming.


    • Joe Says:

      Great story, Jack.

      I’ve only received one warning. I was speeding on the interstate after dark. Instead of pulling over immediately, I continued another 3 miles to a well lit gas station. When asked for my registration, I told him it was in the glove box. I reached for it, paused for 2 seconds to let the box swing open and the officer notice that there wasn’t anything in there that could be used as a weapon, and then got the paper out.

      I think the he was appreciative that I took steps to help make the situation safer for both of us.


  8. MKEgal Says:

    The only traffic-related interaction I’ve had with police while cc was when I reported a dangerous driver.

    They wanted my driver’s license, and since my carry license was right there, and I was _also_ openly carrying a full-size pistol on my right hip, and the officer on that side of the car had certainly seen it, I offered the carry license too, saying “not that it should matter, but I am armed”.

    It didn’t matter. 🙂
    He didn’t even take it from my hand.
    I really like the more rural areas of my state, & hate the city where I live.


  9. Brian Says:

    I was recently stopped because I wrongfuly had a warrant (the guy had a very similar name and sam DOB). The officer asked if there were weapons in the car. I told him I was carrying and had a permit to conceal carry. He asked for the permit, and said to just not take out the gun and we wouldn’t have a problem. He checked my information, confirmed there was a mistake and sent me on my way, after thanking me for being honest. I probably could have technically refused to answer but he was very respectful. Then again, this was New Hampshire and cops tend to expect you to be legally carrying.



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