Oct 30 2012

How to handle a traffic stop when carrying concealed – Part 1

How to handle traffic stop concealed carryThere are a lot of varying opinions on how to handle a traffic stop when carrying concealed (we are assuming you are carrying legally). All opinions aside, first and foremost you need to know what the actual law is, not just someone’s opinion about what they think the law should be. As with most other handgun laws, there are definitely some myths about how the law applies when you are interacting with a police officer in a traffic stop.

Do you have to tell the officer you are carrying a gun?

Probably the main myth about how to handle a traffic stop when carrying concealed is that you are always required to tell the officer you are carrying a weapon. The truth is, whether or not you must inform the officer depends entirely on which state you are in. Each state has it’s own gun laws, and some require you to inform the officer and some don’t.

The easiest way to find out whether or not your state requires you to inform the police officer is to go to www.Handgunlaw.us. On the home page you will see a color coded map of the USA. Clicking on your state will bring up a PDF document that contains all the specifics about handgun laws in that state. Right at the top of the PDF file, it will say “Must Inform Officer By Law”, and then yes or no depending on your state law. Here is a snapshot of what the page looks like for Georgia.

Georgia handgun law

So, now that you’ve determined whether or not you are required to inform the police officer about your concealed weapon, you are left with some choices to make on exactly how you want to handle that. Since there are so many factors involved, this can develop into a very lengthy discussion, which is why I’ve decided to split this issue into segments.

In part 2, we will examine the reasons why or why not to inform the officer about your weapon, and the best way to communicate to an officer that you are carrying a loaded weapon. If you want to be notified when a new post is added, you can enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box in the right column.

Have a good one,


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1 ping

  1. Gary Slider

    T, Very good subject to cover. Also I have a map very similar to the state page maps at http://www.handgunlaw.us that I will give you to use if you want it. It shows all the states that you must inform in. If interested email me at admins@handgunlaw.us and I will send it to you.

    Stay Safe,

    Gary Slider
    Co-Owner Handgunlaw.us
    Member Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network.

  2. Joshua Wright

    Wish LEOs would read this. Had an officer in South Florida go berserk when I was pulled over for speeding and he saw my carry permit when I took out my drivers license. He said I should have informed him of a gun on me no matter what. I told him he was mistaken and that got him angrier. I then asked him to calm down and check with his supervisor, which he must have because he didn’t mention it when he came back with both my dl and pistol which he took back to his cruiser.

    1. Tom

      Hi Joshua,
      If you have a chance, read part 2 of this article where I explain exactly how to avoid what you experienced in your traffic stop.

  1. How to handle a traffic stop when carrying concealed - Part 2

    […] In the first section of this topic we discussed how to determine if you are required to inform a police officer about your concealed weapon if you are pulled over for a traffic stop. If you haven’t had a chance to read part 1 you can find it here. […]

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