« A Little Bit of History | Main | So Who Knows? Politics, Presidents, and the Second Amendment »

May 19, 2008

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Gun Nut at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut.

On Cops and Guns

The county where I pay outrageous taxes requires that if you have guns in your car, they either be in a locked hard case or in a soft case with a trigger lock. It's likely that of every 100 people who drive with guns in this county (particularly if they're from somewhere else) no more than 10 know about the law, and of those 10 five actually care enough to obey it. This would make for a bad situation, except that most of the county cops don't know what the law is, and don't care about it either.
Most people come to grief copwise/gunwise when they are pulled over for traffic violations or for speeding. Many police routinely ask if you have any weapons in the car, and if the answer is yes, I can assure you that what would have been a simple citation or a warning will go into a whole new dimension. It doesn't matter what you have, or how you're carrying it, or why, you now have trouble.
That's part one. Part two is, although most police are indifferent to gun laws, if you mouth off to them, they will want payback, and if you happen to have a gun with you, you are in deep doo-doo. A shooting/hunting acquaintance of mine told me last week about being pulled over for something and cracking wise to the officer. Then:
"He tore that car apart. He spent a half hour, going through the trunk, the glove compartment, under the seats, everything. If I'd had a gun, I'd be in jail right now."

For more information, on the subject, see if you can find Chris Rock's excellent instructional video, "How To Not Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police" Good taste prohibits us from running it here, but I promise you it's worth your time.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference On Cops and Guns:


Dan D.

I believe it depends on what part of the country you live in. Here in CT, we have to use trigger locks when transporting a gun, concealed carry being the exception.

When we take our deer hunting trip to Maine every year, guns are always stowed in the back with locks. Mass. at one time had some insane law that you couldn't transport guns through the state at all, thus causing a pretty big stir among those hunters who head up to VT, NH and ME. The law was eventually changed. My father has been pulled over in Maine before, and the state trooper was more concerned how much alcohol (more than 5 literes and you're in trouble) was in the car than with the rifles.



Our city's Chief of Police teaches a concealed carry class. During the class, he gave some good advice for anytime you get pulled over: Place both hands on the steering wheel at 9:00 and 10:00 o'clock. That way, as the officer approaches your window, he can see your hands. By doing this, you are 1.)Establishing that you are not going to try to harm him and 2)Starting the discussion off on a good foot by showing him some respect.
Well, I got pulled over recently for speeding (70 in a 55) with a loaded pistol in my glovebox. I followed the Chief's advice, and I had no problems with the officer and ended up with just a verbal warning for speeding.


A wise friend once said " When you look for a cop, they're your friend...when they look for you...they're not".
Show them respect and you'll probably get the benefit of the doubt.

Dr. Ralph

Where I live you can't have ammo and guns readily accessible. Guns in your car, ammo locked in the glove box or trunk. Bullets in your pocket and gun in an unlocked case in the back of a pick-up is about as far as you can push it.
Every time I get pulled over I am the most docile yes sir officer so and so, look down and submit to the authority figure who may be half my age idiot you ever saw... No tattoos, short hair, nicely dressed, moving slow, speaking coherently and with the right attitude you will get you away with anything short of murder in my neck of the woods. It even makes it a comfortable experience for the cops. They have it tough enough give them a break...

Jim in Mo.

Things couldn't be better in Mo. for us crazy, blood runnin in the streets law abiding citizens for the last 3 1/2 yrs. If you get stopped by cops, keep hands on wheel and when asked about guns let em know where its concealed and loaded. Sounds strange to folks in the n.east and far west, Your gun MUST be concealed in your car! And whithin reach if so desired--no kidding. Just renewed my CC 6 mos. ago. There's been not one bad incident across the state since sensibility was given a chance.

Jim in Mo.

Not to cause confusion, here, a person doesn't need a CC license to carry in car.


Give 'em a break? I don't think so Dr. Ralph!
One child is a card carrying member of a local "Blue Brigade", the other is a member of a federal law enforcement agency!
Any "cop" that needs a break, needs a different job!
They are human beings, just like you and I and if their choice in job stresses them, maybe they need to go elsewhere!
Basically, Dr. Ralph, if the "officer" doesn't take that ...I have a gun and a badge and you can't argue with me because I'm RIGHT!... attitude to the window with him, he won't get it back!
A state trooper I know never considered the stop of a woman driver a success unless he made her cry!
There is no place for attitude in a police cruiser!



Here in California, I keep my guns trigger locked (or in a locked case) and in the trunk, with ammunition stored in the car in a separate locked case.

That sounds draconian to my old friends in Missouri, where I grew up. But what really grinds my gears in California is when I see law enforcement officers riding around with their AR rifles -- and knowing that I'm not allowed to have one, unless it's lamely modified. What, precisely, entitles someone who happens to have a badge to that weapon and denies it to me? It seems we have at least two answers.

The first is that law enforcement officers are somehow intrinsically different than the rest of us: blessed and holy, and therefore more worthy of better weaponry. But I think this answer is incorrect. We like to think that any person who is inclined to service and meets the mental, physical and legal obligations of the job can become a law enforcement officer.

The second answer is naked unreason. If you've ever followed Sacramento, you'll join me in selecting this as the best answer.

Anyhow, my goal with cops is the same as with the taxman: escape the situation with minimum damage. If it's respect and deference the cop wants, he can have as much as he wants from me. I'm all for giving the government a piece of my mind, but a traffic stop seems a smashingly ineffective place to do so when you consider the potential costs (jailhouse showers, slippery soap) and the potential benefits (if there is a benefit, I can't see it).


Everyone should get a copy of "The Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States" by JS Kappas. It's a great overview of the basic things one should know from state to state. For $12 it's a steal!

Also, everyone should know their basic rights when talking to a police officer. Their goal is to get bad guys off the street and if they are unsure about you, you might face every policeman's trick to get you to give access or information to which the officer is not entitled. Know your rights!


Oddly Carney, that's not their goal either!
Their "job",(goal, if you wish) is "to serve and protect", of which few comply!
Many officers, (granted, giving their fellow officers a bad name) feel they are beyond reproach, BECAUSE, they have a badge, gun and the "law" on their side!
If you've got a cop busting your hump because "he's" having a bad day, needs to be changing diapers in a day care center, anywhere but on the street! Cops are just people, gang mentality works on them just like everybody else. Don't believe me? What about that bunch of cops that stopped the three guys in the car? (Philly, I believe!) Cops come running out of the woodwork like roaches! Kicking, hitting, stomping, ... and the guys were already down!
I don't dislike "police" in general, but don't come at me with fangs bared and expect me to sit quietly and "take" it!



First rule: Pull over far enough so they don't have to stand in traffic. If you get pulled over at night, turn on the interior light so they can see inside the car.

Second rule: Have your license, CC permit and vehicle paperwork ready before they come to your window.

Third rule: The side of the road is not the place to have a discussion about respect. In a courtroom, the presumption is that you are innocent. On the side of the road, the presumption is that you are wrong. The place to have an argument is the courtroom.

I don't plan to "sit quietly and take it." I believe that if you make it easy for them to act professionally, they usually will. If they wish to be a jerk, I'd rather see them do it in front of a judge.


First and foremost we (the law abiding citizens) should consider what a police officer is experiencing when he pulls someone over. If we look at it from his or her perspective; we should be able to act accordingly without any problems. Here in Texas we have what I call a good deal with respect to carrying a weapon in your vehicle. I just renewed my CHL and was reading on the reciprocal agreements with other states. As long as you follow the rules, you shouldn't get bitten by them.
Secondly, I don't expect the police to protect me, my family, or my property. In real life, that's just not going to happen. It is up to us to protect and defend ourselves.


Ain't Texas Grand!


First, as has been previously stated when an officer comes up to your window have both hands on the wheel and instruct any passengers to keep theirs in view as well. Turn on interior lights at night.
Second if you have a CCL keep it with your Drivers License, and hand both to the officer, this is much better than just stating "I have a Gun" which can be mis-interperated as a threat with some really bad possible outcomes!
And if you carry in your car and it isn't legal where you live DON'T SPEED!
It's a Duh thing but if you know you are doing something that could cause you grief if pulled over then be the model driver, it isn't all that hard to follow traffic laws really.
In Pennsylvania you are supposed to have firearms unloaded with the ammo and gun in 2 separate compartments unless you have a CCL.
ALSO, with this group I'm amazed no-one has mentioned the NRA web site, they have a "Readers Digest" version of state gun laws on the site, just click on the state in question and get a brief overview of laws pertaining to buying, selling, owning and carrying of guns in that state. Check it out!


I live in Georgia where almost everyone carries a loaded handgun in their car and the only crimes against motorists, including road rage, are almost always perpetrated by out of staters ingnorant of our strong feelings regarding self preservation. I have personally seen "citizens" jump out of their cars and help a police officer about to be overwhelmed by three during a traffic stop. One said they stopped because they knew the Officer would try not to shoot but the people coming out of their cars probably wanted to! Amusing observation but that form of street sense possibly saved that Officer from harm and sent a message to the rest of us that the scum know we are packing. Our deputies and police officers know that as well and I agree with the advice to keep hands visible and show respect first.
As for storing cartridges and gun seperately you may be better off carrying several rocks in a bag!


I agree with Dennis. The only thing worse than not having a gun when you need one, is having a gun that's not loaded when you need it!


As a refugee from Gulag Korzine (that would be New Jersey) and its despotic gun laws I empathize with those still under the thumb. New Hampshire was a breath of fresh air when I arrived here 9 years ago. Unfortunately the police mentality from Massachusetts and New York has crept north. Our cops are by and large no more likely to respect our Second Amendment rights than a New Jersey State Trooper is -- except that up here we have far less restrictive state laws for them to shove up our....

Cops will be cops; at their worst they are a sanctioned street gang. At their best they are awesome people who run into burning buildings to get citizens out, jump into flood swollen rivers to save drowning idiots, work hours we wouldn't want to work in conditions we wouldn't want to endure. Cops see the very worst depravity, have to try to find solutions for the unsolvable. If we allow their worst it will continue. Having known many a Law Enforcement Professional I can say that on the whole they want to do the best job they can and then come home safe at the end of the shift, same as most all of us take for granted. Treat them with respect during any interaction and you will receive their respect back.


Your friend should sue the high school graduate with his diploma pinned to his weak chest calling it a badge (the cop) and whoever he works for.....pathetic violation of 4th ammendment right to the Constitution against unlawful search and seizure. No probable cause for anything other than to be angry your pal was a wise ass.

John in Arkansas

I have myself endured this nonsense on 2 occasions. I was once pulled over for speeding (70 in a 55 I think it was) on my way to a rifle range with a friend. The 4' tall female state trooper who seemed terribly bitter about something. She pulled me over and heard us say we were going "target shooting", and ordered us to sit on the lowered tailgate of my pickup while she pawed through the cab of my truck (guns were cased and unloaded) before writing me a nice fat ticket. (Yes, maybe I deserved the ticket, but we were not the dangerous criminals she made us out to be...our well dressed and respectful demeanor were useless.)

The other incidend was just a year ago. It outlines the reason I (a law abiding citizen, and only rarely a hunter) despise park rangers and why actual poachers and bandits should be glad they are "on the job". Some friends of mine from the office went camping about a year ago, we were going squirrel hunting that morning. The night before there were 3 hairy unwashed yahoos (remember this is northwest Arkansas) who got drunk and shot off rifles into the air all night. This is on the Buffalo National River federal park. Terrified, the other campers cowered in their tents (this is a campsite adjacient to the woods where hunting is allowed, gunfire in the campground itself is obviously prohibited) and waited for first light to find a payphone. Oh, along about NOON the brave, manly park services officer rolled out. He utterly ignored the three drunks (can't put his life in danger you know, just for mere citizens) but when he wandered around to our campsite just as we were coming out of the deer woods he saw my companion's empty pistol holster (we'd been hunting squirrel with .22 pistols) and grabbed the butt of his gun and demanded we sit on the ground while he searched our vehicles. He found the squirrel guns we'd just came out of the woods with, ran us through the mill (we sat for an hour along with my friend's 10 year old son) while he checked our background, ran our licenses, etc...not once did he ask for a hunting license or mention the reason he'd been called out there, but wrote us $375.00 in fines for "un-cased firearms". He explained at some length to us on what a fine good man he was for not "stroking us for each firearm" or confiscating them out of hand, merely writing 2 tickets, thus bilking the law abiding tax payer rather than actually putting his life in danger by looking into the armed thugs...who by then were probably long gone or hung over.

Pardon the long winded post. On paper, police are a necessary force for the good of the law abiding citizen. In reality every one I've ever met (not just the 2 described here) I've enjoyed as much as a diaper rash. Don't believe that "protect and serve" B.S., their job is to serve themselves and rob US. Better we were statistics on some crime blotter than honest gun owners; our deaths at the hands of those 3 drunks would have merely justified their next year's budget.


Where's today's art?

Sexy Man

I think you should check why the Police Came out of the woodwork... That very day one of the own was shot a killed by someone so they we on a chase with a car that had 3 men involved in a shooting...With cops you have to understnd its a brotherhood like the armed forces if one of you partners Gets shot its like you brother getting shot... Now what theydid was still wrong and they have been justly punished but you have to understnd that while this happened they were still looking for the man who shot there "brother"..does it justify the situation but imagine the emotion you would feel if your brother or bestfriend was shot and now you are face to face with someone who just shot someone else?? Now again i dont agree with what they did but if you've never been a police officer and experienced the emotional aspect of it then don't judge them...

The sexiest man Alive

Jim in Mo.

Sexy Man,
You gotta be kidding. Brotherhood my ass.

Sexy Man

You obviously have never been or know a cop in your life... See my grandfather retired as cheif in our city and his son my uncle is now assitant cheif and his Son(my cousin) is now an officer had i not broke my ack in an accident when i was younger i would have been right there with them if oyu really get to know them you understnd them ...i have been pulled over by a few jerks in my time im not speaking for every cop.. for instance I rear ended a women on time and was given a sobriety test and a brethalizer test..at 12:00 in the afternoon whn i was 17!!! then as i was sitting there on the curb HANDCUFFED my uncle drove by and whn he asked the cop what happen he told him, " this knuckledheaded kid was speeding and rear ended this old women." my unlce them told him that the Knucklehead was his nephew and i was Repeatdly appoligized to by the officer...So i to have been harrassed by police but i didnt hold a grudge i didnt drop names whn he first was interrogating me i sat there and took like any other citizen would have... all i'm saying is if you havent been one or dont know one personally you cannot judge them..for every 1 cop who is a D*&k there is 10 more who aren't

Jim in Mo.

Sexy Man,
So, since your related to cops you get specialized treatment? Also, you would like to be one of them but can't because of an accident? None of this helps your case only makes me see why some people think their Gods gift to the world as your name implies.
PS. The Gestapo was a brotherhood, did that make it ok?

Trae B.

I got pulled over not long ago because my truck matched the description of one that had been recently stolen almost perfectly. he told me to get out and said he doubts im the person but he still has to check me and then he asked if I had any weapons on me or im my truck and I said yes I have a Gerber in my pocket and a leatherman on my side he told me to take them out and set them on the truck he check me said I was good said sorry and be on your way.

Our Blogs