Refresher: police contact

Via the Washington CCW email list from Joe Waldron:

This topic hasn’t been discussed in a few years, so a refresher might be in order.

Washington does NOT have a “notify the officer you are carrying” requirement when in contact with the po-leece (usually initiated by them).

A general rule of thumb when dealing with ANY bureaucrat, and cops are bureaucrats, is to never burden them with unnecessary information. Bottom line: why complicate issues?

However (there’s ALWAYS a “however…”)

If the officer asks you to step out of the car, or in some other way might become aware of the fact that you are armed, prudence indicates you inform him/her that you are legally armed (“Officer/trooper, I have a concealed pistol license and I am carrying.”) Then follow whatever directions he/she gives you. They have no real reason to disarm you, but the courts will back him/her up for “officer safety” reasons. (Never mind the fact that most cops only have knowledge of THEIR issue pistol, and no knowledge of how to properly clear yours.)

Cops don’t like surprises, and at the top of that list is surprise guns.

Ditto being the first to call 9-1-1 if an incident occurs. The first one to call the cops is the one with credibility. All too often, a motorist legitimately draws/displays a firearm when another motorist is playing road rage. Incident ends. Gunnie reholsters and goes on about his/her business. Another “save” in the Guns Save Lives category. Followed a few hours later by a knock at the door (or a few minutes later by flashing blue lights), and an arrest for brandishing, or even Assault 2. (Yeah, that’s a felony.) Road rage scumbags ALWAYS feel offended and call the cops.

Rule #1: Never surprise an officer, especially with a gun.

Rule #2: Always be the first to dial 9-1-1.

Yeah, I know, it bothers me sometimes, too. And there IS this thing called the Bill of Rights (which is pretty well protected in Washington, as compared to many other states). But complying with the rules avoids aggravation and headaches. And sometimes worse afflictions.

When in doubt, pony up the $11 or so and get Dave Workman’s “Washington Gun Rights and Responsibilities.” And pay special attention to the “responsibilities” part. It’s the cheapest gun rights insurance policy you can buy.

Joe W former WSP dispatcher
16 year gun lobbyist
legislative chair, CCRKBA, WAC & FLSSA


3 thoughts on “Refresher: police contact

  1. Cool, I never knew that Washington didn’t fall under the “notify the fuzz of a concealed carry” law.

    One of the first questions the police asked me when they pulled me over for speeding was if I had any weapons on me, to which I answered truthfully that I had a folding knife on my right hip, below my motorcycle pants, in a sealed holder. He was fine with that and said I didn’t have to worry about it.

  2. When I was purchasing my handgun a few months ago, the store owner, and former local judge and weapons training professional, told us about some idiot police officer who, when the driver told him he was legally armed, called for back-up. That shouldn’t happen, but it can and does, so your advice is well given.

  3. This is too precious not to comment on it.

    “All too often, a motorist legitimately draws/displays a firearm when another motorist is playing road rage.”

    Why show someone your best china if you don’t intend to let them eat off of it? Isn’t that like “Bragging”? Show the stupid little braggarts your disdain by blowing that firearm right out of their fingers. Road rage? I’ll show you road rage.

    Displaying a firearm only works as long as the majority of the driving public doesn’t own firearms. As more and more of the public start carrying firearms, displaying a firearm is going to be seen as a threat — and should be treated as a threat. You show me your firearm, I’ll show you my skill as a sharpshooter — or maybe not. Maybe I’ll just show you my bullets I cannot control that well.

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