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