Concealed Carry and Law Enforcement

As a cop, how do you feel about other people carrying guns?” This question is asked with the expectation that responses will be negative, thinking that officers don’t want other people carrying guns. This question is often asked of law enforcement. Many people make the assumption that police do not want people carrying guns and would prefer them not to get a concealed carry license, or License to Carry for Texas.

This could not be farther from the truth. The majority of officers are strong supporters of the second amendment and want everyone to legally possess and carry firearms when possible.

It is unfortunate, and happens too often, when a victim of a crime is not able to defend themselves. Whether it’s someone that is robbed, assaulted, or even killed, the victim always seems to be a person that is not able to defend themselves from the attacker. Police wish the victim was armed and capable of defending themselves! I do realize there are many other methods of self defense as well, but for now we are just talking about guns. Can you image if the majority of people had their LTC and carried a handgun? Violent crime would decrease because these people would be capable of defending themselves.

In 2018, 342,083 licenses were issued in Texas for the LTC. This is up from 293,751 in 2017. As of the end of 2018, there are 1,362,942 active licenses. Hopefully these numbers continue to increase. https://www.dps.texas.gov/rsd/LTC/reports/demographics.htm

August 4th, Titusville Florida, is a recent perfect example of a concealed carry holder using a firearm for self defense. Over 100 people were at a park for a back to school cookout when a man, who had been in a fist fight earlier, returned to the park with a gun. Only minutes later, he started shooting and a license to carry holder then shot the gunman. The gunman was the only person injured.  Just think if the license to carry holder had not been there to stop the shooter. A police response can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes for a critical incident, if not longer in some cases. That is plenty of time for a gunman to shoot multiple people. With more license to carry holders, hopefully shootings would be stopped quicker. Making guns illegal, or having “gun free zones” never prevent a criminal from being a criminal. These restrictions just prevent law abiding citizens from being able to protect and defend themselves when necessary.

Every person who carries a gun needs to practice and train, then practice and train some more. It is terrifying to think that passing the License to Carry / Concealed Handgun License qualification leads people to believe that they are proficient  and trained to carry a gun. Just because you have the license does not mean you should be carrying a gun. It would be the same as saying that because you were able to get a drivers license, you should start racing NASCAR without extra practice or training. Besides the fact that NASCAR does have additional requirements, it would be irresponsible to think you could race.

The License to Carry class covers interactions with police officers and how to act. This is definitely important and there are a few key points to remember that will make police feel more relaxed during the interaction. The first thing is to always give the officer your LTC/CHL license during a stop whether you are carrying a gun or not. Government Code states that you are only required to provide it to the officer if you are actually carrying a gun. So my advise is strictly just a recommendation, nothing that is mandatory. The officer will find out if you have an LTC or not when they run your information through dispatch. It is better for them to find out from you that you have a license, but are not carrying a gun, than to hear it from dispatch and then not know if you actually have a gun or not.

Next is not to store the handgun in the same location as your insurance card. It is fine to have the pistol in your glove box or center console, you don’t even need an LTC for this. But when it is in the same location as something you will need during the traffic stop, be sure to let the officer know before opening the compartment. More than likely, the officer will have you step out of the vehicle and the officer will retrieve the item for you. They may even take the pistol, unload it, and put it in the trunk. This is standard procedure for many departments and is legal for police to do.

Lastly, if pulled over at night or during the day and you have very dark tinted windows, roll your windows down and turn interior dome light on once pulled over. After doing this, don’t start digging for paperwork in the car, just keep your hands on the steering wheel until instructed to do something by the officer. This will all make the officer feel more comfortable and relaxed during the stop, which will hopefully lead to a warning, not a ticket!