Most of us have experienced being stopped by the police for some minor traffic violation, but what if you have your license or permit to carry a handgun? Does this change how an officer handles the investigation? What about your firearm? Can they take your handgun from you just for speeding?
In our previous videos, we’ve discussed the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution: search warrants and their exceptions. Let’s explore if and when a police officer can disarm you during a traffic stop.
A police officer may legally search an arrested person or any place within a person’s immediate control for weapons and evidence of a crime. This wingspan rule is based on a concern for officers’ safety.
What About A Person Who Is Temporarily Detained For A Traffic Infraction?
In most states, a police officer can temporarily disarm a person during an official investigation. This is especially true in those states where you must immediately disclose that you have a concealed handgun license or permit at the beginning of a traffic stop.
When you’re stopped by police, if you have your license or permit to carry and your handgun is on your person or in your vehicle, your best option is to keep both hands on the wheel and let the officer know that you have a firearm.
Next, you want to follow their instructions. Some police officers will ask that you step out of the vehicle to locate the firearm, unload it, and keep it for the duration of the traffic stop. It should then promptly be returned to you. It is also common for a police officer to unload and potentially disassemble your firearm before returning it to you. Other officers may tell you, “Just keep your hands away from your firearm,” and continue with the routine traffic stop. This will depend on the state you are in and the temperament of the police officer.
Most of the time, your firearm is returned to you, but can an officer actually seize your weapon and take it back with them to the police station?
It depends. If the weapon itself is evidence of an alleged crime, then the gun will likely be seized, unloaded, bagged and tagged as evidence while you enjoy a ride back to the police station.
If your firearm is seized as evidence, will you get it back? Whether or not your firearm is returned to you at the end of your court case is going to depend on the outcome. Most states will not return a firearm once it is seized as evidence unless the case is dismissed or a jury finds a person not guilty of an alleged crime. Additionally, a court order to return the firearm may be required. In either scenario, the return can take years.
If you have any questions about whether a police officer can disarm you and seize your weapon, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
In Florida, when stopped for a traffic incident you put both hands on the wheel and advise the officer that you are licensed to carry a concealed weapon and that you have a firearm in the car/on your person.
In my experience the officer will advise you not to go near the firearm and will go on with the purpose of the traffic stop.
As long as you were not doing anything excessive like doing 100 mph or driving recklessly having the firearm in your position will not be a problem.
I have a question I was stopped in Texas today for a sticker being out of date on my vehicle and he asked to search the vehicle and my wife gave him consent because we didn’t have anything to worry about in the vehicle so the officer proceeded to search the car and then goes to my revolver and asks if it has a serial number and I said yes under the grip, you have to take the grip off to see it and he says okay and leans in the car to where I cant see him and steals my bullets out of my gun, plays with the cylinder for a second and puts it back where it was and comes to us and says “okay y’all are good to go get that sticker taken care of” I just wanted to know if it was legal for a police officer to steal my bullets from me and just not say anything about it and let me leave.
Police officer comfort is paramount for me. Especially now a days. Ive been stopped several times with weapon in tow. Once I come to a complete stop I take out my licenses’ role down my window and stick both hands out the window. If I have a passenger I tell them to grab the headrest behind them. My weapon was taken once for the duration of the stop. I might add, I was never given a speeding ticket.
That’s excessive of you and very paranoid.
I feel the fact that you have a concealed permit can put the officer at ease. He does need to do a background check to know your not a serious threat. If you are honest, that a nice start to the conversation.
During a traffic stop, (especially if you have tinted windows like we do here in Florida) it’s always a good idea to lower your side window in the back of car so police officer can see in back seat as he approaches, whether someone is in the back on not.
If stopped at night, turn interior light on so LEO can see the back seat and floorboard clearly. He/she will appreciate it.
I just wanted to know if an officer can legally take my firearm if I’m not under arrest. It appears not. I’ll check other sources for clarity. All I got here was a bunch of “Surrender your rights so the officer is comfortable harassing you.” I want to know what I’m legally free to do. Not how to make a scared officer less scared or what they’ll appreciate.
I just got my car towed and my gun taken I am not a felon my gun is registered to me the officer told me that he is taking it for his safety. I just bought the vehicle and had a friend doing a tune up for me and my firearm was in the vehicle.so when I went to get my car that morning I saw the officer parked across the street so I drove off as he floored his vehicle toward me I turned the corner pulled over and stepped out. He pulled up but went around me and kept on his way so me and my friend started cleaning the stuff I left in the car and put it in my trunk..so I had asked her did it run good or still funny feeling she gets in the driver’s seat and moves it from the street to the driveway .now here come MR OFFICER parks right behind me.calls for back up 5 other patrol cars .now this is Sunday morning round 830am he said my car showed up as nothing well I just purchased it as I explained but I have the title and registration I just have not changed it over to my name do to the covid o had to make an appointment..but my tags are good until 2022 so I know it has to came up he just said that so he could have a reason to stop me .but still I was parked in a parking spot in a apt.complx he gave me a ticket for no insurance no registration few others that totaled over 1000 dollars then he told me that they are going to tow it now because the girl is on scarf law I told him she is not driving still took it but as I walked away I remembered my gun so I said to the girl can she grab my bag and my sidearm they went crazy detained both of us the officer charged me with a misdemeanor but let me go on my own recognizance then said I have no felonies and I am legally allowed to have my weapon but he is keeping it for his safety and drove off..can anyone tell me what can I do..
Idiocy. Defeats one of the few primary purpose of snd the reasons for the 2nd Amendment.
That being, in case the ‘state’ get out of line and violate our rightful liberties all Willy nilly … because the enforcers are fearful that the citizen? What of the citizen’s concerns for his/he safety, and their child’s?
Or, are we all simply to subject ourselves to every demand from the state, and those who get fed by the state?
Are we a nation of subjects, or are we the land of the free?
There are reasons for the 2nd amendment. It should apply here; and some found framers would likely have said that it especially applies here.
When the government keeps multitudinous uniformed and armed soldiers patrolling our communities, and state licensed private security contractors also, then the everyday citizen also should retain their right to exercise our constitutionally protected right to bear arms.
It really is that simple. There better be better reason than a traffics stop to make it right for another armed man disarm me.
If that’s how it is, stop the traffic stop.
Perhaps if the officers were unarmed… if they kept their weapons away from their wingspan… then perhaps we can agree to keep our arms beyond our wingspan as well.
As it is. If we let the state disarm us so readily…
Your second amendment is already gone.
I was pulled over and arrested for a dui in Bloomington Illinois, officer asked if I had a weapon I say just the clip in side of door but I had forgot it was under passengers seat unloaded in it’s original case. Next morning I got out paid all fines got my truck no gun or clip and nothing about it on my paperwork , help , what can I do I’m from Kentucky
That’s excessive of you and very paranoid.