Interaction between police and License To Carry (LTC) holders can be a tense situation for both parties involved. Police officers are understandably wary of armed individuals. But we upstanding citizens can help relieve some of that tension by understanding the laws behind a lawful stop by a Texas peace officer.
- GC §411.205. Requirement to Display License
Under this law, an LTC holder is required to hand over both their state issued driver license, and their LTC at the same time when asked for identification by a peace officer.
This is a better way to let the officer know about your loaded weapon then shouting out the window as the officer walks up to your window, “Hey! I gotta gun!” Instead, say something to the effect: “Hello, officer. I have been issued a license to carry a concealed weapon, and am currently in possession of a loaded firearm.”
While there is currently no penalty established for failing to do this, it helps keep communication lines between you and the officer clear and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
- GC §411.207. Authority of a Peace Officer to Disarm
After the officer learns you have a firearm, they may decide to disarm you for the sake of safety. This is well within the law for the officer to do this, so don’t be surprised if they do decide to secure your gun for the duration of the traffic stop. Keeping your hands on the steering wheel where they are easily seen by the contact officer and his partner is especially important at this stage.
If the officer decides to disarm you, let them tell you exactly what they want you to do and repeat it back to them to ensure everything is clear. You might be told to exit the vehicle and face away from the officer to be disarmed, or the officer may direct you to remove and clear the firearm yourself. It depends on the officer and the situation. Comply and if you feel like you were treated unjustly, make a complaint to the officer’s superiors.
According to the Texas.gov site:
“The peace officer shall return the handgun to the license holder before discharging the license holder from the scene if the officer determines that the license holder is not a threat to the officer, license holder, or another individual and if the license holder has not violated any provision of this subchapter or committed any other violation that results in the arrest of the license holder.”
So, don’t do anything that will get you arrested, and you’ll get your gun back after the officer lets you go.
Listen here to the Concealed Carry Podcast to hear what Riley Bowman has to say about this topic in Episode 174: The Great Debate About Law Enforcement Interactions.
Check out US Law Shield for more information and legal defense for self defense.
I am not now, nor do I ever intend to become, a lawyer. Do your own research and speak with actual experts in applicable areas of law. Links provided to show where I researched this topic, and if you have any information that will help clarify or revise this article please leave a comment so it can be addressed.