Riding Shotgun in Your Own Vehicle with Other Passengers and a Firearm.
What do you do if your passengers are not concealed carriers and you get pulled over? Is the driver accidentally armed because of you and they cannot legally carry? What can you do to prevent a situation from getting out of control when authorities are involved?
If you’re a parent and your child just got their driving permit, it’s kind of exiting and scary at the same time. Your little one is growing up and will soon be graduating from high school. Your new responsibility is to sit in the passenger side and try to remain calm while teaching them the rules of the road. You just handed the controls over to your child who will be maneuvering around the concrete jungle of unknown situations and trying not to be a target of those aggressive drivers on the road. Plus you want to avoid getting into an accident. What an exciting time for you and your loved one.
Or maybe you and your friends are going on a trip where you have to switch drivers and one is legally armed. So where is your firearm? Do you normally have it holstered on the driver side attached to the vehicle since you can’t draw from your hip due to the seat belt? So what do you do if your driver is not a concealed carrier or have little to none experience with using a firearm as self-defense and the pistol is right next to them?
Imagine that you pull over to switch drivers and left your firearm strapped underneath your steering wheel. You’re tired and decide to lay down in the back seat or just ride on the passenger side. Things are going smoothly, then you hear the sirens. You’re getting pulled over and your passenger has a firearm between their legs. The state trooper comes to your window, the driver knows nothing about protocol when it comes to firearms and informing law enforcement. A permit is required and they do not have one. The officer sees the firearm between the legs and he has not been informed of it and it is the law in that state to do so. This can turn into a real dicey situation, especially if the driver’s hands are near the firearm and may make a move that the officer may take defensive reaction to.
It’s not going to be a good day for anyone at this point and it can get deadly.
As responsible firearm owners, we need to continue playing scenarios in our minds, especially when it comes to situational awareness. But we also need to take it a step further and not become complacent, but think about where your firearm is at all times and what situations can happen when its not in your possession. I know people get tired, but firearms should be on the top of your tired list and getting sleep is second on that list. Safety first.
Don’t leave a firearm unattended. Maybe you are with your child when they have their drivers permit, they get pulled over and that smoke wagon is near them. That’s a real bad situation. It looks like to the officer that the firearm is in their possession and they are under the legal age limit. This can go from bad to worse in seconds. As a responsible firearm owner, you should come up with alternative solutions. You may have to have two vehicle holster locations if you will be the passenger in your own vehicle. One on the driver side and one on the passenger. Or you have it on you while the other passenger is driving. All vehicles and possible situations will be different. You’re going to have to be prepared.
If you are a passenger (not the driver) and get pulled over while you are armed, depending on state law, you will have to show your ID and your permit (if state requires a concealed carry permit) along with the drivers. Be smart about this and be calm. If you’re a passenger that is armed, you get pulled over, have that ID ready and your hands on the dashboard in plain sight or on the head rest of the chair in front of you if you are in the backseat. Keep your hands in view at all times and far away from your firearm. Be prepared with your ID and not searching for it while the officer is at the window. The officer does not know your intentions and may misinterpret.
Always plan ahead and be aware of what’s going on around you. This is for the safety of all people including the officer coming to your window. Follow the law and if you don’t understand it, talk to an attorney. Be prepared before you get in that vehicle with other passengers, not trying to come up with solutions while on the road.
Be safe out there, be the responsible firearm owner and always follow the “Concealed Carry Creed”!!
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