As someone who was a police officer for a decade, I can honestly say that I paid little attention to state-specific Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) laws when traveling to different states. I hadn’t been ignoring state laws, though, as, due to LEOSA, I essentially had a CCW permit for all 50 states. It was great.

About two years ago I decided to take a different career path and left law enforcement. I hadn’t gone much of anywhere without a gun on my hip for the decade before that but my new career doesn’t even allow firearms on the property, let alone on your person. It really was a strange transition for me. Now, not only I do not carry a weapon for the majority of my time each day, but I can also no longer go in the LEO entrance at professional sports stadiums and I have to carefully consider each state’s (sometimes bizarre) concealed-carry restrictions. It sucks.

To make it even more confusing, I travel a lot and it seems that each state has a completely different set of standards concerning both knives and guns… and this is where you can quickly get yourself jammed up if you don’t pay close attention.

Being Polite Helps Too

As a police officer, I routinely made traffic stops in which people were legally carrying a concealed weapon. My standard interaction with said citizen usually went like this:

Citizen: “Good morning officer, I just want to let you know I have a concealed firearm on my hip.”

Me: “Sounds good to me. I’ll make you a deal, you don’t touch yours and I won’t touch mine.”

My statement was meant to cover a few bases. First, it lets them know that I understand they are armed and that I’m not freaking out about it. Second, it totally relieves the tension in the air that can be caused by telling a police officer you have a gun on your person. Finally, it gives them the head’s up that if they get crazy and try using theirs (super unlikely) then I’ll follow suit. If I can toot my own horn for a second, I really think it’s a great statement…

Additionally, I’d recommend being polite to the officer, even if they were a bit rude to you. If the officer is acting appropriately, your politeness or lack thereof shouldn’t change the outcome, but it could make your life a bit easier on that stop.