If you have a concealed carry permit, it is important to know the rights and responsibilities that come with it. Here, we are specifically addressing what to do if you are concealed carrying during a traffic stop. Iowa is not a “Duty to Inform” state. This means that you are not required to voluntarily inform the officer during a traffic stop that you are carrying a concealed weapon. You are required, however, to present your permit to carry if requested by an officer. Although this is the only requirement, there are other “Dos” and “Don’ts” to keep in mind if you find yourself in this situation.
During any traffic stop it is important to keep your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2, or on your lap if you are a passenger. Putting your window down as soon as you get stopped will prevent you from having to reach out of sight as the officer approaches your vehicle. When greeting the officer make eye contact and stay relaxed.
Although you are not required to inform the officer you are carrying, being upfront about it is also okay and may even make the stop easier. As long as you have a valid permit and are following the laws, concealed carrying is legal and therefore you have nothing to hide. If you choose to do so, provide the information during the initial greeting with the officer. Say something along the lines of “I have a concealed weapons permit and the weapon is on my person/in the car”. This conveys the information in a nonthreatening manner. Furthermore, if you do share the information, be open about where the weapon is located but keep it hidden unless asked.
Most importantly, listen to the officer’s instructions throughout your interaction.
Anytime you are pulled over, you should not be digging around when the officer approaches the car. Safety is everyone’s first priority and the officer will want to see your hands as he approaches the vehicle.
If you are informing the officer that you are carrying a concealed weapon, do not say “I have a gun”. This can sound threatening and does not convey that you are doing so safely and legally. Additionally, you should not reach for the gun or try to show it to the officer unless you are asked. The key is not to do anything that would jeopardize a feeling of security for either you or the officer.
Part of your responsibilities as a permit holder include the requirement that you carry your permit with you at all times you are carrying. Failure to produce your permit to carry at the request of an officer is a simple misdemeanor.
Consult a Lawyer
It is always best to contact an experienced attorney such as The Law Office of Raphael Scheetz anytime you have questions about criminal offense charges. Ray is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer with the knowledge and skill needed for interactions with the criminal justice system.