Yesterday I took the day off. We had a scheduled trip to the “local” aquarium that was about 2 hours away in the Great Smoky Mountains, TN. If you ever find yourself in that area, check out the Ripley's Aquarium. It's worth the price and one of the best on the east coast. Anyway, on the way to our destination, I was pulled over.
This was a legitimate pull over. I was speeding but hadn't seen the speed limit sign after merging onto that road. The result, is that I was going 55 in a 35. Totally ticket worthy. What follows is my experience.
I saw the motorcycle police officer pull a U-Turn, and I was in the passing lane. After I saw that he pulled up behind me, lights not yet on, I put my turn signal on and slid into the right lane in an attempt to let him pass me.
He didn't pass, and got behind me again. It was at this point when I knew I was getting pulled over. He flipped his lights on and I pulled off the road into a safe place with foot traffic.
I made the decision to tell him I was carrying, even though Tennessee does not require me to offer that information up. I do this as an experiment so I can write about it, even though there is the chance that my family's day could have been ruined. My first duty in this, is to you our reader.
He approached the driver's side door of our minivan (hey, we don't all fit comfortably in my truck) told me why he was pulling me over, and asked me why I was going so fast.
I told this officer in the Sevierville area that I have no excuse for speeding … I just didn't see the sign. He asked me for my driver's license and insurance card.
Before I handed him my cards, I showed him my North Carolina concealed carry permit and told him that I am carrying right now.
He asked me where the gun was. I told him where, and he replied with: just don't go for it and we'll be fine. He took my info back to his motorcycle. I could see in my rear view mirror that he was wrestling with his thoughts.
Does he write me a ticket or not?
He came back and I'll remember what he said to me for the rest of my life:
Thank you for telling me you were carrying. We need more people like you willing to protect their families. If there were more people who carried we wouldn't be in this mess. Have a good day.
It's in a quote, but I am paraphrasing his words as I don't remember them exactly.
Not only did he not write me a ticket, which he could have, but he thanked me for carrying a gun. In conclusion, I do believe that most police officers are on the side of the Second Amendment. Granted, there are bad apples everywhere and in all categories of work and life. I have cop friends who are FFLs, a few who teach permit classes, and others who are just as much a gun nut as I am.
That being said, I'm not sure I'd tell a police officer in Maryland or New Jersey that I had a gun on me, if I did in fact have a gun on me in one of those horrid states. So far, every police officer I've spoken to about the Second Amendment is pro gun and believes in the right of the citizen to self-defense. To me, that's promising.
That's just one example of the duty to inform. You'll have to decide if you will inform or not, and always make sure you know the laws in the states you're visiting.
I believe that it actually calms most police officers down because they, a lot of the time, think that everyone automatically lies to them. I told him I had my gun on me, so was truthful from the start.
And, I do believe that I would have received a speeding ticket had I not been carrying.
Jacob goes much further into the topic on the duty to inform, here. Also on that page is a map showing which states have the duty to inform. Finally, I knew the TN laws because each time I travel into a new state I check either the Concealed Carry App or our Legal Boundaries By State Book. I suggest you have both resources and check them regularly.
Leave your thoughts on this in the comments below. Would you tell a police officer that you were carrying if you weren't required to? Let us know.