The Duty To Inform, Or Not – A Recent Pull Over Experience

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.

We spent a lot of time putting together this incredible resource for gun owners. The Concealed Carry Gun Tools App works with Android and iPhones and is completely free. It has a full legal rundown for every state's gun laws, reciprocity maps and so much more. Please consider checking it out.

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.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. Michael on August 16, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Inspiring, thanks for the report!

  2. Rodger Parrish on August 17, 2019 at 4:28 am

    I lived in the Newport TN area for 7 years. (Cocke county). My one neighbor was a TN state trooper, the other was a Captain with the county Sherriff’s office. Without exception their attitudes, mirrored your experience. And yes, I always inform, required or not. (Currently live in Ohio)

    • Brian on August 26, 2019 at 12:40 pm

      I have been stopped in TN, NC, OH and KY for a DOT inspection and each time I informed them before I made any moves with hands out the window. Each one was really nice to me and Thanked me for the info. The normal response is don’t pull yours and I won’t pull mine, I tell them heck of a deal!

  3. csummerlin44 on August 18, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Colorado doesn’t require an individual to tell LE you’re carrying, if contacted in any format. That being said, I’ve been pulled over twice and both times the officer was grateful for my honesty, and i made it a point to leave my left arm out of the window and my right arm on the steering wheel so they could visibly see my hands. I cant stress this enough. Leave your hands where they can see them and be honest about having a weapon on your person and that will go much further. Besides, once they run your license they will know your more than likely armed when your information shows up that you have a CCW.

  4. Yogi on August 18, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    I have a California CCW, an Arizona and a Utah CCW permits. I am required in California to inform. I am 99% sure I wouldn’t even bring a weapon into Maryland or New Jersey. Also I can’t see me even going to either of those anti second amendment states. I can; t even believe that those two were were part of the beginning of this great country. Thanks for the tip about researching where I am going!

    • John Ward on August 18, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      Texas requires a duty to inform immediately upon contact *if* you are carrying, and to present your LTC with your driver’s license. I’ve been stopped twice-very late at night- and I believe no ticket was issued either time because I was carrying. Granted, both were minor infractions that may have resulted in a warning ticket anyhow, but both officers thanked me for being up front and for carrying.

  5. JEFF SHEPARD on August 19, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Funny story…in 2016, I was working my Friday night shift in the Payson LDS temple, and left there at 10pm. I was wearing a suit, which pretty much showed where I’d come from that time of the evening. As I pulled onto the main road with nearly no traffic, I swerved a little to pull into a taco joint. Red lights came on behind me…cop thought he had a drunk driver. He told me I’d swerved, asked where I was and where I was going, told me that I had swerved, and asked if I’d been drinking. When I handed him my license, also handed him my CFP and told him I had 2 loaded handguns in the cab. He just looked at me and said, “Big deal, I have five in my car”.
    Now that was funny.

  6. LJ Corley on August 20, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Joshua,

    I have a Ohio CCW and was visiting my former home in Beaufort, NC. While driving to Beaufort through Morehead City I was pulled over for speeding much the same circumstances as you and having worked with Law Enforcement for eight years, I despise people who would not advise us of weapons in the car. In Ohio and NC it is advisable to inform the officer of the weapon and regardless of the law I think is proper to let the officer know of his playing field. The officer made the same comments that yours did.
    Appreciate your work

    • Joshua Gillem on August 20, 2019 at 5:36 pm

      Thank you!

    • JA Maass on August 25, 2019 at 5:49 pm

      LJ Corley: In Ohio, it is REQUIRED to notify, not just ‘advisable’.

  7. Jasper Riley on August 22, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Have as of yet to be stopped since having a concealed carry permit which I have had for 7 years. I know a number of law officers and have ever intention of showing it along with my drivers lic. Because of their advice and articles like yours.
    Prior to receiving my cc I also carried and would not have informed due to a couple of run ins with young hot dog officers which was straightened out by older mature officers.

  8. mitche on August 24, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    A year ago I was pulled over in Flagstaff, Arizona. It was a legitimate stop. I had just bought a new truck in Oklahoma and still had the new truck tag on it. The officer told me my tag had expired 2 weeks ago. I told him I’d just bought the truck 2 weeks ago. He went to the rear and read the fine print where the date on the tag in Oklahoma is the purchase date. He came back, told me that, then said most states had the expiration date on new truck tags. At that time I said to him something like, ‘I know I don’t have to tell you, but I want you to know I have an Oklahoma concealed carry permit and I am carrying.’ He replied, ‘Hell, this is Arizona. Everybody carries here. Have a good trip!’ Loved his response!

  9. Jeff Adcsret on August 25, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    What a fantastic story and training experience. It’s good to stick together and share our experiences. This will make us CCW types and America Stronger. Thanks!

  10. Jim on August 25, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    In PA, there is no duty to inform. But (huge “but” here), PA driver licenses have been synced with CCW license. So, as soon as the police run your driver license, they know you have a CCW.
    I have been instructing folks to always provide your driver license and inform the police officer whether you are carrying or NOT. This will put the officer at ease.
    Example: “Officer, I am licensed to carry a firearm, but I am not in possession of a firearm.” Or “Officer, I am licensed to carry a firearm and I do have a firearm. How would you like to proceed.” Then follow the officer’s instructions.

  11. Brian on August 25, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    I was pulled over on Ohio for speeding. Not carrying I did not inform the deputy. He comes back with my ticket and said that I should have informed him I was NOT caring. I’m pretty sure in Ohio you only need to inform if you are carrying. Anyway got a ticket for 75 in 55!

  12. Anthony Starn on August 26, 2019 at 5:25 am

    The original CCH law in Ohio also had a duty to inform if you are not armed. that was removed in the first revision. I still think it is a good idea since, if they run your plate they will get a “leads hit” which indicates a felony warrant or a CCH license but does not indicate which. Relieve the tension; windows down, hands on top of wheel, inform about CCH and if armed or not..

  13. Jason on August 27, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    My wife got pulled over for a bogus stop sign run because the police officer didn’t want to go after the person who ran it and threatened to arrest her for not informing him even though she wasn’t carrying at the time .

  14. Jim navotney on September 1, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    Eastern Tennessee LEOs are totally different than LEOs in Virginia.
    As a matter of fact having to drive through Virginia is one of big reasons i quit going to the Smokey Mountains.
    Virginia will fine you for having a radar detector or scanner in the car and they don’t honor most other states carry permits.
    And i have found Virginia to be a very progressive liberal state that hates guns and gun owners.
    I hiked the Tn mountains for many years carrying a 357 magnum for bears and nobody ever bothered me about it

  15. Terrance L Smith on May 10, 2022 at 8:28 am

    I live in Missouri. I operate a courier service for a local medical facility and as a result I put a lot of miles on my car each day. I have been stopped four times in 14 years. My first encounter with LE happened soon after Missouri’s concealed carry law went into effect; it was a legitimate stop, I was speeding. I informed the trooper that I was armed, his attitude quickly changed. Sternly, he told me to step out of my car, turn around and place my hands on the roof. He disarmed me, removed the magazine from my weapon, and removed all the cartridges from the magazine and the one from the pistol. He placed my weapon and the cartridges on the front seat of my car along with the magazine, and then directed me to join him in his cruiser. I didn’t get a ticket; however, after we were through with business I was instructed to not reload my weapon until after he departed. Not much trust demonstrated by the trooper.

    A few years latter during another stop by a Missouri trooper, I was flagged down at a random traffic check point. I was operating my vehicle lawfully. As the trooper approached, I rolled my window down being careful to keep my hands visible, I declared my concealed weapon. The trooper said, “Wow, that’s cool. What do you carry?” I told him, “I carry a G19 Gen3.” He replied, “I carry the same, you made a righteous choice.”

    A big difference in attitude over the years.

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