This is a classic from Police One by Ron Avery on dealing with armed civilians with carry licenses.


Dealing with citizens legally carrying a concealed weapon

With 48 of our 50 states allowing some form of CCW permit, the possibility of encountering a law-abiding, pro-law enforcement person carrying a gun is significant, and growing

by Ron Avery

As the ‘right to carry’ spreads across the United States, many law enforcement agencies and police officers express their unease — and for some, outright alarm — at the idea of citizens carrying concealed weapons.

In an effort to disseminate useful information that would be of benefit to law enforcement, let me talk about this issue from both sides of the fence so to speak.

As a former law enforcement officer, I have had to address concealed carry issues as part of my regular duties. In Colorado, where I live, guns are as natural a part of life as putting on your pants and hat. It is not uncommon to see a rifle or shotgun in the rifle rack in the back of any pickup truck window.

I live in one of the best parts of the country for deer and elk hunting. Come hunting season and we have literally thousands of hunters coming to Colorado to hunt. I never worried about contacting individuals where the guns were in plain sight. Without fail, the people contacted were forthright and honest in their manner and deeds. When I would ask if they had any handguns, they would tell me where they were and what they had.

Philosophically, I support the right to carry for anyone who can exercise the responsibility for proper care and awareness. I have found, by and large, that citizens who do carry concealed are very pro-law enforcement and would be very willing to come to your aid if you were in the middle of a fire fight. This can be good and bad but I try never to forget that they are supporters of law enforcement, not felons. This is a BIG difference.

Here are some thoughts to share with your personnel when they have to contact citizens who may be carrying concealed.

• People who have gone through the process of getting a concealed carry permit are, in general, law abiding citizens, not felons.
• Do not expect them to know the letter of the law or the interpretations of the law in various districts—they will have a general idea what the law states
• IF THERE IS PROBABLE CAUSE to treat someone who may be carrying a concealed weapon as an armed criminal, by all means do so — however, when you make a contact with a CCW, proning them out wouldn’t be my first option without digging a little deeper

Here are some more thoughts to consider.

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Photo by Oleg Volk.