What are concealed carry permit holders supposed to do in the event of a traffic stop?

Posted at 6:42 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 13:25:42-04

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said concealed carry permit holders in the state are required to keep their “hands in plain sight” during a traffic stop and must promptly inform the officer of the presence of a gun. 

The gun permit laws were put under the spotlight after a high-profile, officer-involved shooting involving a Minnesota man Wednesday who was allegedly reaching for his permit to carry a gun, according to his girlfriend. 

“He let the officer know that he had a firearms and he was reaching for his wallet,” the woman alleges in a Facebook video streamed immediately following the shooting. 

Philando Castile was a licensed gun permit holder in the state of Minnesota. 

While it’s not clear exactly what led up to the shooting and aftermath depicted in the viral Facebook video, the officer can be heard in the video saying, “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hands off of it.” 

Castile was not required by Minnesota law to notify the officer of his permit or his gun. 

It’s a contrast to Ohio law, which requires permit holders to “promptly” notifying an approaching officer of a concealed carry weapon. 

The requirement also extends to any other occupants in the car and failure to comply can result in an arrest and misdemeanor charges. 

Sgt. Rob Gable, Assistant Post Commander of the Cleveland Metro Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, told that the biggest concern is for drivers and occupants to keep their hands in plain sight.

“When someone says they have a weapon and then they start reaching for things, that becomes an area of concern for us,” Sgt. Gable said. 

While officers routinely run licenses plate numbers to check for CCW permits, Gable pointed out that permit holders are not always driving their own vehicles. 

“Honesty is your best practice,” said CCW class instructor Todd Karam, who owns Cleveland Armory.

Karam said he tells his students to keep their hands out or on the steering wheel and only to reach for a permit or license if they are instructed to do so. 

“If you’re very clear, keep your hands calm and in a safe place you should have no reason to scare an officer,” he said. 

The majority of states have laws that require gun permit holders to inform an approaching officer when asked. Some states have requirements only for certain counties or municipalities.