Ask MC – That Medic has a Gun!!

I bet a ton of my EMS First Responder friends just freaked out a bit at the post title.  Not to worry, my paranoid medic friends, today’s Ask MC comes from one of your own.  He hails from my home state…you’re welcome for not launching into LL Cool J’s “I’m going back to Cali”.

I got an email from a fellow first responder that got to see things from quite the different side of the coin.  I’ll let him explain:

Hey MC,

It’s Sean from MedicMadness.com. A few months ago I had a rather scary encounter with the local police department. They showed up at my house sometime between 3 and 4am looking for someone that wasn’t here. As it turns out, they were given the wrong address. Where the real problem came in, was when I heard people pounding on my front door and moving around in my side yard. In my mind, the ONLY people that could possibly be at my house at this time was somebody trying to do harm. It never occurred to me that it was the police. I armed myself and had the kids go in the back room with my wife. When one of the officers spotted me with a firearm, they all pointed their guns at me and you can probably imagine where it went from there. Fortunately I followed every command and cooperated to the fullest extent. Once they disarmed me and the waters settled, then both parties realized that they were at the wrong house. They returned my gun and apologized for the incident.

Nobody got hurt and I wasn’t upset with them. Working in EMS, I have shown up to the wrong address on several occasions, so I understand the feeling. However, I got to thinking about how I could better handle myself in the future should I ever find myself in that situation again.  I regularly carry a concealed firearm (I’m one the fortunate few here in California with a license) and I am required by law to inform any officer that I come in professional contact with that I am armed. In the event that I get pulled over, stopped for questioning, witness a crime, etc, how do you think would be the best way for me to inform the officer? And what kind of response should I expect from the officer?

I’m loving the blog and the show. Keep up the good work!

Sean

Wow!  First off, I’m glad no one shot you!  I’m am equally happy that you didn’t shoot anyone!  Sounds like cool heads prevailed from start to finish in your incident.  Whew…

Now, to your question.  Like most things I espouse, the best way to approach these situations is two-fold: honesty and common sense.  Why the distinction?  The honest approach is easy.  You want to tell me you have a gun.  I can dig that.  It’s the common sense part that is key.  Jumping up and down screaming, “I’ve got a gun!  I’ve got a gun!” isn’t the best approach.  May I suggest (with hands clearly in view): “Officer, just so you are aware, I’m licensed to carry a concealed firearm and I have it on my person.”  Then roll with what the cop says.  He/she will have some questions for you.  They will probably be along the lines of the following:

1.  Where is the gun now?

2.  Where is your CCW permit?

3.  Will you please step from your vehicle slowly and place your hands on your head?  (You may or may not have a gun pointed at you at this point).

Then the officer will more than likely disarm you, may very well handcuff you, and then will go about confirming the CCW.  This is all assuming you’re dealing with a level-headed, experienced officer.  If the officer is a little more tightly wound, if I were you, I would be as calm as they are distressed and adhere to every order they give.

I have stopped folks before that have guns on their person.  I have never had any issues.  There are usually two kinds of people that keep their hands on the steering wheel: cops and cons.  Typically, it’s pretty easy to tell them apart.  You are in a minority…those that can carry concealed.  So long as you are slow and deliberate with your mannerisms (and keep them to a minimum), you shouldn’t have any issues dealing with an officer.  I would keep that CCW close at hand at all times.  I imagine I don’t have to tell you that, though.

Thanks for the question, Sean!  And for the rest of you, give Sean a visit at the link above!

Until the next question arises…

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

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7 thoughts on “Ask MC – That Medic has a Gun!!

  1. Dude-

    I have read only a few of your posts but I feel like I am learning all kinds of new things. I never thought I would enjoy reading a blog chronicling the adventures of a cop. Why? It never even occurred to me. But this is totally interesting and I am pretty sure stuff like this will come in handy in the future. Keep ’em coming!

    • Thank you, sir! Always good to reach a new reader! More importantly, it’s nice to show folks that there’s a human behind the badge.

  2. MC, I think that there’s a third type of person who keeps his hands on the wheel when stopped — somebody who appreciates the difficulties of what you do and doesn’t want to add to them. (And yes, I do have an ulterior motive as well.) At night, I put the gearshift in Park, turn on all the cabin lights, roll down the windows (the passenger ones are tinted) and put my hands on the wheel to wait for the officer to come up. “May I have your license, proof of insurance and registration, sir?” Certainly. My license and insurance are in my wallet; may I get them for you? When he/she nods, one gently gets out the wallet, extracts the documents (making absolutely certain that the emergency money kept with them does NOT get offered!) and returns the left hand to the wheel. The right then points at the passenger door well where the documents case is kept, and says ‘the registration is there; may I get it?’ Again, moving gently, one gets the registration out, hands it over and returns both hands to the wheel. This is frankly just common sense, and ought to be taught as part of all driver education courses.
    Now if the officer observes all this and wants to assume I’m also some sort of LE professional, that’s probably okay — depending, of course, on what he/she stopped me for. And if my courtesy earns me a bit of slack, I certainly won’t complain. I have to admit, though, I never thought that I might be taken for a con in such a scenario, so I’ve learned something new.
    Thanks for your posts, and to the Wife for posting links to them on FB, which is how I found out about your blog.

  3. “Then the officer will more than likely disarm you, may very well handcuff you, and then will go about confirming the CCW”

    MC, is the cuffing SOP? Seems to me that once the person is disarmed that is a bit much. What is the rational for cuffing someone in a situation that you wouldn’t normally cuff someone if they were not armed and a CCW permit holder? I hate to arm chair quarterback something like this, so forgive me if that’s what it seem like I’m doing.

    • Totally legit questions, Randy. I included the “may” as a possibility; however, for officer safety, it is completely within the realm of possibility and dependent upon the set of circumstances. If a person has one weapon, it is not illogical to presume another may exist. For everyone’s safety, handcuffing is certainly in the toolbox that will allow a safe and simple resolution. In my experience, those that follow the law and have nothing to hide are more than willing to follow instructions and are very eager to cooperate.

      Thanks for the follow up question!

  4. Being a fed inspector myself, I try to treat any LEO as I want to be treated – respectfully and without surprises for anyone concerned – I don’t appreciate grief at my job and I don’t think anyone else does either.
    Learned the “hands-on-wheel-and-speak-reasonably” from my 2 BIL cops – remarkably, politeness generates politeness. Not that you would expect reasonableness to get you out of tickets – but it has for minor caca in the past.

    Nice blog, BTW. Love to see other viewpoints and you qualify….