Consider a routine traffic stop and assume the driver or the passenger has a firearm, legally obtained, and legally concealed.

Is there any obligation to reveal that they are carrying that firearm?

Also, should one disclose it of your own accord when you are in the following dilemma:

  • You have it on your person or nearby where instead of surprising the officer during the routine stop, you'd rather honestly disclose it

The disclosure is a double edged sword, if you do it may make the officer anxious, nervousness and trigger active.

On the other hand, if you don't and during the course of interaction some aspect having a firearm comes to light.

  • I suggest pruning this down to a legal question. The problem is fundamentally political, and we can't solve address that. But there are legal angles that you might focus on.
    – user6726
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 22:08
  • @Dawn Its 3:45 am where I am right now where I saw the video. Will try and update later when my head is more clear. User6726 - I am asking from the "lawful" interaction & actions point of view so that no legal bounds are broken
    – Alex S
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 22:18
  • 1
    This looks like a good summary: concealednation.org/2015/07/… 15 states: yes. 31 states: if asked. 2 states: no. 2 states: special case.
    – user3851
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 22:51
  • 1
    @Dawn you cut everything out. I'm not just asking legal obligation, I'm asking what's a good & legal due course of action for all parties in such situation to help prevent such incident.
    – Alex S
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 5:21
  • 1
    @Dawn - Not asking for legal courses of action. Just asking what is the proper procedure a person who is carrying firearms should follow to prevent an incident and remain legal & safe. I've seen enough Q&As on here that talk about how/ when & where to stop safely & legally when being pulled over - Here we add "licensed firearms" to the mix
    – Alex S
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 6:10

1 Answer 1


In South Carolina for example the law says

A permit holder must have his permit identification card in his possession whenever he carries a concealable weapon. When carrying a concealable weapon pursuant to Article 4, Chapter 31, Title 23, a permit holder must inform a law enforcement officer of the fact that he is a permit holder and present the permit identification card when an officer:

(1) identifies himself as a law enforcement officer; and

(2) requests identification or a driver’s license from a permit holder.

In Washington, on the other hand, the law simply requires a permit (or the gun must be locked in the trunk), and you have no obilgation to volunteer such information. Some states allow local options, e.g. NY generally has no duty to inform law but apparently Buffalo, Rochester and NYC do. It's pretty complex, because there is variation in exactly what laws say depending on whether the gun is loaded, or whether it is concealed, or in the trunk.

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