U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney James Phillips:
Almost every single one of us have had the unfortunate pleasure of driving down the road only to look up in the rearview mirror and see those blue lights. It's a moment we all dread.
Most CWFL holders, they find themselves in a dilemma on what should they do when the officer approaches their vehicle. The first option is you don't have to tell the officer that you have a firearm or a CWFL under Florida law, unless the officer asks. If he asks, you must disclose that you have a firearm. Now, of course, the downfall to this is if you don't tell them and you reach over to grab your registration or insurance card out of the glove box and he notices your firearm in your waistline, you're probably going to see his firearm. You have to keep in mind law enforcement officers are trained to observe things in the vehicle when they approach. Also in today's time with officers being a target, they're a little bit more sensitive about the issue.
The second option is when the officer approaches, you can hand them your CWFL along with your license. Now, if you go this route, you have to keep in mind that an officer can ask you out of the car. They can secure you in handcuffs and retrieve the firearm. They do not need a warrant to go into your vehicle to retrieve the firearm to secure it because of their officer safety.
Now, it has been my experience and the experience of many U.S. Law Shield members that when they provide their CWFL to the officer along with their driver's license, things usually go pretty smooth. First of all, when you do this, you are telling the officer that you're a law-abiding citizen and that you're going to cooperate with them.
Second, you're also letting them know you are not a convicted felon. So, you're not going to be a danger to them. This will immediately ease their tension and relax the situation. Now, again, understand that based on what officer pulls you over will dictate what they will do. Some will just say, hey, keep your hands where I can see them. Don't reach in the location of the firearm. Others may ask you to exit the vehicle so they can separate you from the firearm. Just know that this is something that could happen. You could get actually get the hypervigilant officer who actually wants to secure you to retrieve the firearm.
Again, in my experience when I've disclosed that I have a CWFL and a loaded firearm, the officers have been very forthcoming and, in essence, haven't written me a ticket. So, whenever you see those blue lights, decide what you want to do, go with it and be careful.
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