What's new

One for our LEOs . . . and CCW holders

"I was the first backup car on scene and drove into a mess that consisted of a woman screaming “rape”, a guy wearing sweat pants with a badge in his hand, a uniformed police officer, and an unknown man holding a gun. Several of these characters were fighting on the ground in the middle of a busy four-lane road."

A Cautionary Tale for CCW Permit Carriers

Greg Ellifritz is a police officer and firearms trainer. His blog is excellent.
 

simon1

Self Ignored by Vista
Great post. That is something anyone who carries a firearm needs to think about.

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to do EXACTLY what the cops tell you to do, when they say to do it, and how they say to do it.

But situations like that are fluid and unpredictable.
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
Great post Mark. While Greg Ellifritz, is a Firearms Instructor with excellent credentials and work history, it's good to know, that he isn't telling that story to scare off CCW's from helping people, because they don't know all the circumstances. In fact, he states his reason is the exact opposite in his last paragraph; and I quote,

"I’m glad this story has a happy ending."

"I’m also glad that the CCW permit holder tried to stop what he thought was a violent crime in progress."


"Let’s use this story as a way to improve all of our tactics and training so that more criminals are apprehended and fewer good guys are mistakenly shot."

This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Concealed Carry Magazine. Concealed carry has been the law of the land in most states, for over the last 20 years. I wonder what the percentages are, of good guys who have been mistakenly shot by intervening CCW's, who were trying to do the right thing?

I'm sure it has probably happened; sometime, somewhere, but how much or often? Statistically speaking? And, what of the ratios of successful interventions by CCW's, compared against the unsuccessful incidents?

Makes one think doesn't it?
 
I'm sure it has probably happened; sometime, somewhere, but how much or often? Statistically speaking? And, what of the ratios of successful interventions by CCW's, compared against the unsuccessful incidents?

Makes one think doesn't it?

You probably heard about this one.

Although the FBI hasn't exactly covered itself in glory in the last few years, they keep exquisite crime stats. But none on CCW interventions (successful or unsuccessful) or CCW holders shot by police. However, if you search on it you'll find dozens of instances of successful interventions and a few unsuccessful ones.

I'm glad I'm not a police officer for a whole host of reasons, but with concealed-carry increasing as it is--17 million of us at last count, not counting the dozen or so states that don't require a permit--I'd hate to drive up to a call featuring multiple people with firearms with no way of knowing who the good guys are.

Better training of CCWs on what to do when the police arrive would help, but as we all know, most CCWs won't be getting that training anyway.
 
Better training of CCWs on what to do when the police arrive would help, but as we all know, most CCWs won't be getting that training anyway.

The converse is also true. There needs to be more training of LEOs as well. Currently many departments are using the command "GUN!" as a signal to commence firing. The 12/2 episode of Gun Talk had a whole discussion about this issue. This has ended tragically in some cases where good guys with guns are shot by other good guys with guns.

Personally I see concealed carry as something I do to protect my loved ones. I am not currently trained as an LEO (I stopped doing that job in the early 90s) and am certainly not qualified. I think each CWP/CCW holder has to think through what he/she will do in many situations, oftentimes the correct answer is to leave the scene (not speaking to the scenario in the article).
 
Personally I see concealed carry as something I do to protect my loved ones.

+1

I think each CWP/CCW holder has to think through what he/she will do in many situations, oftentimes the correct answer is to leave the scene (not speaking to the scenario in the article).

On the other hand, two or three times in the last year alone a CCW permit holder has potentially saved a police officer's life by intervening.
 
Yeah. God forbid it's ever necessary, but if I ever need to shoot anyone, I will DEFINITELY be putting my pistol back in my IWB holster or wherever IMMEDIATELY afterward. And then proceeding to look as non-threatening as possible. I would think sitting down and putting my hands on my head would be a good move.

While I totally understand and feel for the CCW good citizens who get mistakenly shot by police officers, I think many of them do some things they could do differently and better. Got to look at things from the officers' sides as well. When they arrive on a scene where an active shooter or similar has been reported, they are expecting high threat level, and if they're seeing something that could easily be mistaken for a threat, I'm sure that many - in the heat of the moment - are apt to shoot first and ask questions later. And really, it's hard to blame them. Nobody wants to go home in a body bag.

I had an experience once related to this subject. I used to commute about 30 miles to a fairly high crime area, and carried a pistol with me to work. I had my CCW permit of course. One night on my way to work, I happened to be slightly exceeding the speed limit - maybe 42/35 or something. Got pulled over. Had a pair of pants on that weren't conducive to my normal IWB holster so just had my pistol in my jacket pocket. Reached over to grab my registration from the glove box and next thing I knew I had a gun pointed at my head and a screaming officer telling me "Don't move, keep your hands where I can see them!"

So of course I froze, just like he said. Officer informed me that he noticed the pistol in my pocket when I leaned and my pocket flared - did I have a permit? Yup, sure did. I asked if I could lean back and sit upright - nope. He said "We're going to wait right here until my backup comes." So we did. At which point the gun stayed pointed at me and the backup opened the door and removed my pistol from my pocket. And I got handcuffed. As I was trying to be as cooperative as possible, I then consented to a search of my car. They did so, then called in my license etc. and had my CCW checked.

After all of that, they uncuffed me, unloaded my pistol (I mean fully unloaded - bullets OUT of the magazine) and placed it in the trunk. I got let go with a warning for 42/35 and not much else. The phone call to work explaining why I was going to be late was fun.

Anyway, could they have done things a little better and less dangerously? Sure - for instance the officer's pistol definitely didn't need to be pointed right at my head the whole time. But I don't hold it against them.
 
Last edited:
@eKretz, Like you, I don't blame police officers for being extra cautious at a traffic stop, given that such stops are among the most dangerous things they do.

For any traffic stop, but especially for CCW holders, the advice I've been given by a couple of officers is:
1. Turn the car off
2. Roll down your window
3. Turn the dome light on
4. Put your hands up on the steering wheel where the officer can see them
5. Leave your seatbelt on.
6. If you need to access the glove box or whatever to get your papers ready, tell the officer what you need to do and ask permission.
7. Follow every instruction from the officer promptly.
8. And--sorry for this--under no circumstances give permission for a search of your car.

I assume that whenever I'm stopped in my own state that my CCW will come up on the officer's computer. So I follow this advice:


This happened to me once--45 in a 35 in the dead of night. I handed the officer my license to carry along with my driver's license. We had the conversation:

Officer: Sir, I see you are licensed to carry, are you carrying tonight?
Me: Yes, I am.
Officer: Where is the gun located?
Me: Behind my right hip at four o'clock in an inside-the-waistband holster.
Officer: Okay, please leave it where it is and keep your seatbelt on.

I kept my hands on the wheel while he was running my license and plate.

That was it. I got a warning, I think in part, because the officer (a young sherrif's deputy) could sense that I was trying to make the whole process as comfortable as I possibly could. Since I was pretty sure that he would see my CCW on his computer, I knew that we were going to have that conversation at some point anyway, so might as well have it first and see what he needed me to do about it. He could have told me to get out of the car, disarmed me, and put me in cuffs for the duration of the stop, and that's fine, too: whatever makes him or her comfortable.

I should note that in my state, as a CCW holder, I am not required to inform the officer that I'm carrying, but I think it's a good idea to do so.
 
Last edited:
Yes it's the same in my state. I really didn't mind the search of the car personally because I don't really do anything of concern in that respect and at the time I was thinking it might ease the situation a bit. Definitely didn't want the officers finger getting nervous. If I didn't have a gun in my face I probably would not have consented because I was going to be late for work. And even had I not consented I'm guessing they probably would have used the pistol as an excuse regardless. And I definitely already follow the point by point list. If I get pulled over I always have the window down and hands at 10 and 2 very visible. Always notify them if I am going to reach for my wallet or anything also and say "Is that alright?"

Many of the shootings we see on tv and in the news, folks are NOT cooperating in such a fashion. When there's a nervous officer holding a pistol, it's NOT the time to be a defiant smartass.
 
My general rule is caution overrules requirements. Even if I am not required to announce that I have a license and am armed I rather do that then have the officer see or sense a threat and react.
 
On the other hand, two or three times in the last year alone a CCW permit holder has potentially saved a police officer's life by intervening.

It is probably better that we avoid that conversation. I will simply say all the negative hype regarding concealed carriers has proven false. More law abiding than any other subset of citizens (including LEOs). I take my responsibilities very seriously and regularly train.

So I follow this advice:

Tom and Massad are two of the best, love this video. I never announce and simply hand my permit over with my license. Virginia is not a shall inform state. I also keep my license, registration and insurance within an arm's reach. I do not want to be digging through anything while stopped.
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
You probably heard about this one.

Although the FBI hasn't exactly covered itself in glory in the last few years, they keep exquisite crime stats. But none on CCW interventions (successful or unsuccessful) or CCW holders shot by police. However, if you search on it you'll find dozens of instances of successful interventions and a few unsuccessful ones.

I'm glad I'm not a police officer for a whole host of reasons, but with concealed-carry increasing as it is--17 million of us at last count, not counting the dozen or so states that don't require a permit--I'd hate to drive up to a call featuring multiple people with firearms with no way of knowing who the good guys are.

Better training of CCWs on what to do when the police arrive would help, but as we all know, most CCWs won't be getting that training anyway.

As police officers, we do this dozen's of times a year. Driving up on people with guns and not knowing who the bad or good guys are, is common practice for us. There is no difference in an police officers training, that really, would make much difference for a good guy with a CCW or a good guy, with no-CCW.

When an incident/call goes out with multiple people with firearms. The main directive of the officers responding to that call, will be to "gain control of the situation" regardless of the who's, where's, what's and why's.

If the bad guy doesn't follow commands and points their gun? They will most likely be shot by the officers. If a good guy with a CCW or without, doesn't follow commands and points their gun? They will most likely be shot by officers.
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
+1

On the other hand, two or three times in the last year alone a CCW permit holder has potentially saved a police officer's life by intervening.

And if it was me laying there getting donkey stomped, I would definitely be thankful for ANY and ALL help. But that's just me... :)
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
I had an experience once related to this subject. I used to commute about 30 miles to a fairly high crime area, and carried a pistol with me to work. I had my CCW permit of course. One night on my way to work, I happened to be slightly exceeding the speed limit - maybe 42/35 or something. Got pulled over. Had a pair of pants on that weren't conducive to my normal IWB holster so just had my pistol in my jacket pocket. Reached over to grab my registration from the glove box and next thing I knew I had a gun pointed at my head and a screaming officer telling me "Don't move, keep your hands where I can see them!"

So of course I froze, just like he said. Officer informed me that he noticed the pistol in my pocket when I leaned and my pocket flared - did I have a permit? Yup, sure did. I asked if I could lean back and sit upright - nope. He said "We're going to wait right here until my backup comes." So we did. At which point the gun stayed pointed at me and the backup opened the door and removed my pistol from my pocket. And I got handcuffed. As I was trying to be as cooperative as possible, I then consented to a search of my car. They did so, then called in my license etc. and had my CCW checked.

After all of that, they uncuffed me, unloaded my pistol (I mean fully unloaded - bullets OUT of the magazine) and placed it in the trunk. I got let go with a warning for 42/35 and not much else. The phone call to work explaining why I was going to be late was fun.

Anyway, could they have done things a little better and less dangerously? Sure - for instance the officer's pistol definitely didn't need to be pointed right at my head the whole time. But I don't hold it against them.

Interesting experience and story @eKretz. I bolded the portion of where you said, "things that could have been done differently." After reading your story, I couldn't help but think, if you would have just informed the officer right off at the beginning of the traffic stop, that you in fact had a gun on your person, would have things possibly be different? Like for example, he wouldn't have had a gun pointed at your head?

I understand, your state isn't a "shall inform" state. But just because it isn't, the question is, would have still deciding to inform that officer, completely changed that scenario?

Where should the officer of pointed his gun at you, besides your head; that would have made the situation, or your feelings about it any better?

Should the officer have done something different, "not knowing" you had a gun? Or, should you have done something different, "knowing" you had a gun?

The state said you don't have to inform, so you didn't; and got a loaded gun pointed in your ear.

You are correct, the officer did something dangerous by pointing his gun at your head. But it would still be just as dangerous, if he had pointed his gun at your heart.

My question is, do you feel any personal responsibility for any of that dangerous moment, when deciding not to inform the officer, since your state doesn't require it, but then letting him see your gun flash in your pocket while you are moving around in your vehicle?
 
Last edited:

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
My general rule is caution overrules requirements. Even if I am not required to announce that I have a license and am armed I rather do that then have the officer see or sense a threat and react.

Especially, if you don't keep that gun hidden. My advice for CCW's in state's who do not require to inform the officer?

Either keep the gun in plain view and make no moves towards it, or keep it completely hidden the entire time of the traffic stop and don't flash it to the officer. The first one, shows the officer, EXACTLY what is going on which will help him feel safe. The second one will keep him feeling safe because what he doesn't know, he doesn't know.

But anything in between that, is a danger area. Thinking I don't have to tell the officer, because my state says I don't, but then flashing your gun and acting surprised, when the officer feels danger, well, it isn't the officer that is overreacting it is the person flashing his gun, but didn't tell the officer he is a CCW and has a gun on his person is the one overeacting.

Just my experience. :)
 
No I'll give you that, it probably would have gone better. Which is one reason why I made sure to mention that I didn't really hold it against the guy. Of course I share some of the responsibility for what happened. I was never really afraid at any point, so it wasn't traumatic or anything. Just in my opinion an unnecessary risk. He certainly knew who the car belonged to and probably saw my record as soon as he ran the plate - I have nothing other than traffic tickets on my record. Being on my way to work and in a bit of a hurry, it didn't even cross my mind to mention my pistol, let alone that it was in my pocket instead of my IWB - in addition, I wouldn't have wanted to be held up any longer than necessary so as not to be late to work. I don't think that should be held against me either. And I definitely did not "flash" the gun. I never thought it would be visible from inside a quite deep pocket. An additional circumstance - the town where I was actually pulled over has about a zero violent crime rate - I was still quite a ways away from the high crime city.

I don't think he had to point his gun directly at me at all. I totally understand him drawing the pistol but he could have certainly kept it pointed in my vicinity without aiming right at my head. It doesn't take long at all to get on target when in cocked and unlocked mode with a pistol drawn at point blank range. I kept my hands clearly visible the entire time and made zero sudden movements. Even if he had just kept the pistol aimed in my general vicinity, if I had done something he interpreted as dangerous there's no possible way I could have been a threat to him before he could have ended the threat unless he was seriously incompetent. From 3 feet away it would have been over as soon as I twitched even if he still had to get on target.
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
No I'll give you that, it probably would have gone better. Which is one reason why I made sure to mention that I didn't really hold it against the guy. Of course I share some of the responsibility for what happened. I was never really afraid at any point, so it wasn't traumatic or anything. Being on my way to work and in a bit of a hurry, it didn't even cross my mind to mention my pistol, let alone that it was in my pocket instead of my IWB - in addition, I wouldn't have wanted to be held up any longer than necessary so as not to be late to work. I don't think that should be held against me either. An additional circumstance - the town where I was actually pulled over has about a zero violent crime rate - I was still quite a ways away from the high crime city.

I don't think he had to point his gun directly at me at all. I totally understand him drawing the pistol but he could have certainly kept it pointed in my vicinity without aiming right at my head. It doesn't take long at all to get on target when in cocked and unlocked mode with a pistol drawn at point blank range. I kept my hands clearly visible the entire time and made zero sudden movements. Even if he had just kept the pistol aimed in my general vicinity, if I had done something he interpreted as dangerous there's no possible way I could have been a threat to him before he could have ended the threat unless he was seriously incompetent. From 3 feet away it would have been over as soon as I twitched even if he still had to get on target.

After 21 years, this is the first time I have heard this one. Where do you suggest he should have pointed it?

What would you define as your "general vicinity?"

Your last bolded sounds very reasonable good sir. However, it is exactly that. "Your reasoning" And if officers performed their jobs, to cater to every citizens personal,and individual reasoning, there would be many dead officers who never once attempted to get their guns out of their holsters.

1. Your state, says you don't have to inform that you are a CCW. It doesn't say, don't tell the officer you don't have a gun on you, and then flash your gun to him, while you are reaching for the glove box.

2. It would have never happened, if you told him you had a gun in your pocket.

3. That officer is trained, to point his service weapon at the largest target and vital organ that is accessible. You are sitting in a vehicle with your head in the window, chest facing forward, towards the steering wheel.

4. Simple math.

5. If you would have advised him, not that you are a CCW, since your state doesn't require it, but it would seem to be common sense to me, to tell an officer you have a gun in your pocket? Especially, if you are going to flash it to him anyway?
 
Last edited:
Maybe...head adjacent? Are you saying being almost out of my peripheral vision and having his aim a foot to one side of me would have allowed someone - alone in a car - to get the drop on even a semi-competent policeman? Because that I definitely disagree with. I don't think that set of circumstances could have ended any other way whether it was aimed right at the perp or just in a slightly safer direction.
 

simon1

Self Ignored by Vista
As police officers, we do this dozen's of times a year. Driving up on people with guns and not knowing who the bad or good guys are, is common practice for us. There is no difference in an police officers training, that really, would make much difference for a good guy with a CCW or a good guy, with no-CCW.

When an incident/call goes out with multiple people with firearms. The main directive of the officers responding to that call, will be to "gain control of the situation" regardless of the who's, where's, what's and why's.

If the bad guy doesn't follow commands and points their gun? They will most likely be shot by the officers. If a good guy with a CCW or without, doesn't follow commands and points their gun? They will most likely be shot by officers.

Interesting experience and story @eKretz. I bolded the portion of where you said, "things that could have been done differently." After reading your story, I couldn't help but think, if you would have just informed the officer right off at the beginning of the traffic stop, that you in fact had a gun on your person, would have things possibly be different? Like for example, he wouldn't have had a gun pointed at your head?

I understand, your state isn't a "shall inform" state. But just because it isn't, the question is, would have still deciding to inform that officer, completely changed that scenario?

Where should the officer of pointed his gun at you, besides your head; that would have made the situation, or your feelings about it any better?

Should the officer have done something different, "not knowing" you had a gun? Or, should you have done something different, "knowing" you had a gun?

The state said you don't have to inform, so you didn't; and got a loaded gun pointed in your ear.

You are correct, the officer did something dangerous by pointing his gun at your head. But it would still be just as dangerous, if he had pointed his gun at your heart.

My question is, do you feel any personal responsibility for any of that dangerous moment, when deciding not to inform the officer, since your state doesn't require it, but then letting him see your gun flash in your pocket while you are moving around in your vehicle?

Especially, if you don't keep that gun hidden. My advice for CCW's in state's who do not require to inform the officer?

Either keep the gun in plain view and make no moves towards it, or keep it completely hidden the entire time of the traffic stop and don't flash it to the officer. The first one, shows the officer, EXACTLY what is going on which will help him feel safe. The second one will keep him feeling safe because what he doesn't know, he doesn't know.

But anything in between that, is a danger area. Thinking I don't have to tell the officer, because my state says I don't, but then flashing your gun and acting surprised, when the officer feels danger, well, it isn't the officer that is overreacting it is the person flashing his gun, but didn't tell the officer he is a CCW and has a gun on his person is the one overeacting.

Just my experience. :)

After 21 years, this is the first time I have heard this one. Where do you suggest he should have pointed it?

What would you define as your "general vicinity?"

Your last bolded sounds very reasonable good sir. However, it is exactly that. "Your reasoning" And if officers performed their jobs, to cater to every citizens personal reasoning, there would be many dead officers who never once attempted to get their guns out of their holsters.

1. Your state, says you don't have to inform that you are a CCW. It doesn't say, don't tell the officer you don't have a gun on you, and then flash your gun to him, while you are reaching for the glove box.

2. It would have never happened, if you told him you had a gun in your pocket.

3. That officer is trained, to point his service weapon at the largest target and vital organ that is accessible. You are sitting in a vehicle with your head in the window, chest facing forward, towards the steering wheel.

4. Simple math.

5. If you would have advised him, not that you are a CCW, since your state doesn't require it, but it would seem to be common sense to me, to tell an officer you have a gun in your pocket? Especially, if you are going to flash it to him anyway?

My, my. Didn't this thread get an old cop's juices flowing. :biggrin1:

Although I agree with everything you said.

Have you heard up there that Dallas is implementing a shooting review board that has members that have NO law enforcement training or experience, or legal training or experience? Just regular citizens that have no idea what goes on. That is going to be a nightmare. No wonder Dallas is short about 250 officers.
 
Top Bottom