Our 4th: Concealed carry, RCW and Cops
Today while heading home from town we got pulled over yet again. We were surprised; we thought we weren’t breaking any laws and nothing on our car was expired, broken or missing (that we knew of).
So, the cop tells us that he pulled us over because our front license plate was missing. Yes folks, and we have no idea how long we have been driving around without it. The cop was convinced it had been gone for a lone time, I think the only reason we didn’t get a ticket was because of the utter shock and disbelief on our faces. You are probably wondering how we could not notice a missing front plate. For starters, we park nose in at the stable and the majority of our driving has been early or late and we are usually in a hurry or busy. We are convinced it must have been stolen because it couldn’t have just fallen off.
So the cop asks for the papers, like usual. AJ just got his CPL (concealed pistol license) and was conceal carrying. So, being thoughtful, he gave his CPL card to the cop with his drivers license.
The cop says, ” ahhh…ok… I don’t need this. Are you conceal carrying today?”
The hubby affirmed that he was and that it was on his side, without a round in the chamber.
At this point our brave protector of the peace felt the need to call all his buddies. Afterwards, one of the other cops said it’s standard procedure to call back-up from the area when a pull over involves a firearm, but still, really?
There were two bike cops (AJ called them chips, what a nick-name, and I thought po po was bad), a state trooper, a regular cop and The Thurston County Sheriff, who’s signature happens to be on AJ’s CPL card. There really could have been more since we were pulled in on a corner and couldn’t see if there were anymore parked around the bend. AJ was pretty happy he got to shake the sheriff’s hand, twice, before we left.
The cop who pulled us over had AJ get out of the car and dis-armed him before back-up was there. The cop had a little trouble getting the gun out of the holster and asked all crabby like if it was some homemade- AJ was like yep it sure is. After a little tugging he got it out. The cop must have been checking to make sure it was legal and that the CPL card AJ had was real since he went back to his car at that point. When he brought the gun back he had taken all the rounds out, the clip out and the action was back. He gave AJ the clip first, the bullets next and then put the gun on the back seat – er, were the seat used to be- while telling us we had to “leave immediately, you are now free to go.”
When the cop gave the clip back he commented that Yes, indeed there was not a round in the chamber, and thanked AJ for that because that would have been against the law. At the time, AJ just said, “Oh really ?”, after we left AJ told me he was sure that was not actually true and part of having a CPL was that you are allowed to have a round in the chamber. We did some research and in fact AJ was right and the cop was wrong. According to RCW 9.41.010 a gun with a round in the chamber is considered a loaded gun. According to RCW 9.41.050 a person who has a CPL can carry a loaded pistol in a vehicle as long as they adhere to the guidelines in the RCW; which AJ was. For your reference and education the parts of the mentioned RCWs are below.
RCW 9.41.010 (10) “Loaded” means:
(a) There is a cartridge in the chamber of the firearm;
(b) Cartridges are in a clip that is locked in place in the firearm;
(c) There is a cartridge in the cylinder of the firearm, if the firearm is a revolver;
(d) There is a cartridge in the tube or magazine that is inserted in the action; or
(e) There is a ball in the barrel and the firearm is capped or primed if the firearm is a muzzle loader.
RCW 9.41.050 (2)(a) A person shall not carry or place a loaded pistol in any vehicle unless the person has a license to carry a concealed pistol and: (i) The pistol is on the licensee’s person, (ii) the licensee is within the vehicle at all times that the pistol is there, or (iii) the licensee is away from the vehicle and the pistol is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle.
The officer might have been thinking of RCW 77.15.460 when he said that having a round in the chamber was not legal. That RCW applies to the unlawful carry of long arms.
So don’t blindly believe something a cop (there is no law against them lying ) or any other authority tells you. Know your rights and know the RCWs or whatever your state laws are concerning the subject.
Considering today is the 4th of July it was especially ironic. Here my husband is, asserting one of his amendment rights and he has as many cops on him as someone who just broke a major law. What does that say about our country’s priorities?
It was one of the stupidest, strangest experiences of my life. That a legal CC gets that much attention seems absolutely insane. It was yet another example of wasted resources and cops worrying about things that are just not that important when they should be out there protecting people and catching law violators who put others in harms way; not all parked around one guy who got pulled over and happened to be CC.
There are many people right now who are very uncomfortable with someone open or conceal carrying. Before AJ had his CPL we were at the Olympian Farmers Market and he was OC ( open carrying). It was a busy day and people get impatient so when we heard “excuse me, excuse me!” We were hustling to get out of the way, not expecting that someone wanting to talk to us about why AJ felt the need to carry a firearm. We had a great conversation with those gals and I think afterwards they better understood the thinking of most people who carry a firearm in public. As my husband puts it: he does it for you. He carries so that he can protect the ones he loves and the people around him that may not be able to protect themselves if the need arises. We hope that never happens but if it did and AJ wasn’t packing; I don’t know if he could forgive himself. Or, if any gun owner could forgive themselves.
SO today, on this, our day of independence, the day we celebrate our freedom in this country with it’s many problems and many blessings, remember that freedom and independence are things that must be kept alive not just earned once. Each and every American citizen has a responsibility to uphold their own freedoms and the freedoms of others. Before you say that someone shouldn’t be able to do something, stop and think for a moment. If you take your personal beliefs out of the matter, is that act actually hurting someone else? If we want to keep our freedoms and do things that others might not agree with; then we have to be willing to let others do things we might not agree with as well. As I understand it, that concept is the ideal our country’s founders had in mind when they pinned the constitution and following bill of rights.