Duty To Inform

TrafficStop-2

ConcealedNation.org posted an article that covers every state and whether you have a duty to inform law enforcement if you are carrying a firearm. This article comes after the plight of Brian Fletcher. A NC Tower Climber who was arrested in NJ for possessing a firearm.

Here is a quick summary provided by Concealed Nation. The states are hyperlinked so you can click on them and go to the actual wording of the law and the interpretation by Concealed Nation.

AlabamaIf Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
AlaskaYes (Always)
Arizona – If Asked (If Asked – Yes)
Arkansas – If Asked (Must inform occupant of private home)
California – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Colorado – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Connecticut – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Delaware – If Asked (See *NOTES)
District of Columbia – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement; in flux!)
Florida – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Georgia – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
HawaiiUnknown At This Time (Essentially No-Permit State)
Idaho – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
IllinoisIf Asked (See Notes* — Thank you, Illinois concealed carriers!)
IndianaIf Asked
Iowa – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Kansas – If Asked (Non-Resident, Residents have constitutional carry)
Kentucky – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
LouisianaIf Under The Influence (See Notes)
MaineNo (Permitless Carriers – Yes; See Notes…)
Maryland – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Massachusetts – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
MichiganYes (Always)
Minnesota – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Mississippi – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Missouri – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Montana – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
NebraskaYes
Nevada – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
New Hampshire – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
New Jersey – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
New Mexico – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
New York – If Asked (see *Notes)
North CarolinaNot Explicitly But Yes (see *Notes)
North Dakota – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
OhioYes (Always)
OklahomaYes (Must also inform private property owner)
Oregon – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Pennsylvania – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Rhode IslandPlease Do!  If Asked…
South CarolinaYes
South Dakota – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Tennessee – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
TexasYes (If asked for ID)
Utah – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
VermontConstitutional Carry
Virginia – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
Washington – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
West Virginia – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)
WisconsinIf Asked
Wyoming – If Asked (No known duty to inform law enforcement)



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Glock Guy

    Thank you for posting this article! This is so important. Please continue to due so semiannually to annually, since laws may change year to year.

  • KestrelBike

    Photo Caption: “Yeah, copper, I’ve got a weapon, what about it?”

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Holding a hidden pistol seems like a good way to get shot.
      Typically the cops dont want you to scream “Ive got a gun!” and shove it in their face.

      • Rokurota

        Seriously. What kind of picture is that? A screen shot from GTA 5?

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Looks like something very bad is about to happen…

          • Ironclad

            “Thought ya could git the drop on ol’ Rocco! Nyah! Rocco’s a little too smart for ya mugs! Nyah! Rocco’s gonna rub ya out, see! Nyah!”

      • sam

        Good info in this article, but that picture is cringe-inspiring. Shows a scenario a little more complex than just having one on-person.

      • Jim_Macklin

        Never say the word GUN. Cops are trained to react to the word gun.
        When stopped, say, I am licensed to carry.

        No surprises, be polite. Even better drive so you never get pulled over, keep all the lights working and dim your headlights.

    • Geremy Tibbles

      AM I BEING DETAINED

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    This is why Im proud to be a Texan.
    If the cops pull you over here and you don’t have a gun they’ll give you one.

    • Greg

      What? Your state is one of the few that requires you to disclose immediatly without being asked if you are armed and you view this as a positive? Why? Seems intrussive to me.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Well, you see jokes are a form of humor that we humans use to incite laughter which is a sort of audible expression of pleasure.

        • Greg

          Intrussive laws usually dont strike me as all that funny. I guess im just a downer.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Every society compromises personal liberty in exchange for order.

          • Greg

            Ummm pretty much every other state doesn’t have this stupid law. So I don’t think that arguement applies here. Between this and your reply above i will assume your trolling and ignore you from now on.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Maybe look into some decaf, dude.

          • Greg

            Maybe you can get a law passed in my state that limits my access to caffeine. Maybe just something small like declare that I had some when stopped by an officer. You know just something small at first.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Only a matter of time before the Obama-nazi Storm Troopers bust down your door and take all of your sugary breakfast cereals too..

          • Greg

            When its obvious your arguements hold no weight. Take the others view to the extreme in an attempt to mock and marginalize. I can tell your a pro at this.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            You gotta get on that spell-check, dude.

          • Greg

            Thats what I thought. Check and mate.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Ok genius.
            Shouldn’t you be somewhere designing artificial hearts and calculating rocket trajectories?

          • M C

            If anyone can point me in the direction of the posts that Greg is replying to it would be most appreciated.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Sounds like grandpas off his meds.

          • DIR911911 .

            it’s the joke about texas cops giving you a gun , greg has issues and thinks humor is strictly not allowed. but I have a gun and I’m on humor’s side. so screw greg.

          • Rando

            Pretty lame attempt at humor. I didnt get it either.

          • Bill

            No, that was Clinton 1. Then Bush 1. Now Obama’s out of time, so it’ll either be Clinton 2 or The Donald when he privatizes the police and starts a Robocop program.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Personally I think we are ready for a President who fixes his hair every morning in a cotton candy machine.

          • Bill

            I thought you were ignoring us. Please?

          • SP mclaughlin

            Frankly, I’m fine with it over a magazine capacity restriction.

          • Greg

            Im not fine with either. With that attitude your rights are as good as gone. Thats the bread and butter of a suppressive society. Silly laws and restrictions are pointless. Why give up rights to add another line to a politicians resume?

          • SP mclaughlin

            And with your attitude, gun rights end up getting poo-pooed by society and probably reduced/gone on a national level.

          • Bill

            Heresy! The Social Contract and other pinko stuff!!!!!

            Seriously, I’m always amazed by the people who immediately jump to the 2nd Amendment completely bypassing things like The Preamble.

        • DIR911911 .

          i Kind of thought it was funny , guess I’m wrong again 🙁

  • Joshua

    I always inform since I keep my handgun in the glove box where my registration is.

    • HH

      I’m not crazy about that at all. Hope you dont get shot by a nervous cop one night while reaching for your paperwork. Even if you mentioned to him beforehand.

      • Joshua

        Doubtful, tell the officer you have a legal firearm in the glove box and let them secure it until the traffic stop is over. Never had an issue.

        Reaching and popping open the glove box on the other hand is less than ideal.

        However I read the actual website and it states you need a CHL to have a handgun in the car in Texas, this is false. In Texas your car is your homestead and you can have it anywhere in the car so long as it is concealed without a license.

      • Ethan

        i worked night shift in a city where is was the PD’s unspoken policy to pull over anyone found driving in the downtown area after 11PM. So naturally getting out of work at 1AM, I got pulled over about 8 times in a 5 month period.

        Never had a single issue with having a gun on my person or in the glovebox on top of my registration. Just keep you hands on the steering wheel, speak clearly, and make sure he knows what you’re doing before you start doing it.

  • Bear The Grizzly

    I seen an article where Massad Ayoob said a polite way to inform an officer without scaring him would be to hand over your concealed permit when asked for identification. I try to walk a fine line between being courteous to authorities without letting them trample on my rights. That being said NJ can eff itself.

    • HH

      That’s exactly what I do. Just hand them your DL and CCW permit at the same time and not say anything. That removes all weirdness from the situation I’ve found. The thing is in many states the CCW is connected to the DL so when they run your DL they know you have CCW and then some will then ask you “do you have a weapon in the car?”. Better to just give them the CCW along w the DL.

    • USMC03Vet

      Here in Michigan there was a case where that wasn’t good enough. You literally have to tell them you’re armed first thing even if you give them your CPL license and they look at it.

  • Scott Tuttle

    in most states you dont have to but should you? most stops it shouldnt be an issue but then again you want to avoid any surprises.

  • Wow, TTAG was smart enough to pull this error filled story after readers cited the relevant sections of state law. Let’s look at PA. There is nothing in the crimes code (Uniform Firearms Act) that requires you to disclose that you’re carrying a firearm. Now, this list you’ve posted states “If Asked” which is incorrect. Even if asked, you are not required to answer that you’re carrying a firearm. You’re not required to answer any questions. If you disclose that you are carrying a firearm then you’re required to produce the relevant LTCF card. So why would you offer information you’re not required to provide? There is no good that comes from offering that information.

    • Giolli Joker

      Well… if had a gun on me and I was asked to step out of the car, I’d prefer to tell the cop that I have a gun and where it is rather than having him find out… and being suddenly muzzled and asked to raise my hand.
      Not so long ago a guy got shot (he survived) by a cop through the car door because the policeman thought that he was taking a gun… he was unarmed and just looking for his license… I would prefer disclosing personal information than getting shot.
      However I’m not American, nor living in the US, so my view might be influenced by a different perception.

    • I like that for Utah is reads “No known duty to inform law enforcement”, when it is locally commonly known to have changed in 2009 (used to have to inform, no longer do)…at least with instructors, which are abundant.

  • Ethan

    I just moved from OH to AL in January. I got pulled over a couple months back and, being from a Duty-to-Inform state the first words out of my mouth were “Afternoon officer, just want to let you know I have a CCW permit and I’m currently carrying”.

    He gave me this long, slow, what-are-you-some-kind-of-idiot stare and said “Well sir, you don’t go for yours, and I won’t go for mine, how’s that sound?”

    At the time I though that was a strange reaction, but after thinking about it I realized that for a cop who’s unfamiliar with Duty-to-Inform interactions, my little declaration probably sounded a little pompous and silly.

    Its the little things that keep you humble. 🙂

    • nadnerbus

      It always amazes me how a simple law completely changes the interaction between citizen and law enforcement.

      My friend in Nevada had an AK, and was shooting it at a quarry. Local Sheriffs came by to tell him not to shoot there, the property owner was tired of shooters littering his property. They asked him if it was registered (that old chestnut), to which he replied no, it did not need to be. They asked him how to lock the bolt back, to which he said there was no bolt hold back. Then they handed the weapon back to him, said please don’t shoot here anymore, and have a good day.

      Approximately ten miles west of there, if you were found with that gun, you were going to prison. Period.

      Every time I leave California, I feel so much better as soon as I hit the state line. So much less oppressive and paranoid.

      • I feel the same way, I’m always pleased to leave.

      • Jim_Macklin

        Laws change, Illinois is getting better, even in Chicago. I can now drive into Illinois with my loaded 1911 on my hip all the way to private property of friends where I can legally carry. A few years ago I had to stop at the west side of the River and unload and case my gun.
        When actually shooting, every state has some law about illegal discharge. In Kansas you have to have permission from the land owner to shoot or face arrest.
        Unlike the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, open fields are not invitations to shoot.
        Be courteous and ask before you shoot and pick up your trash, targets and brass. If there is a fence, consider it off limits unless invited.

        • nadnerbus

          Oh I wasn’t complaining about the quarry being off limits. It was just a popular shooting spot that was getting closed down to the public, and not everyone had gotten the memo yet. No fence or anything. When I shot there, there were several other people there shooting as well, just a couple months prior.

          But yeah, it should go without saying, but people: clean up your trash, and police as much brass as possible. It doesn’t take much for an anti to get a shooting spot closed down if shooters can’t clean up after themselves.

    • Jim_Macklin

      Good choice of words, inform without alarm.
      Cops will learn that they may be dealing with citizens from other locals and cops too will adjust.
      Besides, after the formalities are done, friendly discussions about GLOCKs VS. 1911 VS. S&W can ensue.

  • DIR911911 .

    could you use a worse picture when talking about concealed carry? this looks more like “let the shoot out begin”

    • Ethan

      Seriously.

    • Ben

      I was pretty confused when I saw that photo, and the article above (with no picture) for in-car weapon concealment systems.

      • Bill

        I had to retract a comment

    • TVOrZ6dw

      Oh, this isn’t “Duty to show your concealed carry weapon” when confronted by peace officers?
      Yes, I almost choked when I saw the picture.

  • DaveP.

    The way I see it, traffic stops are one of the most hazardous parts of a cop’s job. I would much rather let him know there’s a handgun on me or in easy reach myself, as soon as reasonable. Otherwise I risk him spotting it first and jumping to conclusions, and maybe overreacting. To paraphrase my old MSF instructor: If you get shot and the cop was 100% in the wrong, you still got shot.

    • hikerguy

      I was thinking the same thing as I was reading the posts. Yes, to be on the safe side, it would be advisable to inform without asking, in my opinion.

    • nadnerbus

      In a perfect world, you are of course right. In a place like California or New York, simply trying to work courteously with the officer can take you down the nightmare rabbit hole. If they don’t know the law, or if they have an over zealous DA, or if you made a mistake and were just passing through an extremely hostile anti-gun area (New Jersey), you could be facing extremely expensive legal woes at best, prison time at worst.

      I can see how this list would be useful for people neighboring anti gun states. Gives them the information to avoid those areas, or at least know they are taking a calculated gamble passing through them.

      • DaveP

        I make no warrant for traveling outside the United States. The places you mention qualify.

    • USMC03Vet

      99% of a cop’s day is being lied to. You telling them something like that most likely changes the entire interaction. Next thing they’ll usually want to do is see your carry permit and if you get a jerk cop he’ll disarm you because they are now hyper sensitive because you are armed regardless if you’re following the law. It’s just an awkward thing to announce, you certainly wouldn’t do that same thing to some random civilian less they claim you tried to intimidate them.

      • DaveP

        Rule of Five applies to cops as it does to everyone else: Out of five random cops one will be a jerk, one will be a decent Joe, and three will just be trying to get to the end of their shift and go home. The decent Joe doesn’t care that you’re armed unless you make it his problem and there’s not much you can do to keep the jerk from being a jerk, so the goal is to smooth things along with the other three. Letting Officer Trafficstop know you’re legally armed in a nonthreatening way (“Officer, I’ve got my CCW on me; do you want to see my permit?”) puts the ball in his court and helps keep things positive.
        Incidentally, out of about eight stops (including ‘license checkpoints’) in over twenty years of carrying, my method has given positive results consistently… including one “let off with a warning” at an honest to goodness speedtrap.
        Of course your mileage may vary based on state, but it seems to me that getting arrested because Officer Jerkface doesn’t recognize reciprocity is less of a worry then being shot because when you reached for your wallet he spotted your gun and thought you were about to draw on him.

      • Phil White Oink Oink

        99% of a cops day is being a complete a$$h#le

    • Jim_Macklin

      Unless a person is nude, you have to assume that everybody is armed with something. Doesn’t matter if you are a cop or a private citizen. Clothes equal weapon.
      Once we are passed that hurdle consider that a cop who stops a car that is in violation of something the reason is unknown.
      Is the driver just reckless or did they just rob the bank and kill a cashier? Cops don’t have a 100% perfect warning system with 911 dispatchers. But the violent criminal always knows they will be arrested, so they fight back and shoot.
      Cops have a dangerous job. Making their job more difficult doesn’t help you get done quickly and on your way.

  • Ironclad

    Great article…Terrible stock image. Seriously, why out of all the images on the internet was that even chosen?!

    • Joshua

      Yep, thumb on the hammer and finger on the trigger.

    • Nicholas Chen

      I thought it was so ridiculous, I had to use it.

      • Ironclad

        So you saw this image in POLICE Magazine’s online article about ‘The Hazards of Traffic Stops’ and decided to use it out of context?

        That’s soooo “ridiculous”

  • USMC03Vet

    Living in a state where the first thing out of your mouth has to be telling them you’re armed is pretty ridiculous.It benefits no one especially the officer which now is hyper alert that any second you could pull it and just opens up the inevitable “I’m gonna disarm you until we are done here….”

    It’s one of those feel good policies that is just awkward, unnecessary, and creates tension for both involved.

    • Ethan

      +1 on Awkward. I’ve been pulled over around a dozen times in my life (not as bad as it sounds, see story above), and only disarmed once – but always a painfully awkward moment.

  • Seriously you would be much better off to tell the officer first thing that you have a CCW and are armed. Much better that than take the risk of not telling him or her and they notice it.
    If a person doesn;t let me know I would tend to think the person was carrying for some other purpose.

    • Bill

      We’re sorta like trained to look for threats, and if you can forestall an issue by telling me that the bulge over your appendix is your legally carried pistol and hand me your permit, I really couldn’t care less. But some people aren’t carrying legally, and if a legal carrier doesn’t want to identify themselves as such, they are the ones cranking open the can of worms.

      I’ve never disarmed a carrier with a permit – my preference is to minimize ANY gun handling, and even practiced official misfeasance when concealed carry was still illegal, but had an affirmative defense for people who could articulate a reason for carrying, by LETTING THEM GO. I should confess to IA.

    • Phil White Oink Oink

      Or you could just shoot the MFer like that oinker Ray Tensing in OH- I’m sure he’ll love prison

  • Not buying it—-

    • Bill

      Me neither – nobody actually waits for them to resist, the beatings just starts automatically, and why waste good drugs planting them on somebody. NOTE TO THE HUMOR IMPAIRED; THE PREVIOUS STATEMENT WAS A FORM OF COMEDY REFERRED TO AS “SATIRE” AND IS NOT FACTUALLY CORRECT, BUT USED IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE APOINT ABOUT THE TOPIC AT HAND. THAT IS ALL. I’LL BE IN THE AREA ALL DAY.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I think its kinda silly that some people equate being required to tell a cop if you have a gun with Gestapo tactics.

  • Southpaw89

    Only been pulled over twice, both times the officers asked if there were weapons in my vehicle, I’m guessing that having a pickup with camo seat covers was what inspired them to ask. The first time there was nothing in my truck, but the second time I had several firearms and answered openly and honestly when asked. The stop ended with a written warning and the officer trying to recruit me, so I’d say it went well. This along with the time an officer had to retrieve me from a mountain top (found the only snow bank left on Paulina Peak that a 4×4 couldn’t get through) and allowed me to carry my guns down to his rig after he and some other officers checked them, has convinced me that so long as you act intelligently and respectfully police officers generally take no issue with you having firearms in your vehicle.

  • Phil White Oink Oink

    Dont let the oinker Det Stephen LeBert from Medford, MA pull you over- “I’ll blow a hole through your head-oink oink”

  • Jim_Macklin

    IF you have a CCW valid in that state, the benefit to having one procedure to follow makes informing an officer who has stopped you while driving or otherwise has begun some official contact is that you have a license.
    Illinois only honors an Illinois license, but Illinois has some provisions in state law known as “safe harbor” which allows a person with an Illinois FOID or an out of state CCW/CCH to have a loaded handgun for self-defense in their car. Further Illinois unlike most states allows a private property owner to grant carry permission to a guest just as though the guest was the owner. Illinois still needs revisions and Cook County needs to sink into Lake Michigan 😉 but it is better than it was when I left 40 years ago.
    It is important that you know the laws where you travel. But one thing that might be important, if a police officer is informed that you have a gun before they issue a Miranda warning, the gun should be excluded as evidence.
    In the case of the political firestorm in NJ when the young single mother from PA was arrested when she followed PA law and informed, at least Gov. Christie issued a full pardon [after all he is running for President in all 50 states, 40 of which think gun rights are VERY important.

  • Dan

    We had a deputy here like that guy, key word is had. A few local good ole boys caught up with him, on his off time. left him face down in a parking lot. Former deputy works delivering coke products now. Good place for him and this jackass deserves the same.

  • Texas-Roll-Over

    Here’s what I do that really helps win some heart and mind with the officer approaching the vehicle.

    Leave both your hands outside the window when he’s approaching the vehicle. This lets him know that your cognizant of his situation. Most often he’ll ask you why you’re doing it, and you can let him know that you have a permit to carry or that there is a weapon in the car.

    By doing this your signaling to him that you are not a threat and care about his safety.

    I’ve done this multiple times when the officer is approaching the vehicle and have always ended up with a warning, instead of ticket and/or a pissed off officer.

  • Lt Donn

    From a career LE perspective, I can say that I feel better if the CHL tells me they are armed when I make first contact because:
    1. CHL holders are the most law abiding sub-demographic group in the US…the “bad-guys” are not going to disclose they are armed
    2. I don’t like surprises…and in many states, the CHL files are tied to the Drivers Licenses files…so, when I run your D/L your CHL will pop-up…then I am left to ponder why you did not tell me you were armed. It is just not necessary to make this “encounter” more complicated…as a lawful CHL you have nothing to hide or fear from me in LE…just hand me your CHL along with your D/L Reg & Ins. cards and let’s get on with our encounter…it does not have to be adversarial.

  • CJS3

    When pulled over I pull my wallet out and put it on the dashboard. I then place my hands on the eleven and one o’clock position on the steering wheel. My license and CHL are taped together so both are displayed when they are taken out of the wallet.