I thought I would share this story so others could learn from my mistake and hopefully not make the same mistake in the future. I don’t blame the UHP officer in this story for pulling his gun on me, as I would have probably done the same thing in his situation.
This is what happened: I was driving to southern Utah last weekend to meet up with my family for a camping trip. It was about 5:30 in the afternoon, so it was still light outside. Just outside of Nephi I got pulled over by a Highway patrol officer. As I’m pulling over, I rolled down my passenger window so the officer could talk to me on the safe side of the car farther away from traffic. The officer comes up to the window and I hand him my CFP and my driver’s license. I was carrying my Walther PPQ on my hip at the time, however I made a big mistake by forgetting I had one of my other pistols in my glove box.
The officer took my license and CFP and asked me to get my registration. I reached over and opened the glove box, and without really thinking about it I reached in to grab my registration, which was UNDER MY OTHER PISTOL. The officer saw the pistol in the glove box and saw me reaching in, and thought I was going for the gun. In a flash, he grabbed his gun and cleared leather, and before I knew what was happening, he had his gun up yelling “Get your hands on the wheel, Get your hands on the wheel!”
It only took me a second to realize my huge mistake. I immediately put my hands on the wheel and started apologizing profusely for forgetting I had my other pistol in the glove box. He seemed pretty pissed and shaken up and didn’t really know what to do. He grabbed the gun out of the glove box and unloaded it as I tried my best to help him understand that I really wasn’t going for the gun and I just forgot I had set it in there. He took the gun back to his car and proceeded to write me a ticket for why he pulled me over. He came back about 10 minutes later with my unloaded gun and ticket and let me know that I really shouldn’t forget where I put guns.
The experience taught me a few lessons and I learned a lot about how I react in a stressful situation. First of all, I was very calm through the entire event and was never nervous or shaken up. Even when he was yelling at me with his gun pointed at me, I felt very calm and rational as I realized my mistake and calmly explained I wasn’t going for the gun. It felt good knowing I didn’t freak out or get shaken up at all by the incident and could react rationally and calmly with a gun pointed at me.
Secondly, and most importantly, I realized that I made a huge mistake and need to never get complacent with my firearms. I carry every day and train a lot so being around pistosl and having quick easy access to one all the time has made get used to having them around. Subconsciously, I noticed the gun in the glove box as I was reaching in, but in my mind I just thought that I would grab my registration like he asked, and didn’t think about how it looks as I reach in the glove box with a gun sitting right there. It was a big mistake on my part a great reminder that I need to constantly be vigilant about the location of my firearms.
Sorry this story is long, but I thought I would share it simply so you guys can learn from my mistake and not make the same mistake. I feel like I am extremely vigilant about gun safety, but obviously even I can get complacent by being around guns constantly. Stay safe out there!
“Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.” - Jeff Cooper