Firearms in Georgia: Carrying a Firearm in Your VehicleWritten on July 27, 2015
Most of us have very few interactions with the police. There may be an occasional traffic ticket or fender bender, but for the most part we know law enforcement officers are there if we need them. There have been several high profile incidents over the past few years involving the police. We hear about these incidents because there are twenty-four hour news channels that can overwhelm us with coverage, and social media never sleeps.
Law enforcement officers have a unique profession in that every time they go to work, they are potentially stepping into harm’s way. The chance of an officer encountering danger on a typical workday is much greater than it is for an accountant or engineer.
Police agencies and sheriff’s offices have a set of policies, which are like rules that their employees must follow. These cover everything from uniforms to traffic stops to off duty behavior. Officers must also adhere to the law and the Constitution. Just as citizens are protected by the Constitution, officers are bound by it when it comes to things like free speech, searches and seizures, and privacy. If you do have contact with an officer, no matter the circumstance, there is a responsibility that falls on you to know what the officer legally can and can’t request. You should know your rights, as well as the limits of theirs.
Citizens have a Constitutional right to own firearms. We can have them in our homes as well as in our cars without having a “concealed carry” license. So anyone can legally have a loaded gun in their car. While you have no legal duty to, if you are pulled over, however, it may be a good idea to tell the officer you have a gun in your car.
They may ask to “make it safe” for the duration of the traffic stop, which means to unload it. (Don’t touch your firearm unless you are asked). Put yourself in the officer’s shoes for a moment. They are talking with a person they don’t know, and are told there is a firearm in the car. Would you be vigilant?
If the police are suspicious, they may ask you to step out of the car. They are entitled to do so and citizens are compelled to comply. The next step is usually asking to search the vehicle. However, you have every right to say no. If the officer believes there is something illegal in the car, a search warrant must be obtained.
If you have a question regarding your rights, or believe your rights were violated, the attorneys at The Silverbach Group can help. We are always here to listen and help. You can reach us at 770-635-0334.