Police Disarm Concealed Carrier In Tucson

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

Report via David Codrea, and straight from Mr. Hildreth’s Facebook post.

Steven Hildreth, Jr.
So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me. I’m already preparing for the stop.

The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I’m doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.

“Yes, sir. I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket.”

The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I’m running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can’t unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I’m running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I’m with the National Guard.

Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them.

Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. “Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible.”

I smile. “Thank you, sir.”

I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.

Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk.

Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.

Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they’re not out to get you.

I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.

We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn’t be wearing a badge. I’d like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.

‪#‎BlueLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎AllLivesMatter‬

[EDIT: In my rush to post, I accidentally omitted that my wallet was in the back-right pocket, near my firearm. This was the primary motivation for temporary disarmament. The post has been modified to reflect that.

Again, I’d like to thank the TPD and their officers for their consistent professionalism, courtesy, and the good work that they do, both in this particular contact and every day.]

So let me get this straight.  The most unsafe times in any handgun evolution is unholstering and holstering your weapon (depending somewhat on the maturity of the one engaged in the action, and always subject to trigger and muzzle discipline).  The police decided to put Mr. Hildreth in danger by touching his weapon, in order to contribute to their own perceived safety?  Okay.  Got it.

Now for an assessment.  Mr. Hildreth is being to kind to the police.  No one should have been touching the weapon – not Mr. Hildreth, and not the police.  The weapon should have stayed holstered.  Period.  There is no tactical reason whatsoever to have unholstered and confiscated the weapon, not for a minute, not for a second.  Furthermore, let’s not pretend that negligent discharged don’t happen with the police.  We know they do.

So can anyone give me a single, solitary reason that the police, if they had wanted to see his identification, couldn’t have said, please reach into your pocket and produce your identification for us?  Is there any reason whatsoever to conclude that anyone was safer for the police having touched this weapon?  My bet is that no one can produce such a reason because there isn’t one.




  1. On October 29, 2015 at 11:44 pm, Tim said:

    I’m new to carrying. What would you suggest my response be if I get pulled over? Assuming the officer asks if I have any weapons.

  2. On October 30, 2015 at 8:35 am, Cal S. said:

    Same as was mentioned here. Some states require you to volunteer the information, so you need to look up your state & local laws. If you’re not required by state law, then don’t mention it. Just keep your cool and your hands in a place where they can be seen, as you would even unarmed. If a police officer determines he needs to take it off of you, the best response is also given here. Even if it’s illegal, even if it hurts your pride to have your gun taken away from you. You can always sue the police department later for infractions on your rights, but getting in a gunfight is always a very bad idea.

  3. On October 30, 2015 at 9:54 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Whatever the law requires you to do. My post has to do with a tactical question, not the legalities. Legally, he had to do what the LEOs requested. Tactically, it is an idiotic thing to have to do.

  4. On October 30, 2015 at 10:08 am, Haywood Jablome said:

    Exactly. Unfortunately, people have this idea that LE’s have this super proficiency with firearms. Unfortunately, that idea is perpetuated by the lamestream media. I think most people would be amazed to know that the AVERAGE officer you meet on the street fires their weapon ONCE per year for qualifications. That’s it. The gun literally never comes out of the holster. So I really have to agree with the Captain here…if they are going to disarm you, make sure you are keeping yourself safe as muzzle discipline, and just general familiarization with your weapon may be lacking.

    Stay thirsty, my friends!

  5. On October 30, 2015 at 4:57 pm, Tim said:

    Ok. I’ve been following your writings and value your opinion. It did sound very odd when the officer was reaching in to disarm him.

  6. On October 30, 2015 at 1:52 am, Petercat said:

    Be aware of the laws of the state that you are in.
    The first thing would be to pull over- as far over as possible- in a spot where he can park his car offset to the left of yours so it will block anyone from sideswiping him while he stands at your door. Police notice things like this, and appreciate it.
    A parking lot would be best.
    If at night, turn your dome light on.
    Shut off the ignition.
    I would suggest that by the time the officer reaches your car, you have your license, carry permit, registration and proof of insurance in your right hand, all the windows rolled down, and that the first thing to say would be “Officer, I have a loaded weapon on my right hip” (or wherever).
    This lets the officer know that you respect him.
    This lets the officer know that you are one of the good guys.
    Keep aware of what’s going on around you, especially the areas he can’t see.
    And keep both hands where he can see them, of course.

    No, I’m not in law enforcement, nor have I ever wanted to be.

  7. On October 30, 2015 at 2:14 am, Carl In Alaska said:

    Most officer would prefer the lights on and hands on the wheel. Moving to retrieve something puts officers on edge and usually starts contact on a bad vibe.

  8. On October 31, 2015 at 10:13 am, Bill said:

    I agree with most of what you wrote. I would not announce that I am carrying a firearm. By giving the officer a concealed carry permit you have told him you are armed. In addition, most state driver license databases and license plate databases are linked to concealed carry license databases. So if the officer is on his game he should already know if the cars owner has a concealed carry license.

  9. On November 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm, Archer said:

    Agree with Bill. Unless otherwise directed by law, don’t start off by announcing you have a gun. Handing over your CCW license is good enough.

    If you do feel the need to announce it, START with pointing out you have a CCW license, THEN mention the gun, and end with leaving the ball in his court. Keep your hands visible and calmly say something like, “Officer, I feel the need to inform you that I am licensed to carry a concealed firearm, and I have it on me. How would you like to proceed?”

    If you start out by announcing, “Officer, I have a loaded weapon…” they may or may not hear/register the rest, where you also say you have a CCW license. So start with the license.

  10. On October 30, 2015 at 1:58 am, Petercat said:

    Captain, you are right, there is no valid reason for handling the firearm. None whatsoever, especially not unloading it. This is usually departmental policy, and dangerous, calling for the officer to handle what is probably an unfamiliar weapon. It is, however, an argument that I am not going to win on the side of the road. I did have a talk with our local sheriff about it, and it is no longer done in my county.

  11. On October 30, 2015 at 2:11 am, Carl In Alaska said:

    In Alaska state firearm laws specifically gives an officer the right to remove a weapon on a contact but is at the officer’s discretion. In my one traffic stop I notified that I was carrying concealed under permit, notification required under state CHP. The officer choose to leave the weapon in place through the stop. He finished the stop and we went our way. Alaska has both constitutional and permitted carry. Requirements are a little different for each. Every contact has the potential of being armed. Yes sir, no sir and treat the guy or gal with respect goes a long way.

  12. On November 5, 2015 at 8:53 pm, Dana King said:

    Yes sir, no sir? I’m not in the Marines any more. The only person that gets a yes sir now is my father.

  13. On October 30, 2015 at 8:37 am, Cal S. said:

    There is no real good reason. The citizen did the right thing. If you want this sort of thing to stop, then propose bills to prohibit police from seizing firearms during routine traffic stops.

  14. On October 30, 2015 at 9:53 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Yea, the way to see this post is as a tactical question, not legal one. Legally, the carrier had to do what he had to do. Tactically, it’s an awful idea.

  15. On October 30, 2015 at 11:05 am, f.t. said:

    I am with the police on this one. They don’t know squat about this guy, except that he is armed. Disarming him for the duration of the brief stop was in no way a big infrindgement on him in any way. It made the police feel safer and it was the best way, from the policve point of view to handle the situation, and I agree with the way the police handled it.
    Some people too quick to find fault, even if they have to use BS to come up with a reason.

  16. On October 30, 2015 at 11:09 am, Herschel Smith said:

    And the carrier doesn’t know squat about the cops either, except that they are armed. So they’re even. My claim is that it was indeed an infringement on him in that touching the weapon placed him in a condition that was less safe than if they hadn’t touched the weapon.

  17. On October 30, 2015 at 12:25 pm, Jack Crabb said:

    Yeah, so let’s do whatever the magic-blue-costumed ones tell us to do in the name of – what class? – that’s right, “officer safety”.

    I understand that certain states require CCP holders to inform the cops if they are carrying. So be it. It seems that the man in the article did just that.

    Your reading comprehension might need some work, as our genial host has already explained. So, try again, copsucker.

  18. On December 26, 2015 at 7:28 pm, Jim Wiseman said:

    Not to mention the fact that if you have a carry “permit”and happen to be carrying some place you shouldn’t, and you have a “duty to inform,” then you are requiredby law to admit to a crime. This is something even a felon is not required to do.

  19. On October 30, 2015 at 4:44 pm, LibertyFirst said:

    I am with the mundane on this one. He don’t know squat about this cop, except that he is armed. The mundane asking to disarm the cop for the duration of the brief stop was in no way a big infrindgement on the cop in any way. It would make the mundane feel safer and it was the best way, from the mundane’s point of view to handle the situation, and I DISagree with the way the police handled it.

  20. On October 30, 2015 at 11:15 pm, USMC69 said:

    The cop knows a lot about a permitted carrier. They are less likely to be law breakers and they are better shots then the cop himself. The idea that the cop is in danger because the driver was carrying a gun is just BS.

  21. On November 1, 2015 at 9:02 pm, Michael Schlechter said:

    “It made the police feel safer”
    Feelings are squishy, unlike facts which either exist or don’t exist. It did not, in fact, make the police safer as noted by many of the respondents here. This is often a problem with progressivism in general; progressives want the “right” to “feel safe” and use this as their justification for limiting or abrogating my right to life (self-defense). Cop or not, my liberty is not (and should not be) subject to someone else’s feeling of safety.

  22. On November 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm, madoradataman said:

    Concur!! This whole thing would turn abruptly if somebody said that they “didn’t feel safe” around African-American Males. Such a person would immediately be howled down as some kind of reprobate trog. But of course — it’s ok if your liberal, or for liberal causes, etc……

  23. On December 26, 2015 at 7:29 pm, Jim Wiseman said:

    My right to BE safe trumps anyone’s desire to FEEL safe.

  24. On November 1, 2015 at 9:43 pm, 15Fixer said:

    He who would sacrifice Liberty for safety deserves neither Liberty nor safety. If the cop disarmed you it is the same as rifling through your pockets. Here is a novel idea … if cops start treating US with respect, and not automatically assuming we are bad guys (innocent until PROVEN guilty sound familiar??), maybe suspicion and hostility would go down, and they would realistically be able to feel safer. If cops continue to lump the ninety-something percent of us honest, legal people in with the what-ever percent of the scum, then they’re going to continue to feel ‘uneasy.’ jmho

  25. On November 2, 2015 at 2:49 pm, Archer said:

    The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop.

    I admit I’d have a hard time holding back here. “You’re disarming me, and you’re claiming it’s for my safety. How does that work?”

    I know the road-side is not the place to have this conversation, but you can bet I’ll bring it up later, in a city council meeting or in a visit or letter to whatever CLEO oversees that agency. The issue of the safety and wisdom in having officers handle, unload, and clear firearms they may not be familiar with will also come up.

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You are currently reading "Police Disarm Concealed Carrier In Tucson", entry #14224 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published October 29th, 2015 by Herschel Smith.

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