Tag Archives: featured

Best Guns

The most frequently asked question I get asked is “what do you think is the best gun for personal defense?”If you ask 10 different gun owners this same question, you may get 10 different answers. However, if you ask 10 people who are experienced personal defense firearms instructors, the answers should be very similar.

Everyone is limited by his or her own experiences, myself included. Often times we don’t know what we don’t know. I’m far from being omniscient, but I have taught defensive firearms skills for more than 15 years, and before that, I had trained with cops on the range regularly for 15 more. I have also drawn from the wealth of knowledge and experience of many instructors at high volume shooting schools. My experience isn’t limited to just the guns I’ve shot and carried. I’ve seen just about every possible variation of gun and holster combinations come through a class. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.

(If you ask a gun salesperson, you will probably find out what they are making the most profit on — I do not sell guns, though I can direct you to a few good places to buy one, as long as you go into it knowing what you want.) Continue reading Best Guns

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Carrying out of State

I am currently down south mixing business with pleasure.  While most of you are aware that 39 other states recognize your Michigan CPL, you must still be aware of the specific restrictions pertaining to where and how you can carry when you leave the state.

Since I am in Florida this week, I thought I would share a review of the laws here as an example.

One good source of basic information about Florida gun laws is the NRA website.  It covers a summary of things like getting a permit and stand your ground laws.  Some states have magazine capacity restrictions, but those are mostly states that don’t recognize our CPL anyway, as Florida does.

For most states, there are two things to which you have to pay specific attention: where you are prohibited from carrying, and what the procedure is for encounters with police.

In Florida, the prohibitions are a little different than they are in Michigan, so I took a look at the state statutes on the subject here.

Here is the pertinent section as of my writing, with my notes highlighted:

(12)(a) A license issued under this section does not authorize any person to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm into: (note the added prohibition for open carry)

1. Any place of nuisance as defined in s. 823.05; (make sure you check the link for their definition)

2. Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station;  (totally different than Michigan)

3. Any detention facility, prison, or jail;

4. Any courthouse;

5. Any courtroom;

6. Any polling place; (totally different than Michigan)

7. Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district; (totally different than Michigan)

8. Any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof;  (totally different than Michigan)

9. Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms;

10. Any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building;

11. Any career center; (In Michigan this would be DHS offices, etc.)

12. Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose; (only the portion that is primarily devoted to alcohol?  Not sure how to define those limits without crossing the lines?)

13. Any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile;

14. The inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft; or

15. Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.

(b) A person licensed under this section shall not be prohibited from carrying or storing a firearm in a vehicle for lawful purposes.

Then you have to look at the laws that apply to a private business and whether or not they can restrict your rights to carry.

I found that Florida has a statute entitled, “Protection of the right to keep and bear arms in motor vehicles for self-defense and other lawful purposes,” which basically says …

No citizen can or should be required to waive or abrogate his or her right to possess and securely keep firearms and ammunition locked within his or her motor vehicle by virtue of becoming a customer, employee, or invitee of any employer or business establishment within the state, unless specifically required by state or federal law.

Isn’t it nice that they recognize that someone should not be allowed to take away our rights? Yea, unless they decide to make a law that does.

Then they go on to give a whole bunch of specific exemptions for other places, and you will have to read yourself to see if they apply to you.

The other area I am concerned with is interaction with police. I know that when traveling with out-of-state plates, you are an easy money target – police know that you will not come back to fight a traffic ticket when you are traveling from out of state.

I found that Florida law does not require you to disclose possession of a firearm on contact with Law Enforcement, like Michigan does. Interesting.

Also, you can not carry into or out of the airport in Florida, like you can in Michigan (and most states).

*Be sure to check the laws yourself before traveling outside of Michigan. I recommend doing this each time you travel out of state, as laws do change quite often in some areas.

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Stopped by Police

Michigan law requires:

An individual licensed to carry a concealed pistol who is stopped by a police officer while in possession of a pistol shall immediately disclose to the police officer that he or she is carrying a concealed pistol either on their person or in their motor vehicle. [MCL 28-245f]

If you are stopped while driving (notice the law does not say “while driving,” but we’ll cover that in more detail later) you should carefully consider the following:

Try to pull over in a well lit area as soon as safely possible. Consider turning off on a side street or onto an exit ramp, rather than stopping on a busy highway if there is one nearby. If that is not possible, get as far off the roadway as you can, to make it safer for both you, and the officer. Once you have come to a stop, turn the interior lights on, roll your window down, and turn the vehicle off.

Don’t make any quick moves, or start digging through your glovebox or under your seats for any reason at this point. Leave your firearm where it is, and that should not be somewhere that is visible to the officer.

Your driver’s license and your CPL card should already be together, somewhere it is very easy to get to. If possible (without digging around for them) have them in your hand before the officer reaches your window, and place your hands on the top of the steering wheel where the officer can see them as he approaches you.

You should ask everyone in the car to sit still, keep their hands where the officer can see them, and shut their mouths during the stop unless you or the officer speaks to them. If someone else in the car has a firearm, you should also have their CPL and driver’s license ready.

As soon as the officer greets you, you should slowly hand your driver’s license and CPL to the officer and advise the officer that you are (or are not) carrying. Something like, “Hello, officer. I have a license to carry, and I am carrying a pistol.” Another option would be to have a card that you had the officer immediately that says this; “I am carrying a concealed pistol either on my person or in my motor vehicle as authorized by my valid Michigan CPL.”

Never use  a statement like, “I have a gun,” or anything like that. Sometimes using the word “gun” may cause a less experienced officer (say the nervous young recruit that you didn’t see walking up to the passenger side window of your car in the dark) to overreact.

Every officer I have ever seen has been very professional and polite in these circumstances, if you handle them correctly. Usually, he will ask where the firearm is, and then say something like, “Great, you keep your hands away from yours and I’ll keep my hands off mine.”

Remember to keep your hands where the officer can see them and don’t make any quick movements during the encounter.

Be polite and compliant with the officer; now is not the time to debate your rights. As a CPL holder, you do NOT have the right to remain silent about your carrying status (you gave up that right when you applied for the permit).

Never get out of your car unless you are asked to do so.  Here is a good example of what NOT to do.  Here is another.

In certain circumstances, a police officer may want to take possession of your firearm. If this happens, follow the officer’s directions very carefully. He should not ask you to hand him the gun under any circumstances, as this would be very dangerous for both you and him.

The police officer will return the firearm at the end of the stop unless the individual is being charged with a violation that allows for the weapon to be seized.

Most police officers understand that a law-abiding citizen with a CPL that follows the law and discloses the fact that they are carrying is not a threat to them. A criminal carrying an illegal gun without a permit doesn’t normally announce that to an officer.

What if you have contact with a police officer outside of your car?

The drafters of Michigan’s statute wanted to make it clear that you are considered in possession of the gun while you are in the car with the gun, even if it is not actually in your pocket or holster. If you are not in your car, and the gun is in your car, you are not “carrying” or in possession of the gun. However, an argument could be made that if it is within your “lunge area,” meaning you can easily reach it in one quick motion, it is in your possession. So, if you are standing near your car, there is a gun in the car, and you are “stopped,” meaning you are having some kind of official interaction with the officer (as opposed to simply saying “nice day isn’t it” as the officer walks by), you should probably disclose. I recommended that you disclose whenever in doubt. There is no negative legal consequence to disclosure. The only negative consequence comes from a failure to disclose.


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