To both my readers, enjoy.
It has now been about six weeks since I got my conceal carry permit. Needless to say, I’m still trying to get aquainted with the life of daily carrying. When people are surprised to learn that I have been carrying a 7-shot .357 Magnum right under their noses, I know that I have done my job right. On Monday after a very busy day of work, Jenni and I headed out towards Houston. This will be the first out of town trip that we have taken with our CCW permits.
We left from my workplace with the intent of getting to our destination as early as possible. The drive down was fairly uneventful through Dallas, and we decided to stop and get gas and eats once we had cleared the Dallas bustle – just after the half-way mark on our trip. Once we had refueled the car and our own bodies, we started out again. It was about 8:30, it was starting to get dark, and I noticed that the law enforcement was thick in stopping people on this particular section of I45.
So, I made sure to adhere to the posted speed limit, being out of state and seeing others who had not made the same decision on the side of the road with the flashing blues and reds that seem purple with these new LED’s that the cop cars are now equipped with. About thirty miles out, I saw a State Trooper parked on the side of the road with his lights off. When we passed him, I saw his headlights come on and he pulled out into traffic. I double-checked my speed and ran through a list in my head, making sure that I could not be his target. I saw him pull closer to our car, and his red and blue lights came on right behind us. “Oh, come on!” I exclaimed, “What in the world do you want from ME?” as I pulled the car to the shoulder and rolled down the window.
There is a certain protocol in a contact with a law enforcement officer when one is legally carrying a handgun. I put my hands where they were completely visible, one out the driver’s side window and the other on the passenger headrest. After waiting in the bath of floodlights for what seemed an eternity in the cooling humidity, the officer approached the passenger-side window, and Jenni rolled it down. He was a young man, probably about my age, seemed to be about my build, and fortunately seemed to be in a good mood. I could see his traditional straw cowboy hat and his WW-II G.I.-esque tan shirt, short-sleeved with epaulettes. I was so incredibly nervous that I was shaking like a leaf. I knew that if I did everything that I was supposed to it would be fine, but the fact of the matter is that this was the first time that I have been in this particular situation. Before I could inform him that I was legally carrying a weapon, he started talking, pointing his flashlight in our faces.
“I’m sure you are wondering why I pulled you over,” he said, “You have a tag light out, and you need to get that taken care of,” he continued before I could get a word in edgewise, “If I could see your license and registration, I’ll get you a written warning – no ticket – and yall can get on your way.”
At this point, I did what I’ve been trained to do. Without moving my hands, I said, “Yes sir, but I need to tell you that…”
Before I could finish my sentance he interjected, “What, you got a gun?”
“Yes sir,” I said, “and I do have my license to carry.”
He waived his hand at me in dismissal, “That’s ok. We’re cool with guns around here.”
It was as if a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I asked my wife to retrieve the insurance card from the glove box as I picked up my wallet from the center console and pulled out my driver and handgun licenses. I handed the officer all three cards as I am supposed to with such an encounter.
“Oh cool!” he said, “I hadn’t seen an Oklahoma permit before! Yours looks better than ours does!” Then, leaning deeply over the passenger window sill he asked, “If you don’t mind me asking, how much does that cost there?”
“It’s about $200.00 once all is said and done,” I replied.
“Yeah,” he said thoughtfully, “same here.”
I then asked, “Is is good for five years here too?”
He rolled his eyes in contemplation, “I… think so.” He laughed and continued, “I should know that seeing as how it’s my department. I guess I need to double check that stuff when I get the chance. So, do they give it to you unless you’re a felon there too?”
“Absolutely,” I answered, “as long as the paperwork is filed properly and the record is clean, they will issue the permit.”
“I think everybody ought to get their CHL and carry a gun,” he said somberly.
“Me too,” I agreed.
Leaning over the window sill again, he added with just a touch of venom in his words, “As far as I’m concerned, it just keeps the felons in check!”
I agreed, and with that he went back to his car to write the warning. Jenni and I giggled the entire time that we waited this second time. This had been by far the most pleasant experience that I’ve ever had being pulled over. He returned to the car with the warning, reiterating that it would be accompanied with no fees or anything else. He wished us safety and happy gunning, and sent us on our way. About twenty miles later, we pulled into a Love’s Travel Stop to change the light bulbs on the license plate. When I applied pressure on the screws to access the bulbs, they came back on. I poked around at them for a minute, and they remained on. So, we shrugged our shoulders and continued on our way. So, we now have that random little anecdote in our life’s resume. The funniest things happen when people are involved, don’t they?