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3:06 PM Wed, Dec. 12th

Carrying firearms in your car?

Don’t surprise the officer who pulls you over

Small lock boxes are commonly recommended by firearms professionals to keep guns stored in vehicles when not in use. This one in particular is secured using a security cable. (Tim Wiederaenders/Courier, file)

Small lock boxes are commonly recommended by firearms professionals to keep guns stored in vehicles when not in use. This one in particular is secured using a security cable. (Tim Wiederaenders/Courier, file)

It’s not illegal to carry a gun, or even several, in your car, State Trooper Kameron Lee said, and most people will have no trouble if they are the subject of a traffic stop.

If you have one for personal protection, and you’re carrying it in your car, it’s a simple process of telling the officer that you have it and where it is.

Experts recommend saying something along the lines of “I carry concealed” so there will be no misunderstanding, which could result if an officer hears the word “gun.”

Don’t reach for it or gesture toward it.

The Arizona Drivers’ Manual advises, “Drivers with firearms in the vehicle should keep your hands on the steering wheel in a visible location and when the officer approaches, let them know that you have a firearm in the vehicle and where the firearm is located. If requested, the officer may take possession of the weapon, for safety reasons, until the contact is complete.”

If you’re allowed to possess a firearm and did not commit a crime, such as having illegal drugs in the car, police say they will generally have no problem with the gun in the car.

It is a misdemeanor to fail to tell an officer that you’re carrying a concealed gun if you are.

If you are carrying more than one weapon, police may question whether you’ve made a “straw purchase,” that is, if you bought the guns for someone else with the intent to transfer them to that person. Doing so is a federal offense.

You’re also not allowed to transport them into another country, Lee said.

“If the deputy has reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, he would check serial numbers to see if the guns were stolen” or are otherwise illegal, said Dwight D’Evelyn, Yavapai County Sheriff’s spokesman. “If you are carrying a large amount of firearms, it would be prudent to have some type of documentation showing ownership.”

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