Francis Di Domizio wrote:You are an instructor in firearms and concealed carry, and I believe an outspoken proponent of the right to carry. I'm pretty sure they can sus out you might be carrying a weapon without resorting to any questionable hijinks.
And I'm pretty sure they cannot. Wisconsin's law was written specifically to prevent that from happening. The first indication to a police officer conducting a traffic stop or other encounter that a person holds a WI concealed carry license is either the person producing the license, or telling the officer that they have a license. The officer may then make an inquiry into the system to verify whether the person does indeed have a valid license. There is not to be any way where they can run the license plate and be automatically informed that it comes back to a licensee. If it happens, it is more than questionable hijinks, it is violation of the law.
As soon as concealed carry went into effect, trust me, we looked very carefully at feedback from licensees who had traffic stops to see whether there was any indication of the police officer having prior knowledge of licensee status. And we continue to investigate any questionable encounters. Happily there is no evidence of systemic abuse of the concealed carry database at this time.
If you want to see the details in the statute, I refer you to Chapter 175.60(12) and 175.60(12g).
I'll add that in Wisconsin the licensee has no obligation to inform a police officer that they carrying a concealed weapon. Some people have chosen to volunteer that information to the police and some have chosen not to do so. Personally, I wouldn't volunteer the information unless I was asked, then I would answer honestly. Or if it was inevitable that a weapon was going to be seen on me (e.g., getting out of the car to look at a burnt-out taillight while wearing no coat) I would give the officer the courtesy of making sure they know about my gun first from my verbal information and not their sight of it. Some police are made nervous by the presence of a gun and some are not. I can't see raising their stress level any more than necessary if I happen to have one of the nervous ones. The police are generally adept at detecting signs of nervousness in other people, and it helps to put them at ease if you are relaxed, friendly, confident and professional in your interactions with them.