Updated Minnesota driver's manual adds guidance for legal gun owners

Updated Minnesota driver's manual adds guidance for legal gun owners

Updated: July 06, 2020 01:32 PM
Created: July 06, 2020 11:15 AM

Watch the press briefing from MnDPS Monday at 1:15 p.m. here

(ABC 6 News) - The Minnesota Driver’s Manual has been updated to include information on what drivers and law enforcement should expect during a traffic stop, particularly when a driver has a firearm.  

Valerie Castile advocated for the addition to the manual to encourage consistency in traffic stops by law enforcement and ensure that drivers know what to expect. Castile’s son, Philando, died four years ago on July 6 after a Falcon Heights police officer shot him during a traffic stop. Philando Castile informed the officer that he was legally carrying a firearm.  

Castile’s recommendation was one of 28 announced by the working group on police-involved deadly force encounters chaired by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner John Harrington and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. The working group included representatives from community, advocacy, academic, foundation, mental health, law enforcement and criminal justice system organizations. The group’s executive summary is available on the DPS website.

The Minnesota Driver’s Manual already includes guidance for motorists stopped by law enforcement. The new language outlines in further detail what drivers with firearms should and should not do during a traffic stop. It also describes what motorists can expect from law enforcement.

The new information in the Minnesota Driver’s Manual advises motorists with firearms to:

  • Keep their hands on the steering wheel as the officer approaches.
  • Let the officer know they have a firearm. 
  • Tell the officer the firearm’s location. 

Drivers should not: 

  • Reach around inside the vehicle. 
  • Get out of the vehicle unexpectedly or approach the officer. 

The new language also outlines what drivers can expect from law enforcement during a traffic stop. While every traffic stop varies based on the circumstances, drivers can generally expect the officer to:

  • Greet the driver.
  • Identify themselves as a law enforcement officer.
  • Obtain the driver’s license and proof of insurance.
  • Inform the individual of the reason for the stop and explain the circumstances for issuance of the citation or warning.
  • Check both the validity and authenticity of the driver’s license.

Other advice for drivers during a traffic stop includes:

  • Stay calm. 
  • Slow your vehicle and activate your turn signal. 
  • As soon as safely possible, pull to the right shoulder; or if on a multi-lane road and closer to the left shoulder, move to the left shoulder if there is a full lane to park. 
  • Avoid stopping on a bridge, curved part of a roadway, or within the lane of traffic. 
  • If the traffic stop is made after dark, turn on your vehicle’s interior light.
  • Keep all doors shut, and remain in the vehicle unless directed otherwise by the officer.
  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel so they are easily observable. 
  • Give the officer your full attention. 
  • Do not make sudden movements or search for your driver’s license or vehicle documents; wait for the officer to give you instructions. 
  • If you have a weapon or firearm in the vehicle, inform the officer upon your first interaction with them.

View the new language starting on page 40 of the Minnesota Driver’s Manual


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota public safety officials are updating the state's driver's manual to give motorists who are legally carrying guns some guidance on what to do if stopped by police.

The change is being announced Monday - four years after Philando Castile was fatally shot after telling an officer he had a gun.

Authorities learned after the shooting that Castile had a permit to carry the firearm legally.

The change was sought by Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, and is one of 28 recommendations made by a working group that on deadly encounters with police.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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