AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Texas and handguns tend to go hand in hand but if you are licensed to carry, you have to be responsible when dealing with others and especially when dealing with law enforcement.
This shocking video recently emerged showing the aftermath of a Minnesota traffic shop in which 32-year-old Philando Castile — a concealed carry permit holder — was killed after an officer seems to have mistakenly thought he was reaching for his weapon.
For concealed handgun permit holders, local CHL instructor, Jay Smith, says they should have nothing to fear when stopped by police.
"If you know the law and you know your handgun, I think you should be able to be comfortable in any situation," said Smith "You should be able to communicate with them whether you have a handgun or not."
Smith was in the Navy for over 20 years and was an officer in New Orleans for 6. He's been teaching CHL classes in the Amarillo for about two years and says, by law, you must tell the officer you are licensed to carry. That alone already tells the officer a lot about who you are.
"You know that I'm a law biding citizen, I've never been arrested for a felony, no class A or class B misdemeanor, and you know that I've been through the process with the state of Texas,"said Smith.
Smith says you should keep your driver's license and concealed carry permit easily accessible. If you're stopped at night, turn on the dome light and keep your hands on the steering wheel to minimize movement.
Even when following these recommendations, some officers may still be on edge. Other instructors in the Panhandle recommend using softer words like 'licensed and carrying' versus 'gun or firearm'.
"Make sure you just let him know what's going on, communication is the key," said Smith.
With racially-charged violence sweeping the country -- Smith says if more gun education is available, Texas can separate itself from potentially deadly situations.
"When you come to Texas, you need to know that we're law biding folks and we're going to do what we need to do within the boundaries of the law to protect you and your rights," said Smith.
Smith teaches multiple classes a month on conceal carry, for more information head to Smithandsonarmory.net.