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State updates manual for driver, police safety

Minnesota has made an important update to its driver’s manual. We hope those drivers who are also gun owners are paying attention.

Drivers who are stopped by police may be asked if they have a firearm in the car. To keep everyone — driver, passengers, police — from danger, drivers are being instructed to do the following: Tell the officer if they have a gun and where it is located within the vehicle. Drivers should keep their hands on their steering wheels at all times and refrain from reaching around in the vehicle.

Officers may ask to take possession of the gun during the stop, then relinquish it. (The manual references legal gun ownership. Illegal guns would be seized.)

All of this is intended to save lives and prevent avoidable accidents. Minnesotans can well remember the death of Philando Castile four years ago, when he was shot during a traffic stop after he told a police officer he had a gun.

Booker Hodges, a state Department of Public Safety assistant commissioner, perhaps summarized the issue best when he said: “The officer has to respect a citizen’s right to legally carry a firearm (and) the citizen has to respect the officer’s right to perform his or her job when conducting a traffic stop.”

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