Arizona Tries To Teach Armed Drivers How To Avoid Getting Shot By Police

(REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn)

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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Arizona lawmakers added changes to the state’s driver’s manual to teach armed drivers how to remain safe during a police traffic stop.

The new driver’s manual, released last month, tells armed people to keep their hands on the steering wheel when an officer approaches them and to inform the officer they are armed immediately, reported the Associated Press Sunday.

Democratic state Rep. Reginald Bolding suggested the changes after a police officer fatally shot Philando Castile, a black gun owner, seven times during a traffic stop. He also thought the changes were necessary because Arizona does not require a person to have a gun permit in order to carry a gun.

“The goal was to create a set of standards,” Bolding told the Associated Press. The updated driver’s manual also cautions drivers from trying to get something in the vehicle without asking the officer’s permission. As well, drivers can have their guns taken away from them during stops; they can be returned if no crime has been committed.

Other states have also offered guidance to drivers on the best ways to interact with police officers during traffic stops.North Carolina is also in the process of considering such a bill and Illinois released a 2017 “Rules of the Roadway” guidebook that tells drivers not to argue with officers about the tickets they get. (RELATED:Driver’s Ed Course Is Going To Teach Students How To Deal With Police)

“The goal here is to reduce what could be a tense situation that can be very stressful on both sides, Dave Druker, from the Illinois secretary of state’s office, said.

Will Gaona, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, agreed that drivers need to know how to act during a police stop. But he worries that the driver’s manual doesn’t teach drivers that they have the right to refuse an officer’s search of their car.

“You also need to tell them what their rights are — not just what you think they should do, but also what they are allowed to do,” Gaona said.

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Amber Randall