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Thread: What Constitutes a Sidearm Being Visible

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    Regular Member YoungGunz's Avatar
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    What Constitutes a Sidearm Being Visible

    Alright this is something that has kind of been keeping me guessing. I'm not 21 so I can't get a CCW permit, but the only time I have my shirt tucked in is if I am at work. I was just curious what constitutes a gun being visible and therefore legally OC'ed? For example, if I were to wear a shirt that hangs down past the grip of my gun, but the holster is still clearly visible beyond the bottom of my shirt would that be considered legal or does the gun itself have to be seen? If any of you could give me some insight on this it would be much appreciated.

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    Regular Member 4angrybadgers's Avatar
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    That will depend on state law and case law. If you're looking for the definitions of "visible" or "concealed" in a particular state, best to post in that state-specific forum.

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    Regular Member Vitaeus's Avatar
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    For myself, I generally put my shirt or jacket behind the holster, I use a Serpa CQC. This action makes it clear the firearm is open-carried, but your specific state or jurisdiction may have different rules, your own research and diligence is recommended.

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4angrybadgers View Post
    That will depend on state law and case law. If you're looking for the definitions of "visible" or "concealed" in a particular state, best to post in that state-specific forum.
    have to agree. i know in NC it is that the handled show. i have not checked for VA. but you should goto the state specific sites
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    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

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    Regular Member Uber_Olafsun's Avatar
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    What Constitutes a Sidearm Being Visible

    Wasn't there a case about a cop stopping someone because he said he saw a firearm and the judge said it wasn't concealed if he saw it?

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    Regular Member YoungGunz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. I'll take this to the Idaho board.

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    Regular Member Morbidph8's Avatar
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    I've also wondered about this as well. I have my shirt behind the holster while un-tucked BTW. I am curious about the opposite. What constitutes concealed? If you are printing, are you still concealed at that point? If I just put my shirt over it. Which would be obvious that their is a gun there, but is it concealed? What sucks is that in some places were you could only OC. You could be OC'ing, and a cop trying to get you for CC'ing. So if I was in a CC only state, but it wasn't 100% invisible. Would you be in violation of OC'ing were prohibited?

    To OP killer profile pic.
    Last edited by Morbidph8; 10-07-2012 at 06:03 AM.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morbidph8 View Post
    I've also wondered about this as well. I have my shirt behind the holster while un-tucked BTW. I am curious about the opposite. What constitutes concealed? If you are printing, are you still concealed at that point? If I just put my shirt over it. Which would be obvious that their is a gun there, but is it concealed? What sucks is that in some places were you could only OC. You could be OC'ing, and a cop trying to get you for CC'ing. So if I was in a CC only state, but it wasn't 100% invisible. Would you be in violation of OC'ing were prohibited?

    To OP killer profile pic.
    It depends on what state you are in. In Texas absolutely no printing is allowed. In Florida printing seems to be OK but even the slightest flash of exposure is grounds for being proned out. Then there is the infamous "Virginia tuck" of holding back a portion of the cover garment by putting it behind the grips or lifting up a corner and tucking it behind the holster/belt.

    The best way to find the answer to your question is to read case law in your jurisdiction. If you are having trouble doing it from home, check qwith your local library to see if they have a subscription legal search service, or how/when you can use the one at the law library at the local court. (Your local court does have a law library that the public can use, doesn't it?) Look up state appellate and supreme court cases on concealed weapons, and learn how to interpret citations to older cases so you can backtrack as well as learn how to interpret the fine points in decisions. (If I can do it, just about anybody should be able to do it.)

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  9. #9
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    It generally depends on state law.

    In states where I've studied the laws, "plain sight" = "not concealed" and "concealed" = "not in plain sight". "Plain sight" is typically defined in plain English as "readily visible and identifiable to an observer". This is what most cops use as the rule of thumb for "plain sight" searches; if, by standing at some location the officer may legally be, and looking in some direction, they see the gun and clearly identify it as such, the gun is in "plain sight".

    However, in your specific case you're treading on very thin ice. Most case law I've seen states that holsters constitute a form of concealment, if by a combination of the holster and any other concealment measures (intentional or otherwise), the object at your waist is no longer obviously a gun. If a police officer looking at you could say "well, it might be a gun, but it could just be a tool pouch or cell phone holder", and then finds a reason to Terry stop you and finds out that yes, it really is a gun, you could find yourself on trial for unlawful concealed carry.

    The solution is simple; if your jurisdiction allows you, personally, to open carry but not to conceal, then make it (tastefully) obvious that what you have at your waist is indeed a firearm. If that requires tucking in the front right or back right of an otherwise-untucked shirt, so be it.
    Last edited by Liko81; 10-09-2012 at 06:58 PM.

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    Idaho case law is all over the board

    Most cases on the "concealed" issue arise in the context of a drug bust - where the officer spots a "concealed" weapon (don't ask me how - red states elect red judges, who go through all kinds of mental gymnastics to justify police behavior), and the search is challenged by the defendant, from prison, on appeal, uniformly unsuccessfully.

    There are Idaho cases where even if the officer can see even an inch of a handle of what may or may not be a knife poling up from anywhere in the vehicle, it's been upheld as PC to search for a concealed weapon.

    There's an interesting case where the defendant's handgun, wholly visible from anywhere on the passenger side of the vehicle, but not from the driver's side window, was deemed a "concealed weapon" and his conviction upheld.

    It's partisan hypocrisy in this state that has given us all these decisions that leave no real clear guidance, other than get a CCW permit or have your gun - the ENTIRE gun - fully visible from any conceivable angle in order to avoid trouble.

    Post it on the ID forum - you'll get the standard puffery from advocates of OC and CC about what is "concealed," but none of them have any real life courtroom experience in the matter and are so skewed, mentally and politically, that they don't read or understand anything contrary to their personal view. Except me, natch. From both sides of the question.

    Then hit me up for the case citations for the cases so you can throw them in the puffery advocates' faces and start getting them to think before they vote party line anymore. It's what's been wrong with this state for over 20 years.

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