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Thread: Open Car Carry

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    Does anyone know how to carry in a car legally in Delaware? I hate having to take it out of my holster, unload and keep in the glove box. It also doesn't look right when I load in my car. Please I need some ideas.
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    What I do is take it out of the holster and place it on the passenger seat. I'd like to keep it in my holster, but not sure if that is a good way to do it.

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    You couldn't just keep it on you in the holster if it can be seen. OC is in plain sight and my holster can be seen through the window right?
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    Not 100% sure, but I'd perfer to keep it holstered. You know, I asked a guy at millers gun store about open carry in a car and he didn't answer the question at all, he just said keep it unloaded in the trunk.

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    I've heard of it on the seat or on the dash, not sure about the holster. But all seem to be visible although the holster is the least visible with only one LEO approaching the drivers side of the car. Just don't like trying to secure a loose gun on the seat or dash. That's what happened with the FBI in the Miami incedent. Hit the brakes and the gun went flying, cop had a hard time finding the loose gun in the car. Center console might be better if possible.

    Keeping it in the trunk kind of defeats the purpose.

    One of the many reasons I got my CCDW. Gun is always on me and concealed. Don't have to worry about the small details of where to put the gun.

    Guess all this isn't much help. Personally I'd keep it in the holster and if pulled over toss it on the seat before the LEO gets out of his car.

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    ChefW wrote:
    Does anyone know how to carry in a car legally in Delaware? I hate having to take it out of my holster, unload and keep in the glove box. It also doesn't look right when I load in my car. Please I need some ideas.
    Holstered on your side or laid on the seat as long as it's not covered up is considered opencarry...... But you just might get that one PO that just doesn't know or doesn't care.. you know what I mean.

    Your not going to get a straight answer from anyone???... When I worked in Nevada and didn't have a ccw for that state I laid it on the dash. Never had a problem.

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    ChefW wrote:
    Does anyone know how to carry in a car legally in Delaware? I hate having to take it out of my holster, unload and keep in the glove box. It also doesn't look right when I load in my car. Please I need some ideas.
    Unless you have your CCDW, DON'T put it in the glove box. This is carrying concealed per the text of the statute:

    "A person is guilty of carrying a concealed deadly weapon when the person carries concealed a deadly weapon upon or about the person without a license to do so as provided by § 1441 of this title."

    Where being 'about' the person is basically defined as being able to be made ready within a given time -- interpretation is left to the court to decide. On the passenger seat or dash, or unloaded and cased in your trunk are you surest bets.



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    As far as "legal" open carry in your car... according to the AG's office (and the County Police), you must unholster it and either put it on the passenger seat or on the dashboard. In other words:

    Keeping it holstered while driving is NOT lawful open carry in Delaware!!!

    On a similar note, putting it in the center console (between the seats), may not be lawful either. Obviously this depends on how low your console is, and if your bodyactually blocks an officer's view of it just by sitting there.

    Why? Because if a LEO pulls you over and is standing next to you (at the door), he will NOT be able to see it clearly and easily!! Especially if it's on your left side. (My seatbelt goes right OVER my holster/gun and makes it very difficult to see, even from the passenger window!).. And if you don't have your CCDW License, it will probably be considered concealing w/out a license, which is a serious no-no!!

    I know putting it on the seat is kind of iffy, especially if you have to stop in a hurry (I've had mine almost slide right onto the floor). And putting it on the dashboard is problematic as well, since it'll slide around even more easily than the seat. Not good for a loaded gun. I guess you could mount a holster on the dash and secure it in there to prevent sliding issues... but I don't know if I want to drill screw holes into my dash and have a holster visible all the time.... :?

    And, just FYI: you do NOT have to unload your gun and trunk itto drive around. You can have your gun loaded and ready to go, next to you on the seat or on the dash. The gun just has to be visible and NOT concealed in any way (which is the very definition of "open") so that you'll be OK if a LEO pulls you over.

    It's hard to find written info on these matters, I know. Everyone will probably tell you something different. I got my info directly from the Attorney General's Office, which is good enough for me. I'd rather be a little "inconvenienced" while driving around w/ a loaded gun than be majorlyinconvenienced in jail (as a felon) and lose my rights to gun ownership.

    (YMMV. IANAL.)
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    If it's loaded and anywhere in the passenger compartment that is not in plain view you would be considered in (at least) constructive possession of it and thus would be possessing a concealed deadly weapon w/o a permit.

    Dave, did the State AG's office tell you that if it's holstered it's not open carry? That's strange. If holstered on your hip is "open" then holstered and on the dash / seat of your car should be just as "open."

    Also, if it's in the trunk can it be transported in whatever condition I feel like? I.E., loaded / unloaded & cased / uncased? (only in-state of course)

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    gotarheels03 wrote:
    If it's loaded and anywhere in the passenger compartment that is not in plain view you would be considered in (at least) constructive possession of it and thus would be possessing a concealed deadly weapon w/o a permit.

    Dave, did the State AG's office tell you that if it's holstered it's not open carry? That's strange. If holstered on your hip is "open" then holstered and on the dash / seat of your car should be just as "open."

    Also, if it's in the trunk can it be transported in whatever condition I feel like? I.E., loaded / unloaded & cased / uncased? (only in-state of course)
    Your first paragraph is dead-on. If you don't have a CCDW License, and the cop can't see it, you're in deep trouble.

    Yes, the AG told me this, as well as an LEO I had called. It's not that strange though, because, simply, when a cop is next to your window talking to you, he CAN'T easily see your holstered gun no matter which side it's on. Which is why they want it on the passenger seat or the dash - so they can see it easily.

    Remember the two pertinent definitions:

    conceal (verb): 1 :to prevent disclosure or recognition of,2 :to place out of sight, synonym: hide.

    open (adjective):3 a:completely free from concealment :exposed to general view or knowledge.

    So, by definition, to open carry a firearm means NONE of it can be hidden from view. And from a cop's perspective, if it's still on your hip, it's NOT open carry. Personally, since I don't have my CCDW, I make it a point to always make sure my gun is in plain (open) sight, everywhere I go. That means unholstering it when I'm in my car, tucking my jacket around/behind it, etc....



    As far as how to transport it in your trunk, I'd have to look up any specifics. I'm tired and need to sleep right now, so I'm not sleep-shooting tomorrow morning.
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    gotarheels03 wrote:
    Also, if it's in the trunk can it be transported in whatever condition I feel like? I.E., loaded / unloaded & cased / uncased? (only in-state of course)
    Concealing a weapon in Delaware is "on or about" the person which generally refers to the readiness and the 'at handidnes' of the weapon. So, if an officer wants to argue that you can make the weapon ready in a short period of time by hopping out of the car (or reaching in back of a hatchback style vehicle), he can use that reason for arrest if you don't have your CCDW.

    There's no case law on this; however, for your legal safety, if you're currently sans-CCDW, I'd highly recommend casing your firearm when storing it out of open/plain view.

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    Yup having a loaded gun within easy reach, but not within easy view is probably concidered concealed. So that means no loaded guns in the glove box or center console.

    I'm pretty sure an unloaded gun in those positions would be ok, although you might need to check the transportation laws. If you store the gun and a mag in close proximity without being locked up, they may consider it almost loaded. That on top of being nearby might still get you in trouble.

    I have an idea for keep the gun secure in the passenger seat. Use the passenger seatbelt. If you have a paddle holster or anything with a belt clip (as opposed to loops), you should be able to secure it to either of the passenger seatbelt straps. Just close the passenger seatbelt on the empty seat and clip it on. If the holster needs a wider belt, then fold the seatbelt over widthwise. It probably won't be perfect, but it'll be better than having the go flying somewhere in the first hard stop.

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    Jeff the Baptist wrote:
    I'm pretty sure an unloaded gun in those positions would be ok, although you might need to check the transportation laws. If you store the gun and a mag in close proximity without being locked up, they may consider it almost loaded. That on top of being nearby might still get you in trouble.
    Statutorily, there's not distinction about it being loaded or not -- in some states, they use a benchmark such as "Can be made 'ready' within 30 seconds or one minute", but yeah, it would certainly be a factor as to its readiness depending on the location of the items in the car.

    I know we (me in particular) like to have things clearly defined; however, with this point, it's something I'd rather not have one of us be the test case for. ;p


    I have an idea for keep the gun secure in the passenger seat. Use the passenger seatbelt. If you have a paddle holster or anything with a belt clip (as opposed to loops), you should be able to secure it to either of the passenger seatbelt straps. Just close the passenger seatbelt on the empty seat and clip it on. If the holster needs a wider belt, then fold the seatbelt over widthwise. It probably won't be perfect, but it'll be better than having the go flying somewhere in the first hard stop.
    I use the paddle holster attachment on my SERPA -- this would be a great idea for that... Clip the seatbelt on and slide it over the shoulder harness portion.


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    dave_in_delaware wrote:
    gotarheels03 wrote:
    If it's loaded and anywhere in the passenger compartment that is not in plain view you would be considered in (at least) constructive possession of it and thus would be possessing a concealed deadly weapon w/o a permit.

    Dave, did the State AG's office tell you that if it's holstered it's not open carry? That's strange. If holstered on your hip is "open" then holstered and on the dash / seat of your car should be just as "open."

    Also, if it's in the trunk can it be transported in whatever condition I feel like? I.E., loaded / unloaded & cased / uncased? (only in-state of course)
    . It's not that strange though, because, simply, when a cop is next to your window talking to you, he CAN'T easily see your holstered gun no matter which side it's on. Which is why they want it on the passenger seat or the dash - so they can see it easily.
    I was thinking more along the lines of "holstered" but not on your belt. I.E. holstered and sitting on the seat / dash. A steel & aluminum gun will scratch up your dash, a nylon holster wont. It's also less likely to slide around if it's in a holster.

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    Jeff the Baptist wrote:

    I'm pretty sure an unloaded gun in those positions would be ok, although you might need to check the transportation laws. If you store the gun and a mag in close proximity without being locked up, they may consider it almost loaded. That on top of being nearby might still get you in trouble.
    I doubt it. If it's a "firearm" then it's a "deadly weapon" under the law. The law makes no reference to the condition of the weapon, just that you were in possession of a concealed deadly weapon w/o a permit. If you were carrying just a pistol frame concealed on your person or in your car you'd still be breaking the law, since the frame alone is legally considered a "firearm"

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    gotarheels03 wrote:
    I doubt it. If it's a "firearm" then it's a "deadly weapon" under the law. The law makes no reference to the condition of the weapon, just that you were in possession of a concealed deadly weapon w/o a permit. If you were carrying just a pistol frame concealed on your person or in your car you'd still be breaking the law, since the frame alone is legally considered a "firearm"
    While the law makes no reference to the condition of a weapon, there is case law to back what you're saying -- these are also available in the Delaware Firearms Law PDF document I've provided on these forums:

    * It is quite immaterial whether a revolver is loaded or not, because such an instrument is commonly regarded as a deadly weapon without regard to its condition. If the absence of bullets would make the weapon a harmless one, then any condition that would prevent its being used at the time injuriously would have a like effect. State v. Quail, 28 Del. 310, 92 A. 859 (1914).

    * An automatic revolver that was defective and could not be fired is a deadly weapon. Papella v. State, 29 Del. 19, 96 A. 198 (1915).

    * Whether concealed deadly weapon may be deemed to be "about" the person should be determined by considering the immediate availability and accessibility of the weapon to the person, which is a factual question. Dubin v. State, 397 A.2d 132 (Del. 1979).

    * Factors determinative of accessibility. - Three factors are to be considered by the fact-finder in deciding the issue of whether a deadly weapon was accessible to the defendant and, hence, "about the person": (1) Would the defendant have to appreciably change position in order to reach the weapon? (2) could the defendant reach the weapon while driving? and (3) how long would it take for a defendant to reach the weapon, if the defendant were provoked? Dubin v. State, 397 A.2d 132 (Del. 1979).

    * Pistol in glove compartment. - The factual question of whether a pistol in a glove compartment of the automobile being driven by a defendant is "about the person" must be determined by a finding of whether the gun is available and accessible to a defendant for immediate use. Dubin v. State, 397 A.2d 132 (Del. 1979).

    * "Concealed" weapon may be in "plain view" of police officer. - A weapon may be "concealed" within the meaning of this section, and still be in "plain view" for purposes of the search and seizure doctrine. Robertson v. State, 794 A.2d 267 (Del. 1997).

    A weapon is "concealed" if it is hidden from the ordinary sight of another person, i.e., the casual and ordinary observation of another in the normal associations of life; however, since "ordinary observations" are not the same as the observations of an investigating police officer, a weapon concealed from an ordinary person may be in the plain view of a police officer. Robertson v. State, 794 A.2d 267 (Del. 1997).

    * State must prove intent. - Where neither this section nor § 1448 of this title prescribes any state of mind as an element of the crime, the State, under § 251(b) of this title, must prove intent, knowledge or recklessness. Upshur v. State, 420 A.2d 165 (Del. 1980).

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    Wow! An excellent thread. I had been mulling over this the other day.To date, I have only OCed in my local AO on foot. I am thinking of mounting an extra Serpa to a old clipboard. If I cover the backside of the board with a nonslip material (like a large mousepad), I can holster my Kimber and set it on the dash without worries of it sliding around.If stopped by the local constabulary, he will see my pistol before he sees me. When not in use, it can go right under my seat. Any thoughts on this?



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    dave_in_delaware wrote:
    As far as "legal" open carry in your car... according to the AG's office (and the County Police), you must unholster it and either put it on the passenger seat or on the dashboard.
    Cite to authority?

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    gotarheels03 wrote:
    If it's loaded and anywhere in the passenger compartment that is not in plain view you would be considered in (at least) constructive possession of it and thus would be possessing a concealed deadly weapon w/o a permit.
    What does the DE statute say? Case law?

    My comments - in most or all states: (1) Whether the gunis loaded has nothing to do with unlawful concealment! (2) Possessing a gun outside one's "wingspan," even in a vehicle passenger compartment, means the gun is not "about your person. (3) A locked container usualy means that the gun is not about your person (i.e., locked suitcase walking thru airport to check suitcase.

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    Mike wrote:
    gotarheels03 wrote:
    If it's loaded and anywhere in the passenger compartment that is not in plain view you would be considered in (at least) constructive possession of it and thus would be possessing a concealed deadly weapon w/o a permit.
    What does the DE statute say? Case law?

    My comments - in most or all states: (1) Whether the gunis loaded has nothing to do with unlawful concealment! (2) Possessing a gun outside one's "wingspan," even in a vehicle passenger compartment, means the gun is not "about your person. (3) A locked container usualy means that the gun is not about your person (i.e., locked suitcase walking thru airport to check suitcase.
    Case law:


    * Whether concealed deadly weapon may be deemed to be "about" the person should be determined by considering the immediate availability and accessibility of the weapon to the person, which is a factual question. Dubin v. State, 397 A.2d 132 (Del. 1979).

    Delaware's a bit light on case law, most of it on Section 1442 (Carrying concealed) I've posted above. Gotarheels also has the advantage of his parents who, we found out today, work for the AG.

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    I don't think we ever resolved this question.

    A holstered gun sitting in plain view in the center cup holder area, on the dashboard, or passenger seat is NOT legal open carry? To be legal it must be unholstered? That just seems moronic to me.



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    gotarheels03 wrote:
    I don't think we ever resolved this question.

    A holstered gun sitting in plain view in the center cup holder area, on the dashboard, or passenger seat is NOT legal open carry? To be legal it must be unholstered? That just seems moronic to me.

    I believe it can be holstered -- as long as it's in plain view of an officer, so on the seat or on the dash.

    IANAL.

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    I tend to agree with Wynder on this. Concealed is defined, but as open carry is legal due to the absence of a law making it illegal, there is no definition of "open" defined. to take the strictest definition, while being the safest,can be too extreme. Take Mississippi IIRC where partly concealed is illegal and they have distorted reason so much that a holstered gun is "Concealed" when worn openly on your hip. Following this reasoning a little further you could see how holding a gun would partly conceal the gun with your hand; thusly walking down the street randomly firing your gun would result in a concealed gun charge. Among other charges.

    That being said, I used (as a reasonably prudent person) the definitions that seem to be the most normal by the states that define open carry.

    IMO open carry iswhere it is plainly seen and not of a nature to disguise its appearance.

    On the dashboard, or the seat, the top of my thigh, holstered or not, as long as it is readily seen and easily discernable as a handgun.

    To that end, I kept a piece of white material on my passenger seat so my evil black gun would not be overlooked (disguised)on the black seat. I also determined to turn on the dome light (if stopped) so it illuminated the gun. of course now that I have my CCDW I don't worry about it



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    I believe someone else mentioned buckling the passenger seat belt and attaching the holster to the belt. How about instead you just attach the holster to your own seat belt at about chest height, pointed at a 45 degree downward angle towards the left dor panel? Any LEO looking at you would instantly see a gun strapped to your chest.



    Or would the risks of the airbag deploying and:



    A. the severe impact causing all safeties to fail & the firearm to discharge in the general direction of your left arm / thigh



    B. the severe impact of the bag on the firearm causing aditional trauma to your ribs (sort of like how you aren't supposed to CC at 6 o'clock due to possible spinal injury)



    be too great to do so?

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    astro_wanabe wrote:
    I believe someone else mentioned buckling the passenger seat belt and attaching the holster to the belt. How about instead you just attach the holster to your own seat belt at about chest height, pointed at a 45 degree downward angle towards the left dor panel? Any LEO looking at you would instantly see a gun strapped to your chest.
    Wow, I haven't heard or thought about that but it would seem work.
    I'm sure anyone that observed this would do a double take.

    I CCDW in a similar area of the body, inside vest pocket.

    Don't have airbags in my vehicle. If I'm in an accident where I'm breaking ribs a couple extra isn't at the top of my list.

    I ride a motorcycle as well and I'm more concerned about weapon retention and concealment. Scrapes and broken bones heal.

    All safeties should not fail all at once. Firing pin block should stop it from inpact. Slide safety, trigger safety and grip safety souldn't fail but you still need to pull the trigger.

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