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Thread: Open carry on person while in vehicle

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Charles Town, West Virginia, USA
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    32

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    I live in WV and work in northern VA, and I have the same question for both states, so I hope no one minds that I'm cross-posting this to the forums for each of the two states.

    I don't have a CCW permit yet, and I sometimes openly carry my M&P 9c. I'm a lefty, so I carry it in an OWB holster on my left hip, and am very careful to make sure none of my clothing obscures it. My question concerns whether or not this is deemed legal while I'm driving. As I understand it, both states allow for open carry in a vehicle provided the weapon is in plain sight. Does anyone know (or have experience with this situation) if this constitutes plain sight, or am I asking for trouble? It seems to me that having it lying on the passenger seat next to me would appear more threatening to any LEO who may happen to pull me over, even if it's a safer move in terms of legality.

    All of this will be moot once I have my CCW, but in the meantime I don't want to get myself in trouble. The VA State Police offer a brochure which includes the following quote (found on this site as well): "Placing a weapon under the seat, on the seat hidden from common observation, or at any location from which he weapon can readily be retrieved is considered to be concealed."

    Is it just me, or does that seem to plainly say that if you can reach your weapon, it's concealed? Or did they mean any location from which it can be retrieved and in which it is not in plain sight?

    Thanks guys. I've been enjoying reading these forums.

    -Bill

  2. #2
    Regular Member
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    Jun 2007
    Location
    Kitsap County, Washington, USA
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    Yes, it is silly. Many states have wording like that so that people without CHP can't carry in cars. You're lucky you can carry loaded in WV. In WA if you do not have a CHP you have to unload your gun. I would saying laying it in the passanger floor would be legal, as you would have to put an effort into reaching it. Or depending on your car, the passanger cubby area usually attached to the door. That way it is still visable and you can have it loaded, too!

  3. #3
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Charles Town, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    32

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    Well, I take my CCW class on June 7th, so I'll have my permit soon enough. I'll just have to be careful until then.

    -Bill

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