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Thread: risk factor

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    I was wondering how much of a risk I would be taking if I openly carried my gun while passing through Virginia. My wife and I are moving to Tennessee at the end of the month and we will be driving. I have a Massachusetts LTC and a New Hampshire pistol permit so I can't legally conceal it. When I told my wife I was planning to do it she flipped out cause she's nervous about getting harrassed by the police. Are people more likely to call the police if they see an out of stater carrying openly? I've never carried openly in populated areas before so I'm kinda aprehensive about it too. Any advice would be appreciated.

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    massltca wrote:
    Are people more likely to call the police if they see an out of stater carrying openly?

    How will people know that you are an out of stater when you are walking around carrying openly?
    James Reynolds

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    You'll be amazed by two specific things, at the very least.

    1) Just how few people pay any attention whatsoever, and...
    2) Just how incredibly good it feels!

    If you simply go about your business as if there's nothing unusual going on, so will everyone else. The occasional fellow citizen who mentions your sidearm will, in all probability, be doing so from a position of positive interest. It's possible, though unlikely, that you might encounter one of those verbally-abusive anti-self defense types that we occasionally read about, so do be prepared for the possibility. I like the comment suggested by one of our compatriots in another post... tell 'em you carry for very personal reasons and you don't care to discuss it further. The nicer inquiries, of course, can be dealt with in a considerably more pleasant manner, and will generally open a constructive dialog about which you'll feel very good upon later reflection.

    In any case, most police officers in the state are reasonable, intelligent, considerate professionals who know the legality of open carry... and respect your right to do so. Should you run into the occasional "problem child", stay respectful always, but know your rights and act professionally throughout. Bullies tend to attempt to elicit unconstructive behaviour from their victims in order to justify their own misbehavior, so try real hard to give them no ammo. In all liklihood, you'll have no trouble whatsoever, and you'll have a "blast" in the process.

    There's truly nuthin' like the feeling of freedom!

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    massltca wrote:
    I was wondering how much of a risk I would be taking if I openly carried my gun while passing through Virginia. My wife and I are moving to Tennessee at the end of the month and we will be driving. I have a Massachusetts LTC and a New Hampshire pistol permit so I can't legally conceal it. When I told my wife I was planning to do it she flipped out cause she's nervous about getting harrassed by the police. Are people more likely to call the police if they see an out of stater carrying openly? I've never carried openly in populated areas before so I'm kinda aprehensive about it too. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Unless you & the wife are hiking, it seems most of your time will be spent OC-ing behind the wheel. Gas, bathroom breaks & meals might be the only time you get to OC "out in public."

    Just remember that you must OC in places that serve alcohol for on-premise consumption (aint Virginia grand- making us OC?). Otherwise you are probably not going to be noticed at all. Out of state plates will not trigger 911 calls any more than in-state plates do.

    You will most likely get stares and questions about your accent. As long as you do not mention the Kennedys you will probably be OK. Remember that there is no "frappe" here (unless you stop at a Friendly's) and that milkshakes come with ice cream here. "Regular coffee" means not decaf, instead of pre-sugared & creamed. "Jimmies" are now sprinkles. (Yes, I spent too much time near Bawwwstahhn many years ago, )

    stay safe, and a big WELCOME as you enter the Old Dominion.

    skidmark
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    ProShooter wrote:
    massltca wrote:
    Are people more likely to call the police if they see an out of stater carrying openly?

    How will people know that you are an out of stater when you are walking around carrying openly?
    Well, because mostly I'll be next to my car, with Mass plates, pumping gas. That'll will probably be the extent of my exposure to the public.

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    skidmark wrote:
    massltca wrote:
    I was wondering how much of a risk I would be taking if I openly carried my gun while passing through Virginia. My wife and I are moving to Tennessee at the end of the month and we will be driving. I have a Massachusetts LTC and a New Hampshire pistol permit so I can't legally conceal it. When I told my wife I was planning to do it she flipped out cause she's nervous about getting harrassed by the police. Are people more likely to call the police if they see an out of stater carrying openly? I've never carried openly in populated areas before so I'm kinda aprehensive about it too. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Unless you & the wife are hiking, it seems most of your time will be spent OC-ing behind the wheel. Gas, bathroom breaks & meals might be the only time you get to OC "out in public."

    Just remember that you must OC in places that serve alcohol for on-premise consumption (aint Virginia grand- making us OC?). Otherwise you are probably not going to be noticed at all. Out of state plates will not trigger 911 calls any more than in-state plates do.

    You will most likely get stares and questions about your accent. As long as you do not mention the Kennedys you will probably be OK. Remember that there is no "frappe" here (unless you stop at a Friendly's) and that milkshakes come with ice cream here. "Regular coffee" means not decaf, instead of pre-sugared & creamed. "Jimmies" are now sprinkles. (Yes, I spent too much time near Bawwwstahhn many years ago, )

    stay safe, and a big WELCOME as you enter the Old Dominion.

    skidmark
    I'm no friend of the Kennedys, so no problem there. What do most people do to assure that there is no issue of concealment when OC behind the wheel? It seems to me that carrying the gun in a holster while wearing a seatbelt could be construed as concealment. I have considered the dashboard, but have no way to secure it and prevent it from sliding around.

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    I'd say the risk was low. It sounds like you'll be on the interstates most of the time.

    My personal rule of thumb is to never OC in unfamiliar areas,if I can't afford the time to be hassled by police.

    There is always that chance. Its not like the entire state and all byways and interstate exit locations have been verified pacified towards OC.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

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    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
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    It seems to me that carrying the gun in a holster while wearing a seatbelt could be construed as concealment. I have considered the dashboard, but have no way to secure it and prevent it from sliding around.
    Very legitimate concern. I think it could very easily be argued that the weapon is concealed. Find a way to secure it openly in your vehicle. I have a cheap holster I can clip onto a change tray on the bottom of my dash. Stick it between the seat and center console? enough that it stays put but sticks up enough that it can easily be identified as a gun.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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    massltca wrote:
    It seems to me that carrying the gun in a holster while wearing a seatbelt could be construed as concealment. I have considered the dashboard, but have no way to secure it and prevent it from sliding around.
    It really depends on the situation. In a pickup with a bench seat, you're probably fine. In a vehicle with deep bucket seats and a large center console, you're in a grey area...
    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." - George Washington

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    Interesting concern about driving and keeping your piece in your belted holster and whether or not that constitutes concealed. The "rule" is "hidden from common observation", so this is a judgement call most likely.

    But then again if that were the case, wouldn't it also be a concern if you were in a restaurant OC'ing and your strong side was against a booth wall? It would be completely hidden at that point just be virtue of your seating arrangement. Under these circumstances, I would be surprised if an LEO called you on this one.

    Personally when driving, I put my little friend in one of my cup holders in my console so as not to do any damage to my seat (car is very important to me - as in anal).




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    I still think that people are missing the point -

    The statute says " If any person carries about his person, hidden from common observation".........

    If you arewearing an open carry type holster, then you are not carrying it hidden from common observation. The fact that you are seated in a car does not take away from the fact that you are carrying it in an open manner about your person. Sitting in a car driving is a normal, temporary condition that does not show an attempt to conceal a weapon, it merely shows that you are driving a car.

    The restaurant booth is a perfect example. You are still carrying it openly, your body is temporarily positioned in a manner which places your gun out of view, but it is not concealed.
    James Reynolds

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    massltca wrote: What do most people do to assure that there is no issue of concealment when OC behind the wheel? It seems to me that carrying the gun in a holster while wearing a seatbelt could be construed as concealment. I have considered the dashboard, but have no way to secure it and prevent it from sliding around.
    I think you may be just a tad bit too paranoid. Most folks will not be craning their necks to peer into your vehicle to see if you are carrying OC or CC, or if your seatbelt covers your OC piece to turn it into CC.

    When you are standing at the gas pump, try to look like you do that every day. Just because you now have a handgun on your belt should not change how you stand or how you look around the area. If you present yourself as being furtive you may draw attention to yourself, while if you present yourself as going about your normal routine most folks will accept that signal.

    If you get an opportunity to meet any of our law enforcement personnel while driving you might want to be polite and cooperative. While not required by law most folks seem to agree that it does not hurt to advise them that you have a weapon - just think about the difference between yelling "I've got a gun!" as the cop advances towards you and waiting till he is at your window and saying "Officert, I'd like to inform you that I am in possession of a handgun which is located [__]. How do you want me to proceed?" As for encounters when you are outside the vehicle, the cop should have seen your OC handgun from some distance away. Once you are aware they want to talk with/to you, keep your hands in sight and away from the handgun - no need to raise your arms above your head, but perhaps hold your hands in front of your body, or tuck your thumbs into your belt's front center.

    It is possible that you will run into a cop who is not OC-friendly, just as it is possible you will buy a winning Virginia Lottery ticket. But the odds are against either, IMHO.

    stay safe, and enjoy the drive through the Old Dominion.

    skidmark
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    ProShooter wrote:
    I still think that people are missing the point -

    The statute says " If any person carries about his person, hidden from common observation".........

    If you arewearing an open carry type holster, then you are not carrying it hidden from common observation. The fact that you are seated in a car does not take away from the fact that you are carrying it in an open manner about your person. Sitting in a car driving is a normal, temporary condition that does not show an attempt to conceal a weapon, it merely shows that you are driving a car.

    The restaurant booth is a perfect example. You are still carrying it openly, your body is temporarily positioned in a manner which places your gun out of view, but it is not concealed.
    That is all nice and logical but logic and the goverment or not exactly best friends. I wonder how much it would cost to have a lawyer look into this.
    "Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: 'No man should have so much.' The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: 'All men should have as much.'"- Phelps Adams

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    Hokie wrote:
    ProShooter wrote:
    I still think that people are missing the point -

    The statute says " If any person carries about his person, hidden from common observation".........

    If you arewearing an open carry type holster, then you are not carrying it hidden from common observation. The fact that you are seated in a car does not take away from the fact that you are carrying it in an open manner about your person. Sitting in a car driving is a normal, temporary condition that does not show an attempt to conceal a weapon, it merely shows that you are driving a car.

    The restaurant booth is a perfect example. You are still carrying it openly, your body is temporarily positioned in a manner which places your gun out of view, but it is not concealed.
    That is all nice and logical but logic and the goverment or not exactly best friends. I wonder how much it would cost to have a lawyer look into this.
    Check out http://www.virginia1774.org/Page1.html. Case law - the decisions of the courts showing how they have interpreted the laws written by the General Assembly - are posted there. You just need to scroll down a bit from the top of the page to get to that section.

    It s not hard for a layman with no legal training to read a court decision and come away with a good understanding of how the court interpreted a law. The most difficult part (which virginia1774.org has done for us) is to follow the precedents back from the most recent decision to see literal line of reasoning that has been used.

    I think you will see that most of the cases where the question of open carry vs. illegally concealedcarry comes into play arise when the defendant was doing something illegal to cause the cops to pay attention to them in the first place. For most of us lawabiding types just driving down the road should not present us with any undue risk of being arrestred because our seatbelt was partially covering a firearm we were OC-ing.

    The doctor suggests you all relax and stop trying to come up with things toworry about.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    Massltca,
    I lived in MA for a while (many years ago), so I understand your trepidation. You'll experience some "culture shock" of the good type by spending time here and in TN.

    If your OC is mostly limited to gassing up along the highways, I'm amost certain it will be a non-event (except for the exhilarating sense of freedom you might experience). Actually, the biggest risk in gassing up on the interstates is the possibility that another out-of-stater from up north will see you and start hyperventilating. :what: This happened a few years ago when one of our people was at a station and a Canadian pulled up and saw his gun. The Canadian freaked out and called the police. The State Trooper responded, talked with the Virginian, verified that all he was doing was legally open-carrying, then went over and explained it to the Canadian. Our neighbor from up north was still highly upset and indignant. The trooper came back to the Virginian and said "Canadians! ......What are ya gonna do!"

    Anyway, enjoy your trip through our fine state! Tell us how your trip went when you all are settled in TN (The Volunteer State).



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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Plus 1 what Dutch Uncle said.

    The only risk you really take iis the possibility some over Zealous Leo may ask you are carrying a gun.
    Answer quietly and calmly and go on about your business.
    And enjoy being in a free state

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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    massltca - welcome to Virginia! I was born and raised in Pittsfield, MA, but left when I was 16; a couple of months after I graduated high school -- a long time ago <grin>. Until recently, my Dad was in your shoes - a strong 2nd amendment supporter, NRA Firearms Instructor, officer of the Lenox Sportsmens Club, and SASS shooter. And the last Kennedy any of us liked was John F ... many decades ago.

    You'll find particularly if you're just passing through that most won't even notice your handgun. You may get some sideways looks. The "concealed in the car" question is not fully answered to anyone's satisfaction, likely, but will only be a consideration if you are pulled over, and then only by an overzealous LEO. There are some of them around, but most, it seems, are reasonable.

    Once you pass through the "western DC" part of the state (Alexandria, Arlington, McLean, Falls Church, Tysons Corner, etc.) you're among real people. Just enjoy yourself.
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

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    Thank's for the advice. I think if I have my pistol stuck between the seats in a holster it will be visible to police officers approaching from either side. But I don't think I'll have any trouble on that front since I obey the speed limit religiously especially when I'm traveling.

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    Dutch Uncle wrote:
    Massltca,
    I lived in MA for a while (many years ago), so I understand your trepidation. You'll experience some "culture shock" of the good type by spending time here and in TN.

    If your OC is mostly limited to gassing up along the highways, I'm amost certain it will be a non-event (except for the exhilarating sense of freedom you might experience). Actually, the biggest risk in gassing up on the interstates is the possibility that another out-of-stater from up north will see you and start hyperventilating. :what: This happened a few years ago when one of our people was at a station and a Canadian pulled up and saw his gun. The Canadian freaked out and called the police. The State Trooper responded, talked with the Virginian, verified that all he was doing was legally open-carrying, then went over and explained it to the Canadian. Our neighbor from up north was still highly upset and indignant. The trooper came back to the Virginian and said "Canadians! ......What are ya gonna do!"

    Anyway, enjoy your trip through our fine state! Tell us how your trip went when you all are settled in TN (The Volunteer State).
    Yeah I know what you mean, the people we have met while traveling in the south have been very polite and friendly, unlike the majority of people here in the northeast. I'll post more when we get down there.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    massltca wrote:
    Thank's for the advice. I think if I have my pistol stuck between the seats in a holster it will be visible to police officers approaching from either side. But I don't think I'll have any trouble on that front since I obey the speed limit religiously especially when I'm traveling.
    Actually, that is considered concealed carry in Virginia. Starting about halfway down the page at http://www.virginia1774.org/Page1.htmlis the case law on what is considered concealed carry by Virginia courts. See especially Weatherford v. Commonwealth, Va . App., (2005 Unpublished) as it would apply to your sticking a holster between the seats.

    On-body outside the waistband, laying on the passenger seat with nothing covering it or anybody sitting on it, or on the dashboard are the "pure" open-carry methods in Virginia.

    Just wear the darned thing like it was another piece of clothing you put on every morning, and enjoy the feeling of leaning a little bit to the right because of the weight.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    Well that is good to know. It's much easier to just wear it anyway and not have to handle it when getting in and out of the car. I certainly don't want to break the law. It would be nice if the folks writing the laws would make it clear what is lawful and what is not.

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    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    massltca wrote:
    It would be nice if the folks writing the laws would make it clear what is lawful and what is not.
    What??? And take all the fun out of it for the lawyers and the cops?

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    Got down to Tennessee safely on sunday night. Open carried at all of our pit stops and gas fill ups no problems at all. In fact at one rest area a car with Illinois tags pulled up next to me and they walked by 2 feet away and didn't even seem to notice the gun. Definitely very surprising.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Glad you enjoyed the OC experience, and that you arrived safe and sound.

    You will have to write to all the folks you left behind and try to get them to believe there were noshootouts and noblood flowing in the streets. Maybe hearing it from someone they know will convince them it could happen.

    Check back with us (OCDO)in about a month or so to tell us about your OC experiences. We love hearing about the moment when you stopped being in awe about OC-ing and it became just another part of your daily routine.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

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