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Thread: Visibility Percentage?

  1. #1
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    Hi, I live in Louisiana (Baton Rouge) and am new to this site. My question is, how much of the gun has to be visible to be considered 'open carry?' (or to not be considered as 'concealed').

    I have an 'in the pants' holster but the grip is still above my waistline. I understand that I can not let my shirt fall over it etc...

    Is a gun in a holster considered 'concealed?' even though the holster implies a gun?

    Thank you

    Claydoh

  2. #2
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    There is no "percentage test." LA law makes it out to be a jury question, so to speak. The key factor is whether the State can prove your intent to conceal.

    State v. Fluker 311 So. 2d 863, a 1975 case which discusses the determination of concealment of a firearm

    The present statute was originally enacted in 1942 and was enrolled as part of the Revised Statutes in 1950. See La. Acts 1942, No. 43, § 1, art. 95. Subsequent amendments have not related to the section in question here, which defines the crime of illegally carrying a weapon as, inter alia, the intentional concealment of any firearm, or other instrumentality customarily used or intended for probable use as a dangerous weapon, on one's person. . . .



    La. R.S. 14:95(A)(1) (1950), as amended, La. Acts 1968, No. 647, § 1.
    Clearly, the present version of the statute differs from its predecessors by requiring intentional concealment. Thus, the old formula, which required that the weapon be carried in full open view, is obsolete. By making the offense of concealment a crime of specific intent, the legislature has abandoned the old rule that a partially hidden weapon is a concealed weapon in favor of a more realistic proscription that contemplates that a weapon, although not in "full, open view," is nonetheless not a "concealed" weapon if it is sufficiently exposed to reveal its identity. If the weapon is carried in a manner that reveals its identity, its carrier cannot be presumed to have intended to conceal it and, accordingly, is not in violation of the statute.

    As one commentator has observed,


    the problem is whether there has been an intentional concealment. If a part of the weapon is openly displayed, such open display is hardly consistent with an intent to conceal. If a part is subject to view, not through an intention for it to be openly displayed but merely by virtue of sloppy concealment, then it seems there may be intentional concealment even though there is not full concealment. These are jury questions and there ought not be any simplistic rule designed to govern both the rural outdoorsman and the city street roamer by so mechanistic a standard as that of whether the weapon was partially or fully concealed.


    Ellis, The Work of the Louisiana Appellate Courts for the 1970-1971 Term, Criminal Law, 32 La. L. Rev. 298, 305-06 (1972) (emphasis in original).

    In sum, the trial court erred in its application of the mechanistic standard that obtained under prior laws. The appropriate test to be applied in prosecutions for illegal carrying of weapons is whether, under the facts and circumstances of the case as disclosed by the evidence, the manner in which defendant carried the weapon evinced an intent to conceal its identity. Applying this interpretation of the statute to the facts of this case, we find no evidence of an intentional concealment of the weapon. Defendant wore the gun in a holster on his hip in open view. The gun was exposed, except for that portion in the holster. There was no attempt to conceal its identity. It was fully admitted by the arresting officers that the weapon was sufficiently exposed to be fully recognizable as a pistol. Hence, we find no evidence to substantiate this conviction. La. Code Crim. P. art. 778 (1966); see State v. Douglas, 278 So. 2d 485 (La. 1973).


  3. #3
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    Just to add to my previous post, an IWB is riding the line. I would be willing to try it and duke it out in court, but be aware that an LEO, a magistrate, a DA, a judge, a jury, an appeals court judge,and the LA Supreme Court are the general chain of events. You may have to climb each step of that ladder until you get to one that agrees that an IWB holster does not indicate an intent to conceal. I would argue that the same percentage of the gun is showing as it would have been in an OWB holster, but the LEO, magistrate, DA, judge, etc. may not feel that way. Hopefully, you would win that battle, but there is that risk of a fair amount of headaches. Of course, as Mark can tell you, there is that risk even with an OWB holster. The idea is that if you are trying to be as clearly legal as possible, you would want your weapon to be as apparent as possible. Not that an IWB is illegal, just that you are getting closer to "the line" (which is not set in stone) the more your style of carry appears concealed. Hopefully that all makes sense.

  4. #4
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    Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. I will opt for the owb holster and instead of walking the line with an iwb and inviting trouble.

    Thanks again!

  5. #5
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    You're welcome.

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