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Thread: OC Holster Question (legality)

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    Is an inside the pants (ITP) or inside the waistband (IWB) belt holster such as this Galco IWB model acceptable from a legal standpoint for open carry in Washington state? I did read the WA FAQ stating that no holster design is required, but it didn't touch on the issue of partial concealment, if there is such an issue.


    Please note that I am not interested in discussing the safety or advisability of such a holster. There are plenty of threads naysaying zero retention holsters and advocationg serpa holsters. I don't want to discuss that here; I'm just looking for some opinions about the legality. (I'm also aware that any such advice posted here is not the advice of an attorney on retainer and should be taken with a grain of salt.)







    In other words, would a LEO have grounds to claim that a holster similar to this one is concealed if the outer shirt was removed and the firearm was exposed as seen in the picture with no loose clothing covering it?

    is

    (and no, neither picture is my own. I shamelessly lifted them off of the net, thanks to google image searches)

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    Regular Member trevorthebusdriver's Avatar
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    Both those holster are perfectly legalfor OC as long asit's not covered by your shirt.

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    The only problem in Washington is that there is no definition that spells out what makes a weapon concealed or not. IMO, you should be fine, assuming you do have a CPL. Why? The gun wouldn't be anymore covered if the holster was outside the waist band. If a LEO thinks it is conceal, a CPL stops him in he's tracks.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    Thank you both for your quick and on-topic responses. My assumptions matched your statements.

    I do have a CPL, so moving in and out of vehicles while OC'ing is not a problem for me and neither is pulling on a sweat-shirt or jacket that covers it.

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    This topic does make for an interesting question concerning a flap holster.If the holstercovers the gun isthe gun concealed even though the holster is worn openly?

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    irfner wrote:
    This topic does make for an interesting question concerning a flap holster.If the holstercovers the gun isthe gun concealed even though the holster is worn openly?
    Been asked before and so far no one has an answer that is verifiable.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    irfner wrote:
    This topic does make for an interesting question concerning a flap holster.If the holstercovers the gun isthe gun concealed even though the holster is worn openly?


    I would assume that you could argue that the holster was carried completely openly and it was obvious that a firearm was inside the holster, thus you were not concealing it. I'd like to think such an argument would hold up in court, since the flap holsters are very obviously firearm holsters, even if the firearm is concealed within the holster, it doesn't disguise the nature of the firearm.

    Things like firearms in purses, fanny packs and tactical pockets wouldn't be arguable by that logic, since those methods of securing a firearm by nature conceal the shape of the firearm and mask it as something else, completely concealing it from outside view and disguising its nature as a firearm.

    Can anyone help us find a legal definition for "concealed" pertaining to Washington state weapon laws? I've looked throughthe entire chapter41 of title 9 in the RCWs and can find no definition of "concealed." The closest I can come is the phrase "concealed from outside view" which refers specifically topistols stored in locked vehicles.

    The definition of terms in RCW 9.41.010never define "concealed." In RCW 9.41.050they do use the word concealed several times, and the context is "concealed from view outside the vehicle" when specifically addressing storage of a loadedpistol in a vehicle by a CPL holder, or storage of an unloadedpistol in a vehicle by a person at least age 18 without a CPL. RCW 9.41.060 and RCW 9.41.070are the two RCWs that authorize concealed carry under specific terms and neither of them define "concealed" either. RCW 9.41.280also uses the term "concealed from view" allowing non-studentsto leave a pistol in a locked vehicle ifthe pistol is concealed from view while they have legitimate business at the primary or secondary school.

    I wonder if the lack of a definition for "concealed" has ever been argued in case law before. Perhaps someone with some case law knowledge or the ability to peruse case law efficiently can enlighten us? I've looked through the AGO opinions and can't find an answer.

    If there is no current case law on this issue we won't get an answer unless in the pursuit ofofficial duties,a Member of the Washington State Legislature, Statewide Elected Official, County Prosecuting Attorney orAppointed Head of State Agency, Board or Commision seeks an informal or formal Opinion of the AGO on the definition of concealment.



    I did find this:

    AGO 1957 No. 62> May 13, 1957
    UNIFORM FIREARMS ACT - ENFORCEABILITY STATUTES - CONSTRUCTION
    UNIFORM FIREARMS ACT ‑- ENFORCEABILITY STATUTES ‑- CONSTRUCTION (1) The uniform firearms act is still in force, though its penalty provision has been declared unconstitutional.(2) The provisions of the uniform firearms act authorizing the carrying of a concealed pistol with a license, should be construed together with those of an independent statute prescribing penalties for "furtively carrying with an intent to conceal" such a weapon, in order to preserve the integrity of both statutes.

    Perhaps this Attorney General's OfficeOpinion could be considere precedence for at least defining what concealment is? Could we then argue that using any form of holster, even one that completely covers the gun, is not "furtively carrying with an intent to conceal" since the shape of the holster is clearly identifiable as a holster, and thus "furtive" does not apply?

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Step away and view the situation as an "ordinary person" might view it. If the weapon is substantially concealed, to the point that it might not be readily ID'd as a gun, would an ordinary person consider it concealed?
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

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    amlevin wrote:
    Step away and view the situation as an "ordinary person" might view it. If the weapon is substantially concealed, to the point that it might not be readily ID'd as a gun, would an ordinary person consider it concealed?
    We are talking the law, which has noting to do with logic and ordinary people.

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    IIRC,

    There was a man in Ellensburg who Open Carried his 1911 "cocked and locked" IWB to the bank and the cops were called and he was issued a warranting alarm citation that was an Ellensburg Muncipial Code infraction.

    Also IIRC, the only way that he got cleared of the charge was because it was a tad stricter than RCW. The judge said that had he been charged with an RCW to begin with, they would have sticked? I am sure Lonnie would be a better source of this case as I believe I found it out from him.

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    G27 wrote:
    IIRC,

    There was a man in Ellensburg who Open Carried his 1911 "cocked and locked" IWB to the bank and the cops were called and he was issued a warranting alarm citation that was an Ellensburg Muncipial Code infraction.

    Also IIRC, the only way that he got cleared of the charge was because it was a tad stricter than RCW. The judge said that had he been charged with an RCW to begin with, they would have sticked? I am sure Lonnie would be a better source of this case as I believe I found it out from him.
    The judge was full of crap too. The guydid nothing illegal under the RCW either. Way to many lawyers and judges are totally unaware of the actual meaning of RCW 9.41.270. Seems no one has read Casad either.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    amlevin wrote:
    Step away and view the situation as an "ordinary person" might view it. If the weapon is substantially concealed, to the point that it might not be readily ID'd as a gun, would an ordinary person consider it concealed?
    We are talking the law, which has noting to do with logic and ordinary people.
    I agree with amlevin on this. Typically if something is not defined be legislation the courts will interpret it as a reasonable person would view it. If a reasonable would view it as concealed then the courts are more than likely to view it that way as well.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

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