The citation to Pruitt
by WVCDL is apt. Pruitt was injured in a car accident, and the gun, which had been on the passenger seat was thrown to the floor in the collision. He put it in the center console, rolled up the windows, and immediately got out, closing the door behind him. He made arrangements to have the car towed and asked for an ambulance to take him to the hospital. After a conviction in the trial court and a denial of his petition to appeal to the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court determined that the gun was not "on or about his person" such that it was subject to his immediate control and access.
My answer, assuming a person who has not been issued a CHP, to the effect that it should be secured in a separate container in the hardest place to get at, was intended to keep a person from being arrested, such that he didn't have to defend himself at all, much less spend $20,000 in legal fees to win after multiple appeals. The point is to avoid the situation in which a cop could reasonably believe that the person had concealed a handgun on or about his person.
, it seems clear to me, though it was not mentioned in the opinion, that the cop on the scene had a reasonable belief that the gun had been in the center console the whole time, and that was probable cause to arrest. The cop had no way of knowing at that time that the gun had been in plain sight while the driver was operating the vehicle, and made a judgment call. Of course, the driver must have protested, "But, but..."; I reckon one might imagine that cops get that all the time and routinely disregard self-serving protestations of innocence. If you rely on Pruitt
, you're likely to spend some time in jail, at least. You may win at trial, if you've got a competent lawyer who isn't a liberal gun-hater himself, but would one want to have to go through all that?