pro2A wrote:Short answer: No. There are two statutes in place which prohibit ANY transport of a loaded firearm in a vehicle except with a valid CHL while the firearm is concealed. Bolded sections are mine.I'm I correct in assuming that I can carry in a car in WV without a permit as long as it's visible?
§20-2-5. Unlawful methods of hunting and fishing and other unlawful acts.
Except as authorized by the director, it is unlawful at any time for any person to:
(9) Have in his or her possession a crossbow with a nocked bolt, a loaded firearm or a firearm from the magazine of which all shells and cartridges have not been removed, in or on any vehicle or conveyance, or its attachments, within the state, except as may otherwise be provided by law or regulation. Except as hereinafter provided, between five o'clock postmeridian of one day and seven o'clock antemeridian, eastern standard time of the day following, any unloaded firearm or crossbow, being lawfully carried in accordance with the foregoing provisions, shall be so carried only when in a case or taken apart and securely wrapped. During the period from the first day of July to the thirtieth day of September, inclusive, of each year, the foregoing requirements relative to carrying certain unloaded firearms are permissible only from eight-thirty o'clock postmeridian to five o'clock antemeridian, eastern standard time: Provided, That the time periods for carrying unloaded and uncased firearms are extended for one hour after the postmeridian times and one hour before the antemeridian times established above if a hunter is preparing to or in the process of transporting or transferring the firearms to or from a hunting site, campsite, home or other place of abode;
§20-2-6a. Carrying a concealed handgun.
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to the provisions of section four, article seven, chapter sixty-one of this code who is not prohibited at the time from possessing a firearm pursuant to the provisions of section seven, article seven, chapter sixty-one of this code or by any applicable federal law may carry a handgun in a concealed manner for self defense purposes while afield hunting, hiking, camping or in or on a motor vehicle.
Granted these are in the Natural Rescources section of the WV Code which deals with hunting, fishing and trapping. However there is case law to back up the no loaded firearms in a vehicle, Here is the relevant case. This too focuses more on the hunting aspect, but several passages lean toward a more general prohibition of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle. These passages specifically:
The State has a legitimate police power interest in protecting its citizens from the dangers of transporting loaded firearms. Prohibiting the vehicular transportation of loaded firearms is the only manner in which citizens can be protected from the potential discharge of loaded firearms in vehicles.As noted above, the only manner in which to protect individuals from the accidental discharge of loaded firearms transported in vehicles is to require all such weapons to be unloaded. Thus, we hold that the provisions of W. Va. Code 20-2-5(10) prohibiting the vehicular transportation of a loaded firearm do not violate the right to keep and bear arms for lawful hunting purposes enunciated in W. Va. Constitution Article III, Section 22.The National Rifle Association of America [NRA] recognizes the dangers involved in transporting a loaded firearm in a vehicle and specifically recommends against this practice. See, e.g., NRA Hunter Services Division, National Rifle Association of America, Firearm Safety and the Hunter (n.d.) (cautioning "[w]hen a gun is being carried in a vehicle . . . follow these rules of safe gun handling: e sure the gun is unloaded"; also advising hunters to "[a]lways unload your gun before entering your vehicle").
Unless you are interested in being the test case which answers the question of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle I would advise against open carrying in a vehicle. If you have your LTCF (*and there is absolutely no reason not to!) then once you pass through Maryland, stop at the rest area, strap up and pull your shirt over it while you are driving. When you get out of your car, tuck your shirt in.
While I don't suggest doing this, it would be completely possible to open carry while you are driving and if you are pulled over simply slip your shirt over your gun before he reaches your car.
If I ever win the lottery and have more money than I can spend, then perhaps I'll be willing to be the test case. But as long as I have to work for a living I think I'll just cover it up until we can get the law fixed.
*personal opinion there