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Thread: Just What is "Plain View"?

  1. #1
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    A number of states that allow open carry in vehicles specify that the handgun must be in "plain view". What exactly is "plain view"? I'm right handed and ifI OC a handgun in my vehicle, it's partially obstructed by the seat belt buckle and would be completely invisible to an officer approaching my (driver side) window. For southpaws, the LEO would have to put his head in the window to see a holstered handgun. Can anyone tell me what their local LE agency considers "plain view"? TIA!

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    As I understand 'plain view'......the item can be seen without the aid of mirrors, x-ray machines, or contortions by the viewer. IE....item can be seen without help or moving item into view.

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    In Virginia, this generally is described as, "hidden from common observation". As for OC'ing using a holster in a vehicle, that is not hidden from common observation unless there is a deliberate attempt to do so, such as having a shirt or jacket slipped over the gun.

    The same thing could be said about being in a restaurant. If you are seated in a booth with your strong side against the booth wall, you are not deliberately concealing the gun as long as it is not covered by you with an article of clothing or such.

    So if your gun is carried in the open in a holster and you enter your car, it is not considered to be hidden from common observation simply because you took a seat in your vehicle. If, on the other hand, as you stepped into your car you pulled your shirt over your gun, you would be deliberately concealing it.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    In NC i've heard of people being charged when their guns were in plain view on the passenger seat. The officers explaination on why he charged the person was that it wasn't in full view or view from 360 degrees around the vehicle, so because the officer wasn't able to see it when he walked up he was charged...

    I would hesitate in NC to keep my sidearm holstered and on my side and consider it in plain view, however I keep mine there and if i'm coming to a check point or getting pulled over I just put it on the dash. Just want you to know in states likes this where the law is ambiguous at best, it's better to just toss it up on the dash... so there is no question on whether he saw it or not.

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    Myrighttocarry wrote:
    In NC i've heard of people being charged when their guns were in plain view on the passenger seat. The officers explaination on why he charged the person was that it wasn't in full view or view from 360 degrees around the vehicle, so because the officer wasn't able to see it when he walked up he was charged...
    This is retarded to me. So what was the guy supposed to do, tape it to his roof or hang it from his rear-view mirror like fuzzy dice? Yeah, no way a brandishing charge wouldn't come from that

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    That was the response from everyone, should I wear it around my neck?

    Here the officers believe they interpret law and enforce it.

    Somebody else caught a concealed gun charge because he had his pistol locked and loaded on the bottom of his gym bag, in the original pistol box.

    Edit: no idea if the charges stuck, but i wouldn't doubt it if they did here...Go toNorth Carolinas forum, check out the stories that involve police encounters


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    Myrighttocarry wrote:
    In NC i've heard of people being charged when their guns were in plain view on the passenger seat. The officers explaination on why he charged the person was that it wasn't in full view or view from 360 degrees around the vehicle, so because the officer wasn't able to see it when he walked up he was charged...

    I would hesitate in NC to keep my sidearm holstered and on my side and consider it in plain view, however I keep mine there and if i'm coming to a check point or getting pulled over I just put it on the dash. Just want you to know in states likes this where the law is ambiguous at best, it's better to just toss it up on the dash... so there is no question on whether he saw it or not.
    Believe me I understand what you are getting at. But the AG has stated the passenger seat and dash are plain view. We did have a cop arguing with us on the post you mention and he stated something to the effect that he did not care what the AG thought. Welcome to NC.

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    Thats what makes me so inclined to keep my gun in the holster so i can just remove it, since it's in a paddle holster, if i'm coming to a license check or getting pulled over. I'd rather not give the officer a chance to charge me and cost me money(which is short for everyone right now) for litigation... especially when someLEO"know" the law and choose to ignore it's foundations anyways.

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    chiefjason wrote:
    Myrighttocarry wrote:
    In NC i've heard of people being charged when their guns were in plain view on the passenger seat. The officers explaination on why he charged the person was that it wasn't in full view or view from 360 degrees around the vehicle, so because the officer wasn't able to see it when he walked up he was charged...

    I would hesitate in NC to keep my sidearm holstered and on my side and consider it in plain view, however I keep mine there and if i'm coming to a check point or getting pulled over I just put it on the dash. Just want you to know in states likes this where the law is ambiguous at best, it's better to just toss it up on the dash... so there is no question on whether he saw it or not.
    Believe me I understand what you are getting at. But the AG has stated the passenger seat and dash are plain view. We did have a cop arguing with us on the post you mention and he stated something to the effect that he did not care what the AG thought. Welcome to NC.
    Sounds like a good case of reporting an illegal arrest to his superior and your lawyer. If an LEO acts outside of the law, you could very well get to him personally and that would definitely change his tune.

    Reign those NC LEO's in and teach them who are their real bosses (as in the people).

    (sorry if I came across with this a little hot, but LEO's overstepping their allowed authority is a pet peeve of mine).

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    chiefjason wrote:
    Myrighttocarry wrote:
    In NC i've heard of people being charged when their guns were in plain view on the passenger seat. The officers explaination on why he charged the person was that it wasn't in full view or view from 360 degrees around the vehicle, so because the officer wasn't able to see it when he walked up he was charged...

    I would hesitate in NC to keep my sidearm holstered and on my side and consider it in plain view, however I keep mine there and if i'm coming to a check point or getting pulled over I just put it on the dash. Just want you to know in states likes this where the law is ambiguous at best, it's better to just toss it up on the dash... so there is no question on whether he saw it or not.
    Believe me I understand what you are getting at. But the AG has stated the passenger seat and dash are plain view. We did have a cop arguing with us on the post you mention and he stated something to the effect that he did not care what the AG thought. Welcome to NC.
    Sounds like a good case of reporting an illegal arrest to his superior and your lawyer. If an LEO acts outside of the law, you could very well get to him personally and that would definitely change his tune.

    Reign those NC LEO's in and teach them who are their real bosses (as in the people).

    (sorry if I came across with this a little hot, but LEO's overstepping their allowed authority is a pet peeve of mine).
    I am with you on that, but I would say. "Any public servant overstepping their allowed authority is a pet peeve of mine." It is not just a cop thing in my opinion.







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    I wear a paddle holster when OCing generally.

    When I was OCing and in my car, first I would slide everything to 2'oclock, then I would slip the lap belt under the slide, and the shoulder belt behind the grip. This made the gun plainly visible, and much more easily accessable if needed.

  12. #12
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    Having spoken with several LEO's (local police, Deputies, ALE agents, State Troopers) here in NC, I can say that it is my understanding that "plain view" is a VERY vague term, and is pretty much open to interpretation by any given officer in any given situation.

    Despite the VERY CLEAR opinion of the NC AG, the determining factors for deciding whether a weapon in a vehicle is "concealed" or "in plain view" are things like the nature of the stop (was it a busted tail-light on a Mercedes being driven by an older caucasian lady, or was it a speeding stop with a candy-paint mid-70's Impala on 20's driven by a young minority, etc), the demeanor of the operator, the personal opinions of the LEO regarding individual OC, and the specific municipality in which the stop is made (urban areas tend to be more anti-gun than rural areas).

    If you're polite, white, and your hair is high and tight, it's a pretty slim chance you're going to be hassled for having a pistol on your front seat in a routine stop or checkpoint.

    If you're brown, your wheels are big and round, and you're downtown, you'd better have a REALLY good lawyer and an on-board audio- and video-recording rig if there are any weapons in the car, even if you DO have a permit...

    NC is still very much a "you're in MY county NOW" state. The letter of the law and officially published State policies don't seem to mean NEARLY as much as the attitudes and conventions of local departments down here. But some areas are better than others. The cities with the highest rates of violent random crime (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill), and cities with military bases (Fayetteville, Jacksonville) tend to be the ones with the most intolerance toward legal OC.

    Out here in the more rural parts of the state, things seem to be a lot more relaxed, and most of the local "boys in blue" actually seem to be more interested in upholding the Law, rather than dictating their own personal philosophies. And for that, I applaud them.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    In UT we can now carry hidden and loaded in vehicles w/o a permit


    76-10-505. Carrying loaded firearm in vehicle or on street.
    (1) Unless otherwise authorized by law, a person may not carry a loaded firearm:
    (a) in or on a vehicle, unless:
    (i) the vehicle is in the person's lawful possession; or
    (ii) the person is carrying the loaded firearm in a vehicle with the consent of the person lawfully in possession of the vehicle;
    (b) on a public street; or
    (c) in a posted prohibited area.
    (2) Subsection (1)(a) does not apply to a minor under 18 years of age, since a minor under 18 years of age may not carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle.
    (3) Notwithstanding Subsection (1)(a)(i) and (ii), a person may not possess a loaded rifle, shotgun, or muzzle-loading rifle in a vehicle.
    (4) A violation of this section is a class B misdemeanor.

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    According to Nebraska statues it states plain view is "if any part of the weapon is visible". To me that means if its on the right side of me andoutside ofmy shirt andI'm talking to the officer and he is on my leftside. Tuff for him.

    But I am sure an attorney would have to help me out later, I'm sure.

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