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Thread: how to deal with a pistol in your trunk and getting pulled over?

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    I am only 19 years old so I am unable to obtain a CHP at this time, and I don't normally open carry, but I do like having my sig 9mm nearby at all times (except when i'm at school or any other places where a firearm is restricted). I don't want to carry my handgun openly inside the passanger compartment in my car, so I prefer to keep it in the trunk.

    The way I have been doing it is I keep my pistolinside the box it came in, with a loaded magazine right next to the gun inside the box. I want to know if that isthe legal way to transport it in the trunk of my car, and if there are any restrictions on whether or not it can be loaded or not, or has to be locked up, etc.

    Also, in the case that I get pulled over (with my luck it happens on a regular basis, even though I have yet to be written a ticket), what is the recommended way to react when the officer asks if I haveany weapons in the car? If I say yes, am I under any obligation to open my trunk and show it the officer if he asks?

    I tried doing my own research but have had trouble find any clear awnsers to my questions, but I trust that the regulars on this site would be happy to help me out. Thanks!

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    You might want to consult with your attorney.
    You're asking for legal advice, what works best for others may not be best for you.


    I personally ignore questions asked or ask a question to answerthe question.
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    NavyLT wrote: snip
    It would appear that it is quite possibly illegal for you to transport your firearm that way unless under certain circumstances. Here is the applicable W. Virginia code:
    Why are you posting West Virginia code??:?



    [line]
    OP,

    check out this site:
    http://www.flexyourrights.org/traffic_stop_scenario
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    Regular Member Decoligny's Avatar
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    NavyLT wrote:
    Also be advised that Federal law prohibits possessing the firearm within 1000' of a school unless you have a license from the state in which the school is located. That is in 18 USC 922:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18...2----000-.html
    (A) It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.
    (B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm—
    (i) on private property not part of school grounds;
    (ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision requires that, before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license;
    (iii) that is—
    (I) not loaded; and
    (II)in a locked container, or a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle;

    (iv) by an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone;
    (v) by an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in the school zone and the individual or an employer of the individual;
    (vi) by a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity; or
    (vii) that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school premises is authorized by school authorities.

    While most people agree that a locked trunk is a locked container, it does not specify that in the U.S. Code above. Your best bet would be to put the unloaded gun in a locked container in the trunk.

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    My two cents, Keep your mouth shut! No one needs to know that you have a firearm locked in the trunk of your car. If they can't see it, plain view does not exist. Never consent to anything not required by law. ie.. Warrant or regulated activity that you may be engaged in (hunting, fishing, trapping, or driving a vehicle, license, reg, and insurance papers if required)

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    The puzzling wording of the lawbooks just give me a headache, becauseofthe confusing way they word everything I do not trust myself to interpert it correctly, that is why I am asking here.

    So to clear things up, is it legal or illegal for me topossess a loaded and unlocked handgun in the trunk of my car? If so, than I am lucky I never got pulled over with it :shock:

    Also, with the police around here, they call in K9 units when you refuse to consent to a search. It is ridiculous, because theytend toprofile people my age and try to bust us for drugs or something. It is ridiculous. I have no problem withtelling the copsI have no guns in my car when I know they have no reasonable suspicion, but it will be hard to explain when the K9 unit dogs sniff my trunk and scratch at it when they smell the guns.

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    Regular Member AtackDuck's Avatar
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    It is legal for you to have a loaded, unlocked firearm in your trunk. It legal for you to have a loaded unlocked firearm in your passenger compartment, as long as it is not concealed, you are not in a prohibited place, oryou are not a felon or or other prohibited person.



    I am not lawyer. This is strictly my opinion and not legal advice.

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    Not in VA, unless you have a valid permit.

    Don't lie to the police.

    You're better off not answering question or not carrying loaded.


    http://www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms.shtm


    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    "Do you have any weapons in the car?"
    "I don't have anything illegal."
    "You don't mind if I take a quick look in your trunk, do you?"
    "No disrespect, I know you're just trying to do your job, but I don't consent to any searches. I hope your understand that I'm just trying to be a good citizen."

    After that, you might find yourself ordered out of the car, and the immediate area around the driver's seat searched. You might even find the entire car, trunk included, searched without your consent, and without probable cause. But, you'll eventually win.


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    Agent19 wrote:
    Not in VA, unless you have a valid permit.

    Don't lie to the police.

    You're better off not answering question or not carrying loaded.


    http://www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms.shtm

    Odd. To the best of my knowledge, a firearm locked in its case with the ammunition also locked in the case and the case is locked in the trunk is NOT OC or CC.

    In fact, that combination sounds like the requirements for transport per Federal law.

    Thus if you have firearms in the trunk stored as described the OP should be okay.

    Should he inform the offficer? Up to the OP. There is no duty to inform per Commonwealth law. There may be one at the locality level. One would have to do research there.

    Personally, if I have a firearm prepped for transport, I'm not saying anything to the officer about it. The most I would say is "Yes, I have a handgun on my belt." to the question "Do you have any guns on you?. Of course, I have a CHP (I OC when I can but CC where convenient for me) which they would already know by the time they walk up to me.

    Agent19, there is no requirement in VA to carry unloaded. As long as his carry is OC (due to age), his carry piece is NOT hidden from common observation, and he's not in a prohibited place/area, he's good to go most of the time (there are always a few exceptions to the rules; be sure to read up on the rules).

    A firearm locked in a case which is in the trunk isn't being carried.

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    Thanks all for the informative responses. I perfer to carry a gun in my trunk unlocked and loaded because I like having it ready for protection, and because I don't want anybody walking by my car looking in the window to see a handgun to steal, so i'd rather not have it in the passanger compartment.

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    moecomputer wrote:
    Thanks all for the informative responses. I perfer to carry a gun in my trunk unlocked and loaded because I like having it ready for protection, and because I don't want anybody walking by my car looking in the window to see a handgun to steal, so i'd rather not have it in the passanger compartment.
    It's not ready for protection if it is in your trunk. It serves you no purpose there should you need it while you are in the driver's seat.

    If you are in Virginia and are 19 and can legally possess the handgun in the first place... then you can open carry it and have it truly ready for you.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    [flash=320,256]http://www.youtube.com/v/yqMjMPlXzdA&hl=en&fs=1[/flash]
    Carry On.

    Ed

    VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
    - - - -
    For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)

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    Agent19 wrote:
    Not in VA, unless you have a valid permit.
    huh? A handgun in the trunk is out of reach, hence not concealed about your person.

    The Va. S. Ct. ruled also in 2007 that open carriers may store their handguns in passenger compartments while exiting the vehicle - Pruitt v. Commonwealth.

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    Odd. To the best of my knowledge, a firearm locked in its case with the ammunition also locked in the case and the case is locked in the trunk is NOT OC or CC.

    In fact, that combination sounds like the requirements for transport per Federal law.
    Federal law has no "requirements" for vehicle transportation.

    18 USC 926A merely provides a safe harbor from certain state laws, which in Virginia's case, do not exist.


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    Mike wrote:
    Odd. To the best of my knowledge, a firearm locked in its case with the ammunition also locked in the case and the case is locked in the trunk is NOT OC or CC.

    In fact, that combination sounds like the requirements for transport per Federal law.
    Federal law has no "requirements" for vehicle transportation.

    18 USC 926A merely provides a safe harbor from certain state laws, which in Virginia's case, do not exist.
    There's some confusion here, and I almost fell into it by thinking this was the thread about transporting a handgun from NJ to VA.

    It wasn't helped by Mike's post being a little misleading: 18 USC 926a (which Mike cited) most certainly does have "requirements". Namely (quoting from the law):
    ...if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    darthmord wrote:
    a firearm locked in its case with the ammunition also locked in the case and the case is locked in the trunk is NOT OC or CC.
    Agreed.
    My previous comments are unclear.

    I believe someone driving/sitting witha firearm carried loaded in the trunk and not in a locked case would be considered concealed as most vehicles have trunk access from the passenger compartments.
    I could be wrong.

    The case posted by Mike is referencing someone that locked his firearm up and exited the vehicle not driving around town with it.


    OP,
    IMHO, just OC and for go the other none sense.


    [line]
    Here is the federal code vehicle transport is clearly stated.


    http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/h...6---A000-.html





    TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 44 > §926A
    Prev | Next

    §926A. Interstate transportation of firearms

    Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console





    [line]

    Emphasis mine.
    Trunk access from the passenger compartment could/would make the firearm accessible, imho.

    Again I could be wrong.



    Virginia Code Section 18.2-308 - Prohibits the carrying of any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material; any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack; any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart; or any weapon of like kind by any person hidden from common observance about his person. Any of the enumerated weapons shall be seized and forfeited to the Commonwealth. A weapon shall be deemed to be hidden from common observation when it is observable but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon's true nature.

    Based on the statute and decisions rendered by the Supreme Court, a weapon is considered to be concealed at any time it is placed in a location as to be within reach of the person, without the person being required to make an overt act to retrieve such weapon, when such weapon is hidden from common observation. Placing a weapon under the seat, on the seat hidden from common observation, or at any location from which the weapon can readily be retrieved is considered to be concealed. A person carrying a weapon in the unlocked glove compartment of an automobile, if the person does not have a permit or otherwise fall within any statutory exemption, is a violation of § 18.2-308(A), unless some particular fact or circumstance renders the weapon inaccessible
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    moecomputer wrote:
    Thanks all for the informative responses. I perfer to carry a gun in my trunk unlocked and loaded because I like having it ready for protection, and because I don't want anybody walking by my car looking in the window to see a handgun to steal, so i'd rather not have it in the passanger compartment.
    :?
    Are you talking about when you exit the vehicle or while you're driving around town?

    Agreed, your firearm should be locked up out of sight in the car when you aren't present, unloaded or loaded it doesn't make a difference as both would be legal.


    [line]


    OP, why not OC it rather than leave it behind, it offers youlittle defense locked in your trunk?
    Are you going to ask your attacker to allow you access to your trunk before he violently assaults you?

    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    Agent19 wrote:
    darthmord wrote:
    a firearm locked in its case with the ammunition also locked in the case and the case is locked in the trunk is NOT OC or CC.
    Agreed.
    My previous comments are unclear.

    I believe someone driving/sitting witha firearm carried loaded in the trunk and not in a locked case would be considered concealed as most vehicles have trunk access from the passenger compartments.
    Even if most vehicles have such access, they would be beyond arms's reach or wingspan of the driver or front seat passengers; further, these doors can usually be locked - in any event, you raise a narrow fact based inquiry. And remember, federal immunity from state law is only relevant if you need to raise a defense to violating state law.

  21. #21
    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    Mike wrote:
    Even if most vehicles have such access, they would be beyond arms's reach or wingspan of the driver or front seat passengers; further, these doors can usually be locked - in any event, you raise a narrow fact based inquiry. And remember, federal immunity from state law is only relevant if you need to raise a defense to violating state law.
    Having that area locked would render the firearm inaccessible,imho.

    As do you, your assuming the trunk access is, can orwould be locked and that there are no passengers that could retrieve the firearm.



    I'd rather see the OP error on the side of caution then get arrested for carrying concealed.
    Not everyone wants or can afford to be the test case.

    We will have to agree to disagree nothing you posted has convinced me other wise.



    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    Agent19 wrote:
    Mike wrote:
    Even if most vehicles have such access, they would be beyond arms's reach or wingspan of the driver or front seat passengers; further, these doors can usually be locked - in any event, you raise a narrow fact based inquiry. And remember, federal immunity from state law is only relevant if you need to raise a defense to violating state law.
    Having that area locked would render the firearm inaccessible,imho.

    As do you, your assuming the trunk access is, can orwould be locked and that there are no passengers that could retrieve the firearm.


    I'd rather see the OP error on the side of caution then get arrested for carrying concealed.
    Not everyone wants or can afford to be the test case.

    We will have to agree to disagree nothing you posted has convinced me other wise.
    again, you raise fact not in play - trunk access from the back seat is rare in vehicles, certainly more rare than common, and I have never heard of any case, nor did you cite to one, where the wingspan rule was extended to include sticking your arm through an access panel into a trunk.

    And, also again, "inaccessible" is not the rule of construction for 18.2-308.

  23. #23
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    NavyLT wrote:
    The Federal immunity ONLY applies during transportation of a firearm THROUGH a state while engaged in INTERSTATE movement. The Federal immunity does not apply during movement within a single state, and - to the best of my knowledge - does not apply in the states of origin or destination of that travel.
    There are very few states at all where you need this immunity - NY and PA (if you do not have that state's CHP) come to mind, or when transporting certain scary looking rifles in MA and a few other states.

    But you are not necessarily correct that "The Federal immunity ONLY applies during transportation of a firearm THROUGH a state while engaged in INTERSTATE movement" - the text of the statute is what counts, not the caption next to the section number, and that text does not limit applicability to persons on an interstate journey. While some case may rule this way some day, reading the statute narrowly under the doctrine of constituional avoidance to avoid striking down the entire statute as an eneactment in excess of Congress power under the commerce clause, commerce clause doctrine allows Congres to regulate use of the "instrumentalities" (e.g., roads, RRs, canals, etc.) of interstate commerce, not just interstate movement per se.

  24. #24
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    "Not inside the car, no." would be an accurate statement, I think. I wouldn't volunteer any information beyond that. The firearm would not be considered in your "possession" under the Virginia concealed weapons law, since you are unable to "exercise immediate dominion and control over it", so it's not a crime to have it locked in the trunk. That's assuming you're eligible to be in possession of it generally, since for the purposes of those statutes forbidding certain classes of people from being in possession of firearms, "possession" means something different. You're in possession of the automobile, and the gun is in the automobile.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Stay out of Maryland with loaded magazines.

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