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Thread: Question on OC and vehicles

  1. #1
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    It is my understanding (which may be wrong) that OC does not apply in cars. That one is required to put the firearm in a non-accessible place (trunk, back seat and cased, etc), unloaded.

    Is this the case? Is is true that you have to have a CCW to OC in a vehicle?

    Thanks.

    --- KPatrick

  2. #2
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    KPatrick, there have been several discussions about it on these forums:

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum56/24221.html
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum56/26915.html
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum56/15624.html

    I think from what I interpret and have read you are legal to open carry in a vehicle as long as the handgun is in plain sight. Hunting riffles are not permitted to be carried in a vehicle loaded because of hunting laws. Granted, if you are pulled over, it will be an uncomfortable situation.

    Matt

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    Thanks for the links. I do have one other question: which Section of the WV Code deals with Open Carry? All the sections I've seen thus far deal with licensed permits for concealed carry. Thanks.

    ---KPatrick

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    See NavyLT's post on this thread:
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum56/24221.html

    You can look up the current text knowing that section number from his post at:
    http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/Code.cfm

    The text that was in the thread is all I have seen on it. Also www.wvcdl.org is a good place to check as well. They often post on this forum.

  5. #5
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    I have another OC-Vehicle Question:

    What would you do if you were a backseat-passenger (or front-seat, I guess) to make the arm "clearly visible?"

    Now, a second bit: what if the driver is uncomfortable with OC, and you can't really ask him/her to put it next to him/her?

  6. #6
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    KPatrick wrote:
    I have another OC-Vehicle Question:

    What would you do if you were a backseat-passenger (or front-seat, I guess) to make the arm "clearly visible?"

    Now, a second bit: what if the driver is uncomfortable with OC, and you can't really ask him/her to put it next to him/her?
    I've found that there are many circumstances in which OC is just not possible, safe, or practical. As the law stands today, a permit is required to conceal a handgun in WV; so I have a permit for those cases where OC is difficult to the point where it is either dangerous, impossible, or impractical.

    Now before someone goes on thinking that I'm saying that OC in and of itself is unsafe or dangerous, I'll clarify. It may be OC and perfectly legal if I put that gun on my lap or on the seat beside me, or just openly carry it in my hand :what: but it would be unsafe because cars can exert great forces upon the objects therein. You wouldn't put a full cup of coffee on your seat while you're driving, would you? No, you'd put it in the cup holder unless you want that coffee splattered all over your car. (I also don't mean to say that a cup holder is necessarily sufficient to secure a loaded firearm.)

    The danger isn't just that the gun could fire, though it's a possibility, but that the gun itself could become a lethal projectile. Imagine that it's sitting on the back seat (or worse, up on the ledge behind the back seat) and the car suddenly strikes an object causing rapid deceleration, or the driver just slams on the brakes; the gun doesn't decelerate and continues moving at the vehicle's previous speed, striking anything and anyone in its path. It doesn't matter if it's a gun, a can of soup, or a baseball, it's going to do some damage to whatever it hits, depending on how fast the car was going before it rapidly decelerated.

    As for open carry in the hand, well that could send mixed signals.

    I suggest that you either drive yourself wherever you go and have a proper rig to openly secure your firearm, or get a concealed handgun permit, or get a job that excepts you from §61-7-3. Otherwise you're going to have a damn hard time trying to OC in the back seat of someone's car.

    Unloading it and putting it in the trunk isn't even an option unless you meet one of the criteria in §61-7-6. Exceptions as to prohibitions against carrying concealed deadly weapons.

    One last thought... I've heard it argued that some object unattached to your person that is obstructing the view of your firearm doesn't mean you have concealed it. An example being if you are OC'ing and sit down in a booth at a restaurant with your strong side toward a wall. We do it all the time here in Virginia where CC is banned in alcohol-serving restaurants. I just don't know if that same argument would hold up in the case of a vehicle.

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    Some very valid points. I have always heard you should lay it in the passenger seat so it is plainly visible. As you said that could become dangerous in the event of an accident. Or, what happens if it slides off the seat and slides back under it? Now you've got a loaded concealed weapon in the vehicle without a CC ... not good.

    I have OCed my handgun in my truck when driving down our country road to go from farm to farm. It makes sense since the distance is short and unloading, securing, and reloading would be inconvenient when I am in a hurry. I do not think I would do this for any long distance, especially considering all virginiatuck has pointed out.

    In my opinion, I think there are a lot of grey areas of OC that you just have to ask yourself is it worth finding out what the LEO's and/or judge's interpretation of "open carry" is given the situation.

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    Q. Is it lawful to carry weapons (e.g. rifles, shotguns, and pistols) in my vehicle when I travel in West Virginia?
    A. Individuals who possess a valid concealed carry permit may carry a concealed handgun in a motor vehicle for purpose of self defense only. West Virginia permits anyone who can lawfully possess a handgun to carry an unconcealed handgun. If you choose to carry an unconcealed handgun in your vehicle and are stopped by a law-enforcement officer, you must understand that that the weapon will immediately attract the attention of the police officer. The presence of the weapon may lead to action by the officer to ensure his or her safety such as the drawing of his or her weapon, ordering you from the vehicle, and/or performing a pat-down search. Weapons intended for hunting must be unloaded and in a case when transported in a vehicle. It is strongly recommended that, if you do not have a valid concealed carry permit, while traveling in a vehicle, that all firearms be unloaded and cased in a location in the vehicle that is not readily accessible to any of the occupants. Any ammunition should be stored in a separate location from the firearm.

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