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Thread: VA open carry question

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    Hello, I'm new at this, just picked up my first hand gun. I've shot many many times before at the range (borrowing from friends) but now I'm an owner. I know VA allows open carry in a vehicle, but how exactly does that work? Forgive me if this is a silly question. I can't sit in the seat with the gun and holster attached to my belt. They'll have to come off and go in the door pocket or something. What's the etiquette here if I'm planning to drive somewhere (to a store lets say) and open carry once I arrive. Must I have the gun holstered and on my belt before I get out of the car? Do I do it as I'm getting out of the car? How do I do this without breaking the "brandishing" law. Thanks for taking the time to reply to a newbie!!


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    Welcome to OCDO!!!

    Putting the gun in thedoor pocket is not "open". Part ofyour confusion is that VA law in fact doesnot allow open carry.The fact is VA law does not prohibit open carry, except in specified locations.

    Here is thestatutory paragraph you want to watch out for:

    A. If any person carries about his person, hidden from common observation, (i) any pistol, revolver, or other weapon...he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-308



    Carries about his person. This is broader than "on his person."

    Hidden from common observation.In the door pocket is hidden from common observation.

    There is nothing specifically exemptiongcars; unless the carrier has a CHP, or maybe if the car is in his own garage or within the curtilage of his own property (see the rest of 18.2-308).



    There are court cases about whether you can have your handgun in a locked glove box or locked center console. I'll let others chime in on that.

    Also, there seems to be some debate about whether a belt-holstered gunpartially obscured by a seatbelt counts as concealed. Although, most seem to agree that some copsmight issue acitation for carrying a concealed handgun if carried in that manner.

    Car seats and dashboards are generally considered legally acceptable as they are not "hidden from common observation," although laying loose in those locations can bedangerous in abrupt manuvers and accidents.

    Some usea holster affixed to the dash or console in plain view. I use a holster wedged between the seat and console, wedged on the outside of the seatbelt latch--a cheap Uncle Mikes nylon holster kept in the glove boxjust for that purpose.




    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    milton.sheaf wrote:
    SNIP Must I have the gun holstered and on my belt before I get out of the car? Do I do it as I'm getting out of the car? How do I do this without breaking the "brandishing" law. Thanks for taking the time to reply to a newbie!!

    I gave up long ago trying to worm my belt through the loops to put on holster while seated in the car. I was doing it more from having bought into the idea that it should be done in secret to avoid drawing attention that might result in a call to 911.

    Hang it. I'm engaging in a lawful activity. I'm not going to hide an aspect of exercising a basic human right. Haven't had any trouble holstering or unholsteringoutside the car.

    I just get out of the car, put the holster on, and put the gun in the holster. Or, the reverse, according to circumstances. I do not perform function checks, or loaded status checks. I don't rush, I don't lose focus on safety. I just smoothly move the gun from where ever it is to where ever I want to put it. I also use common sense, for example, I don't stop across the street from a playground full of kids to do it while drawing attention to myself by shouting "I'm holstering my gun now!"

    Your mileage may vary, though depending on nervous nellies calling the police and the police response.

    Here is some of the brandishing statute:

    A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm...in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another...of being shot or injured.

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-282

    Holstering or unholsteringsafely, smoothly, and directly affords no time for anyone toexperience reasonably induced fear of being shot or injured, nevermind that there is nothing actuallythreatening in it.I'm not saying this from a legal standpoint; I'm sayingit from a practical standpoint. And, even if they are soeasily scared as to become unreasonablyfearful, the gun transferis over in an instant, after which, if they remain fearful, they are inducing their own fear because the circumstances that induced their unreasonable fearno longerexist.

    Publicly holstering and unholstering at your car, in an otherwise legal location,is not completely risk-free. It is always possible some nervous-nelliecould squeal to 911, the dispatcher could forgetto ask "what is he doing with the gun",the respondingcop could havean attitude, and couldstop you and give you trouble.

    I consider the risk small enough that I do notworry aboutit.You just have to decide whatlevel of risk you are willing to take.

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Regular Member MatieA's Avatar
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    milton.sheaf wrote:
    Hello, I'm new at this, just picked up my first hand gun. I've shot many many times before at the range (borrowing from friends) but now I'm an owner. I know VA allows open carry in a vehicle, but how exactly does that work? Forgive me if this is a silly question. I can't sit in the seat with the gun and holster attached to my belt. They'll have to come off and go in the door pocket or something. What's the etiquette here if I'm planning to drive somewhere (to a store lets say) and open carry once I arrive. Must I have the gun holstered and on my belt before I get out of the car? Do I do it as I'm getting out of the car? How do I do this without breaking the "brandishing" law. Thanks for taking the time to reply to a newbie!!
    There is probably a perfectly good explanation for this but I have to ask anyway....

    Why are you taking the holster off?

    Leave the holster on, and remove and reholster the gun as needed, this can even be done as you are entering/exiting the vehicle and nobody will even notice. My $.02
    If you do not test yourself every single day,
    then it is just another wasted day.
    --Semper Fi--

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    My answer to this question is ALWAYS the same...

    Get a Concealed Handgun Permit. That way, you can wear your firearm in the holster ALL THE TIME--in your vehicle, under your big winter coats, underneath a suit jacket, whatever.

    The less you handle the firearm--putting it in and ot of a holster, laying it on the seat, whatever--the safer it is, and the less likely you are to attract the wrong kind of attention.

    Plus, a permit lets you travel with it--in a holster--outside the state and still be within the law in many states (in the case of VA, in more than 20 other states...)

    If you're going to carry in your car, and ESPECIALLY if you travel out-of-state frequently, a CHP will make your life MUCH easier. The cost associated with getting the permit is SOOO worth it, in terms of the legal coverage it gives you. Even if you are mostly carrying open, a CHP will serve to cover your butt while sitting in your car.

    Of course, all this information is Null and Void in the People's Republic of MD, and the Socialist District of Columbia...
    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."
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    Dreamer wrote:
    Get a Concealed Handgun Permit. That way, you can wear your firearm in the holster ALL THE TIME--in your vehicle, under your big winter coats, underneath a suit jacket, whatever.

    The less you handle the firearm--putting it in and ot of a holster, laying it on the seat, whatever--the safer it is, and the less likely you are to attract the wrong kind of attention.
    Yes being new at this, I'm not sure yet what the process is for obtaining a CHP. It is on my to-do list for sure though. Can I go to my local gun store and they would have the forms there?

    As to the open carry in a vehicle though, the gun will definitely have to come out of the holster - simply can't sit down or buckle the seat belt with it holstered. So without a CHP, what is the proper protocol for open carry of an unholstered hand gun in a vehicle?

    Do you simply lay it on the passenger seat next to you? Or do you have to put it in the trunk? I imagine in the glovebox would be considered "concealed". How is "open" defined when you are inside a car, and most of the car interior is obstructed from view by the doors, roof, and body of the car? (I'm probably making this more complicated than it needs to be).

    Thanks again.

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    milton.sheaf wrote:
    SNIP How is "open" defined when you are inside a car, and most of the car interior is obstructed from view by the doors, roof, and body of the car?
    Open is not defined. Concealed is defined: hidden from common observation.

    What is the "common observation" method for observing the interior of a car? Looking in the windows.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    milton.sheaf wrote:
    SNIP what is the proper protocol for open carry of an unholstered hand gun in a vehicle?

    There is no proper protocol. We are talking about a fundamental human right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment and Article 1, Section 13 of the VA Constitution.

    It ain't susceptible to protocol-ing.

    Open carry is not prohibited. This is very different from "the law allows it." No law "allows" you to wear a red shirt. Since red shirts are not prohibited, you have the freedom to wear a red shirt if you want.

    Same for open carry in a car. You can carry it any way you want as long as you do not carry it in a way that is prohibited--"hidden from common observation"--or, carry it in a prohibited location by driving your car onto the prohibited location while the gun is in the car.

    PS: Be sure to read the rest of the first paragraph of 18.2-308 so you fully understand the "hidden" part. There is a clause in there prohibiting camoflaging the gun to mislead others to think it is not a gun--concealing its true nature even if it is in full view.

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Just a comment: I am able to leave my weapon holstered with the seatblet on (I drive a Ford F-150), but consider my weapon unaccessable. Suppose I would need it if I was stopped at a traffic light?

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    milton.sheaf wrote:
    Dreamer wrote:
    Get a Concealed Handgun Permit. That way, you can wear your firearm in the holster ALL THE TIME--in your vehicle, under your big winter coats, underneath a suit jacket, whatever.

    The less you handle the firearm--putting it in and ot of a holster, laying it on the seat, whatever--the safer it is, and the less likely you are to attract the wrong kind of attention.
    Yes being new at this, I'm not sure yet what the process is for obtaining a CHP. It is on my to-do list for sure though. Can I go to my local gun store and they would have the forms there?

    As to the open carry in a vehicle though, the gun will definitely have to come out of the holster - simply can't sit down or buckle the seat belt with it holstered. So without a CHP, what is the proper protocol for open carry of an unholstered hand gun in a vehicle?

    Do you simply lay it on the passenger seat next to you? Or do you have to put it in the trunk? I imagine in the glovebox would be considered "concealed". How is "open" defined when you are inside a car, and most of the car interior is obstructed from view by the doors, roof, and body of the car? (I'm probably making this more complicated than it needs to be).

    Thanks again.
    Here is a link to give you all the information you need to apply for a CHP in Virginia.

    http://www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms_...Concealed.shtm


    As for sitting in a car with a holstered gun, I know that can be a problem with steering wheel clearance (entry and exit), and seat belt buckles. What I do is have the holster between loops and not contained by one - with jeans. This allows me to slide my holster away from the seat belt buckle and to have it more available should it be needed. Works like a champ in my car and my pickup.

    Never just put your gun on your passenger seat. Not only could you accidently cover it up (like inadvertently throwing a book or newspaper over it), but if you have to stop quick, it will most likely wind up on the floor.

    As for OC'ing in your car versus whether or not it could be construed as CC'ing... no. Unless your gun is covered by clothing or such, if it is visible in a holster on your person, it is not considered to be concealed because you are not deliberately covering it up. The same logic would apply if you were seated in a booth in a restaurant with your gun (strong) side against a wall. The gun is not visible, but you are not deliberately trying to conceal 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.

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    Hate to ask the obvious, but wouldn't a paddle holster be an option? This taking on/off in the vehicle is why I switched from a belt to a paddle - makes the ordeal of removing/attaching the holster quick and easy, and I can do it while sitting in the car.

    Also, the paddle allows me to slide the holster around the hip area to allow for a more comfortable ride - regardless of belt loop location.

    Just an option to consider...

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    i use a bianchi paddle holster and remove this and place it in the center console next to the e-brake so as to be plainly visible from any window of my car and it is quick enough to put back on when exiting the vehicle so as not to alarm people or brandish, particularly since it can be put back on w/o specifically handling the grip of the pistol thus making it less obvious that it is a handgun except to people who should know otherwise

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