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Thread: Open carry in a vehicle in VA? - Can I carry in a holster on my hip in my Jeep?

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    Open carry in a vehicle in VA? - Can I carry in a holster on my hip in my Jeep?

    I would like to start OCing frequently and I would like to know if the pistol is on a holster on my hip can I carry it in my Jeep without being harassed by police if pulled over for a checkpoint or stop. I'm right handed so it may not be visible if looking through the window on the drivers side, is this a problem? Thanks in advance!

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    OC in a vehicle is fine, as long as the gun is not "hidden from common observation". Its not a matter of what they can see from their vantage point, its a matter of how you are physically carrying the gun.
    Last edited by ProShooter; 10-13-2010 at 08:16 AM.
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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Come on in, the water's fine.. after all, this IS Virginia and you'll be fine.

    Welcome aboard!
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    Activist Member JamesCanby's Avatar
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    So.... If I am OC with my Sig in an IWB holster at the 4:00 o'clock position ... which makes it effectively "hidden from common observation" when I am seated in the car ... am I in violation? Should I remove it from the holster and place it somewhere more visible?

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    Regular Member t33j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCanby View Post
    Should I remove it from the holster and place it somewhere more visible?
    Some people do because it make's them feel better. I don't, and didn't before I had a CHP. You get to choose!
    Last edited by t33j; 10-13-2010 at 08:59 AM.
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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCanby View Post
    So.... If I am OC with my Sig in an IWB holster at the 4:00 o'clock position ... which makes it effectively "hidden from common observation" when I am seated in the car ... am I in violation? Should I remove it from the holster and place it somewhere more visible?
    If the gun is pressed between your body and the seat and now has become effectively "hidden", with the majority of it inside your pants with the IWB holster.....that may be an issue.
    James Reynolds

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    Ok, so if I'm wearing a normal holster on the hip but the gun is between me and the center console and hard to see from their "vantage point" its not considered concealed because i'm not carrying with the intent of it being concealed?

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tec498 View Post
    Ok, so if I'm wearing a normal holster on the hip but the gun is between me and the center console and hard to see from their "vantage point" its not considered concealed because i'm not carrying with the intent of it being concealed?
    Slayton v. Commonwealth, 41 Va. App. 101, 582 S.E.2d 448 (2003)

    "Except for a "couple of inches" of the butt of the handgun protruding from Slayton's pocket, the rest of the weapon was completely hidden. And even those "couple of inches" were observed by Deputy Spencer only during the close-quarters encounter of a weapons frisk, not beforehand....Slayton disagrees, arguing that the firearm was not hidden from common observation because Deputy Spencer observed a portion of the butt protruding from Slayton's pocket and immediately knew it to be a handgun. Anyone else observing Slayton from that vantage point, he contends, might likewise have seen it.... Unlike a factfinder at trial, "reasonable law officers need not 'resolve every doubt about a suspect's guilt before probable cause is established.'" Id. (quoting Torchinsky v. Siwinski, 942 F.2d 257, 260 (4th Cir. 1991)). We reject, therefore, Slayton's assertion that the alleged insufficiency of the evidence for a conviction necessarily precludes a finding of probable cause. Because Deputy Spencer had probable cause to believe Slayton illegally possessed a concealed weapon, Spencer had authority both to arrest Slayton and to search him incident to that arrest. "

    James Fountain v. Commonwealth, Va. App. (2002 Unpublished).

    Referring to Code 18.2-308, the Supreme Court of Virginia has stated "'[t]he purpose of the statute [is] to interdict the practice of carrying a deadly weapon about the person, concealed, and yet so accessible as to afford prompt and immediate use.'" Code 18.2-308.2(A) defines a concealed weapon as one "hidden from common observation." "Such a weapon is 'hidden from common observation when it is observable[,] but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon's true nature.'" Therefore, where a weapon is "hidden from all except those with an unusual or exceptional opportunity to view it," it is hidden from public view and "concealment of it in this fashion [is] unlawful." Here, the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, demonstrates that initially McKay was unable to see the gun "because [Fountain's] leg was next to it." Further, once Fountain got out of the car and McKay "stuck [his] head in the car," he could see "very little" of the pellet gun - namely, "just the very back of the grip" of the gun, protruding above the seat. From this evidence, the fact finder could infer beyond a reasonable doubt that the pellet gun was "hidden from all except those with an unusual or exceptional opportunity to view it" and therefore, that it was concealed from public view."

    Main v. Commonwealth, Va. App. (1995 Unpublished)

    "The officer later testified that he did not see the gun when he first saw the defendant because "of the bag over his right side." Similarly, the trial court could have reasonably inferred that the gun was not visible to the officer because it was covered with the duffle bag. If the gun was in the defendant's right rear pocket and its handle, the only part extending outside of his pocket, was covered by the duffle bag, the weapon was hidden from common observation. It was hidden from all except those with an unusual or exceptional opportunity to view it. The defendant had no permit to carry a weapon so hidden from public view. Therefore, his concealment of it in this fashion was unlawful."


    And, yes, I know that unpublished opinions are not good case law, but they do inform the opinions of the judges that hear cases no matter what the legal theory says.

    All of the above notwithstanding, most encounters with cops seem (no, I do not have empercal data to back this up) that carrying with a holster coupled with informing the cop - either at the beginning of the encounter or before exiting the vehicle depending on your personal preferance - produces a non-arrest if there are no other factors in play such as you fitting the description of the recent bank robbery suspect. Most cops seem to understand and accept OC as a fact of life - perhaps not one they like, but that's a different story.

    So there it is - case law that informs us of what happened in a very small number of incidents and anecdotal lore that seems to accurately describe daily life for the majority of us.

    stay safe.

    Oh, by the way. Look up the cases cited above to see why there was an encounter with the cops to begin with. These were not all your normal consensual encounters that OCers have most of the time.
    Last edited by skidmark; 10-13-2010 at 10:10 AM. Reason: add snarky comment at the end

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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Going to ask a silly question. If you go to a restaurant and your weapon seems to be concealed by the wall, do you put it on the table?

    Be nice if there was a Code, or case law, that definitively addressed this.
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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    Going to ask a silly question. If you go to a restaurant and your weapon seems to be concealed by the wall, do you put it on the table?

    Be nice if there was a Code, or case law, that definitively addressed this.
    Not a silly question at all.

    This has come up a number of times before. A wall, the side of a booth, or some other physical structure which might seem to hide your OC'd sidearm is not considered "hidden from common observation" in the general sense. You enter the restaurant, are guided to a table, and take your seat and there just happens to be some sort of obstruction on your strong side. You're fine. Your intent was not to hide the firearm no more than if you were standing next to a pole or another individual and your arm was not commonly visible.

    Since INAL and I know there are others here far more knowledgeable about such matters than myself, I hope one or more of them chimes in with their take on this one as I would also like to hear a more succinct answer myself.
    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?

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    SNIP

    Since INAL and I know there are others here far more knowledgeable about such matters than myself, I hope one or more of them chimes in with their take on this one as I would also like to hear a more succinct answer myself.
    It's official - I AM chopped liver!

    I am a lawyer, although not an attorney. Not that either creates any aura of competence in this situation.

    The case law you all were wondering about was posted, along with a snarky comment about the fact that all of those cases had a reason besides merely the presence of a handgun to draw the cop's initial attention.

    And Paramedic700002 - please stop asking for more law to be written. All we will get is more restriction on our rights - they do not write laws that "allow" stuff, just what is not allowed. That's where case law comes in. Then the cops and Commonwealth Attorneys and lower court judges interpret the law based on the cases decided in the courts above them. Since there are not a raft of cases of folks being arrested and convicted of brandishing or unlawful concealed carry due to the circumstances you ask about one may safely presume it is because those are not considered to be things that violate the laws against brandishing or unlawful concealed carry. Sorry to sound so huffy and all, but sometimes I get frustrated by folks who do not seem to understand why the scenarios they wonder about do not play out in real life. It's not rocket medicine.

    OK, I'm through having my little rant.

    Seriously, the reasons mentioned above are why the cops are not hooking us all up in spite of Slayton and Main. And Fountain? He was trying to make the firearm seem to be something it was not. Those three outstanding individuals were doing other things that drew the attention of the cops, and the illegally concealed handgun charges were "add-ons".

    stay safe.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    Going to ask a silly question. If you go to a restaurant and your weapon seems to be concealed by the wall, do you put it on the table?

    Be nice if there was a Code, or case law, that definitively addressed this.
    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    Not a silly question at all.

    This has come up a number of times before. A wall, the side of a booth, or some other physical structure which might seem to hide your OC'd sidearm is not considered "hidden from common observation" in the general sense. You enter the restaurant, are guided to a table, and take your seat and there just happens to be some sort of obstruction on your strong side. You're fine. Your intent was not to hide the firearm no more than if you were standing next to a pole or another individual and your arm was not commonly visible.

    Since INAL and I know there are others here far more knowledgeable about such matters than myself, I hope one or more of them chimes in with their take on this one as I would also like to hear a more succinct answer myself.
    This is how I explain OC - not hidden from common observation.

    Imagine that you are standing alone in the center of the field of a huge outdoor stadium with thousands of people in the stands. You are OCing a gold Desert Eagle in a minimal holster with spot lights all focused on you. Now slowly turn 360 degrees. Is you handgun "hidden from common observation?"

    Now change the scenario to OCing a black Kel-tec P-9 in a black level III holster while wearing all black clothing and sitting in a dimly lit, closed phone booth - remember those? Is your handgun considered "hidden from common observation?"

    Same answer either way - NO - it is not "hidden from common observation!"

    It matters not where you stand, sit, or otherwise place yourself i.e on a stadium field , in a vehicle or restaurant booth. Simply what effects the condition is how you dress and whether or not you cover/hide your handgun. No shirt, coat, poncho, black plastic bag or the like over your body hiding the gun; thereby leaving it available to be seen by anyone in a position to see it, is OC.

    Whether the can see it or not because of obstacles between their position and you is NOT a concern. You have done your part - the rest (observing) is up to the other person. I am reminded of an old adage - some people see, others observe.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 10-14-2010 at 02:59 PM. Reason: spelling
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    I had the same question, great answer and thanks for the help.

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    Great explanation

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    This is how I explain OC - not hidden from common observation.

    Imagine that you are standing alone in the center of the field of a huge outdoor stadium with thousands of people in the stands. You are OCing a gold Desert Eagle in a minimal holster with spot lights all focused on you. Now slowly turn 360 degrees. Is you handgun "hidden from common observation?"

    Now change the scenario to OCing a black Kel-tec P-9 in a black level III holster while wearing all black clothing and sitting in a dimly lit, closed phone booth - remember those? Is your handgun considered "hidden from common observation?"

    Same answer either way - NO - it is not "hidden from common observation!"

    It matters not where you stand, sit, or otherwise place yourself i.e on a stadium field , in a vehicle or restaurant booth. Simply what effects the condition is how you dress and whether or not you cover/hide your handgun. No shirt, coat, poncho, black plastic bag or the like over your body hiding the gun; thereby leaving it available to be seen by anyone in a position to see it, is OC.

    Whether the can see it or not because of obstacles between their position and you is NOT a concern. You have done your part - the rest (observing) is up to the other person. I am reminded of an old adage - some people see, others observe.
    Thank you, perfect examples! This clears up this question of open carry in a vehicle in a holster. I would prefer my handgun be secured on my hip where it should be. Not sitting on my passenger sit where it is accessible by others and unsecured in an accident. If I am stopped by a LEO, I will immediately tell him I have a firearm on my right hip, and comply with his instructions. LEOs should prefer it be secured on your side anyway IMO, as it is very accessible just laying on the passenger seat.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houser89 View Post
    Thank you, perfect examples! This clears up this question of open carry in a vehicle in a holster. I would prefer my handgun be secured on my hip where it should be. Not sitting on my passenger sit where it is accessible by others and unsecured in an accident. If I am stopped by a LEO, I will immediately tell him I have a firearm on my right hip, and comply with his instructions. LEOs should prefer it be secured on your side anyway IMO, as it is very accessible just laying on the passenger seat.
    You do not have to notify a LEO that you are carrying - no statutory requirement. You may or may not choose to as a courtesy, but do so with careful consideration and choice of words.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Every day!

    Yes you can. I do it every day in my 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo and she has never complained!

    My Cadillac Seville agrees with the Jeep that they feel more secure when I do.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    This is how I explain OC - not hidden from common observation.

    Imagine that you are standing alone in the center of the field of a huge outdoor stadium with thousands of people in the stands. You are OCing a gold Desert Eagle in a minimal holster with spot lights all focused on you. Now slowly turn 360 degrees. Is you handgun "hidden from common observation?"

    Now change the scenario to OCing a black Kel-tec P-9 in a black level III holster while wearing all black clothing and sitting in a dimly lit, closed phone booth - remember those? Is your handgun considered "hidden from common observation?"

    Same answer either way - NO - it is not "hidden from common observation!"

    It matters not where you stand, sit, or otherwise place yourself i.e on a stadium field , in a vehicle or restaurant booth. Simply what effects the condition is how you dress and whether or not you cover/hide your handgun. No shirt, coat, poncho, black plastic bag or the like over your body hiding the gun; thereby leaving it available to be seen by anyone in a position to see it, is OC.

    Whether the can see it or not because of obstacles between their position and you is NOT a concern. You have done your part - the rest (observing) is up to the other person. I am reminded of an old adage - some people see, others observe.
    Very very well written.... Ever thought about running for office? LOL

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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tec498 View Post
    I would like to start OCing frequently and I would like to know if the pistol is on a holster on my hip can I carry it in my Jeep without being harassed by police if pulled over for a checkpoint or stop. I'm right handed so it may not be visible if looking through the window on the drivers side, is this a problem? Thanks in advance!
    I OC in my Jeep with my gun in a holster on my right hip.

    Okay, so it's not a real Jeep (it's a Dodge Nitro with a Jeep grille, as far as I'm concerned, but it says Jeep on it <grin>).

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