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INADVERTENT DISPLAY


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One of the largest fears of the concealed carry permit holder is that someone will see the weapon under the clothing and call the police. This is the single most common incident occurring with permit holders that results in a visit from your local law enforcement. It is important to know what your options are under these circumstances, and to also have an attorney well versed in the law available with your phone call.

This was a huge problem when concealed carry permits were first being issued. States that did not recognize open carry were strict in their concealed carry legislation, making it a violation of the law if the gun was not "concealed." Therefore, any circumstances that allowed another person to see your weapon was a violation of the concealed carry statute.

Fortunately, some of the people being arrested for accidentally displaying their weapon in public appealed their convictions to a higher court. It has been determined by most courts that an "inadvertent display" of the gun DOES NOT constitute a violation of the concealed carry laws. In most states where this decision has been made, it is not written into the actual statute, but is contained in case law. Not every police officer is knowledgable in case law. They go strictly by the law itself.

Which is why it is important for the gun owner to know the law, or at least have legal representation that is familiar with not only the law, but all of the case law that goes along with it. A man in a retail store bent over to pick up an item from a shelf. Another customer observed the gun in the man's holster and called the local police on her cell phone. When tho officer showed up, he tool the man down at gunpoint, took his firearm, and advised the man that he was under arrest for violating the concealed carry ordinance. Back at the station, the man called his attorney, who spoke to the arresting officer and pointed out the Appellate Court decision that said an inadvertent display of the firearm was not a violation of the concealed carry ordinance. The man was subsequently released from custody and his gun returned.

Some states, like Texas, still have laws against a person carrying a weapon in plain view. Although this is a violation of the Second Amendment of the Constitution, some states still have statutes prohibiting the practice. In those states, it is prudent to research the law and determine if an inadvertent display of the firearm is a violation of that state's concealed carry law.

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