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Holstered Handgun Underneath a Car Seat – Legal or Not?

January 27, 2009 AZ CCW Laws, Kids and Guns, Vehicle Carry No Comments

Question: I was recently told that if you have a handgun under the driver’s seat of your vehicle it is not considered concealed as long as it is in a holster. This differs from what I was taught. I tried looking in the Arizona Revised Statutes and could not find a clear definition of concealed. If you could tell me if that statement was true or not, and or give me a good reference, it would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:  Here’s the deal.  Based on some of the interpretations in the State of Arizona v. Moerman decision and other court rulings (check the 2nd link below for details), there is room for ‘interpretation’ on the part of law enforcement as to whether a holstered handgun under the seat of a vehicle is ‘concealed’.  The decision essentially stated that if the gun is ‘concealed’ and ‘immediately accessible’ you need to have a CCW permit.  The problem is the definition of ‘immediately accessible’.  Most interpretations are that if the firearm is ‘two steps removed from immediate access’, it is not ‘immediately accessible’ and is therefore not being improperly concealed by a non permit holder.  It is simply being ‘transported’.

Here’s where it gets a little more complicated.  Is a firearm under the seat in a holster ‘immediately accessible’?  Some will say yes, some will say no.  There is no statute.  This is law that has been made by courts interpreting what ‘open carry’ vs ‘concealed carry’ means based on their reading of the statute.  A pro-gun judge might view it one way, while an anti-gun judge might read it differently.

In order to keep people out of trouble, CCW instructors teach the ‘two steps removed from immediate access’ rule for those that don’t have a permit.  If you do have a permit, you can pretty much conceal the gun anywhere you like in your vehicle, holstered or not.

Check out the two links below for some prior posts and additional details.



I hope this helps to clarify this very confusing area of law…

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