Illegal to not 100% fully conceal?

I live in Washington state, I have had my CPL for 5 years now and I just heard for the first time today from someone who JUST got their CPL that its illegal and you can get fined for not 100% concealing your pistol. If you are “attempting” to conceal then it needs to be 100% concealed. Is that true? And why would that matter because Washington is an open carry state, so it doesn’t matter if you conceal or open carry as long as you have your CPL?



I’m pretty sure this person was misinformed, as open carry is legal in WA without a permit.

There is a lot of bad information out there.


Those were my thoughts as well. He was very convinced though, his answer was “if you are attempting to conceal you HAVE to conceal, if you are attempting to open carry you HAVE to open carry” and he thinks you can get fined if its not 100% non visible at all times.


The requirement depends, as so often, on what state you are in. About ten years ago I noted that several states did have in their law that “concealed means concealed,” and printing could get you sideways with the law.
I am not sure about today’s standards, especially in the 20+ permitless carry states.


On that note, as a general theory, I agree with that. I have seen quite a few people not-concealing over thAe years. I guarantee most if not all of those people went home, logged onto the interwebs, and told them “nobody noticed”. Just because someone notices, that doesn’t mean you will be aware of that.

Attempted-concealed also typically means an open top holster with zero active retention devices (like a Safariland ALS or SLS or combination that an actual open carry holster IMO should have)…so the gun is pretty easy to just pull right out of the holster, be that by the carrier or another person.

I have also observed that not-concealed carriers tend to not worry much about people standing in line behind them, walking past them, etc, and just plain lack the hyper-vigilance that good open carriers have.

Also also, my opinion and experience is that people are much more at ease with a person confidently open carrying than they are with a person who is trying to hide the gun, but failing.

So, as a practical matter, I agree…if you’re going to conceal, conceal.


What if I can conceal, but i’m not trying to. My shirt covers sometimes, other times not. Attempting seems impossible to prove.


I agree, i have mine because to open carry means making myself a target. I’m Just trying to prove a point and its not a law. I think he is wrong.

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Exactly my thoughts, and it doesn’t matter in WA state because its an open carry state.

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Perhaps brandishing is the word here.


Probably not. While there is no set or singular and agreed upon definition of brandishing, it or similar pretty generally requires more of a mens rea than just not-concealing alone would be.

There is a section on this on the USCCA Reciprocity Map also

" No definition of brandishing was found in Washington law.
However, any person who aims any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded at or towards any other human being or willfully discharges any firearm in a public place where any person might be endangered thereby shall be charged with a crime."


If you live in Washington state, as I do, you need to have this Youtube channel. Washington gun law.


@marcus37 Welcome to the community. I too live in an open carry state, NM and is a shall issue state as well, but, just as I was going to comment Todd30 posted a video on your subject, took the words right out of my mouth. Great video. Pretty much explains what you’re looking for. Thank you Todd36. :grinning:


Fully agree there that if one is OC that one needs to have a proper retention holster with more than just friction retention. From Gun News Daily:

Level 1 Retention - holster uses molding or friction to keep the firearm in the holster. Ex. Bianchi Model 126 Assent Holster

Level II Retention - often a retention strap; on polymer holsters, it could be a finger button. Ex. Safariland Model 6001 Sentry-Self Locking holster

Level III Retention - combines the features of levels I and II, along with requiring a push, pull, or rotation by the wearer in order to draw the weapon. Ex. Blackhawk SERPA Level III Duty Holster

Level IV Retention - have three active retention devices combined with passive retention. Ex. Safariland 7360 71TS ALS/SLS


I used to open carry. I still have the holsters for it. Safariland is the go-to, unquestioned, IMO. ALS + SLS + hood guard + condition orange 100% of the time + being cleanly dressed maybe with boots and Kaki or Navy pants = it’s going to take someone who thinks very highly of themselves to give it a go (or multiple someones willing to get shot or a mentally unstable wild card)

Because those folks do exist, I don’t really use those holsters any more unless it’s a class setting or I won’t be the only one where I am going (two people open carrying as stated above is pretty damn good deterrence)


Some states with open carry for anyone also says that if you carry conceal then you have to have a license Louisiana is one that i know of


I dont worry about my weapon not being concealed,I wear it in a shoulder holster and there is no printing at fact when I had my SD confrontation and the LEO was called,not by me,but the person I had the confrontation with called them,I thought it was over and my weapon was back in the holster and shirt re snapped,when the LEO cane up the porch he had to ask where my weapon was,so I told him i was goint to slowly take my left hand to unsnap my shirt,and he said ok asnd id did and pulled it open,i told him one was in the pipe and he reached over and removed,seemed surprised and said it is a 45,I said yes sir,it does the job! And I did use USCCA insurance and they furnished the ATTY.

If it is open carry then why the need for the cpl? Here in AZ you can open carry…I conceal as many people could be alarmed that I have a gun…but I honestly dont care either way.

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Here in NC:
North Carolina Gun Rights | The Chetson Firm.

“It is also illegal to display or brandish a gun in a manner that either causes or can reasonably be expected to cause fear or panic. This crime is a misdemeanor in North Carolina called “Going Armed to the Terror of the People.””

The reason I carry a gun is to feel safe. I want other people to feel safe also. If I have no compassion to take someone’s right away to feel safe by brandishing can I really blame them if they have no compassion for my right to feel safe.

I was getting a tire fixed at a shop while I was carrying and apparently, I had exposed it when I was in there,
should have worn a longer shirt. The manager of the shop got my tire fixed immediately and had me on my way with no charge real fast.