I'd refer you to GOAL on the legal issues.
I have been told the "in a bag or briefcase does not constitute under one's control", but I also maintain that it is a violation for the police to search a locked
briefcase (or any other locked container and "case law" agrees with me on this), so if you're stopped and you have a firearm in your briefcase on the seat beside you, my
position is to close the briefcase (if it is open) and spin the locks. If you're asked to open it, refuse. If you're asked for the combo, forget what it is. But no one
should take anything I
say in any way as legal advice. IANALNDIPOOTV!
You are completely correct that there are no trigger locks made for certain firearms. Under MGL, the alternative that is required is a "locked case". Regardless, my personal
opinion is that statute is used mainly for harassment when they can't get you for something else... There have been numerous cases where an unlocked firearm has been overlooked. Some of those have been for certain "special" people who should have been charged (such as the MSP LEO who's kid took some of his unlocked firearms and commited at least one crime... IIRC a life was lost... but don't quote me on that...) Despite the brew-ha-ha that occurred (and the officer should have
faced a number of charges according to MGL) it was reported and "gasped" over, but ended up "going away" eventually.
The only thing that I find difficult with the "in a bag" bit is that it is one of THE most common methods for women to carry... in a specialty purse containing a special holster, specifically designed for that purpose. I haven't heard of any "case law" saying that is a no-no, but that doesn't mean some politically motivated DA or LEO wouldn't make that charge. I've seen some of those specialty purses and if you didn't know that it was 1) a specialty purse for CCW and/or 2) where/how the CCW is concealed, you could probably go through the thing and miss the firearm altogether...
On having to tell an officer if you have a firearm:
Let me first explain something to anyone who's too stupid
to get it... You are carrying a gun while travelling... do not
be stupid and do things that are likely to get you an encounter with an LEO! SUCH AS: speeding (number one stupid thing to do when you CCW), drive recklessly (weaving lanes, being discourteous to other drivers, cutting people off, etc... this is a close second), anything
involving "road rage" (com'on... you're carrying a gun fercryinoutloud
do you really
need to get bent out of shape over someone else being an @$$hole on the road... let them feel good... enjoy
the view of their finger saluting you... let them go... if you have to, get off at the next exit and let them go on... you can get right back on the road and they'll be way ahead of you... calm down!), <insert your own stupid items here... there are LOTS of them>...
However, in the event that you're driving perfectly within the law (realize that there are SO many traffic laws on the books that if an LEO follows you for a bit and wants to stop you they can come up with a reason... most don't, but there are some out there... do you put bumper-stickers on your vehicle? are they "political"? A little advice: take them off
and don't even start with the "I have the Right to put my opinion on my car" stuff... tell that to the LEO who says you touched the edge of the lane-line, so you were "weaving" and driving "erratically", but the truth is he doesn't like your opinion on <insert political advocacy position here>. So... you've been pulled over... maybe you were doing 66 in a 65... makes no difference. My
position on telling an LEO about my CCW is "don't ask, don't tell". We are all taught that we must
tell if asked. Think about it... that depends. I was once pulled over (just so happens I was obviously lost... the LEO's "reason" for stopping me was to help, but he decided to "play 20 questions" first), at one point the LEO asked me if I "had any illegal substances or weapons in my car". I honestly
answered "No Sir". That was the truth... I had nothing
illegal (substance OR weapon) in my car.
I was once pulled over and I had put my wallet in my front pocket so it wouldn't bother me sitting on it while driving... (I should mention this was early 2002, heightened alert and all...) It just so happens that I also had a nice S&W first-run SWAT tactical folder clipped to that same pocket. (Same knife that I cut the cr@p outta my hand with at Summerfest later that year... late at night with a nice cigar from Canada in one hand while trying to open another ahem.... "beverage" that didn't have a twist-off by using the knife as a bottle opener,
but I digress...) As expected, the first thing the LEO asked for was "license & registration". In order to get my wallet (with my DL) out of that pocket, I had to first remove that tactical folder... I did and put it on the seat beside me and then grabbed my wallet. This LEO went nuts! "What the eff is THAT?" "A pocket knife... I'm not a "bad guy", you don't have anything to fear from me, I don't wish you any harm." He calmed down a little bit and told me that I had a tail-light out. I told him that he needed to think about how he approached a vehicle because if someone wanted to hurt him, they'd probably go for their .40 before going for a folder... He actually thanked me. Nice guy, just wanting to go home to his family at the end of his workday like the rest of us. I've known him for years... he quit being an LEO a few years back. Last time I talked with him he was working on moving to FL.
While on the subject, there was an episode of COPS on that was following a Massachusetts PD around. There were SO many "incorrect" things (about MGL) said by the LEOs in that one episode that it was very upsetting.
I checked on the case and the "misquotes" of MGL as well as their treatment of some citizens. Those officers were never reprimanded, the department acknowledged
that they "misinterpreted" MGL, they issued an apology to the citizens (not shown or mentioned on the show at all) and came very close to getting sued by the citizens for violating a number of their Rights. The citizens were talked into "dropping" it. I think they should have pushed ahead... need to set that "case law" dontchaknow...