Sunday, March 14, 2010

Traveling with Firearms (Laws!!!)

There are several things to take into account when traveling with guns inside your vehicle, since every state has different rules and exceptions. It can be a bit overwhelming how every state varies slightly, but that is no reason to get bent out of shape. It just means you've got to PAY ATTENTION to where you are & the route you will be driving, and you've got to become knowledgeable about the laws pertaining to those states. That last thing you want to be is an ignorant/uninformed citizen who gets thrown into jail because you cross over from New Hampshire to Massachusetts without thinking about the fact that you've got an unloaded handgun in your glovebox (legal in NH but prohibited in MA).

I HIGHLY recommend buying the current edition of "Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States" because it very SIMPLY explains the carry & transport laws of firearms for every state, depending on whether you are a resident, a concealed-pistol-license holder, or a visitor. It also contains a list of Contact Agency information (addresses & phone numbers) which I recommend that you keep handy. Not only should you reference the book for the local gun laws before entering any state, but it would also be a good idea to call a local agency that can double check the CURRENT laws. It is no surprise that laws are constantly changing, often for the worse.

All of these tiny details make a big difference, depending on which state line you cross and what you intend to do there:

While in the state, are you going to leave the gun in your vehicle?

Do you want to conceal carry OR open carry in that state, outside your vehicle?

Do you have your CPL/CCW? (concealed pistol license/concealed carry weapon permit)

Are you a resident of the state where your CPL/CCW was issued?

What do you have in your vehicle: a rifle/shotgun OR handgun (or both)?

How long do you plan to stay in that state?

Are your firearms loaded or unloaded?

Are they visible in your vehicle or hidden from sight?

Where are they in your vehicle? It often makes a difference whether they are they encased, secured, and locked in your truck (or a rear compartment) OR in your glovebox OR on your person OR within reach or yourself or a passenger.

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Now you can see how important it is to pay attention to all the little details regarding your firearms that are inside your vehicle while you are traveling . . . In one state, it might be legal for you to have both loaded rifles and handguns within reach, while in a neighboring state, handguns may not allowed in a vehicle at all while rifles may only be allowed unloaded & encased in the trunk!

Again, laws constantly change, so call local agencies for the most up-to-date info. You can also check out this site: STATE GUN LAWS (NRA-ILA) 

Be smart and be safe!

15 comments:

The Sheltie Herder said...

With the exception of New York City and DC, if you have a handgun and you have a trigger lock on it...and the ammo and the gun in separate parts of the vehicle, you are okay.

I know what the strictest sense of the law says, but they hold pistol shoots weekly all over the US and people transport weapons everywhere all the time. (Without maintaining permits in each and every state they shoot in.)

I lived in CT and I encourage you to call the state police and ask them, "how should I transport my handgun through the state." They will tell you the same thing I just did.

The Traveler said...

The Sheltie Herder - thx for the input! I do think you SHOULD be ok if your gun amd ammo are in seperate parts of your vehicle, but I just figured I would post the "worst case scenarios"/strictest sense of the laws. If I said, "it's ok to carry your unloaded handguns through any state except NY," that might be a bit too relaxed. Not to scare people, but, some states do have stricter laws than others, and certain cops are honestly more friendly than others. Ultimately it is up to the officer who pulls you over (and how you act with them), whether or not they are willing to act upon the strictest parts of the laws or be more "reasonable".. :-)

I mainly wanted people to see which states are quite gun friendly, since some people might prefer to keep their gun loaded inside their vehicle.

I strongly agree to call the state police always to ask. That is the best thing to do!

The Traveler said...

The Sheltie Herder - oops just noticed you said if you "have a trigger lock" on it. That makes sense. If just passing quickly thru a state, that would definitely be the best thing to do.

OGT said...

Very informative Post! I found a person can be safe and not get hassled if one locks any unloaded fire arm in a case in the trunk of the car, and keeps the ammunition in a locked glove box in front.

First of all I refuse to grant any searches. And you don't need to tell anyone you have a weapon in the trunk unless you are being forced to open the trunk.

All this is silly though , what good is a locked up gun?


Hey I met "HIGHTECHHOMELESS" last weekend. they said they follow you sometimes.

Pam Aries said...

I just found your site via Vandwellers ! A post which included an archive of another traveler's blog..! Yay. I am in the process of finding a cheap van to live in soon. Your site is perfect. THank you! I'll bre reading your past posts and of course future ones!

Todd Temple said...

Gosh, how do you keep up?

Pepper spray has to be less of a hassle :-)

Red Icculus said...

Indiana accepts all other state's concealed carry licenses. It is legal to transport your loaded firearm concealed on your person or enclosed or zipped up in a case in your vehicle. They are some of the most lenient of any states, so your list is either wrong or antiquated.

Mykki said...

I was born in "Communist Illinois" but grew up and live in Indiana. Nobody but God knows how greatful I am for that. =-)

SammyG said...

how many times have you had to use your gun??
I really don't see the need to carry such a deadly weapon when pepper spray should be enough as well as a discrete stealth parking spot.
i just don't get it! sorry.
BC, Canada

OGT said...

Sammy, I can see that side of the argument. see the other side. Does carrying a gun hurt anything? After all the vehicle she drives is every bit as deadly and kills more people per year that any hand gun has for personal protection.

Carrying a gun is a fundamental right we US americans recognize as having. And since here in america we have a real threat of our females being assaulted especially when alone and in parking lots, its very reasonable that she carry one on her person. I dont feel bad at all if some turd who wants to assault her get his parts blown off. One less shit head on the earth. ( sorry for the language)

The Traveler said...

OGT - I agree! I wouldn't allow any vehicle searches either, since I wouldn't even give cops a "reason" to request one - that means keeping everything questionable out of view. Yeah, exactly, what good is a locked-up gun? That is why I prefer to go thru the states that recognize my CPL. I don't want my firearm to be in the "trunk" (I don't even have a trunk!) That's great you met Hightech Homeless! I haven't met them but hope to some day

Pam - so glad you found me, let me know if I can help you with anything

Todd - lol. Pepper spray has it's uses, too.

Red - great comment, I believe you, let me double check what I've got ~ Originally I had Indiana in the "YES" section, but switched it to "NO" because of something I read in a printout I had ... Lets see here. Ok, found it. Check out this website/PDF, maybe the info is just dated? http://www.nraila.org/statelawpdfs/INSL.pdf It says "No person shall carry a handgun in any vehicle or on or
about his person without a license being in his possession." The exceptions don't seem to allow for travelers. I'm not sure the current law there, but that is where I got my original info. Otherwise, according to my 2010 book, Indiana is an 80% on the "firearm friendly" scale! My book has info that better matches what you said, but not exactly: "Vehicle carry of a hangun without permit is prohibited UNLESS the weapon is securely cased and unloaded in a manner that renders it not readily accessible for immediate use. The person possessing the handgun MUST also be traveling to a place of repair or moving from one dwelling or business to another. Some travelers who have difficulty fitting into these parameters may wish to simply transport their handguns per McClure-Volkmer." Whatever that means! I'm still not sure on where Indiana stands exactly. I would just lock it up unloaded and drive on thru I guess.

Mykki - haha. Yeah I'm glad I don't live in Illinois, although I LOVE Chicago. I'm actually headed to Chicago in one week!! (without my firearm)

SammyG - Everyone’s got their own opinion, and that’s fine. If I explain myself, are you going to be open minded, or are you anti-gun to begin with? Pepper spray is within reach, in the front of my van, but so is the fixed blade knife (in kydex sheath) that I wear behind my left hip. If someone grabs ahold of me, I'm not going to pull out my gun while I'm wrestling with them (they'll probably get it and shoot me). I'm going to go for my knife and then run. Maybe then go for my gun, depending on the situation. You said "how many times have you had to use your gun??" Hopefully I'll NEVER have to use it! It is a last resort method of safety for me that will remain concealed. The thing is, I agree with OGT. Hopefully I'll never be in a life-threatening situtation, but for me, I'm a good target for men out to get what they want. Often alone, small, definitely not threatening in appearance. If a man wanted, he could snap me like a twig - they are almost all twice my size. I've had a restraining order on someone before. It's a scary thing to wonder if someone's going to assault you. Women definitely have things to fear, more than men do. I don't carry a gun to start trouble. I carry one to avoid it.

OGT - thx for sticking up for me, any/all language allowed :)

The Traveler said...

SammyG - I forgot to mention.. I really enjoy hiking and backpacking around in the wilderness. Having a gun on me makes me feel safer in the woods, too, being better protected against wild animals.

Spring Assisted Knives said...

Good info. although you got to be safe and protect yourself, its also good to be aware of this list.

The Traveler said...

Spring Assisted Knives - yup, I think so too. thx for the comment!

The Traveler said...

Spring Assisted Knives - yup, i agree, thanks for the comment!