Armed and Traveling Across State Lines
Are you about to travel out of state with your firearm? Do you know the laws in those states? Which states recognize your permit(s)?
There will be a point in your life that you will be traveling to another state and you may be carrying a firearm. You’re going to have to be extra careful about this since you might travel through a state that may not recognize your permit or possibly the type of firearm(s) you may be transporting. The firearm you may traveling with could be banned in that state. There’s going to be some prep-work when it comes to carrying a firearm across state lines. Have you ever heard of the Firearm Owners Protection Act)? It is a federal law that allows you to transport firearms from state to state. You should have an understanding of this law and if you’re not careful, you can end up in prison if you don’t follow it. There is a story in the book (Way of the Concealed Carrier) about one person who was arrested after he was found taking a nap in his car and he had his firearms with him. He didn’t follow the law of FOPA and because of this, it changed this person’s life forever. This person (a retired police officer) who was taking a short nap because he was tired due to extensive driving across state lines, ended up in prison. We won’t discuss his story here since this was already talked about in the book, but we will talk about what you need to do to prepare for your trip to avoid such circumstances.
In this article, we will focus on driving instead of flying across state lines.
First you need to chart out your trip and find out what states you’ll be driving through. Determine which states recognize your permit(s) and which ones don’t. For those states that do not recognize your permit, you will have to lock up your firearm(s) in the trunk of your car. Not in the back seat, on the floor, in the chair next to you, in the glove compartment or any location where it is reachable by you. Yeah, I know this truly sucks. Some states have made it possible to make responsible armed American citizens defenseless who do not live in their state. These states have their own laws on how the firearm needs to be transported if they do not recognize your permit to carry. Some may have you empty the firearm and have it locked up (like in a safe), others may just have you put the ammo in another location – away from the firearm. Some really don’t have the exact steps in what you need to do, except lock it up, without any defined way of how it should be locked up. It’s a pain in the ass since no one is on the same page in how a firearm should be locked up.
I like the website Handgun Law. You can download the laws of each state so you can get familiar with the local laws. I also keep a copy with me so I can refresh myself over each state I visit since after a lot of reading I get confused with what laws goes with what state. I will highlight things in yellow so I can quickly reference it later. Visit Handgun Law’s website and choose the states you will be visiting.
Then view their reciprocity map to see if your permit(s) are allowed in those states. These are great resources that you should continue to check out every time you decide to leave your state. Or you can view your own state to keep up on the changes in the law. Print up this map and keep it with you. If you do get pulled over and the officer is not well informed about the laws, this would be a great reference to show them that you are not breaking the law.
The biggest thing that you’re going to need is the phone number of your attorney. Keep this on you all the time. I have mine in my wallet for my state. If you do get in trouble, you are going to need their help. I would recommend getting some type of Concealed Carry Insurance. If you don’t know what to look for, I would recommend reading chapter 15 in the book “Way of the Concealed Carrier” about what to look for in a Concealed Carry insurance company. It will help remove a lot of the headaches in your research and give you pointers in what to look for in an exceptional concealed carry insurance firm. I know, it sounds like a shameful plug, but since I already wrote about it, no reason to repeat myself. I would rather educate my readers on other topics.
The big advantage in having concealed carry insurance is that it covers all states. If you do get in trouble, you just call the insurance hotline and they will find an attorney in the state that you’re in. If you don’t have insurance and you only have an attorney on retainer in your state, they may be out of reach for you in the other state that you got arrested in. So keep this in mind.
Make sure you do your due diligence and research this days before you go on your trip. Don’t do it at the last moment, you may have questions for yourself and it may be too late. You may want to review the laws again before you return back to your own home state. I would suggest revisiting the website and see if any of those states had their laws changed while you were away. On the front page of these sheets from Handgun law, they will show you the latest update. Be safe out there and know the laws in those states you visit or pass through.
Be safe out there, be the responsible firearm owner and always follow the “Concealed Carry Creed”!!!