Traveling And CCW
Written by: Neil Heater of National Carry Academy
Plans are made. Dates are set. The car has had all of its pre-trip maintenance taken care of. So what else needs to be thought about for the road trip ahead (besides having enough videotapes for the kiddos in back and caffeine for yourself)? If you are a CCW carrier you better know what to expect for the state to state transportation of your firearm. Let’s be realistic. Not every state line you cross is taking you into the same/same mentality on the legal aspects of having a weapon in your car, let alone your person. So it would be sage advice to become familiar with the route you are choosing for your trip.
What are considerations that should be taken into account when planning on travelling with a firearm?
One thing to keep in mind is to not make it common knowledge to everyone that you are carrying (although letting your spouse know that you have a weapon along is not such a bad thing and where you are keeping it for the duration of the trip).
First a look at State to State Reciprocity on Carrying or the “Meat”.
So do you have an idea what your own state requires when it comes to carrying a firearm? Does your neighboring state recognize the license you have issued by your state, or do you live in one state and have a license from a different location? Reciprocity means that each state either recognizes the license you have or doesn’t. The metrics are different per state, so it is a good idea to have a chart or some form of reminder based on the state(s) you will travelling through.
As you can see by the chart above different states either do or do not provide for recognizing CCW permits of your home state or that of a differing state from where you live.
Be careful even the clipping the border of a neighboring state that does not recognize your state or permits at all. Try not to fall into the same trap that this unfortunate mother of two fell into when she traveled into New Jersey. Although she was registered to carry in her home state, when she drove into New Jersey she was stopped for a traffic violation. It was during this time that things went from bad to abysmal when the officer discovered she had a firearm on board. She was arrested and dealt with court issues, but all that can be read about in the linked article. Lesson in this story is to make sure the officer is either blind to the rules, or you can spread the “jam on thick”. Seriously, the moral here is to know where you are travelling and do take necessary precautions.
Now the “Potatoes” of side things to keep in mind.
• There are certain things to be aware of what it means to carry while travelling, such as travelling loaded or empty, on you or in a lockbox, where in the vehicle, etc.
It becomes your responsibility to know what the states say about how to carry. For instance, when driving through my state of Colorado you can have a loaded handgun and can be anywhere in the vehicle, whereas rifles and shotguns have to be carried unloaded in the vehicle. Yet, when wheeling through neighboring Wyoming a handgun is fine in a loaded condition as long as it is in open view; including on your person. Be informed and study up.
• This brings up another good point. (I try to have some now and then.) Some of the states you drive through may have considered about points about concealed being exactly that…concealed and not out in plain view. A prior post we spoke about the road idiot that decided to brandish a weapon as a threat to someone else travelling the same highway. Cellphones are more prevalent now than ever before and long arm of the law can get to you much quicker because of it. Use some gray matter about how you handle this aspect of your trip.
• Be mindful of when you pull over to get a bite to eat as to that establishment’s rules, if there are any rules about bringing in a firearm (Illinois for example has some specific faqs about the matter.) Some eateries may have postings about preferring no guns inside, yet the law of that state may say differently. The laws that exist trump restaurant preferences, but use some tact if a business owner requests that you do not bring in your weapon. Use this as a time to educate the proprietor as to the laws that exist for that state. You can even make them aware that your presence there with your firearm can be a touch of added security while you are on the premises. If they are not willing to cooperate than consider taking your business to a more gun friendly establishment. You can always contact the main office of that business later and discuss the legal issues of your right. Sometimes we have to take the moral high ground on these conditions.
• As highlighted earlier, unless your children are trained in the use of the firearm, it is best that they do not know where the gun is being kept. Unfortunately, the old nemesis curiosity can get the best of children and they want to check out the “hidden interest”. Need to know is the best prescription for this scenario…or as parents are noted for when inquired of by the young ones, “I said no that’s why”.