With summer ending soon, it’s prime time for travel—especially for families with kids who are on summer break. A lot of responsible concealed carriers have ended up in a mess of legal trouble when they didn’t pay attention when crossing state lines. All it takes is getting pulled over once and failing to do your research on states’ concealed carry laws to get into a whole heap of trouble when it comes to traveling with your concealed carry firearms.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Before you drive across state lines, make sure you know if that state honors your state’s concealed carry permit. Unfortunately, there is no one concealed carry permit issued by one state that has reciprocity across all fifty states plus the District of Columbia.
For example, these states, only honor their own concealed carry permits (no reciprocity):
- New Jersey
- New York
Tip: Before you leave, check your route across the states. If you cross into a state that doesn’t honor your state’s CCW, check rule #2.
Securing Your Firearms During Travel
Some states require you to lock up your firearms when not in use. If you are driving across state lines, it’s a good idea to bring a locking case. Not only can a vehicle gun safe help secure your concealed carry firearms when you’re not using them – it’s peace of mind when dealing with law enforcement in gun-restrictive states.
Tip: If you run into a state that doesn’t share reciprocity with yours, store your unloaded firearm in a separate locked container apart from the ammunition in the trunk of your vehicle. That way, you can claim the Firearm Owners Protection Act.
Duty To Inform
In some states, if you’re asked for your concealed carry permit by law enforcement, you have to show proof. In most cases, this is just your valid concealed carry permit from your state. Some states, however, require you to inform a police officer before he asks?
These are just some of the states require you to tell the police officer (or law enforcement official) that you are armed.
There are probably other states that require you to inform law enforcement but all states require you to hand over your concealed carry permit if asked.
Tip: When pulled over by a police officer, hand over your concealed carry permit alongside your driver’s license and registration. This informs the officer that you are a valid concealed carry permit holder without him having to ask for a permit.
Magazine Capacity Restrictions
Some states have strict regulation on the size of magazines for pistols and rifles. As inconvenient as this is, it can prevent the hassle of law enforcement confiscating those magazines if they see them.
Tip: Check the states you’ll be traveling through to make sure they don’t have magazine restrictions. If they do, don’t bring those magazines.
Flying with Firearms
As long as your concealed carry firearm is unloaded and stored in a locked container, you should be able to check it as baggage through either the airlines or Amtrak. You will not be allowed to bring your concealed carry pistol or revolver with you as a carry on, but you can transport it. As a general rule, your ammunition should be stored in its original box – not in the magazine.
Tip: As long as you inform the clerk during the check-in process, he or she will be able to walk you through the process. Check the website of the airline you are using to see their specific rules regarding firearms.
If you were planning to mail your concealed carry firearm to your destination – make sure to ship from a business with a Federal Firearm License to another business with an FFL. This is the easiest way to ensure your firearm reaches its final destination.
These five tips will reduce 95% of the headache and stress of crossing state lines with your concealed carry pistol or revolver. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to do the research to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. And if you live in a constitutional carry state, your state still has an issuing process for moving across state lines. Check it out before doing so.
If you travel a lot I’d suggest finding a copy of The 2015 Travelers Guide To Firearm Laws Of The Fifty States (runs about $15).
Read the full article here.