If you’re a gun owner planning to cross state lines in the USA, there are a lot of questions you need to ask. How can you safely transport firearms while moving from one state to another? What are the different methods, rules, and state laws that you have to follow? Many states have strict regulations when it comes to carrying and transporting firearms. As a firearm owner, it is your duty to be aware of these laws and to comply with them.
The different regulations states have regarding firearm transportation can make moving across state lines a difficult and tedious task. However, if you have a general understanding of how to pack your guns safely, you can plan travel with confidence. Today, we are going to take you through some simple guidelines that will help you move from state to state safely and legally.
Know the FOPA
The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (or FOPA) is an umbrella protection law for legal firearm owners that applies throughout the United States. However, it does have some limitations that you need to be aware of.
Basically, the law states that if you are moving a firearm for lawful purposes from one location to another that allows such firearms, state and local laws are superseded by the FOPA. The law also requires that the firearm is unloaded, locked, and out of reach.
Locked containers are required if you don’t have a trunk, and storage must be somewhere other than the console or the glove compartment. This includes ammunition as well.
Note that FOPA is considered by some areas to be an “affirmative defense.” This means that you may only be protected by FOPA after you have been arrested for violating state or local laws. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to have your licenses, permits, and certifications handy when traveling through restrictive areas.
Pack Your Firearms Carefully
Before traveling, you should make sure that you are taking the proper precautions to appropriately pack your firearm, that you are complying with all legal requirements, and that you and others are safe.
- Packing: Generally speaking, you will be pretty safe as long as your guns are unloaded, in a proper case, and locked in the trunk. A typical gun packaging keychain has a key that ensures the gun is inaccessible to the driver of and passengers in the vehicle.
- Safety Mechanisms: As mentioned before, it is important that all your guns are unloaded and stored with proper safety mechanisms. Additionally, you should make use of trigger locks or even disassemble the gun as a precaution.
- Documentation: Pack the proper documentation of the guns that you own with photographs, model numbers, etc. along with the guns themselves.
- Be Aware of Travel Laws: The legality of traveling with loaded weapons varies greatly from state to state. For example, in some states, if you have a round in the chamber or even a loaded magazine in the weapon, then the gun is considered loaded. Other states consider the gun “loaded” if there are rounds present near the gun. Basically, if you have the gun and bullets in the same place, it can potentially be deemed a loaded firearm. Some states have specific regulations regarding the capacity of the magazines as well.
If you are doing more than just a road trip and actually plan to move, there are some other things to keep in mind. If you are using a moving company to transfer your firearms, then the first step is to find out the company’s policies regarding firearms. Let the movers know what they’ll be transporting. According to the law, movers can generally transport unloaded weapons without a problem, but they cannot transport any materials or items that are combustible in nature. Also, some companies may have different protocols and procedures in place regarding transporting firearms, so it is always best to check before hiring someone to help you.
Handling the Firearms
Just like you take care of your firearms while hunting or shooting at the gun range, you should take the utmost care while transporting them. It’s very important that you take all the precautionary measures you can, whether you are the one traveling with the firearms or someone else is moving them for you.
If you are stopped by authorities, then you should clearly declare that you are transporting firearms. It doesn’t matter if the gun is inaccessible or broken at the time; you are required to make the authorities aware of the firearm.
Even with your best efforts, you might run into problems, and the only solution is to comply with the given set of rules and regulations. If you find yourself in an unfamiliar situation, it’s best to comply with the local authorities and federal laws. By creating a clear, open dialogue between you and the authorities, you can transport your firearms safely and without incident. Sifting through the different gun laws for a number of states can be tiring, but it’s not impossible. All you have to do is remember to follow the basic safety rules for carrying and handling the firearm.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
An avid archer, political junkie, and aspiring musician, Brady makes his home on the edge of society, just close enough to get good WiFi, but far enough to not be bothered.