Friday, November 17, 2017

A Firearm Transportation & Travel Guide

If you plan to transport your personal firearms from one state to another then there are guidelines you should follow and restrictions you should be aware of before embarking on your travels. There are federal laws in place protecting the rights of firearm owners to transport their personal weapons across state lines, but federal provisions only reach so far, especially when state and federal levels of training can vary when it comes to the lawful transportation of firearms.

To best prepare and educate yourself on the legal process of transportation, we advise you to review your local gun laws as well as the destination state's gun policies as well as any restrictive jurisdictions that may exist in between.

Individual Laws

Individuals who cannot legally carry firearms across state lines include convicted or indicted felons, illegal drug users, individuals involuntarily committed to mental institutes, illegal aliens, veterans who have been dishonorably discharged, non U.S. citizens and fugitives, as well as any individual convicted of crimes of domestic violence or those subject to domestic violence restraining orders.
All other individuals are legally allowed to own and transport their personal weapon in accordance with the federal law referred to as FOPA, or the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act. This provision of federal law gives protection to citizens who wish to transport their personal firearms through otherwise restrictive areas of certain states in order to travel from a place they have the right to possess and carry a firearm to a place that also allows them the right to possess and carry a firearm.

State Laws

Every state is different concerning laws and regulations on firearms both on a person and inside a vehicle. Crossing state lines can cause plenty of problems for uneducated firearm owners; you can be driving through one state with your weapon properly stowed according to their laws of firearm transportation, but the second you cross state lines you can find yourself in offense of the latter states laws. The best way to educate yourself on the laws of the state you reside in and the state that is your destination is to check out the gun laws for your rights to bear arms and print out and relevant information to have on hand.
Any person traveling with a firearm through areas with restrictive laws on the transportation of firearms regardless of the federal provisions in place should take precaution and prepare copies to have on hand of the following documents; all applicable firearm licenses and permits for individuals traveling in the vehicle, the official publications that document provisions of law in both restrictive jurisdictions and the state you’re traveling from and to, a copy of the federal law FOPA (Firearms Owners’ Protection Act), along with any pertinent reciprocity information.

Provisions to Remember

·         Proper Storage - According to FOPA the firearm must be unloaded, all ammunition should be locked out of reach in a container or trunk but not the glove compartment or console, and the firearm should be stowed out of reach in a locked container. The firearm must be in a place that is inaccessible from a vehicle’s passenger compartment and not visible from outside the vehicle.
·         Personal Carry - If you wish to carry while you are traveling you must first educate yourself with the conceal carry laws of each jurisdiction you intend to carry in. The best way to identify the laws and regulations is to visit the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Guide and identify the stops along your trip. Be sure to print out any pertinent information to have on hand during your travels.
·         National, State Parks and Wildlife Refuges - If you plan to cross through any Wildlife Refuges or National and State Parks then you should be aware that a federal law is in place to prohibit the possession of all firearms in “federal facilities.” As you can imagine, this federal law is a blanket of protection for almost any area staffed with federal employees, indoor or out. But because of an individuals right to transport a firearm there National Park Service has implemented a system that requires all prohibited locations within National Parks to be posted with signs to indicate the ban of all firearms in that area.

Transporting via Commercial Aircraft

Every commercial airline and air carrier has their own specific set of rules for transporting a firearm via aircraft. It is wise to check well before hand what the requirements are for your specific airline and the steps you need to take to lawfully transport your firearm from one state to another. The rule of thumb for most airlines are the following: The passenger immediately notifies the airline when checking their bags that their baggage contains a firearm which is unloaded and stored in a locked, hard sided container without ammunition inside, the passenger must have the key to opening the locked container, and that the firearm is then stowed in an area completely separate from other passengers and all flight crew.

Be prepared for the airline to ask you to open the locked gun case so they may check that everything meets their safety requirements. Since flying on a commercial aircraft can already be a hectic process, adding a firearm to the mix might only complicate things, so in order to avoid any delay in travel make sure you've printed off copies of the regulations for the airline you're traveling with and the general TSA laws concerning firearm transportation via commercial aircraft.

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