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The holidays are a time for family and friends. We know many of you choose to travel and have concerns about where you’re lawfully allowed to carry your firearms. Let us help ease those concerns.

Every state and its laws are not created equal. The laws can be confusing and cumbersome to understand on what you can and cannot do with your firearm. If every state was like Vermont, law abiding gun owners could freely travel with their firearms with no worries. Unfortunately, many states have a history of being hostile to traveling gun owners.  The federal “Firearms Owner Protection Act” enacted in 1986, allows travel through any state as long as the firearm is:

  1. unloaded,
  2. in a locked case, and
  3. not easily accessible to the passengers.

But some states have a documented history of creating loopholes in the law. This led us to the top 5 states to avoid while traveling with a firearm this holiday season.

U.S. & Texas LawShield’s Top 5 States to Avoid with Firearms

  1. CONNECTICUT—Connecticut does not have any gun reciprocity agreements with other states. This means nonresidents are not allowed to carry handguns in Connecticut under a permit issued by another state.
  2. HAWAII—Every person arriving into the state who brings a firearm of any description, usable or not, shall register the firearm within three days of the arrival of the person or the firearm, whichever arrives later, with the chief of police of the county where the person will reside, where their business is, or the person’s place of sojourn. For more information, visit http://www.hawaiipolice.com/services/firearm-registration
  3. MASSACHUSETTS—Massachusetts imposes harsh penalties on the mere possession and transport of firearms without a license to carry. Prospective travelers are urged to contact the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau at (617)660-4780 or the State Police at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/massachusetts-firearms-laws for further information.
  4. NEW JERSEY—New Jersey some of the most restrictive firearms laws in the country. Your firearm must be unloaded, in a locked container and not accessible in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that anyone traveling within the state is deemed to be aware of these regulations and will be held strictly accountable for violations. Revell v. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, 10-236
    If you’re traveling through New Jersey here is information from the New Jersey State Police regarding transporting firearms through the state: http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/about/fire_trans.html
  5. NEW YORK—Use extreme caution when traveling through New York with firearms.  New York state’s general approach is to make the possession of handguns and so-called “assault weapons” illegal. But the state provides exceptions that the accused may raise as “affirmative defenses” to prosecution in some cases.  NY Penal Code s. 265.20(12), (13) & (16).
    A number of localities, including Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Suffolk County, and Yonkers, impose their own requirements on the possession, registration, and transport of firearms. Possession of a handgun within New York City requires a New York City handgun license or a special permit from the city police commissioner. This license validates a state license within the city. Even New York state licenses are generally not valid within New York City unless a specific exemption applies. Such as when the New York City police commissioner has issued a special permit to the licensee. Or “the firearms covered by such license is being transported by the licensee in a locked container and the trip through the city of New York is continuous and uninterrupted.” Possession of a shotgun or rifle within New York City requires a permit, which is available to non-residents, and a certificate of registration.

Honorable Mention States

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Rhode Island

If you have any other questions or concerns remember to call your Member Services Hotline at 877-448-6839.