Traveling with Firearms

As a member of the U.S. LawShield family, you’re undoubtedly well-versed in your state’s firearms laws, but what if you have travel plans that take you beyond the borders of your home state? If you want to bring your firearm, it’s important to take the time to understand the laws of each state you plan to travel through.

Unfortunately, even if you have a license to carry or a handgun permit issued by your home state, there’s currently no national reciprocity. It’s very important to remember, when you’re a guest in another state, all of their laws apply to you, even those that limit the Second Amendment rights you enjoy at home. There’s no standardization of gun laws within the 50 individual states, the District of Columbia, not to mention Native American reservations and lands. Even states that are thought of as gun friendly have peculiar quirks in their firearms laws.

The firearms laws of each state are as varied as the natural wonders you might find on your travels. For example, in some states, constitutional carry is in effect, which essentially allows an adult who’s not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm to carry a gun openly in many public areas without the necessity of a license or permit. In other states, it’s illegal for a nonresident to even possess a firearm in the passenger compartment of their vehicle.

To help illustrate this further, please enjoy a few gun law quirks courtesy of a couple of states here in the Union. In Montana, you’re prohibited from carrying a firearm, openly or concealed, into any establishment that serves alcohol, period. And how about New Mexico, which restricts recognized permittees from carrying more than one concealed handgun on their person outside their home or vehicle at a time.

Beyond these oddities, there are some very serious crimes you could inadvertently commit simply by traveling into a state with different laws. For example, Colorado has a maximum 15-round magazine capacity limit. If you were to travel with your AR into Colorado and encounter law enforcement with an extended or high-capacity magazine, you’d most likely be taking a trip to the local jail and facing serious criminal penalties. We all know that California law is restrictive, but did you know that it’s a serious crime to import another state’s ammunition into the Golden State?

Luckily, many states have reciprocity agreements, or at least recognize other state’s licenses and permits to carry handguns. If you have any questions about whether your license or permit is recognized by another state, you should consult with that state’s chief law enforcement agency or attorney general’s website. It’s imperative that you check the laws of that state concerning legally traveling with your firearm. Take time to know the law.

Stay tuned for future videos featuring travel tips from U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorneys from across the United States. In the meantime, if you have any questions about traveling with your firearms, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.