Traveling with Firearms: National Edition

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.

Comment section

6 comments on “Traveling with Firearms: National Edition

  1. I recently drove from Denison, TEXAS to Hudsonville Michigan. I planed our trip to avoid ILLINOIS requiring a slight detour from the direct route. I carried my EDC Pistol, a 4 INCH 1911. On the return trip we got csreless with the GPS and found ourselves about to go thru ILLINOIS. I took all three of my 1911 pistols and disassembled them keeping the three slide stops in my pocket I then mixed the parts and packed them in three seperate T shirts and packed the T shirts full of various parts into three bags. We drove six hours thru that state.
    I had a tight a– h— the whole trip thru that state. Fortunately we survived without an encounter with their hi way patrol. I vowed never again get so careless on a trip.

  2. We are TCL holders who plan to travel in our motor home from Texas to the the Eastern US this Fall. Looking to reduce our chances of running afoul of other states gun laws, is there one common method of transport that will comply? For example, what if we keep our hand guns unloaded and locked separately from our 6-round magazines and ammo (also locked)? We don’t have a ‘trunk” in the traditional sense of an automobile, but we do have a rear area behind and under the bed. However, there is a pass-thru door where a small & limber person could gain access from the inside.

    Any comments are appreciated.

  3. I would like to see a video on carrying a concealed weapon on US government properties, to include military installations.

  4. Thank You!

  5. The education you provide us is priceless. Thank you, USLS. Keep the videos in consistent production, please. Gratefully, WD

  6. Thank you, I’m in New Mexico a lot and didn’t know about the 1 gun concealed limit.

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