Are you thinking of crossing state lines with your firearm in tow?
With more states getting their local population vaccinated, it’s now possible and safer to travel between states. This also means that more states will hold the events that we’ve missed the previous year, too. For gun enthusiasts, this means shooting competitions and events where people with similar interests can gather.
Most of these events often incentivize bringing your own firearm. This means you must transport your gun safely. Proper firearm transportation not only ensures your gun is secure but also keeps you and everyone around you safe.
It’s also a great way to keep everyone from panicking as you carry it around. Read what’s below to know all about proper gun transportation. Our guide will help make your trip easier and safer for you and everyone involved.
Legal Requirements for Transporting Firearms
The first thing to know is whether the state you live in allows firearms in the first place. Knowing this is important as it means the terms of the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act apply to you. FOPA states that, so long as you legally possess the firearm, you can possess and carry it through any state.
There are stipulations associated with FOPA. You must be sure that your firearm isn’t loaded with any kind of ammunition. Locking it away and out of access in public is also a must.
For the FOPA to apply, though, you must travel to and from a state where your particular firearm is legal. Most states have a ban on heavy assault firearms. Even when federal law allows it, state law will always come out on top, meaning you won’t be able to carry high-caliber firearms through them.
This makes it essential to know the state laws of the places you’ll travel to. It’s also important to know the reason for carrying a firearm into the state. If you’re attending an event or competition, make sure they’re in agreement with the state.
Of course, you should also bring your permits and other papers along. This is so you can avoid having your right to gun ownership questioned along the way. A smart gun owner will have them readily accessible to avoid delays.
Transporting Firearms on Foot
When carrying firearms along with you on foot, make sure it’s in a locked case. The firearm, along with any of its components, must be out of reach for you and anyone around you.
Once a firearm is out of its case in public, authorities can arrest you. The only time you can take out your firearm is when you’re in an isolated space. For public events, you must take it out under the supervision of the officials in charge.
Carry-ons are a different issue. Only the state’s local population can legally carry a firearm on their person. The firearm in question must be small and hidden from plain sight when the individual is out in public.
Transporting Via Motor Vehicles
It’s best to use a vehicle to help transport a firearm while you travel through the states. Normally, the firearm must be inaccessible to the driver or any passenger. You must secure them in a case and place them in a separate compartment, like your vehicle’s trunk.
If your vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, like a motorcycle, keeping your firearm in a secure case is enough. Large vehicles, like an RV, will need you to place the case in the rear-most part of the vehicle.
Mobile homes or trailers aren’t vehicles in the eyes of the state. When not attached to a towing vehicle or when parked, though, the state considers it as a vehicle. As such, storing it at the rear-most area is ideal when it’s in a mobile home.
When having your vehicle inspected, state that you’re transporting a firearm with you. Doing so prevents you from getting in trouble with the state.
Remember that state laws will also govern firearm ownership and possession. So, read up on what the state allows to avoid further legal conflict when they inspect your firearm.
Bringing Firearms Aboard Commercial Flights
The TSA has several regulations in bringing firearms aboard your flight. First, you must have them checked in as luggage for the flight. You must also declare what guns you have orally before having your luggage inspected.
Doing this complies with air carrier procedures. Failing to do so means you’re subject to civil and/or criminal penalties, which the airline will decide on. Do this for any ammunition you’re bringing into the flight, too.
The TSA won’t allow you to bring your firearm with you as a carry-on. This applies no matter how small or big the gun is, and if you’ve unloaded the gun. The only way for you to bring a gun aboard is by having it locked in a secure container.
Remember that you must be present to open the case before they load the firearm into the plane. If you’re not there to open it when requested, don’t expect your firearm to be on the flight.
Any parts of the firearm also cannot be in your carry-on bag. Put them in the same secured case as the gun or in a separate container. This also applies to any external attachments you have for your gun, like aAR 15 handguard and such.
Doing none of these will cause delays for the flight. In some cases, the airline may even ban you from future flights.
Choosing a Gun Case
Choosing a gun case is as important as knowing the regulations for firearm transportation. Depending on your gun case choice, certain states may prohibit you from entering with your firearm in tow.
Below are the different cases you can get. Know the advantages and drawbacks that they bring.
Padded Soft Cases
These cases are light and are easy to handle. Most cases have locks, which can be enough to ensure gun safety during your travel.
What’s great about these cases is that they help protect your gun, too. Most padded cases are waterproof and are light enough to float. It’s the ideal case to bring when going on a hunting trip for the season.
They also come in camouflage designs to help you blend in as you hunt. The firearm industry also makes these gun cases with convenience in mind. Padded cases will have a compartment for you to place attachments in, like your scopes or bipods.
The only downside is that they offer less protection than hard gun cases. You’ll need to take care not to bump your gun against any surface, as padded cases don’t absorb that much impact.
Lockable Hard Cases
These cases are easily the best ones you can get when transporting your firearm. They offer the most protection from impacts like falls and bumps. Most even have deep foam padding to line the interior.
This means the gun will stay in place inside the case no matter what. Certain models even have custom molds that fit specific guns to a tee. Because of this, you’ll pass most airport checks with ease.
The only problem with this is its size. They’re the bulkiest case for guns, which can make traveling with them a hassle.
Hard cases can be heavy, too, but some cases use lightweight materials like aluminum. While not as sturdy, they can still protect your gun from any damage thanks to the internal lining.
These cases are the easiest to handle. They provide adequate protection from dust and moisture, and they can protect your gun from light scratches, too.
Because these allow you to access your gun, though, don’t expect to get through the states with stricter gun laws with sleeves alone. It’s best to use these as secondary cases to complement your hard or soft case, instead.
Your gun should always be empty if you want to travel with it in tow. What do you do with your ammunition, though? As stated in FOPA, keeping them in a separate container from the gun is best.
Empty any magazine you have, too. Most states don’t allow you to have loaded magazines in proximity to a firearm. Keep them separate lest you risk confiscation or arrest.
When storing your bullets, put them in a dry area. Moisture will corrode their cases and make them useless. You can use moisture-absorbing packs to help keep your ammo dry during your travels.
Regulate the temperature of your ammunition, too. Extreme heat or cold will affect the powder and primer inside the bullet. Keep them in an insulated container to prevent drastic temperature changes from affecting them as you travel.
Make Firearm Transportation Safe and Secure Today
Storing and transporting your gun can be more dangerous than you think. With the right firearm transportation and storage methods, you eliminate all the associated risks during your travel. Bring your firearm everywhere with you without worrying today!
Do you want to learn more about the proper methods of handling firearms? We have more posts and articles for you to peruse! Check them out and learn all you can today!