The winter season kicked into gear with a snowstorm for the ages. As the holidays loom ever closer, many of us are finalizing plans to travel. If you’re visiting family, seeing old friends, taking a long overdue vacation or just getting away, the journey itself comes with a few complications.
While you double check the weather forecast and traffic conditions, you also want to take a moment to think about safety. As a 2nd Amendment supporting citizen, you cherish your right to bear arms. Unfortunately, that right is not being properly protected at all levels of government. Every state makes their own rules, and too many are willing and still able to infringe on your freedom. This overview will get you started to make sure your holidays aren’t ruined by honest cops enforcing unconstitutional laws.
We’ll start with an easier topic. Open carry is often a lesser concern, but it does come up, so we’ll cover it. A total of 31 states have unrestricted open carry policies. As long as the firearms are legally owned, you can open carry them without breaking the law. The exceptions get to be a bit particular. In California, Florida and Illinois, no open carrying is allowed at all. In New York and South Carolina, there is a ban on carrying handguns, but long guns are typically fine. In Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Jersey, long rifles can’t be carried but handguns are allowed. Keep in mind that open carry restrictions can still vary by local municipalities and even by residence or establishment, so always be mindful before you show up on premises with your firearms on prominent display.
A greater concern, concealed carry reciprocity is a jumbled mess at the moment. The new bill could simplify things, but for this holiday season, we’re still bound by the old rules. When you got your concealed carry license, it should have included literature to help you identify where it is and isn’t valid, but we’ll do a little summary. Since every state sets its own rules on how to obtain a license, each state also sets the rules on which out of state licenses they acknowledge. For a detailed check of who will or won’t take yours, you can check this website.
The states most likely to refuse your right to conceal carry are Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. None of those come as a surprise, but it’s worth noting.
In Your Vehicle
This is where the can of worms completely explodes. Almost no two states have the same set of rules for carrying firearms in the vehicle. A complete breakdown can be found here. Before you start pulling out all of your hair, there are a few tips that can help you understand how to move guns in the car.
Generally speaking, there is a legal way to transport your firearms. If you’re driving through a bunch of states, try to find the one with the most draconian laws to avoid any unpleasant encounters with the law. You may be able to find immunity, but not after an extreme headache. For the most part, the hardest states to drive through will be on the coast (in the liberal epicenters of the country), so it makes planning a little easier. You need to have firearms disassembled or stored in lockboxes, and in many states they cannot be loaded.
In some other states, such as New Mexico, the vehicle is treated as an extension of the home. If any of these are your final destination, then you can conceal carry as many loaded weapons as you deem fit and the law has nothing to say about it. Just make sure you follow state rules once you step out of the vehicle. More than one person has unwittingly violated carry laws by forgetting to remove a concealed weapon before leaving their car.
Whether you’re taking a trip to the inner city or planning a remote, snowy getaway, there are still ways for you to stay armed and ready for defense. The rules change frequently and dramatically when you cross state lines, but if you plan ahead, you can safely keep your weapons ready without crossing law enforcement. In the mean time, have a very merry Christmas!
~ American Gun News