Can You Carry a Gun Across State Lines?

When it comes to gun laws, you can’t claim ignorance. You must understand where you can and can’t carry firearms as well as where you can and can’t travel with them. Today, we’re answering whether you can carry a gun across state lines and discussing other important details about transporting firearms. 

Let’s dive in!

What Is the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act?

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Gun Control Act in 1968. Its focus was to regulate interstate commerce in firearms. The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 revised the GCA. It provides federal protection for the transportation of firearms from state to state. This “safe passage” law addresses the question, “Can you carry a gun across state lines?”

Can You Carry a Gun Across State Lines?

According to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), “Per federal law 18 USC § 926A, every U.S. citizen may legally transport firearms across state lines as long as he or she is legally allowed to possess the weapons in both the state of origin as well as the destination.” 

The USCCA goes on to say that the firearm and ammunition must be stored out of reach. Therefore, you can’t put a handgun in the glove compartment or center console. It’s best to use a lockbox in the trunk. The gun must be unloaded, and the ammunition stored in a separate lockbox.

However, it’s important to note that this law says you can carry a gun across state lines. It doesn’t say you can stop. If you’re passing through a state with strict gun laws, we suggest that you don’t stop for fuel, food, or any other reason. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York have some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

One man got convicted for illegal possession after he stopped for a nap in New Jersey while moving from Maine to Texas. So, it’s best just to keep on driving down the highway to avoid any potential problems.

What Is Concealed Hand Gun Reciprocity?

Reciprocity means your concealed carry permit is valid beyond your issuing state. In other words, the rights between states are reciprocated. However, you must follow the laws of the state you’re in and not the laws of your issuing state.

For example, North Carolina recognizes concealed carry permits issued by other states. However, gun owners must follow North Carolina laws regarding where they can carry their weapons.

On the other hand, California doesn’t honor any other state’s concealed carry permits. You can find more information about your state’s reciprocity laws on the USCCA map.

Can You Travel With a Firearm in Your RV?

Some RVers choose to travel with guns. People who often camp in remote areas like having protection.

Some RVers feel safer with a firearm when traveling to an unfamiliar location. Other RVers are on hunting trips, so traveling with a rifle is necessary.

There are no special rules regarding the transportation of firearms in an RV. It’s just like any other vehicle. Therefore, the gun must be locked away out of reach and unloaded.

You’ll want to know the laws of reciprocity when RVing, like when passing through in a standard vehicle. Again, always follow the laws of the state you’re in and not the state that issued your concealed carry permit.

Can You Carry a Gun Into Canada?

Transporting firearms across international borders is another topic. The laws of reciprocity don’t exist here. At the Canadian border, U.S. citizens must declare all firearms, provide all required documents, and answer all questions truthfully.

The border patrol agents can ask you practically anything. Allow them to do their jobs and answer without causing problems.

You must give a valid reason for bringing a firearm into the country. This could be for hunting purposes, for repairs, for protection against wildlife, or because you’re traveling from Point A to Point B. For RVers traveling through Canada, the likely reason is the last one.

If you don’t hold a valid Canadian firearms license, you must complete Form RCMP 5589: Non-Resident Firearm Declaration and pay a $25 fee. If the agent can’t verify your firearm, you may have to export it, or the agent can detain it.

Before you hit the road, you need to know about the RV 10 year rule. It may just ruin your road trip!

Can You Carry a Gun Into Mexico?

Mexican law is much stricter, however. All firearms must be registered with the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) before arriving at the border. The customs agents don’t issue permits. Only SEDENA is responsible for issuing licenses.

Anyone entering Mexico with a firearm or ammunition without a permit could face up to five years in prison. Gun laws are taken very seriously south of the border.

So, if you’re taking a winter vacation to Baja, be sure to register your firearm with SEDENA far in advance. Or better yet, have it safely stored until you return.

Be Informed About Gun Laws as You Travel Across State and International Borders

So, can you carry a gun across state lines? Yes, but it’s critical to understand the individual state laws to stay out of legal trouble. Some states are very strict about gun laws, while others are more relaxed.

Just because your state allows you to carry a gun in a particular place doesn’t mean you can in another state.

It’s also important that you don’t stop when traveling through these states with stricter gun laws. Even a stop at a rest area or fuel center could result in jail time or a hefty fine.

The next time you’re traveling with a firearm, ensure you’re up-to-date on gun laws if you’re passing through other states. And plan ahead if you want to enter Canada or Mexico. Don’t ruin a vacation because you were ill-prepared or uninformed!

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