Many travelers want to protect themselves while on the road and travel with firearms for that reason. There are many ways to stay safe in your RV that don’t involve guns.
However, if you do bring them, store them safely and ensure only those with proper training handle them. You’ll also need to know the law regarding firearms wherever you’re traveling. Let’s take a look.
Is It Legal to Have Guns in Your RV?
Usually, yes. If you can legally carry a gun, you can have one in your RV as long as you unload it and store the ammunition separately.
You can also cross state lines and stop overnight in many cases. Regardless of where you’re traveling, keep your firearm in a locked container and out of easy reach.
What the Gun Control Act of 1968 Says About Traveling with Guns
The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibited shipping guns across state lines to private individuals. It also restricted gun sales to “mental incompetents,” drug addicts, and minors.
A 1993 amendment to the law added background checks for prospective gun purchasers. It also added that those in the United States illegally and those dishonorably discharged from the military, among others, could not purchase firearms.
Law-abiding U.S. citizens who don’t have criminal convictions or certain mental conditions may take their firearms across state lines on a “peaceable journey.” Just to be safe, you’ll want to make sure you have your firearms certifications and ownership registrations with you.
Also, make sure you can have a firearm at your destination. You might be fine on the road but not at your campground. For example, national parks don’t allow guns.
State Laws About Traveling with Guns
Each state has its own firearm laws. Most states allow open or concealed carry of small firearms, with restrictions and caveats that vary by state. Every state is different, however, so you should know the law wherever you’re headed.
Some of the stricter states include California, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. In New York, even if you can legally possess the firearm where you started, you’ll break the law if you stop and spend the night. With this complicated network of different regulations, you’ll need to research the places where you plan on staying.
Firearm Owners Protection Act on Traveling Across State Lines with Guns
Federal law allows people who legally obtained their firearms to transport them across state lines as long as they do so peacefully. There is no federal permit needed.
As long as you’re legally allowed to own the firearm in the state you’re traveling from and to, you won’t break any laws. However, make sure you know the law in each state on your path.
The “peaceable journey” provision also requires you to keep your firearm locked somewhere out of reach of the driver. The ammunition should be as far from the gun as possible. High-capacity magazines face stricter legal requirements, with some states banning them altogether.
Firearms in RVs: Keep Your Guns Safe
Keep your guns safe while traveling in an RV. Leave them locked away, not in the center console or glovebox. It helps to lock them in a container made explicitly for firearms. The ammunition should get its own separate container as well. And, of course, all of this should be out of the reach of children.
Can You Cross the U.S. Border with a Gun in Your RV?
Maybe, but it won’t be easy. You can bring up to three guns into Canada, but they don’t allow all types of firearms. For example, they ban handguns and concealed weapons. Plus, you will need to file paperwork with the Canadian government, which can be a lengthy process that takes months to complete.
If you’re traveling to Mexico, you can find yourself in jail if you enter with a firearm or even just a single round of ammunition. You can bring guns in for hunting or sports, but not without a permit from the Secretariat of National Defense.
If you’re traveling to Mexico or Canada, you may want to leave the guns behind. The penalties are steep for crossing the border with a firearm illegally. Instead, you may want to leave your guns home or lock them in a storage locker.
Tips for Traveling with Firearms
First and foremost, everyone traveling in the RV should be aware that you have firearms and why. However, you can also take this opportunity to talk about safety. You may want to explain why you have the gun and the potential dangers.
When it comes to storage, lock up guns well away from children. Also, lock up the ammunition separately.
If you get stopped by the police, never reach for the firearm. There are states where you must disclose that you have a gun locked in the back of your RV. These states include Alaska, Michigan, North and South Carolina, Texas, and a few others. Several other states are “notify-when-asked,” meaning you should disclose if an officer asks about firearms.
Many RVers carry a firearm in their rig. If that includes you, you should know the laws wherever you’re traveling. Safety should always come first. Do you travel with firearms? How do you store them while traveling?
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