Commercial Drivers and Personal Firearms


August 28, 2006, 09:49 PM
I've seen several threads about whether or not it is legal for a commercial driver to carry a personal firearm while on duty. The consencous was that it was legal but nobody could give an actual reference.

I just received a letter from the DOT Office of Hazardous Materials Standards that answered the question. Here is the text of the letter.

This responds to your letter regarding the applicability of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171 -180) to the transportation of a loaded personal firearm lawfully carried by a commercial motor vehicle operator while in the performance of his or her duties. Specifically, you ask whether the transportation of such a firearm is prohibited by the HMR under the "forbidden explosives" clause in § 173.54(f).

The answer to your question is no. Unless otherwise specified in § 173.54(f), a personal loaded or unloaded firearm carried by a commercial motor vehicle operator is not considered in commerce and therefore not subject to the HMR. Under this scenario, a commercial motor vehicle operator who carries a personal firearm while in the performance of his or her duties is subject to local or State jurisdiction regarding such matters.

And here is a very important part of the letter.

This response has been coordinated with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

I hope this settles the matter.

If you enjoyed reading about "Commercial Drivers and Personal Firearms" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
August 29, 2006, 06:40 PM
It has always been legal to carry a firearm in a Commercial Motor Vehicle, (CMV), as long as you are in complete compliance with the local/state laws where you happen to be. Being in compliance with the local/state laws may be rather difficult since many CMV’s travel far and wide.

Many trucking companies and/or their customers ban firearms from their trucks and places of business. This is a policy, not a law, and there is a huge difference.

August 29, 2006, 07:10 PM
Excellent post EOD Guy. I admit I did not always know this was the case, and apparently not all DOT officers know this is the case either, because an officer of the PSP MCED advised me otherwise a while back.

I just fired a driver and he threatened to call the Feds and turn me in for carrying in a truck, so I can see how and why this is a common myth. Bottom line, the law makes no distinction between your personal vehicle and your commercial vehicle.

I would like to contact someone at The Trucker (trucking newspaper) and see if they will publish this, they have a column with a lawyer, maybe that'd be the correct guy to talk to.

Sergeant Bob
August 29, 2006, 08:18 PM
I have never been able to find any law that prohibits it, but they claim that there is and often fire drivers that get caught (by unlawful search of the tractor when its in the repair bays for service) with a handgun in the cab.
It is not unlawful search if they own it.
They are entitled to set their own policies with their equipment. Yes it stinks, but that's the way it is.

August 29, 2006, 09:22 PM
I was one of 2 of the first Troops in the state to be certified as motor carrier safety inspection officers. In 27 yrs I did a lot of inspections.
The info EOD guy posted is correct. MCS laws do not prohibit firearms in the cab. Some guys will say ammunication is prohibited under 173 section. That is not correct. 173 only applies to the cargo and not the driver's personal effects.
However, as OB-1 pointed out, drivers still have to be in compliance with any state laws which may restrict/prohibit carrying firearms or firearms in vehicles. OB-1 is also correct that just because no fed MCS law prohibits firearms in the truck it doesn't mean that the company policy can't prohibit it. That would not lead to criminal charges tho but would no doubt shorten that driver's career with that particular company.

August 29, 2006, 10:30 PM
would interstate transport laws protect someone carrying if it was cased and locked? What if a shipment needs to be taken to MA or NY does it count if you're going to be picking something up in NH later and then go somewhere else with reasonable laws?

I always wondered this and I can't think of too many other professions that it would be a good idea to be packing some firepower. Driving a tractor trailer is a huge responsibility and if a person could be trusted driving one they should be able to carry whatever they damn well please to protect themselves and their rig it's the same thing with airplanes. The destructive power of a 18 wheeler or a passenger jet far outweighs anything you can tuck in your waist or put in your glove box or flight bag.

August 30, 2006, 12:13 PM
This is my interpretation of the federal laws covering interstate transportation of firearms. I am not a lawyer and I did not stay in a Holiday Inn last night. :eek:

The main problem with carrying a firearm while engaged in interstate trucking is that your particular firearm MUST be legal at your destination. Any stop to load or unload freight IS a destination. So, if you had a firearm with high capacity mags, it would be illegal in California. And if I understand NY law, any pistol not registered in NY would be illegal. If you’re just passing through and the firearm is properly secured, (unloaded and in a locked case), you’re fine. But if you have a required stop, the firearm MUST be legal in that city/state.:banghead:

If you enjoyed reading about "Commercial Drivers and Personal Firearms" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!