Traveling the east coast


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Mantua
August 3, 2007, 08:07 AM
I'm going to be traveling the East Coast this month, with guns in tow. I'll be taking I95 the whole trip and I won't be leaving the highway other than to stop for gas. Since I'm staying on 95, I'll be driving through: FL (the starting point), Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Mass, New Hampshire and (finally!) stopping in Vermont.
Am I going to run into any legal trouble if I'm stopped in any of these states? Two of my firearms have high-cap magazines, but all three will be unloaded, locked with cable locks and stowed in the trunk.
I tried to reference packing.org, but it's still dead:(.
Thanks for any input.

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DragonFire
August 3, 2007, 08:20 AM
As a general rule, if the guns would be legal where your trip starts and where it ends, you are okay as long as you are "traveling". What "traveling" means is somewhat open to interpretation, but driving through a state, or even spending a night at a hotel shouldn't cause you any problems. If you spend more than a night at the same hotel or in an area, than you could have problems.

NYC is especially strict on how they interpret "traveling" through the city. But of course, I wouldn't stop there unless my car died.

ptmmatssc
August 3, 2007, 09:05 AM
Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle:Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver's compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

StuckInMA
August 3, 2007, 10:03 AM
I'd make some calls before you head into MA or NY. Especially with Hi-Caps.

Below is from the NRA-ILA Federal Gun Laws page (http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/FederalGunLaws.aspx?ID=59).


MASSACHUSETTS--Nonresidents are allowed to bring personally-owned handguns into the Commonwealth for competition, exhibition or hunting. If the handgun is for hunting, a valid hunting license must be procured. Furthermore, the handgun owner must have a valid carry permit from another state and that state's permit requirements must be as stringent as those of Massachusetts. A person who does not meet these requirements must obtain a temporary handgun permit from the Dept. of Public Safety, 1010 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215.

Caution--Massachusetts has enacted one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, imposing a mandatory one-year jail sentence for anyone illegally possessing a firearm, loaded or unloaded, "on his person or under his control in a vehicle." In all cases, all firearms must be transported as prescribed in the general rule.

BOSTON--Under a vague law, it is unlawful to possess, display, transfer or receive any shotgun with a capacity exceeding six rounds; a semi-automatic rifle with a magazine exceeding 10 rounds; any SKS, AK47, Uzi, AR-15, Steyr AUG, FN-FAL, or FN-FNC rifle; any semi-automatic pistol which is a modification of a proscribed rifle or shotgun; and any magazine or belt that holds more than 10 rounds. An "assault weapons roster board" may add additional firearms to the list of "assault weapons." For owners to continue possession of such firearms, a license/registration must have been obtained from the Boston Police Commissioner within 90 days of the effective date of the law (12/ 9/89) or within 90 days of the addition of a firearm to a roster of "assault weapons." Otherwise a license/registration cannot be obtained.

The provision does not apply to possession by nonresidents of Boston at a sporting or shooting club, by a person with a Massachusetts license to carry a pistol, or while taking part in competition or at a collectors' exhibit or meeting or traveling to or from such event or while in transit through Boston for the purpose of hunting by licensed hunters, provided that in all cases the "assault weapon" is unloaded and packaged and the person has a Massachusetts Firearm Identification Card or has a license or permit to carry or possess firearms issued by another state. Prospective travelers are urged to contact the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau at (617)660-4780 or the State Police at www.mass.gov/msp/firearms/ for further information.

NEW YORK--The transportation of handguns is prohibited except by a resident with a license to carry.

A member or coach of an accredited college or university target pistol team may transport a handgun into or through New York to participate in a collegiate, Olympic or target pistol shooting competition provided that the handgun is unloaded and carried in a separate locked container.

Nonresident target shooters may enter or pass through New York State with handguns for purposes of any NRA-approved competition if the competitor has in his possession a copy of the match program, proof of entry and a pistol license or firearms registration card from his state of residence. The handgun must be unloaded and transported in a fully opaque container.

New York State has strict laws governing illegal possession of handguns which can result in a possible seven-year jail sentence for offenders.

Caution--New York law presumes that an individual stopped in possession of five or more handguns, without a state permit, possesses the handguns for illegal sale, thus subjecting this person to an increased sentence.

Caution--New York is the only state that prohibits the transportation of handguns without a license. Travelers should therefore be particularly careful since they face severe consequences should they inadvertently violate the state's highly restrictive statutes.

NEW YORK CITY--A city permit is required for possession and transportation of handguns and long guns. New York State handgun permits are invalid within the city limits; however, New York State residents may transport their licensed handguns unloaded through the city if these are locked in a container and the trip is continuous. Long guns may be kept in the city for only 24 hours while in transit and must be unloaded and stored in a locked container or vehicle trunk for the period.

New York City forbids possession of an "assault weapon," which includes various specified semi automatic rifles and shotguns, or revolving cylinder shotguns. It is unlawful to possess an "ammunition feeding device" capable of holding more than 17 rounds in a handgun, or more than 5 rounds in a rifle or shotgun.

In all cases, the general rule should be observed. The New York State law on illegal possession applies to the City as well.

Dorryn
August 3, 2007, 10:12 AM
Pre-ban hi-cap magazines are legal. I would make sure you can prove the pedigree though.

ptmmatssc
August 3, 2007, 10:51 AM
StuckInMA is correct . Each state has their own laws regarding transportation of firearms etc. The federal law DOES NOT supersede state law . I actually called ATF to verify this (I to am going to be traveling through multiple states) . Best bet is to avoid states where there would be a problem (as best as you can) . For me it's impossible to get where I intend to travel without going through either mass or ny (live in maine) unless I go through canada :rolleyes:

fletcher
August 3, 2007, 10:55 AM
Am I going to run into any legal trouble if I'm stopped in any of these states?

Not in NC you won't. No hi-cap problems here, no obligation to tell a LE anything unless you have a CCW permit. If the guns are in the passenger compartment, I would say something just to be cautious. If they're in the trunk, I wouldn't say a thing.

Hoppy590
August 3, 2007, 11:33 AM
depending on what part of maine your going to, 95 may not be your best option.

95 to 91N may be a better option. also, what do you know. right off 91n in springfield MA is the Springfield Armory Musuem and Smith and Wesson shooting sports center ;)

GlowinPontiac
August 3, 2007, 12:48 PM
A stop at the springfield armory museum would be well worth your time.

Its a great place with some nice exhibits.

zoom6zoom
August 3, 2007, 01:18 PM
Virginia is an open carry state.

Neocode
August 3, 2007, 01:25 PM
Do not travel through NY State with a firearm... not unless you have a NY State license to possess and travel with a firearm... if you get stopped you WILL be in loads of trouble... and I believe NJ and NY both, have the rule that if you stop overnight, you are no longer "traveling" and become subject to their laws on gun ownership...

Cams29er
August 3, 2007, 01:41 PM
I live in NY and know how strict the laws are. However, I know that you are looking at a lot of trouble in Mass if you do not have a trigger gaurd on every firearm you have. A pistol in a locked box without a trigger gaurd isn't good enough. I also think you are suppose to call the proper authorities in Mass too. Like I said, I live in NY , but Mass is very communist with their gun laws.

DragonFire
August 3, 2007, 02:22 PM
New York State is not as bad as many people have heard. Yeah there are some strict laws, but many are almost impossible (or not worth the effort) to enforce, like the hi-cap magazine ban.

Post-ban mags are illegal, but most LEOs won't bother you about them since it's almost impossible to tell exactly when a mag was manufactured. Commit a crime with one, and they might tack on the additional charge.

New York City is another thing altogether.

CWL
August 3, 2007, 03:17 PM
When you mean "unloaded" just make sure that you do not have bullets in any of your magazines. Even if left outside of gun, this can be construed as a 'loaded firearm'.

nwilliams
August 3, 2007, 03:26 PM
A good resource to use is http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/

I would be particularly careful when traveling though DC and spending any time in places like NJ, NY or MA.

I certainly wouldn't suggest not bringing a gun with you no matter where you go. However I would make sure that if you travel to NYC, Boston or DC or if you spend any time in anti-gun states that you keep your gun locked up in a case with a trigger guard in the trunk of your car.

If you get pulled over and the police find a gun in your car, it should appear to the officer that the firearm is clearly in transportation form and not intended for use. Remember not every police officer is aware of all gun laws, some police officers haven't a clue and will give you guff even if you think (and know) you are following the law. By no means would I want to be pulled over in places like NY, MA, CT, NJ or DC with a loaded handgun in my car, especially within reach.

When you get to Vermont, enjoy your freedom!

never_retreat
August 3, 2007, 04:13 PM
NJ should not screw with you for driving through the state. People can come here from pa for example and bring there hand guns to shoot in the state. But our mag limit is 15 rounds so be careful.

coyote_jr
August 3, 2007, 04:24 PM
ptmmatssc first you posted the federal statute which answered the OP's original concerns, then you say

Each state has their own laws regarding transportation of firearms etc. The federal law DOES NOT supersede state law .

Actually federal law trumps the state everytime in this case.

Mantua, as per federal law, as long as you have all of your weapons:

unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle:Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver's compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

you are well within your legal rights to drive from FL to VT, DESPITE any state or local laws to the contrary.

flashman70
August 3, 2007, 04:30 PM
Looks like the law's on your side. I'd drive very carefully, however in order to avoid testing any local LEO's knowledge of same.

geekWithA.45
August 3, 2007, 04:42 PM
You will be depending on Federal protection for transportation during certain segments of your trip: DC, MD, NJ, NY, NYC, CT(?) and MA.

http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/Federal/Read.aspx?id=59

Summary of requirements:

*Legal @ origin and destination
*"Continuous travel" [Danger Will Robinson! Danger!]
*Unloaded and trunked

These protections are shakey in some states, especially NJ, NY and MA.

NJ and especially NY have been known to arrest people in defiance of USC 19.whatever.

To that end, you should know and be aware of your rights, so as to avoid unnecessary complications:

http://www.flexyourrights.org/

When traveling with arms, I also recommend that they be contained in anonymous locked containers such as toolboxes, or at least not in obvious gun cases, such that they cannot possibly give probable cause for further search.

Bazooka Joe71
August 3, 2007, 04:54 PM
Man I'm glad I don't live in Mass.:barf:

Mantua
August 3, 2007, 04:57 PM
depending on what part of maine your going to, 95 may not be your best option.

95 to 91N may be a better option. also, what do you know. right off 91n in springfield MA is the Springfield Armory Musuem and Smith and Wesson shooting sports center

I'm actually only heading as far as North Central VT, the Covered Bridge Capitol of the Northeast Kingdom (oooooooh, bridges!). I'll be taking 93 to 91 once I pass Boston, and I have no worries after that :D.
The empty magazine thing is pretty bizarre, though... so, keep ammo in boxes, mags unloaded, and firearms locked tight in the trunk and I should be fine?

Regarding trigger locks: I use cable locks, either through the cylinder of a revolver or through the mag well of the autos since I've heard stories of trigger locks failing. Think that'll do?

Anyone on THR from the Saint J area? I'm looking to take my sister to the range (she's semi-anti, if that makes sense), and wondering whats around there. Other than covered bridges.

Also, before anyone points it out I do realize that this isn't legal advice, and I'm not taking it as such.
Thanks a ton for the help, guys!

JamisJockey
August 3, 2007, 04:57 PM
Have you thought about 81 to 76? The fastest route isn't always the most direct. Traffic in the DC metro and NY metro areas can be vicious. Not to mention, I'd think you're less likely to get yourself into trouble if you avoid those areas.

nate392
August 3, 2007, 05:19 PM
I had a discussion on this in another forum, and everyone seemed to think that the 1986 FOPA covered interstate travel thru all states with firearms as long as it is locked up and ammo seperate etc and provided you do not stop and drive around off that highway for awhile etc. Does the FOPA cover you safely if the state has an awb?, mag limits etc?, provided it might be legal in your home state?

Kimber1911_06238
August 3, 2007, 05:24 PM
don't stop in mass.

ST. Johnsbusry is a beautiful area....have fun

buck00
August 3, 2007, 05:50 PM
Honestly, I would keep this in mind: if you get pulled over or your car breaks down, don't be anxious to volunteer to the cops what you are carrying. They do not need to know. It could create an easily avoided situation.

One other thing- be careful at highway rest stops, especially late at night.

Other than that you should be ok.

ptmmatssc
August 3, 2007, 06:25 PM
coyote_jr

Read my post again . The local ATF office said state law trumps fed law . THEY say it is so . I am repeating what the federal authorities in my region have stated. If THEY are getting it wrong , do you really think a local PD will get it right?

coyote_jr
August 3, 2007, 07:30 PM
Doesn't matter, they can say whatever they want to say, could be that the people you spoke with don't have a clue...

However in regards to the OP's original question, the law is crystal clear. If the weapons are stored correctly and it's legal where he started and where he ends up, it is 100% legal and any PD in ANY jurisdiction in America would lose in court on it.

Hoppy590
August 3, 2007, 09:46 PM
well just so you know. 91 meets 95 down inNew Haven CT. and its a good hour, to hour and 1/2 before you even reach boston and 93. and thats NOT including traffic and constant construction. so unless you want to go to boston, and why on earth would you? you could take 95 to 91 and stay clear of boston and eastern MA in general. view the greatness that is WMA ( aka the 413)

and depending how laws are writen, " an organized shooting event" could very well mean a trip to SW indoor range. ;)

ptmmatssc
August 4, 2007, 04:21 AM
I understand what your saying , and I to believe the law is on our side in this . But , like many others , being arrested , and having to go to court , even though we are legally transporting , is cost and time prohibitive. Like in any other field , you have the possibility of running into the one guy that doesn't know/understand the laws .

For me , as I travel , I will have copies of applicable laws and practice caution going through the states known to be anti gun and having "common sense" gun laws . Obey the rules of the road and avoid giving any reason to be pulled over in the first place .

rdaines
August 4, 2007, 09:45 AM
I lived and drove in the northeast for over 30 years and was never pulled over and drove through most of those states the OP mentioned. What does this mean, nothing really YMMV just that the police don't have a gun detector mounted on their cruisers. Drive sensibly, pay tolls and don't speed. I'd also not drive at "odd" times and I hope your car looks "normal". Other than that my advice is to obey all local and state laws and above all respect the Constitution of the USA.

StuckInMA
August 4, 2007, 11:16 AM
coyote_jr
However in regards to the OP's original question, the law is crystal clear. If the weapons are stored correctly and it's legal where he started and where he ends up, it is 100% legal and any PD in ANY jurisdiction in America would lose in court on it.

Coyote, do you have a link to a clear cut version of this law? Or something set in stone that says federal firearm laws trump individual state laws. I'd like to have something to print out and carry with me. The info from the NRA-ILA "Guide To Interstate Transportation Of Firearms" site is a little confusing (to me anyway) as it sites the federal law you're mentioning but then has a section for "Jurisdictions With Special Rules" that spells out different laws for several states.

When I travel to certain sections of Western MA I cut through RI and have been told by the RI SP (over the phone) on two occasions that I can't transport a handgun through the state without a RI license regardless of how it's stored. I've even quoted their own state laws and been told I'm interpreting them wrong. Don't know if I just happened to talk to the wrong people on the wrong days or what. I'm going from one part of MA to another so the legal on each end certainly applies.

Thanks

Aguila Blanca
August 4, 2007, 11:20 PM
StuckInMA is correct . Each state has their own laws regarding transportation of firearms etc. The federal law DOES NOT supersede state law . I actually called ATF to verify this (I to am going to be traveling through multiple states) .
:confused:

The FOPA is Federal law, and it very much DOES supercede state laws. In fact, it says so right in the text of the law.

Here is the actual law:


TITLE 18--CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

PART I--CRIMES

CHAPTER 44--FIREARMS

Sec. 926A. Interstate transportation of firearms

Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or
regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person
who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting,
shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a
firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully
possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully
possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the
firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being
transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the
passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in
the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver's
compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked
container other than the glove compartment or console.

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-...ite:+18USC926A

(I added the bold face to emphasize this part as a response to a question in this thread)

New Jersey has incorporated the same provisions in their laws and NJ state troopers are pretty cool with it. Local and county LEOs in NJ are not necessarily up to speed. Avoid NYC -- do NOT take I-95 through the big apple, go around it. NYC does not think they are subject to Federal law and they'll arrest people for having guns even if they know you're covered by the FOPA. They just like to make life miserable, on the assumption that doing so will chase away those who carry guns. (They're right.)

Massachusetts has laws even more strict than NJ but again, the state troopers seem to be with the program. County and local will be very "iffy."

Connecticut also has a FOPA-like provision in its laws, so again the state troopers should be no problem but don't count on the locals to know what the law says.

Technically, if you have a car with a trunk the law doesn't require the locked case. That only applies to a vehicle without a trunk. However, it doesn't hury to play safe, and I like the suggestion to lock the firearms in a tool box rather than a gun case to avoid attracting unwanted attention.

Aguila Blanca
August 4, 2007, 11:25 PM
I'm actually only heading as far as North Central VT, the Covered Bridge Capitol of the Northeast Kingdom (oooooooh, bridges!). I'll be taking 93 to 91 once I pass Boston,
You're going about 200 or 250 miles out of your way, and spending MUCH more time in MA than necessary.

Take I-95 as far as New Haven, CT, where you pick up I-91 north. I-91 takes you straight north along the Connecticut River into Vermont.

tbtrout
August 4, 2007, 11:34 PM
Watch out for NJ, I know a few people that have landed themselves in hot water. Our politicians are petrified of armed southerners with high cap mags.

scurtis_34471
August 5, 2007, 02:20 AM
Your taking the LONG way if you stay on I-95 all the way. Trust me. Its faster to take the New Jersey Turnpike through NJ, get back on I-95 in NY and then take I-91 north to Vermont. We're talking several hours shorter.

h0ss
August 5, 2007, 03:49 AM
Exactly where in vermont are you headed to? Im not sure, but i have also heard about the whole "as long as its legal where you start and end, you're ok" thing. I think going by that, as well as the keeping your guns, mags and ammo locked up and mags empty, thats your safest bet. Im not completely sure, but dont some states (MA comes to mind) require a hand gun to be locked in an approved storage container like a lock box and kept in the trunk as well?

Either way, securing the guns as safe as possible as well as stricly adhering to the speed limit and following everyone elses directions and advice on cutting traveling time down sounds like the best plan. The less time on the road, the less oportunity to get in trouble. If you don't speed and follow all traffic laws, you wont bring attention to yourself, and if you aren't asked, then do not mention anything about weapons. Unfortunately, i've been pulled over alot for speeding mostly, and only a few times was i ever asked about weapons, and when i said "no" (and i was being honest, at the time i didn't have any), they left it at that and never searched me or my car, so they (LEO) aren't always suspecting everyone.

Like someone else said, don't stop in MA if you can help it. Oh and BTW, when you get to Vermont, loaded and concealed pistols are ok, as well as open carry, but dont get too relaxed and forget and keep a loaded rifle in your vehicle, trunk or no trunk. Long guns in vermont need to be unloaded and mags not inserted while driving around. Other than that, load 'em up and enjoy. I believe this law is mainly to keep people from having a readily loaded long gun available to shoot deer from the side of the road. However, if you were to explain to a Vermont trooper or town cop, im sure they would just give you a warning. But don't risk it. Have fun, be safe!

StuckInMA
August 5, 2007, 11:15 AM
Aguila Blanca
The FOPA is Federal law, and it very much DOES supercede state laws. In fact, it says so right in the text of the law.

Here is the actual law:


TITLE 18--CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

PART I--CRIMES

CHAPTER 44--FIREARMS

Sec. 926A. Interstate transportation of firearms

Thanks Aguila. That's the info I was looking for.

VARifleman
August 5, 2007, 12:08 PM
Uh...guys? 95 doesn't go through DC unless for some strange reason you go 395 to 295...95 proper continues around the south east part of 495 around DC.

coyote_jr
August 5, 2007, 12:51 PM
When I travel to certain sections of Western MA I cut through RI and have been told by the RI SP (over the phone) on two occasions that I can't transport a handgun through the state without a RI license regardless of how it's stored. I've even quoted their own state laws and been told I'm interpreting them wrong. Don't know if I just happened to talk to the wrong people on the wrong days or what. I'm going from one part of MA to another so the legal on each end certainly applies.


Whoever told you that is simply ignorant of the law, which is about par for the course here in RI. I have spoken with Providence policeman who had absolutely no idea that the Clinton AWB ever expired. RI is actually a "shall issue" state in terms of CCW, yet people rarely get them because local Police Chiefs don't know they are an issuing authority. So don't believe anything you hear from any of them.

Tell you what, just for fun, find a good lawyer. Get a copy of the transportation law in your wallet. Lock up your whole collection in the trunk of your car. Call the RI SP and tell them what you have in your trunk and at exactly what time you'll be passing through. Dare them to stop you. Have your lawyer on speed dial if they pull you over. If they touch your guns, sue them into oblivion.

I'm only half kidding but seriously the RI police are clueless at best, communist at worst.

wuchak
August 5, 2007, 01:09 PM
Follow the federal guidelines to the T when traveling in non gun friendly states. The Fed rules do trump state and local law in this case. The state and local police can still make things a pain for you and cost you a lot of money so don't give them a reason to stop you and for goodness sake don't tell them you have firearms in your car and don't let them search it without a warrant.

Great information available at: http://handgunlaw.us/

I recommend printing and making a book out of:
US Off-Limits A-M
US Off-Limits N-W
RV/Car Carry

The article they link to down the left hand side called "CATO Institute on CCW" is a great read.

There is also an excellent book, "The Traveler's Guideto the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States", by J. Scott Kappas, Esq for $12.95 at http://www.bloomfieldpress.com/travel.htm

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