Can I bring a sidearm with me on my motorcycle trip back home?


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TheLastBoyScout
April 9, 2009, 12:37 PM
In almost exactly a month, I'll be graduating The Citadel and heading home for a while.

I bought a bike while I was down here, and since I like twisties, I like camping, and I'm gonna have a few weeks on my hands at the very least, I'm planning on riding up the blue ridge parkway/ skyline drive and generally taking the scenic route through the Appalachians back to PA.

I have a current PA LTCF. Last I checked it was good in every state I'd pass through with the exceptions of SC (go figure) and MD (which I'll be in for as little time as possible). I wouldn't carry while on the road, but I'd like a little something close to hand for the nights camping wherever.

Would it be legal to have a pistol unloaded in a backpack while riding (guessing yes, since it's not like I have a trunk or locking case so for FOPA purposes this is the best I can do), and loaded& handy when stopped for the night in National Parks/National Forests in VA, NC, WV with a PA licence?

I know MD would be a whole other story, which is why I'm not even gonna stop for gas there if I can avoid it.

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mljdeckard
April 9, 2009, 12:47 PM
Good job on surviving the Citadel. (I always liked CMI officers better than WP officers. :)

What I have done when traveling through various states, is go to their Attorneys General websites. If you don't get clear answers, make a couple of phone calls. Look at handgunlaw.us, I've never seen them be wrong, but they aren't official. DO NOT ASK A COP.

GRIZ22
April 9, 2009, 02:14 PM
Would it be legal to have a pistol unloaded in a backpack while riding (guessing yes, since it's not like I have a trunk or locking case so for FOPA purposes this is the best I can do), and loaded& handy when stopped for the night in National Parks/National Forests in VA, NC, WV with a PA licence?


You can do better. Putting the gun in a small locking case in you backpack would be better, much easier to defend if you should run into problems, and closer to what FOPA calls for.

NavyLCDR
April 9, 2009, 02:24 PM
You cannot keep it loaded in national parks anymore, there is a judge's injunction in effect, for the moment.

Keb
April 9, 2009, 03:35 PM
Uncle Sam has a blanket law allowing interstate travelers to vacation with their guns. You will be OK if it is unloaded and locked where non accessable, like in your panniers. You then need to check open carry or cc in each state.

StuntHeavy
April 9, 2009, 04:05 PM
A "friend" of mine just traveled from Arizona, back to Maine. I was told "he" put the ammo in the bed of his truck, and locked his firearms up, and put them out of direct reach.:neener:

On a sport touring/touring bike you have plenty of options to safely lock up the firearm. but on a sportbike your pretty limited. If it were me, I'd lock up the gun, throw it in a case, and put it in a backpack. Or, if you really want to be safe, throw a lock on the case too, and put the keys on the keyring of your bikes key. At that point, I think it'd be safe to argue that between the two locks, in a backpack, and having to remove the bikes key to access them, you'd have a pretty solid argument that you weren't up to anything fishy.

Maybe that's overdoing things, but I'd rather over-do it, then get to wear shiny bracelets.

NavyLCDR
April 9, 2009, 04:15 PM
One more time, for those that missed it, 18 USC 926A:

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 drivers compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

Notice that a locked container is required - not just a gun in a backpack.

TRGRHPY
April 9, 2009, 04:24 PM
Congrats on the graduation!

Just from a safety standpoint ( I was an MSF instructor), I wouldn't carry a backpack while riding. If you have a crash, it can leverage you back and break it, or some ribs. If you land on your back it can also cause whiplash and further head trauma since your head speed will accelerate before it hits the ground.

NavyLT is usually on point, so I'd listen to his advice....but I'd also verify it as well.

What kind of bike?

Strings
April 9, 2009, 05:33 PM
Have to agree with TRGRHPY. Best thing would be to use a bungie net to secure the backpack to the pillion pad...

yenchisks
April 10, 2009, 02:59 PM
what good does a unloaded gun do you?,do criminals carry there guns unloaded?...

test drive
April 10, 2009, 04:14 PM
IN SC it can be loaded and has to be in seperate closed area from the rider. sadle bags back pack what ever, as long as its in a closed - seperate area.

TheLastBoyScout
April 13, 2009, 09:42 AM
what good does a unloaded gun do you?,do criminals carry there guns unloaded?...

While operating a motorcycle, I can only accomplish the simplest of tasks with my left hand. My only holster is a strongside belt rig that would be well placed to completely bugger up my hip joint if I fell on it. Furthermore, unless I'm on an interstate (which I'm hoping to avoid as much as possible on this ride), my bike is capable of out-running anything I'm likely to see out there (except another bike).

FWIW... I tend to ride at such speeds as can give me a very large "bubble" relative to other traffic as it is--limit plus 15 to 20 normally. I feel completely in control at those speeds--or even faster (young guy, fast reflexes, full gear, complete concentration and confidence)--but I try to avoid "go-to-jail speedin" as a general rule.

Once I cross out of SC (hopefully by nightfall the first night) my LTCF becomes "good" again--which means the pistol is going condition one and into a holster when I dismount for the night. That's really the reason I'd want to bring it--not for the ride, for the stops.

Have to agree with TRGRHPY. Best thing would be to use a bungie net to secure the backpack to the pillion pad...

That's what I got in mind. Trying to decide how much I want to hang off that pad though--whether I want a daypack+1man tent+3season bag, or whether I'd rather go lighter on the gear and just bring a poncho+liner with the pack.

ETA--the bike is an EX-500, 2003, Salvage title. I've got just short of 3000 miles logged on it from weekend rides since last September. No mech problems noted. Had it down once, cosmetic damage only to it and my leathers. It gets passed and thrown around on the freeway--especially west of the I-95/I-26 interchange, where the "prevailing speed" is uncomfortably close to my max, but it can definitely hold its own on secondaries (my normal riding buddies ride a ZX-9R and a CBR600RR).

nalioth
April 13, 2009, 01:30 PM
You can do better. Putting the gun in a small locking case in you backpack would be better, much easier to defend if you should run into problems, and closer to what FOPA calls for.Easier than what alternative?

Obviously you are referring to "legal problems", but what if he requires his sidearm on short notice?

To the OP: If your permit is valid everywhere except in MD and SC, I'd only lock it up while traveling through those states (You'll need to read up on the situation in the national parks yourself - Texas doesn't have many of those).

TRGRHPY
April 13, 2009, 04:09 PM
You can get nylon saddlebags specifically for sportbikes, and a magnetic tank bag. The tank bag would be an ideal place for the pistol in case of quick access. You would have to change the arrangement appropritately for each state. I used both tank and saddlebags for a cbr600, gsx-r750, and gsx-r 600, and was a lot easier and more stable than trying to bunjee-cord or cargo-net duffle bags. Of course you know that if needed you can store the pistol under the locking/removable seat.

BTW, a full tank bag will allow you to lean on/lay on during long, straight, boring stints. Just don't fall asleep.

sawhitt
April 13, 2009, 04:11 PM
Congrats on surviving The Citadel.

Now, go to work, buy a Harley with a tour pack and you'll solve that locking problem. :neener:

I ride a classic with a sidecar. It's a great place to keep the cooler. Also, if my wife's with me and she gets too wordy, I just clip a coupla mailboxes. That generally quiets her down for a while.:D

chuckusaret
April 14, 2009, 11:29 AM
I have a Secure It small gun safe bolted inside my left saddle bag. It is lockable and holds my XD40 and two mags.

Occasionalthinker
April 14, 2009, 11:57 AM
Take a look at Helen 2 Wheels packing systems. They offer SECURE duffels for almost any style bike (waterproof also). Combine one of their bags with a Pacsafe and you will have a flexible packing system that can be moved from bike to bike.

If you are on the Blueridge Parkway, keep in mind the traffic control is federal with very little tolerance for speeding. I believe the BRP is under National Park Service jurisdiction, but is not a national park. I don't know if that would put it under national park firearms restrictions or not. I have traveled the BPR a few times and always try to obey the (low) speed limits to the letter.

WNC Seabee
April 14, 2009, 12:17 PM
Consider Blue Ridge Parkway a National Park. Do not carry while on the BRP; lock it up. Trust me, I have 1st hand experience with the issue having been pulled over (5 miles over the limit!) with a firearm on the BRP.

I was heading from my place to a public range and took the BRP as a "shortcut" over the mountain. Thankfully I had a nice enough ranger that stopped me, gave me a quick run down on what I did wrong (carry piece IWB) and let me go. This was after the recent regulation change was made, but before it went into effect (late December 08), so he was cool with my being confused on the timing of the rule change.

jbnwc
April 14, 2009, 12:46 PM
This goes out to all of us riding and carrying:

DO NOT CARRY IT ON YOU! (in your pocket, etc). Put it on the bike.

This has nothing to do with legal issues, but everything to do with safety. If you carry in your jacket pocket and crash - you could easily crack a rib or 3 or worse(refer to TRGRHPY post). Don't ask me how I know this.

Just put it in a tank bag or the like. You are much more likely to need your CE protection than your S&W protection while riding your motorcycle.

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