RV's/Motor Homes & Guns


May 28, 2012, 10:47 PM
I suspect the laws vary from state to state, but if someone were to have an RV as their actual home, do the same laws that apply to guns in ones home apply?
Another words driving in a car has certain restrictions about transporting guns(loaded vs. unloaded, accessible vs. locked away or two step rule, etc.), but do the guns laws for RV's mirror that of vehicles, or that of a persons domicile?

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May 28, 2012, 10:52 PM
I would venture to guess that if you get your mail delivered there, it's your dwelling.

May 28, 2012, 11:04 PM
As noted, depends on the state. NM considers your car (or motor home) an extension of you house, so a loaded pistol is OK in your vehicle. See www.handgunlawus.com for details -

May 28, 2012, 11:15 PM
Some states treat it as a vehicle when its moving and as a dwelling when its stationary.

May 29, 2012, 08:43 PM
If I read it correctly, in Oregon if you do not have a concealed handgun license, then you need to keep your handgun in a locked compartment/glovebox while driving, but not while you are actually using it for residential quarters. It's unclear to me exactly what "using it for residential quarters" really means, but to be on the safe side, I'm going to assume that they don't mean driving. If you have a concealed handgun license, then this does not apply.

166.250 Unlawful possession of firearms. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section or ORS 166.260, 166.270, 166.274, 166.291, 166.292 or 166.410 to 166.470 or section 5, chapter 826, Oregon Laws 2009, a person commits the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm if the person knowingly:
(a) Carries any firearm concealed upon the person;
(b) Possesses a handgun that is concealed and readily accessible to the person within any vehicle; or
(c) Possesses a firearm and:
(A) Is under 18 years of age;
(B)(i) While a minor, was found to be within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for having committed an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony or a misdemeanor involving violence, as defined in ORS 166.470; and
(ii) Was discharged from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court within four years prior to being charged under this section;
(C) Has been convicted of a felony;
(D) Was committed to the Oregon Health Authority under ORS 426.130;
(E) Was found to be mentally ill and subject to an order under ORS 426.130 that the person be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm as a result of that mental illness; or
(F) Has been found guilty except for insanity under ORS 161.295 of a felony.
(2) This section does not prohibit:
(a) A minor, who is not otherwise prohibited under subsection (1)(c) of this section, from possessing a firearm:
(A) Other than a handgun, if the firearm was transferred to the minor by the minor’s parent or guardian or by another person with the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian; or
(B) Temporarily for hunting, target practice or any other lawful purpose; or
(b) Any citizen of the United States over the age of 18 years who resides in or is temporarily sojourning within this state, and who is not within the excepted classes prescribed by ORS 166.270 and subsection (1) of this section, from owning, possessing or keeping within the person’s place of residence or place of business any handgun, and no permit or license to purchase, own, possess or keep any such firearm at the person’s place of residence or place of business is required of any such citizen. As used in this subsection, “residence” includes a recreational vessel or recreational vehicle while used, for whatever period of time, as residential quarters.
(3) Firearms carried openly in belt holsters are not concealed within the meaning of this section.
(4)(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection, a handgun is readily accessible within the meaning of this section if the handgun is within the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
(b) If a vehicle, other than a vehicle described in paragraph (c) of this subsection, has no storage location that is outside the passenger compartment of the vehicle, a handgun is not readily accessible within the meaning of this section if:
(A) The handgun is stored in a closed and locked glove compartment, center console or other container; and
(B) The key is not inserted into the lock, if the glove compartment, center console or other container unlocks with a key.
(c) If a vehicle is a motorcycle, an all-terrain vehicle or a snowmobile, a handgun is not readily accessible within the meaning of this section if:
(A) The handgun is in a locked container within or affixed to the vehicle; or
(B) The handgun is equipped with a trigger lock or other locking mechanism that prevents the discharge of the firearm.
(5) Unlawful possession of a firearm is a Class A misdemeanor. [Amended by 1979 c.779 §4; 1985 c.543 §3; 1989 c.839 §13; 1993 c.732 §1; 1993 c.735 §12; 1999 c.1040 §1; 2001 c.666 §§33,45; 2003 c.614 §8; 2009 c.499 §1; 2009 c.595 §112; 2009 c.826 §8a; 2011 c.662 §1]

Texan Scott
May 29, 2012, 09:00 PM
In Texas, the distinction is generally moot, as there is rarely a reason to distinguish between home and vehicle- but in cases where it matters, Tx law treats the motorhome as a residence when being used as a residence.

Doc Savage
May 30, 2012, 12:40 AM
While driving thru Lousiania on a trip got pulled over in the motorhome by state troopers. Couldn't remember if I was required to notify them or not, but wasn't carrying my pistol, it was in a drawer in the kitchen, and the rifles were in the back closet. When they asked to have a look inside, I told them about the guns and was told no problem that the motorhome was considered just like my residence (even thought I was just passing thru). Bet it would be way different if other states though. Traveling with guns is the main reason I got my Pistol Permit, less to worry about as long as you are in a state that recognizes it.


May 30, 2012, 04:46 AM
Presumably a person would have greater rights if the Motorhome was considered a domicile vs. a vehicle. The trouble is that some Leo's and/or state laws might blur that distinction.

I also wonder what if any difference there is if they wish to enter the home if they approach it while it is parked, vs. pulling it over.
Additionally what requirements might be involved if the state requires notification of firearms if you are pulled over, yet have the guns securely locked away in a gun closet/locker ?

May 30, 2012, 10:49 AM
My thoughts would be that, if the vehicle is being operated on the public road system, or parked on an extension or abuttment thereof, or on private property without prior consent of the property owner, then it would/should be treated as a motor vehicle, with stowage and search regulations followed accordingly.

But if parked, on private property provided for such purpose, or public property outside the right-of-way of the road system, it would/should be treated as a stationary domicile, with stowage and search regulations reflecting such.

But of course that may only be construed as my opinion, with no legal backing whatever. I strongly suspect most police in most states would err on the side of treating them as motor vehicles at all times unless specifically stated otherwise in their laws. Motor vehicles being less protected than residences in most cases.

May 30, 2012, 04:55 PM
It depends on the state, no clean simple answer.

Some states give similar allowances for firearms in vehicles that they do in homes, making the question moot.

Some states treat motor homes differently than other vehicles and more like a home as it pertains to firearms all the time.

Some states treat a motor home as a home only when it is parked as a dwelling.
(In California it is a temporary residence allowing for loaded firearms while legally parked overnight. However if illegally parked like at most rest stops that don't allow overnight camping (which many don't realize is illegal because they get away with it) then it could be illegal to have a loaded firearm or even an unloaded uncased handgun now that 'open carry' is banned, because it does not meet the definition of temporary residence anymore. So the legality of where it is parked and whether camping is allowed there can have an impact due to the wording of the law. Parking in a parking lot outside a grocery store, at a rest stop, or on the side of an empty highway for the night, might not trigger the allowance of having a loaded firearm not meeting the legal definition of temporary residence. Being the difference between a felony PC12031 violation and legal possession of firearms in a temporary residence.

I have seen some states that require the motor home be raised on jacks to be considered a dwelling.
While I believe another one required being on jacks for X months before it was considered a dwelling, meaning while traveling through or even stopping someplace for a short time it would always just be a vehicle subject to the same laws as an SUV/Van because it would have never met the minimum time on jacks.

It varies so much between states that you cannot just get a simple answer that applies across the board if you are planning a cross country trip, or a transient lifestyle.
You can of course always default to the extremes of FOPA to be covered through a third party state between start and destination. However FOPA does not cover you at destinations (defined as pretty much any stop that is not along a straight line through the state, if you visit someone or go see a tourist attraction on your way through those are destinations), so you are still subject to the laws of the states you are in most of the time.

Generally traveling through the southern half of the US is easier than the northern half.
It is not a free country you can just saddle up and head out across the expanses armed anymore.

Now if you are actually living in one within one state as a primary residence with a fixed street address then they are generally considered a home across the board. (Although like I mentioned earlier at least a couple require a minimum time they have been parked, on jacks, raised above the ground, or otherwise not a vehicle as defined by the state's laws to be considered a residence.)

May 30, 2012, 07:47 PM
If the cops want to look in my car or travel trailer, I simply say no.......chris3

June 2, 2012, 04:58 PM

Sure that is always your right.
However I suspect in most states it is easier for a LEO to legally gain access to your vehicle than your home, hence the reason for my line of thought and inquiry.

Jeff H
June 2, 2012, 09:29 PM
It is nice to see this topic get discussed on a gun forum so the topic stays open. On the RV forums I frequent, these threads get locked pretty quickly.

While I'm sure it varies by state, I'm fairly certain that once the vehicle is stationary and acting as your home, it caries the same protections. Similar to drinking alcohol on a boat. OK to do while anchored, but not while underway. If you are driving your RV and have a loaded gun with you, you need to make sure you comply with the CCW laws of whatever state you are in.

But as always, check handgunlaw.us for specific state laws.

June 3, 2012, 12:10 AM
It was awhile ago when I read this but there was a FED law passed about 4 years ago. It was in 18 USC and it didn't favor RV owners.

June 3, 2012, 12:21 AM
I don't know if you count travel trailers as an rv, but I can tell you that mine was treated as a trailer while on the road in 3 states, I know my guns were found in 2 of them. I only had leo's when it was parked a couple times here in texas. It was treated as my home but was parked and obviously being used as such

June 4, 2012, 11:03 AM

That is a good question, along with rentals for vacation. You know the ones that are advertising billboards for the RV rental company that you are using.

June 5, 2012, 05:18 AM
shiftyer1 said: I only had leo's when it was parked a couple times here in texas. It was treated as my home but was parked and obviously being used as such

What was done in Texas doesn't pertain. In Texas all vehicles now allow for transport of loaded long guns and hand guns out of sight with no permit required.
So it is not some special thing pertaining to RVs or trailers, parked or unparked.

Jeff H said: Similar to drinking alcohol on a boat. OK to do while anchored, but not while underway.

Not accurate in all states at all. In many states drinking in both a boat and even an RV driving down the road is entirely legal as a passenger depending on where in the vehicle you are. In some others it is illegal. In some it is legal in one and not the other.
Only the passenger seat next to the driver, and the driver's seat in an RV for example does not allow for drinking in some states. In Cali it is entirely legal to drink anywhere behind the driver's seat even while going down the road.
Several other states as well. In some it is never legal even when the vehicle is temporarily parked to have an open container inside.
Boats are similar in many places, with some allowing drinking under differing circumstances, with the circumstances of when and how varying by state.
So you cannot just make general statements. The only real general statement that is usually true across the board is the driver cannot be drinking while operating the vehicle (but even that is not the case in a few exceptions, they just can't be above the legal limit in those exceptions.)

Well the same applies to gun laws. They vary tremendously by state.
I covered some of that in the earlier post though.

Jeff F
June 6, 2012, 09:31 PM
Speaking only for Nevada, I believe the law treats your vehicle as extension of your home, be it a motor home or other vehicle.

June 8, 2012, 08:14 AM
My Dad is a full time RV'r he does have a CPL permit with pistols and revolvers in the RV. I was/am concerned about this issue too. So I found the (traveler's guide to firearm laws of the fifty states) booklet (its on line) and giving it to him as soon as I can. I haven't had the chance to read it myself, but I feel it can benefit him in his travels keeping him informed.

Steel Horse Rider
June 8, 2012, 09:38 AM
As long as the firearm is out of sight and you neither wave it around nor blab excessively about having a firearm I don't understand why having a self-defense weapon would be an issue. I really don't think we have dropped to the level of random searches of RV's and motorhomes by law enforcement. I can say that I have never been asked to allow a search of any vehicle I own and I regularly carry a loaded weapon in my vehicle and my motorcycle saddlebag. After all, an unloaded weapon is of little use for self-defense be it from two or four legs.

Gary Slider
June 14, 2012, 01:19 PM
IT can be an issue. In NY if you have a handgun in your RV and stop for the night you are in violation of NY law and can be sent to jail. Doesn't matter if it is loaded or stored away. Same in NJ.

In some states it is an extension of your home while moving down the highway. In others it has to be off the road and set up as living quarters to be considered your home. It depends on the state. Not all of them are the same. It is up to us to know the law. So if traveling you have to know the law of every state you are in.

If you have a permit/license to carry then everything changes also but again you have to know the laws in every state you are in. In some states you must notify the officer you have a permit/license and firearm on you if approached for any official business. If you don't then you are in violation of their law. A guy in Michigan waited 42 seconds and he was convicted of breaking their must notify law.

It all boils down to you have to know the laws of the state you are in!

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