Carrying on the Appalachian Trail?


PDA






Navy_Guns
January 29, 2013, 08:59 PM
My 40+ year-old female cousin has just declared her decision to hike the APT from Georgia to Pennsylvania in 2014. As far as I know, she has zippy experience with firearms. I would like to persuade her to get the appropriate firearms training to carry a pistol on this trek. Is there a guideline document anyone's aware of that has a comprehensive list of firearms regulations and requirements for the Appalachian Trail by state along it's length?

If you enjoyed reading about "Carrying on the Appalachian Trail?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
hso
January 29, 2013, 09:03 PM
MD, NY, NJ, CT, MA

Not a lot of reciprocity there. The AT isn't USPS or NFS property. Some of it runs through private property or state parks. Most hikers leave the trail frequently for resupply or breaks or a beer.

Most AT through hikers shed gear weight in the first week and carrying a firearm isn't consistent with keeping weight down.

Look here http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/hiking-basics/regulations-permits#gun

http://www.bearsdencenter.org/images/AT%20map.jpg

inclinebench
January 30, 2013, 10:15 AM
I live along the AT, and sections are posted "No Firearms", I do not know the legality of these postings, but there are certain sections I wont hike with the wife and kids because of the dirtbags along the trail.

tyeo098
January 30, 2013, 02:19 PM
I carried on the AT when I hiked about 3 miles of it here in VA.
My exgirl and I were both OC. Nobody cared, we even stopped at a state park and had dinner around the campfire with a few rangers. Still OC.

You can OC in VA if you are 18+ w/o a permit anyways, so VA is good to go for you ;)

Captains1911
January 30, 2013, 03:13 PM
I often hike portions of the AT here in the northern VA area, carrying my G23 in a OWB Serpa under my shirt (I have a CCW). It doesn't conceal well at all, and I don't care and nobody has ever said anything or looked at me funny. As mentioned above VA is an open carry state. The problem with hiking the entire trail is you pass though too many different jurisdictions, that eventually you will be breaking the law.

swift535
January 30, 2013, 03:17 PM
I think in a scenario such as this, where someone is likely to become an accidental criminal, she may be best served by a fixed-blade knife (which can be useful in many ways while hiking) and a bit of defensive training if that's something you're concerned with.

tyeo098
January 30, 2013, 03:18 PM
A fixed blade 6" (MINIMUM) knife with rope cutter is a must have. That should be standard to every load out. We're talking boom sticks here ;)

Gary Slider
January 30, 2013, 08:17 PM
You have to be aware of many laws. If you have a permit/license to carry that is honored by the state you are in you can carry on the AT. Then you have to watch about places where the trail goes through a state park. In some states even with a valid permit/license to carry you can't carry in the state parks. Then in MA and NY you could end up in jail just by possessing a firearm even if unloaded and stored in your pack if you stop unless you have a permit/license that is valid in NY and MA which would take one from both of those states. Then you have Maryland.

It would be up to you to know exactly where you were and what the laws are at that given location. It is just about impossible to hike the whole trail with a firearm and be legal all the time. A Sworn Police Officer or Retired Officer Carrying under the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act are the only people that can do it almost legally as they could run into problems in State Parks that are off limits by state laws.

LemmyCaution
January 31, 2013, 09:08 AM
A close reading of the text of FOPA seems to indicate that so long as one does not leave the trail, one should be able to pass through MD with a handgun, so long as it is unloaded and in a locked case.

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.

FOPA does not specify a means of transport, so passage on foot should be allowed. Case law has established that one may make reasonable stops in transit. Stopping to rest on the trail should fall under this protection.

In the absence of a search warrant, law enforcement will have no grounds to search one's person, and certainly not a locked case.

However, this is untested case law, and one goes down that road at one's own risk, and hopefully with competent legal counsel.

md2lgyk
January 31, 2013, 09:31 AM
I don't advocate breaking the law, but I'd guess the odds of being busted for carrying on the AT are vanishingly small. It's not like the thing is patrolled.

thefish
January 31, 2013, 10:01 AM
I cant speak to firearms but a good friend of mine and his wife did the at. He is a wealth of information. Pm me if you want his info.

mdauben
January 31, 2013, 11:48 AM
Checking the laws in all the states on her prospective AT trek from Georgia to Pennsylvania:
Carry in State Parks/National Forest is legal in every state except Maryland.
Of course, the problem is that most of the trail is not located within State or Federal property. Much of it is private property on which the AT is granted right of way. There is also the issue of leaving the trail to pick up supplies, overnigth in motels, or visiting resturants. One very common method of resupply is to have friends mail prepackaged boxes of food, etc. to "general delivery" which requires you to enter USPS property.

I'm not sure its totally impossible, and I don't necessarily dismiss the need for SD on the trail (the last time I hiked a part of the trail several years ago, there was a search going on for a missing young woman) but at the very least it will be difficult to do totally legally. Unpleasant is it may be to consider, however, hikers (often women) have been abducted, assaulted or even killed while hiking the AT. :(

lonestarag
January 31, 2013, 02:17 PM
Recommend some bear spray for the four legged critters, just in case. The black bears I've seen in Virginia are mostly uninterested in people, but just in case...

mdauben
January 31, 2013, 04:05 PM
Recommend some bear spray for the four legged critters, just in case. The black bears I've seen in Virginia are mostly uninterested in people, but just in case...
Honestly, I've hiked large sections of the AT from GA to NH, I know a number of thru hikers who've done the whole trail (some of them more than once), and I've been to several big AT hiker get togethers and spoken to dozens and dozens of hikers. I've never heard of anyone on the AT being attacked by a bear. I suppose it may have happened at some time or other but you are much, much more likely to encounter trouble from two-legged vermin.

saltydog452
January 31, 2013, 06:05 PM
Cool.

If you do the deed, will you post your obversations?..and recommendations?...please?

For me, it'd take a pack train to provide items that 'might be' needed.

Thanks,

salty

cskny
February 1, 2013, 01:42 PM
I don't advocate breaking the law, but I'd guess the odds of being busted for carrying on the AT are vanishingly small. It's not like the thing is patrolled.



I frequently see this 'type' of comment float around in these topics. However, I want to point out the obvious flaw. Presumably, posts like these are advocating carrying despite the legality for the sake of the individual's protection. However, If that individual ever found themselves in a position to have to draw or use the weapon, or was even uncovered as carrying, they become a jailed felon in most of those states. It likely won't matter the context or outcome of whatever 'scenario' required use. So, use the weapon for protection, go to jail.

And if you think you will make a successful self defense justification should you have to use it, you don't fully understand the legal ferocity and opposition of many of the states in question.

In other words, there are really only 2 outcomes. 1. you never get caught. 2. you have to use it (in any capacity or senario) and end up spending a significant anount of time in jail, likely having any future ownership rights revoked.

Finding a legal defensive alternative is a far better choice IMO.

Crashola
February 1, 2013, 02:13 PM
Just a thought, but given the checkerboard of gun laws along the trail, maybe she should consider something like a Kimber Pepperblaster? Or are those considered concealed weapons too?

When my then-girlfriend (now wife) lived alone, she didn't know enough about guns to own one. I got her a pepperblaster that she kept in her nightstand.

friscolatchi
February 1, 2013, 04:41 PM
I may consider taking a sub 2000. Fold it during the day in the pack, deploy it at night time. A razor sharp blade can be effective for daytime work. I'm reasonably sure that this would be legal in most states up to and including PA. New Yawk? That's another kettle of fish.

LemmyCaution
February 2, 2013, 10:59 AM
I may consider taking a sub 2000. Fold it during the day in the pack, deploy it at night time.

I'm going to guess you're not a rural resident. Being found in possession of a loaded long gun in the woods at night might put you on the bad side of the local game warden.

10/22plinker
February 2, 2013, 07:19 PM
I don't believe you can hunt in a national park so a game warden wouldn't be a problem in about 40% of the trail. As for the other 60% I have no clue. Also, having backpacked in the past myself I have a feeling that a long gun would throw off the balance of your pack and make it a pain to carry (let alone the weight of it).

Jim K
February 4, 2013, 12:43 AM
IIRC, MD also prohibits carrying pepper spray. Our politicians don't want any competition when they are robbing and raping.

Jim

hueyville
February 4, 2013, 12:54 AM
Absolutely no way to hike the entire trail legally armed. Also know their are people that hike it every year and its own subculture has evolved. I do section hikes and done all of GA, NC, some of VA, NH, & ME. Most people are stunned at how difficult the North Georgia Mountains are topping out at 6,000 feet above sea level. Most hikers abandon or ship home 30% of their gear at mountain crossings. Unless she is feeding herself with squirrels, she will send it home. Too much weight for the trek. The full AT is not a joke. Worthy walk if your into it. Now that left leg is mostly titanium, will personally be doing the parallel version on my motorcycle.

If you enjoyed reading about "Carrying on the Appalachian Trail?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!