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Transporting Handguns Across State Lines VA-MD?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by dspur15, Mar 4, 2011.

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  1. dspur15

    dspur15 Member

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    Alright I want to take two handguns (.22 Colt Diamondback and a .22 Colt Woodsman) from Virginia to Maryland. I'm 19 years old so I obviously don't have a Concealed Carry Permit.

    I don't know what all the applicable laws would be and if anyone knows then if you could give me the info I need that would be great. I know it's also smart to confirm this stuff but I just don't know where firearms laws concerning interstate travel are listed or how these interact with state and local laws.

    All I DO know is that it is legal to posses a handgun in VA if you are 18 or older which I am. I also believe that there are several BATFE laws that cover interstate firearms transport but I don't know where to find these, or what they are, or if they take precedent over state and local laws, ect.

    If it matters it would be from Accomack County VA across the Maryland state line into Worcester County.

    Alternatively I could have a MD resident who is 21 meet me at the border to take them if that would be better?

    If anyone can help me out that would be great. I plan on taking them to my friends farm sometime next week so I need to figure this out as soon as possible. Thanks!

    Well here's an update from some info I found on NRA-ILA http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/#?st=MD


    Carrying or Transporting Firearms in a Vehicle

    While engaged in, or traveling to and from a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, hunting, trapping, or dog obedience training class or show

    During transportation to and from the above places the handgun must be unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or enclosed holster.

    This is about Maryland and I would be traveling to and from informal target practice so that would be legal and I could lock the pistols in a case in the trunk and wouldn't be carrying ammo so that would be okay too. Main question is what is the possession age of a handgun in MD or if there's any weird interstate laws
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  2. dspur15

    dspur15 Member

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    I guess no one knows. I emailed the state police barracks in the county i'm taking them to and may also call the local PD of the town so maybe that will provide me with an answer.
     
  3. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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    If you are over 18 you can possess. 21 to buy. Keep weapons in trunk unloaded. These are the Interstate FOPA rules. You may not leave the weapon in your vehicle and must go straight to your destination no stopping overnight etc. Meals and gas are generally OK.

    MD Gun Laws are Title 4 SS 203.
     
  4. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    If you get pulled over, for Pete's sake...don't volunteer information that you have a gun in the trunk.
     
  5. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Assuming you are a Virginian, this most likely would make both of you felons.

    Interstate transfers of firearms must go through an FFL.
     
  6. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    He isn't "transferring", he is taking them up there to shoot at a friends farm.

    As long as he transports them unloaded, in a locked, inaccessible space (trunk), he should be good to go.
     
  7. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Going by his wording, to "take them" means "take possession of" or transfer. You don't have to sell a gun to effect a transfer, you know.

    .. and yes, under FOPA, provided the guns are legal where he's going, he should be legal carrying them all by himself.

    Just trying to keep folks out of trouble.
     
  8. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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    If stopped by Police, DO NOT consent to a search. Do not offer any information. Provide ID and then be quiet. You do not have to answer any questions so don't. Talking increases the chance of detention and arrest, no matter the reason.
     
  9. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    If MD is your destination, FOPA does not apply to you in any way. FOPA only covers those states you might be passing through, between your starting and destination states. (Unless you're going by a very circuitous route, there are no other states between VA and MD.) For FOPA to apply, you must be completely in compliance with the laws of both your origin and destination states anyway. So, as MD is your destination state, you can't bypass MD law.

    As long as you're following this, "During transportation to and from the above places the handgun must be unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or enclosed holster," you would be in compliance with MD law. I don't see anything in MD law that says an 18-20 year old can't possess a handgun.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  10. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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    FOPA states that you may transport a weapon from any place you may carry and possess to another place you can carry and possess. Where in the law does it say it doesn't protect you if your destination is a state where you can possess?

    US Code Chapter 44 SS 926A
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    If he couldn't lawfully possess the gun in his destination state, or his transportation of it within his destination state would be in violation of that state's laws, he doesn't qualify for FOPA protection.

    An example: If you are a resident of NJ, the law doesn't allow you to transport a handgun from your house to a friend's house. Now, it is legal for you to possess the gun in your home, and it is legal (as far as I can tell) for you to possess it at your friend's house, but it isn't legal for you to transport it between the two. FOPA does not step in and override that state law, protecting you while you transport it.

    However, if you possess that gun legally in DE and are transporting it through NJ to a destination in PA where you would also be legal, then FOPA does protect you while you're in NJ.

    As you have to comply with the laws of your state of origin and you have to comply with the laws of your state of destination, having no intermediate states between origin and destination makes FOPA pretty much irrelevant to the trip.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  12. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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    I agree with that. But VA and MD allow possession so saying FOPA doesn't apply is not true. I am attaching a MD AG opinion that says if your origin and destination are in MD, then MD law applies. If your origin or destination are NOT in MD FOPA applies.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. Perhaps I should have said, "irrelevant." You have to comply with the laws of the state you're in because one is your origin and one is your destination.

    All I see in the AG's letter which speaks to this question is this:
    It doesn't actually say exactly what you said. You suggest that if your origin is not in MD, but your destination is (or vice versa) that FOPA applies to you while you're within MD, and I don't believe this to be so.
     
  14. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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    agreed. but if you were coming from a non-contiguous state you would still be protected by FOPA if the destination state allowed possession. Going through the state is not mentioned in 926A.

    Are you saying the MD AG's opinion is incorrect.?

    Again,FOPA makes no mention of a requirement to have gone through a state to be used as an affirmative defense. That means you can be covered if your destination state allows possession.
     
  15. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    No. I'm saying he didn't specifically address the question. His answer does verify that FOPA covers you while transporting the weapon interstate through MD, but not necessarily if your destination IS MD.

    It would be more clear if he'd said something like, "FOPA supersedes MD law if the weapon is being transported into the state from another, or is being transported to another state from MD," but that's not what he said.

    Or, he could have said, "If your destination or origin IS MD, while you are within the borders of MD, all MD laws apply." But he didn't say that, exactly, either.

    In this case, MD's law and FOPA are very close so maybe he didn't see the distinction as important.
     
  16. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    If we agree that you must comply with all laws in your state of origin, and must comply with all laws in your state of destination in order to fulfill the requirements to be protected by FOPA -- and there is no state in between your origin and destination because they are contiguous -- at what point in your journey does FOPA allow you bypass any state's transport or possession laws?
     
  17. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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    What did he mean by origination or destination not both being in MD? That seems clear to me. If not both in MD, FOPA applies.

    I dunno, maybe I'm not seeing this correctly. I think based on his opinion, you'd be legal complying with either. I am assuming FOPA is more restrictive than state law in most cases so either would suffice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  18. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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    FOPA makes no distinction about contiguous or non contiguous states. It simple says if you are going from a state where you can posses to a destination state where you can posses and transport in the method prescibed, you are in compliance.

    While I agree MD law could apply, IMO FOPA would as well. The AG opinion seems to say that IMO.
     
  19. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    I think this post of Sam's sums up what I interpret FOPA to mean. FOPA says that if your possession and carry of a firearm is lawful at your origin and destination - which implies that you would be in compliance with those laws at your origin and destination anyway - then FOPA protects you when you traveling through a third state whose laws you would not be in compliance with.

    If your origin and destination states are adjacent to each other, and FOPA says it only applies if you are lawful to possess and carry at your origin and destination - than there is simply nowhere in between the two to apply FOPA.

    Now, there is one incident where I might see FOPA applied to adjacent states. Let's say you are traveling between Texas and Oklahoma. Texas law requires the gun to be concealed in the vehicle. Oklahoma law, without a CCW, requires the gun to be carried openly in the vehicle or for the gun case be visible. So, you leave Texas with a gun in the trunk of the car, one might be able to reason that FOPA would apply until you reach your final destination in Oklahoma; and until you actually stop in Oklahoma, there would be no need to take the gun out of the trunk and make it visible to comply with Oklahoma law.

    In the OP's situation, however, the MD requirements are the same as the FOPA requirements, so I could only see FOPA applying if the OP had not reached his final destination yet and was somehow hassled by the Maryland Police (unlawfully) about his unloaded gun in a locked case. FOPA might allow him to defend his case in Federal court, if the Maryland Courts ruled against him for some reason.
     
  20. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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    I think Navy LT has distilled the issue pretty succinctly.

    It would be interesting to see the outcome of a case like the one he outlines between TX and OK.

    I think this horse is very dead.

    :eek:
     
  21. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    That's interesting. It seems to directly conflict with the exact wording of the law. I wonder if it's ever been tested? (I agree that it doesn't really apply to OP's situation) In Indiana, a generally gun-friendly state, it's technically not legal to transport your guns from your home to a shooting range unless that shooting range happens to be your fixed place of employment. FOPA might correct that oversight.
     
  22. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Except that the title of FOPA is Interstate Transportation of Firearms. I think the title of FOPA might cause your defense to be limited to only when you're traveling between two or more states, not within one state only. Of course that doesn't stop the Federal government from reaching in and busting you within one state for a violation of the Federal Gun Free School Zone Act - so maybe you could claim the same B.S. the government does and say FOPA applies to you everywhere because, at one time in the past, your gun or part of your gun did move in interstate transportation! :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  23. wojownik

    wojownik Member

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    MD State Police addresses the OP's question at least in part on their online faq

    http://www.mdsp.org/downloads/licensing_faq.pdf

    Q. Can I legally transport firearms interstate?
    A. Yes, under Title 18, Section 926A, of the United States Code, a person
    who is not prohibited from possessing, 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 place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during
    such transportation the firearm is unloaded, neither the firearm nor any
    ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible
    from the passenger compartment. In the case the vehicle does not have a
    compartment separate from the driver's compartment the firearm or
    ammunition shall be contained in a locked compartment other than the
    glove compartment or console.

    (note: in practice, you'll want to secure firearms in a locked case/container, within a locked trunk, keeping ammo separate from the cased firearm. Such was the advice given to me by a local officer back when I lived in MD).

    Q. How can I transport a handgun without a permit?
    A. Maryland and Federal laws require specific conditions be met while
    transporting a handgun. Please refer to Maryland Annotated Code,
    Criminal Law, Title 4, Section 203 for a detailed account of wearing,
    carrying, or transporting a handgun. You may access the Maryland
    General Assembly website at http://mlis.state.md.us/ then search for
    Criminal Law, Title 4, Section 203, under the Statute Text link.
    You can access the Federal requirements through www.atf.gov and
    conduct a search for “27 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 178” and then
    look for “Transportation of Firearms.”
    The basic requirement during transport is the handgun must be unloaded
    and in an enclosed case or enclosed holster with the ammunition separate
    AND you must be transporting the handgun to or from the locations listed
    in statute.
     
  24. md2lgyk

    md2lgyk Member

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    Why does everyone think that their vehicle becomes a "cop magnet" because they have a handgun or two in the trunk? Just going back and forth to my gun club I pass through three states. Gun box is in the trunk. Been doing it for nearly 30 years and have NEVER been pulled over. If I am, I will not consent to a search. Simple as that.
     
  25. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Nobody's saying that their car becomes a "cop magnet". They're merely stating the relevant law in case you are pulled over.
     
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