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Traveling with a firearm

Discussion in 'Legal' started by mrbladedude, Jan 29, 2011.

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  1. mrbladedude

    mrbladedude Member

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    Hi all. My name is Bryan and i know this topic has probably been beaten to death but i am still unclear of a few things.

    I stay in VA at the moment but I go to NJ and PA often. My wife has family there and we go visit for a weekend at a time every now and again. I recently bought a handgun. I want to take it with me so that I can go shooting with my wife's Grandfather in PA. However. I am reading some info online that says NJ is going to give me a hard time.

    Our trip goes like this every time. Leave VA, on 13 ( i think ), go through Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey. Stop in New Jersey and stay the night at my wife's parents house. Next day we drive to PA to my Grandfather's and go shooting etc have lunch. Head back to NJ that evening and stay the night. Drive back to VA the next day. I am not sure if we go though a bit of New York interstate or not.

    I plan on getting my concealed carry permit but at the moment I have not got one.

    To be safe, My handgun will be in my trunk unloaded and the Magazines in my glove compartment, also unloaded and the ammo um i guess under the seat? Trunk maybe? I have a pistol safe at my house but i will not bring it. If the pistol seriously needs to be locked up, i will put a lock on the Glock factory pistol box that the gun came with.

    If by Murphy's law or some other unfortunate occurrence I ended up getting pulled over in New Jersey and my firearm was found. What would happen?

    Do you think there is anything else I can do to further safeguard myself from getting in trouble? I really don't want to leave my gun at home.
     
  2. mrbladedude

    mrbladedude Member

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    Double post
     
  3. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Since you are staying in New Jersey over night at your wife's parents house, and your possession of the handgun is illegal in New Jersey, you are out of luck for transporting your handgun there, because it is a destination for the purpose of a visit there.

    If you were traveling straight through New Jersey on the way to Pennsylvania, unloaded and locked in the trunk with the ammo locked in the trunk as well would then fall under the provisions of Federal laws. The handgun would still be illegal for you to possess in New Jersey, but Federal law would provide an affirmative defense.
     
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Unfortunately, this is all that can be said on the matter. You won't be able to legally do what you're planning. If you can rearrange your trip to stop first with whomever you are visiting in any of the other states and deposit the handgun with them, you would be fine.

    NJ as a destination makes it a no-go.

    Arrest and prosecution under NJ law. Expensive court battle, felony conviction, prison.

    IF NJ wasn't your destination and you were truly just passing through on your way to some other place (and NOT stopping at a relatives house, however briefly) then you could still be detained, have your gun confiscated, arrested, and put through a court battle -- BUT federal law (FOPA '86) would provide you with a defense which your attorney could plead once you're in court.
     
  5. mrbladedude

    mrbladedude Member

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    Wow. Looks like a major headache. Does one know if I can skip NJ and go straight to PA or would there still be interstate time in Jersey?
     
  6. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    As long as you didn't stop in New Jersey as a destination (even to visit just one night), you would be under FOPA while traveling through New Jersey:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000926---A000-.html

     
  7. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    The FOPA may be no more than a paper tiger.

    NavyLT is quite correct about the content of the FOPA, however some recent legal action may render it pretty much useless.

    Check out the Second Circuit's decision in Torraco et al v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (615 F.3d 129). It concerned three persons, in separate cases, who were transporting firearms in a manner consistent with the FOPA. One was arrested for violation of New York law, one was delayed in travel, and one was arrested for violation of New Jersey law (under circumstances very similar to the OP's question). Neither of the arrestees was successfully prosecuted (the opinion is silent on the exact reasons, but it appears FOPA is the likely reason).

    All three filed suit under 42 USC 1983 alleging civil rights violations. The trial court and the Second Circuit held that no right was violated. The really short version of the opinion was that federal statutes are not the same as federal rights. Showing that a statute was violated was not sufficient.

    The U.S. Supreme Court just declined to hear the case meaning that it's now final.
     
  8. brboyer

    brboyer Member

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    No disrespect, but do you know how to read a map?
     
  9. Ramman911

    Ramman911 Member

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  10. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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    The case the SCOTUS declined to grant CERT for was Revell vs. Port Authority of NY and NJ, not Torraco.

    Long story short"Traveler Revell delayed in transit, got suitcase and went to hotel. Came back next day arrested at airport.for handgun violation. He eventually had charges dropped but sued under 1983. District Court found for state and Appeals Court affirmed lower court court ruling. SCOTUS declined to grant CERT about 2 weeks ago

    http://theworldlink.com/news/local/article_4acd4f00-1f66-5b8b-920a-9b78f47891e3.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  11. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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  12. mrbladedude

    mrbladedude Member

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    Thanks for the heads up guys. Looks like I will be avoiding NJ entirely.
     
  13. tyeo098

    tyeo098 Member

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    We live in Chantilly, Va and Travel to Binghamton NY often, we take rt 15 up to 581W then I81 up to Binghamton. Penna is right on top of Va (and Md) so I fail to see why you would need to visit NJ at all aside from visiting family.

    A Starting City and Destination city would be helpful
     
  14. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Does one know if I can skip NJ and go straight to PA or would there still be interstate time in Jersey?

    If you're coming up I95 just stay on it when you're in DE instead of taking the DE Memorial Bridge. It will take you straight to the PATP north of Philadelphia.
     
  15. xr1200

    xr1200 Member

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    Just send the gun to the grandpa thru a dealer. The problem with most cops that will pull you over they just arrest you when they find a firearm and let the courts sort it out.
    Cops simply arrest you, they don't interperet the law.

    I asked NYS trooper firearms division once, and the trooper told me this. Lets say you are driving from PA - Maine and are stopped by on NYS thruway and troopers find pistol in your car. You tell them your relocating from PA to Maine, but in reality you are going to confront your ex girlfriend or wife etc. in Rochester NY and a shooting occurs.

    So if they stop you and arrest you with the gun, they may have stopped a potential shooting or in comparison they let you go and the shooting takes place that they could have stopped.

    So this is the police mind set you are up against, no one wants to let the wrong thing happen and if it means arresting you and letting the courts sort it out, then this is what will usually happen.
     
  16. mrbladedude

    mrbladedude Member

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    Pretty uptight state hey. Dam. Ya my grandfather lives in the Poconos. Alpine mountain. Thanks for the heads up guys. Looks like I will be avoiding NJ entirely.
     
  17. Exmasonite

    Exmasonite Member

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    Doesn't NJ have a law making hollow point ammo illegal? On top of the potential headaches with FOPA regardless, would FOPA provide any help with HP ammo or would the presence of the illegal ammo pre-empt any other issues and screw you?

    (as in, even if you're just passing through, if they find a Hydrashok JHP, are you getting detained?)
     
  18. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    No.

    Probably.

    ----
    Now, in a state such as California where "hi capacity" magazines are illegal to possess under most circumstances - FOPA offers no protection if you are travelling through California with magazines that are illegal in California.

    And in a state such as Ohio, where it is illegal to have loaded magazines anywhere in a vehicle where the matching gun is, without a CCW permit - FOPA would offer no protection against that either, even though there is no requirement to unload magazines to comply with FOPA.

    Again the key to traveling through any of these states with restrictive laws is to never, ever consent to a search of the locked container/compartment where your guns are being transported, no matter what the police officer threatens.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  19. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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  20. dcdub

    dcdub Member

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    New Jersey + in-laws - guns = miserable weekend. Sounds like you'll have a much better time just hanging out with your grandfather.
    I don't condone breaking the law, but if you needed that gun while traveling and it was locked in the trunk... I don't even want to think about it. Just drive safe, make sure you don't have any brake lights out or anything, don't speed, and you'll be fine. If you somehow manage to get yourself pulled over just play it cool and the officer will have no reason to even think about searching your vehicle.
     
  21. THE DRILL INSTRUCTOR

    THE DRILL INSTRUCTOR Member

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    Not to threadjack from mrbladedude, but could one expect a similar arrest-first-check-laws-later attitude towards the Federal Firearms Transportation Statute when traveling through Massachusetts? I live in Vermont and have family in Rhode Island who would like to shoot with me, and it's not like detouring through New York is practical; nor would it alleviate the situation.

    Also, What if I wanted to bring an evil black rifle with a magazine bigger than ten rounds with me? Or a handgun with a mag capacity greater than ten?
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Yes, MA has a very bad reputation with this as well. Proceed with extreme caution.
     
  23. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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  24. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    It says it was updated Feb. 2006.

    Which part are you concerned you're misreading?
     
  25. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    The portion of the NRAILA page referencing hollow point ammunition in New Jersey is incomplete.

    A better source is the NJ State Police website:
    http://www.njsp.org/about/fire_hollow.html

    Main point being, if you are traveling through NJ, and you are carrying your hollow point ammunition in accordance with USC 926a, you should be just fine. Just remember you are on your way to a target range in your destination state.
     
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