Vehicle fire arms laws from state to state

i m curious to when and how you are allowed to carry firearms in your car in different places.

here, the gun must be unloaded with the chamber open. i m not sure what the rule is if you have a concealed carry permit. i ll check and get back to you.

No general rule…some are very permissive, some very restrictive. It can vary too within city limits. Chek ahead of time before you leave a state…and importantly, ask why you even need one. Hunters traveling from one state to here are quite well versed on the precautions they have to take.

In MD:

It is unlawful for any person without a permit to wear or carry a handgun, openly or concealed, upon or about his person. It is also unlawful for any person to knowingly transport a handgun in any vehicle traveling on public roads, highways, waterways or airways, or upon roads or parking lots generally used by the public. This does not apply to any person wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun within the confines of real estate owned or leased by him, or on which he resides, or within the confines of a business establishment owned or leased by him.
Rifles and shotguns being transported in motor vehicles must be unloaded.

A person may transport a handgun if they can demonstrate that the handgun is being carried, worn or transported:

To or from a place of legal purchase or sale, or repair shop;
Between a person’s bona fide residences, or between his residence and place of business, if the business is operated and substantially owned by that person;
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; or
By a bona fide gun collector who is moving any part or all of his gun collection from place to place for public or private exhibition.
During transportation to and from the above places the handgun must be unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or enclosed holster. An additional penalty is provided for any person convicted of unlawfully wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun, if his deliberate purpose was to injure or kill another person.

Me and a couple of friends were sitting around one weekend discussing an issue like this although it was related to motorcycles. A firearm on a bike is a bit more obvious of course. I got on the phone and called all 3 local divisions of law enforcement (local PD, county sheriff, state patrol) to clarify the legal position.

The stated aim was to carry a firearm on a motorcycle while traveling from OK to CO. I got 3 different answers; 5 if you count 2 backtracking when one was told the other just said…

Apparently law enforcement wasn’t well informed on it either although my assumption is that a loaded firearm (magazine or one in the chamber) in or on a motor vehicle is likely illegal everywhere unless the owner has a permit.

Probably the funniest answer I got was from the state patrol who said “the gun needs to be tied on one end of the bike and the ammunition on the other end…”. :slight_smile:

Laws vary from state to state. Here you can carry a loaded weapon on your person if you have a permit to do so, but to transport it in your car it needs to be unloaded and stowed in a case.

I think common sense plays a large part here, and unfortunately these days cops have to be much more careful and vigilant, what with them being shot just sitting in their car.

25 years ago I had a friend who had a job working the graveyard shift at an old-fashioned service station, the kind with the cash drawer out on the islands. He carried a gun at work, just to be safe, and had a CCW permit to do so. One night on the way in to work he was pulled over for speeding, and had his firearm on the seat next to him–a violation of the law. He just put his hands out the window in plain sight and explained to the cop what was going on. He was given a warning for both the firearm and the speeding. I wonder what would have happened today.

I was riding with a friend, who got popped for defective taillights. He was driving

He actually got out of his car and showed his empty hands

The patrolman pulled his sidearm and explained that he’s not supposed to do anything until instructed to do so. I could see the patrolman was no on high alert

me, I was smart enough to remain in the car, and waited for the patrolman to give me instructions

Agreed; the best thing is to remain in place, hands on the wheel, interior light on if at night, and move slowly when fishing for a drivers license or registration. A little respect for the officer doesn’t hurt either.

Then there’s “open carry” (handgun in plain sight). Ohio has no state law against open carry. I see no sense in it though. Just inviting trouble at several levels.

In Ohio you need to have the ammo and firearm separated, unless you’ve got your CCW, then that applies to the firearm you’re wearing.
When going to the range, I put my firearms in my cargo area and the ammo is stored in a box that I put behind the driver’s seat(harder for me to get to than the passenger side).
As always, if you’re traveling outside your home state, know the laws of the states you’re traveling through, especially if you’ve got a CCW and are wearing your firearm.

In most situations avoiding problems is my first priority. Just like four wheel drive vehicles often get their owners into deeper trouble rather than saving them from unavoidable problems firearms can result in taking a path that should be avoided.

More and more I feel grateful to live modestly on this quiet dead end street in this small town.

A Concealed weapons permit means nothing outside of the state it was issued in. Carrying a side arm in Mass with a permit issued in Maine is like carrying with none. i’m sure everyone knew that . Only if there is some reciprocity agreement between states is this possible. There is no federal carry permit other then those issued to certain law enforcemtn agents and even those are subject to restrictions at the local level.

There are more than a few wrong answers here. It depends from state to state and it depends on if you have a concealed carry permit as those with the right answers.

Many southern states allow the carry of a loaded weapon in your unlocked glovebox withOUT a CCW, some only allow it WITH a CCW. Some must be unloaded and open chambered AND the ammo must be in separate portions of the car (gun in car, ammo in trunk or switched). There have been cases where a loaded magazine separated from the handgun is not considered “unloaded”. There are books you can buy that explain every law in every state so if you are transporting across country, you can be legal as you pass through. Get the latest edition as these laws change constantly!

DE is open carry, but I think that is asking for trouble. I will carry a shotgun a block or two to get to the woods, but I don t want to do that with a handgun.

I agree with what you say. The CCW is ssued by states and have no implication anywhere else unless there is a reciprocity agreement. You point out very well too that the way to carry a weapon in a car according to state laws, has as much variation as the number of states ( not really ). Just having a CCW to make these restrictions simple does little without knowing in what state they are valid. . CCWs without reciprocity are totally useless outside of the state they were issued. If you travel within your state, it’s pretty much cut and dry according to the regs in your state. But, if you travel accross state lines, you need to do some hard and fast research and reading, especially if you pass through several states. Good advice then @Mustangman !

Traveler’s Guide to Firearm Laws of the Fifty States -

Buy this from the NRA.
Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States. This vital guide gives state by state regulatory information on handgun, rifle, shotgun, assault weapon and machine gun ownership as well as applicable open and concealed carry and vehicle transportation. Also featured is the contact information for state regulatory agencies and a section outlining interstate reciprocity. If you are planning to travel with your firearms either in your home state or interstate, you need this guide

My information on MD came from the NRA web site. I imagine they know what they are talking about so that their members can safely and legally transport firearms. I’m sure that want to spend more time shooting and less time in court.

When I lived in Colorado the rule – this was quite a few years ago – the rule for hunting rifles and shotguns anyways was the guns must be in plain site, no bullets or shells loaded at all, and the chamber must be open. One time we drove to Canada and the border crossing folks there insisted we install a gadget, a string like thing, that ran all the way through the barrel and completely disabled the gun and keep it that way while in that part of Canada.

In the late 1950’s, a 16 year old takes the shotgun he got for Christmas to high school and puts it in his locker (unloaded, no ammo). At lunch he takes it out to show his classmates. Several teachers walk by and admire it. He puts it back in his locker and takes it home after school. Long, long ago…in a galaxy far, far away…

I really don’t know about hand guns in Minnesota except a permit must be issued after passing a course and the Sheriff signs off that there are no felonies or warrants. I always used to carry my shot gun in the trunk to work and would hunt on the way home. At any rate, shot guns and rifles can be in the car uncased if they are broken down, and unloaded, or they can just be in a case not broken down.