By: David Barry
With summer fast approaching, undoubtedly many reading this blog are preparing to travel for vacations or other recreational getaways across the country. For most if not all, this travel will involve crossing state lines. Some of those traveling may choose to travel with their firearms as well, whether for personal protection or recreation.
While I’m sure most responsible gun owners are keenly aware of their own state’s laws regarding the transportation and possession of firearms, the laws regarding these issues that exist in other states you may travel through should be known by anyone crossing state lines with a firearm. Failure to do so may result in serious consequences including, confiscation of the firearm, fines, and even imprisonment.
You would have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the current debate raging in this country around firearms. This article does not take a position on that debate but is meant to be purely informative and not political.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that private citizens in this country have a right to keep and bear arms. This was made applicable to all 50 states through the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago. However, like most rights, the rights guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment are subject to reasonable regulations by state and local governments. As such, laws regarding the possession and transportation of firearms can vary widely from state to state.
For example, in my home state of Tennessee, any individual who can legally possess a firearm may travel with it loaded in an automobile. Tennessee is regarded by most to be a relatively “gun friendly” state. In contrast that with Illinois, where the requirements applicable to transporting a firearm, even for non-residents simply passing through; require that the gun is in a case, unloaded, and not immediately accessible in a functional state.
The same is true for concealed carry permit holders. While it may be perfectly legal to carry a concealed weapon on your person in your home state, it may become an illegal act when you cross into a neighboring state. While many states have reciprocity agreements with sister states which will honor a carry permit issued by one state in the other, this is not always the case. Be sure to check the law regarding reciprocity before carrying a weapon on your person in another state.
Also, some accessories on your firearm may be legal where you live, but illegal in the next state over.
Most of this information is available online. While it is always a good idea to be up to date on the laws pertaining to possession and transportation in your home state, don’t fail to use equal diligence when traveling to other states with your gun. A little research may keep you out of the sights of the legal system.
David Barry, Associate in the Chattanooga office, focuses on Litigation (Arson and Fire, Civil Rights, Construction and Real Estate, Employment Practices, Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith, Insurance Defense, Property and Casualty, and Trucking/Transportation), Liability (Automobile, Government, Premises, and Products), Appellate Practice, Employment, Medical and Pharmacy Malpractice and Insurance Subrogation law.
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