Traveling out of your state with a firearm can be intimidating to the lawful gun owner because of the myriad of different laws in effect across our country. Fortunately, some good resources exist to protect the traveler from unintentional legal violations. Hopefully you can benefit from this information before starting your summer vacation!
The broadest protection for the traveling gun owner is the federal “Peaceable Journey” law. In short, it is legal to transport a firearm in a vehicle anywhere in the United States if it’s legal for you to own/carry that firearm where you’re coming from and where you’re going. The firearm must be unloaded, secured, and stored in a separate compartment of the vehicle (if possible) from the driver.
However, beware of legal twilight zones such as Chicago, IL, NYC, NY, and the People’s Republic of New Jersey. These places, and some others, have earned a well deserved bad reputation for ignoring the Peaceable Journey statute and criminally charging out of towners who unknowingly violate the strict local gun prohibitions. In these cases an ounce of prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure.
Reciprocity for CCW permits is another level of protection for those who travel armed. Not all states recognize other state’s carry permits, so use caution here as well. Be sure to check a good resource (preferably online as a hard copy publication may be out of date) and plan accordingly. If unclear, stowing your gun in accordance with the federal statute should help you avoid any potential trouble if stopped by an officer.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice.