Summer Travel with Firearms


Now that summer has arrived, many families are getting ready to embark on long-awaited summer vacations. Before you travel with your CCW, it is important to understand the gun laws and regulations that will apply to your trip. Gun laws change frequently, so make sure you read up on the current laws before you leave home.

1. Reciprocity

Gun laws vary state by state. Even if you’re licensed to concealed carry in your home state, your license may not be recognized in the states you visit. Check the reciprocity laws of your destination to find out if you’re legally allowed to carry concealed on your trip.

If you’re planning on taking a road trip across the country, you should read up on the concealed carry laws of all of the states through which you plan to travel. Some states have restrictions on the style and class of guns that can be used, so do your research and plan accordingly.

2. Road Trip Considerations

Although states have different gun laws, the McClure-Volkmer Act of 1986 provides gun owners with “safe passage” through restricted states as long as their firearms are unloaded, locked up, inaccessible and the ammunition is stored separately.

It is important to note that this law only protects travelers who are passing through a state and are stopping only to get gas, food, use the restroom or make other essential stops. If you are planning to spend the night or visit any local attractions, you may be breaking state law. As always, make sure you know the gun laws of each state you’ll be passing through.

3. Air, Rail or Bus Travel

If you’re planning to travel by plane or train, you will need to transport any firearms in your checked luggage. Weapons are not permitted in carry-on bags. Firearms may be carried in checked luggage as long as they are unloaded, packed in a locked case and packed separately from ammunition. If traveling by plane, you must also declare to the airline that you have a firearm and ammunition in your checked bag.

To be safe, check the firearms policy before you head on your trip. Amtrak has specific regulations about traveling with firearms and may require travelers to provide notification that they will be checking firearms at least 24 hours in advance.

Bus and metro lines often have strict regulations against transporting firearms. Plan ahead and look up the regulations of any bus or metro line you might use on the trip.