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Old April 17, 2010, 11:38 AM   #1
Glenn E. Meyer
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A question on travel with guns and mags

This comes from a discussion elsewhere on travel through a state with a firearm. I'm not a legal expert regarding this.

Supposedly, Fed law gives you protection if you pass straight through a state on the way to a location that allows you to have the firearm you are traveling with. The gun has to be stored correctedly. We know that some states may not care and bust you anyway.

The issue that came up was what if you drive through a state and your magazines exceed the legal capacity allowed in that state. Some mags may be grandfathered in that state.

However, if an officer stopped you and found the MAG, can you get arrested - even the traveling with the gun is seen as legal.
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Old April 17, 2010, 11:52 AM   #2
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Not if you are legally able to posses them and they are legal where you started from. They could only be an issue if you stopped for more than incidental maintenance like eating and refueling. A week long visit with a friend or relative could be an issue for you but not while traveling through.

Just 2 cents from a dinosaur who drove by a Motel 6 once. That and something I read in The American Rifleman a long time ago from their legal beagles in answer to a letter with a similar question.
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Old April 17, 2010, 11:55 AM   #3
Glenn E. Meyer
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Do the laws specifically mention mags - yes, I could look that up but I'm not in the mood?
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Old April 17, 2010, 12:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
Do the laws specifically mention mags - yes, I could look that up but I'm not in the mood?
No, the law does not mention anything about firearms accessories that may be illegal in that state, only the firearm itself. It also tells you how to transport ammo with the firearm, but makes no mention of any other firearm part or accessory.

18 USC 926a:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18...6---A000-.html

§ 926A. Interstate transportation of firearms


Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.
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Old April 17, 2010, 12:09 PM   #5
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Thanks, that's an interesting catch. I wonder if folks think about it.

So if you are going to VT for an IPSC match and starting in PA - you might be in trouble with some mags.

Glenn
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Old April 17, 2010, 12:13 PM   #6
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Glenn, The Federal Law on transporting firearms does not mention Magazines.
Here is what MD says.
“A person may not manufacture, sell, offer for sale, purchase, receive, or transfer a detachable magazine that has a capacity of more than 20 rounds of ammunition for a firearm.” Md. Criminal Law Code § 4-305(b). This section does not apply to a .22 caliber rifle with a tubular magazine. Section 4-305(a).

They don't mention Transporting.

Here is NY Law.

It is a class D felony to manufacture, transport, dispose of, or possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device, which N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(23) defines as "a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device" manufactured after September 13, 1994, "that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition." Section 265.02.

In NY the law says Transport. So I believe you would be breaking the law. I only have one firearm with mags that hold more than 10 rounds. It is a Beretta 380 which I never carry except for a backup once in a long while. I will not travel with anything over 10 rounds. Do I have to leave them at home? Maybe, Maybe not but never forget you can be arrested anytime and given your day in court. I won't take that risk when I don't need to.
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Old April 17, 2010, 12:21 PM   #7
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Or if you are traveling through Ohio with loaded magazines without a recognized license. The Federal law nowhere requires magazines to be unloaded, just the gun, but does not seem to offer protection against loaded magazines when traveling through Ohio.
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Old April 17, 2010, 12:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
However, if an officer stopped you and found the MAG, can you get arrested...
Another question which introduces another possible wrinkle. (Ignoring the illegal magazine issue for a moment.) Does the safe passage law actually prevent you from being arrested? Or is it just a defense to prosecution?

I've always had the idea that the law would keep you from being convicted but wouldn't necessarily prevent you from taking a ride downtown.
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Old April 17, 2010, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
...Does the safe passage law actually prevent you from being arrested? Or is it just a defense to prosecution?

I've always had the idea that the law would keep you from being convicted but wouldn't necessarily prevent you from taking a ride downtown.
There's no such thing as a law that will keep you from being arrested. If an LEO really wants to arrest you, and can't be talked out of it by, say another LEO or his supervisor, you're going downtown and through the routine. You may have, in fact, violated no law; and the arrest may be 110% bogus, but if a cop wants to take you for a ride, you'll be going (unless you really and truly want to put up a fight, in which case you may wind up with a whole lot of other problems).

What the law gives you is (1) a defense; and (2) a claim for damages if the arrest was sufficiently out of line. And of course LEOs who keep wasting the resources of their employing agencies by arresting people on charges that can't be sustained, and thus keep exposing their employing agencies to expensive litigation, probably don't get to be LEOs for a long time.
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Old April 17, 2010, 04:03 PM   #10
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Old age is a pain....

I'm afraid I don't recall the details very well. But I do recall hearing about a fellow, from Utah (I think), who was flying back from somewhere back east with some guns.

His flight had some kind of problem, and was detoured into Newark NJ. The airline put him up in a hotel for the night. However, since his guns (and his posession of them) was not legal in NJ, he got arrested! He wound up spending (again, IIRC) a couple days in Jersy jail before being released!

Fed law does trump state, in this case, but you will get arrested, booked, and go to jail, until the wheels of justice turn their slow course. Last I heard of the poor guy, he was suing for both damages, and to get his guns back.

Next time someone whines about how the FOPA 86 cost us closing the legal machinegun registry, and should not have been passed, remember this poor guy, and many others like him, who ultimately get cleared of charges because of that Fed law. The closing the registry was a last minute poison pill (passed on voice vote only), intended to kill the bill. We took the hit, Reagan signed it into law, to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. Prior to the FOPA, if you were crossing a restrictive state (which was allowed, provided you didn't stop), you could be arrested for having a flat tire, or stopping to eat, get gas, or to pee! AND, you were guilty! You had no defense, and no legal recourse, because you did violate the law!

All in all, the FOPA has done (and is continuing to do) more good for us than the harm it causes those who would like to enjoy affordable full auto firearms.

I'm afraid the magazine issue is not clearly spelled out, and therefore likely to be ruled against us, until specific language is obatined in law. One magazine ought to be considered part of the gun. And if it is the original size the gun was sold with, you might have a valid argument that it is covered under the term firearm as used in the law. However, you might have to make that argument in court.

The simple solution would be to have spare oversize (by the defintion of the restrictive states) shipped to you (Fed Ex, UPS, etc) where you are going, and legal. Then ship them back home when done. Costs a bit, but considering everything, its a lot cheaper than lawyers and courts.
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Old April 17, 2010, 09:25 PM   #11
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Iowa is a state that requires magazines to be unloaded.

483A.36 Manner of conveyance.
No person, except as permitted by law, shall have or carry a gun in or on a vehicle on a public highway, unless the gun is taken down or totally contained in a securely fastened case, and its barrels and magazines are unloaded.
[C24, 27, 31, §1772; C35, §1794-e21; C39, §1794.104; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, §110.23; C71, 73, 75, 77, §110.24; C79, 81, §110.36]
86 Acts, ch 1240, §10
C93, §483A.36
For applicable scheduled fine, see §805.8B, subsection 3, paragraph q
Section not amended; footnote revised
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Old April 17, 2010, 10:37 PM   #12
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Chunkychuck,

That Iowa statute only applies to rifles and shotguns.
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