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Old July 2, 2010, 07:23 AM   #1
stargazer65
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Traveling through NY/NJ using FOPA

This weekend the family and I will be traveling to PA where I also have a permit along with CT. In transit I will have to comply with 926A (FOPA) while passing through the between states.

I was just wondering, has anyone here ever actually had any problems with local or state LEO in transit anywhere? For example an arrest, or just a hassle while legally complying with the federal law. I hear about the possiblity, but I've never actually heard a firsthand account. I would think it to be rare. I mean, even if you were pulled over for something, there would be no reason to search your vehicle. Just curious.

Have a nice 4th of July weekend.
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Old July 2, 2010, 07:47 AM   #2
Pinelands
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I cant speak for NY, but im in NJ.

Bringing guns through NJ is generally risky, but you are protected by 926A. Just make sure you have the gun unloaded and securely cased in your trunk. Do NOT carry any loaded magazines in the car.

On 4th of July weekend the State Police are usually out in full force on the N.J. Turnpike/G.S. Parkway/Interstates. Just watch your speed and stay in the middle lane and you wont really have anything to worry about.

Last edited by Pinelands; July 2, 2010 at 02:36 PM.
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Old July 2, 2010, 09:31 AM   #3
NavyLT
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Just make sure you have the gun securely cased in your trunk, with the ammo stored in a separate compartment away from the firearm.
I am just curious as to what separate compartment away from the firearm you would suggest the ammo be carried in?

To the OP.... IF you are stopped by LEO and LEO asks if you have firearms, the way I would answer is: "I am transporting firearms that are unloaded and locked in the trunk [or if you don't have a trunk, locked in a secure container] in accordance with Federal law."

If the LEO asks if he can inspect them or search the areas, the answer is NO. Regardless of what the LEO threatens to do, the answer is always NO. Force LEO to get a valid, written search warrant.

I don't think you will have problems if you just drive carefully, though.
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Old July 2, 2010, 09:36 AM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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I assume that you'll be passing through LOWER NY, since you mention Jersey. Upstate, you would be very unlikely to have any problems. Downstate, is a whole 'nother animal.

Of course, "problems" implies that you would be stopped by police for some reason. As stated above, keep to yourself and don't draw attention, you probably have 1000:1 odds of getting pulled over, and far less of them searching your vehicle.
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Old July 2, 2010, 10:50 AM   #5
Pinelands
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Quote:
I am just curious as to what separate compartment away from the firearm you would suggest the ammo be carried in?
Edit: Actually, I was wrong there. See below.

Last edited by Pinelands; July 2, 2010 at 02:49 PM.
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Old July 2, 2010, 02:27 PM   #6
Pinelands
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I just checked the state police website and it doesn't mention anything about requiring ammo and firearm in separate cases. Only that both be kept inaccessible from the passenger compartment.

http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/about/fire_trans.html

All firearms transported through the State of New Jersey:

The following guidelines are provided in order to assist law enforcement officers in applying New Jersey's firearms laws to persons who are transporting firearms through the State of New Jersey.

1. New Jersey laws governing firearms permits, purchaser identification cards, registration and licenses do not apply to a person who is transporting the firearm through this State if that person is transporting the firearm in a manner permitted by federal law, 18 U.S.C.A. 926A.

2. This federal law permitting interstate transportation of a firearm applies only if all of the following requirements are met:

A. The person's possession of the firearm was lawful in the state in which the journey began;

B. The person's possession of the firearm will be lawful in the state in which the journey will end;

C. The person is transporting the firearm for lawful purpose

D. The firearm is unloaded

E. The firearm is not directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle

F. The ammunition is not directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle

G. If the vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the firearm and ammunition must be in a locked container other than the vehicle's glove compartment or console;

Last edited by Pinelands; July 2, 2010 at 02:48 PM.
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Old July 3, 2010, 08:44 AM   #7
NavyLT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinelands
I just checked the state police website and it doesn't mention anything about requiring ammo and firearm in separate cases. Only that both be kept inaccessible from the passenger compartment.
FOPA has the same requirements, which is why I asked the question. It is an extremely common misconception that the ammo must be stored separately from the gun, maybe leading a person to put the gun in the trunk and the ammo in the passenger compartment putting them in violation of the legal requirements.

18 USC 926a:
Quote:
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 July 3, 2010, 06:39 PM   #8
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NY State has been know to ignore FOPA at times, so make sure you abide by traffic laws so they no reason to pull you over.
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Old July 4, 2010, 02:43 AM   #9
maestro pistolero
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NY State has been know to ignore FOPA at times, so make sure you abide by traffic laws so they no reason to pull you over.
i have heard that. Put up a legal defense fund and I will be a test case for any such violation. I will travel from PA through NY with a friggin' sign on my car that says "I have legally owned pistol unloaded and locked in my truck and I am driving directly to VT"
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Old July 4, 2010, 07:12 AM   #10
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People have been arrested in NYC and NY Port Authority jurisdictions violating FOPA.
NYC has been cited by the Federal Courts for violating FOPA,
They have been sued and lost. Which takes years.

They do not care.

If a LEO in NYC finds a gun in your car you're getting new jewlery.

Don't speed, don't stop and never let them search your car.

Have a good trip

AFS
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Old July 4, 2010, 10:49 PM   #11
Aguila Blanca
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Compare posts #6 and #7. It was the intention for NJ to reproduce the exact requirements of the FOPA. However, in their Item 'G' they goofed. The FOPA says that the firearm "OR" the ammunition must be in a locked container (if the vehicle doesn't have a trunk -- i.e. an SUV, station wagon, or perhaps a pickup if you don't want your guns rattling around in the back). NJ says the firearm "AND" the ammo must be in a locked container. When I transited NJ some years ago, I had multiple firearms and ammo for all. I had the handguns in one locked case, the long guns in another locked case, and the ammo in an old computer tool case to which I attached a hasp and a cheap padlock.

I also made certain to take the Garden State Parkway and go around NYC rather than follow I-95 straight through. I don't know if White Plains is any better than the NYPD, but I figured they certainly couldn't be any worse.

Also, I carried multiple printed copies of both the FOPA and the NJ advisory, just in case. Thankfully, nothing happened and I didn't need them.
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Old July 5, 2010, 01:44 AM   #12
NavyLT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
Compare posts #6 and #7. It was the intention for NJ to reproduce the exact requirements of the FOPA. However, in their Item 'G' they goofed. The FOPA says that the firearm "OR" the ammunition must be in a locked container (if the vehicle doesn't have a trunk -- i.e. an SUV, station wagon, or perhaps a pickup if you don't want your guns rattling around in the back). NJ says the firearm "AND" the ammo must be in a locked container.
Actually NJ requirements and FOPA are the same. You have to take into account this phrase in FOPA:
"and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible"

that phrase in FOPA applies whether or not the vehicle has a trunk or exterior compartment.

The phrase, "the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container" applies to both the firearm and ammunition if they are both being carried at the same time. Both the firearm and the ammunition need to be in a locked container or locked in an exterior compartment of the vehicle. Neither the ammunition nor the firearm may be accessible to the passengers/driver.

FOPA is optional....one can transport firearms either according to state law applicable to the state they are physically located in; or, if traveling through a state that is not their destination, they may transport firearms according to FOPA.
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Old July 5, 2010, 09:14 AM   #13
Dewhitewolf
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Port Authority police arrested an interstate traveler at Newark Airport. Charges against him were eventually dismissed, but he lost his civil rights lawsuit, as well as the appeal.

http://www.morelaw.com/verdicts/case...9&s=NJ&d=43309

Bottom line, the interpretations of the protections under FOPA are very narrowly construed. As a matter of court practice, in the absence of a clear violation on the arresting officer's part, the courts will generally defer to the officer's discretion.

Even though not all police are Port Authority, their actions typically represent the hostile attitudes of police in the NJ/NY areas (in my experience, at least).

So be warned: police in NJ/NY are not your friends; they can arrest for even the most minor deviation outside the protection of law. Police in NJ/NY have also ignored federal protections (particularly at La Guardia Airport).

I don't know about NY, but NJ has no statutory requirement to let an officer know that you have firearms in the car during a traffic stop; it also cannot be used against you that you don't declare it. If they want to arrest you for something, they will. My advice is to invoke your right to an attorney early, and don't consent to anything without speaking to one.
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Old July 5, 2010, 09:52 AM   #14
Brian Pfleuger
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So be warned: police in NJ/NY are not your friends; they can arrest for even the most minor deviation outside the protection of law. Police in NJ/NY have also ignored federal protections (particularly at La Guardia Airport).
DOWNSTATE NY police.

Upstate police are regular people, by and large.
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Old July 5, 2010, 10:41 AM   #15
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I have an old Army buddy of mine who lives in N.J. He bought a Harley Electraglide at Police Auction in downtown Trenton. On the way home from the auction, he got pulled over for having the front headlight out. He said it worked in the parking lot, but evidently, it had stopped working. He and the cop are BS'ing about motorcycles while my buddy pulls the seat off the bike to look at the fuse. Under the seat, there's a VERY rusted up, but loaded, .22 mouse gun.

He spent over two weeks in jail, lost his job for not showing up to work, before he was released on bail his father had to put up for him. Almost 14 months later, he finally got his day in court. With all of his paperwork, his attorney AND sworn statements from the auction house and, he found the cop who had originally arrested the owner of the bike on drug charges and had him write a statement about the bike not being searched any further than the bags on it, he was STILL fined over $1500 for having a concealed weapon, but no jail time or probation was assigned.

There's just something jacked up with this Nation when this type of thread is required. Personally, I won't travel up that way. Even though my Father-In-Law lives in Fairfield, CT. I refuse to go into any State that has bastardized our Constitution and our Bill of Rights the way they have.

Of course, I understand some folks have to anyway. I'm just saying how absolutely jacked up it is to have to put this much planning and worry into something.
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Old July 5, 2010, 05:38 PM   #16
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyLT
Actually NJ requirements and FOPA are the same. You have to take into account this phrase in FOPA:
"and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible"
No, they are not the same and I do not have to take into account the phrase you cite above. The point on which they differ is the closing part, about how to carry if the vehicle doesn't have a trunk.

FOPA:
Quote:
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.
NJ:
Quote:
G. If the vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the firearm and ammunition must be in a locked container other than the vehicle's glove compartment or console;
Words have meaning. "Or" means one or the other, not both. "And" means both. If I am driving an SUV and I have one handgun and some ammo, if the handgun (only) is in a locked container I am fully in compliance with the FOPA requirements. If the ammo (only) is in a locked container, I am fully in compliance with the FOPA requirements. But in neither case would I be in compliance with NJ's statement of the requirements.

Nonetheless, I would (and did) lock both, in separate containers, just to keep NJ happy.
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Old July 5, 2010, 05:51 PM   #17
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It does not make any sense at all that with a vehicle with a trunk, both the ammo and the firearm would have to be in the trunk, but with a vehicle without a trunk, only the ammo OR the firearm would have to be locked up.

According to your interpretation, a person could have a gun in their lap, so long as the ammo was locked in a box, in an SUV. But if the vehicle was a sedan, both the gun and the ammo would have to be in the trunk. Laws often don't make sense - but that interpretation goes beyond just not making sense.

FOPA requires both the ammo and the firearm to be inaccessible to the occupants of the vehicle. Period.

But, to each his own. Hopefully you won't be the one asking the courts to interpret it.
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Old July 5, 2010, 09:55 PM   #18
Aguila Blanca
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To repeat the pertinent part of the FOPA citation:

Quote:
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:
Stop. So far, nothing has been said about anything being in ANY container, and certainly not in a locked container. So far, the FOPA says neither the firearm nor the ammunition can be accessible from the passenger compartment. Which, in the case of transporting in an SUV or inside a pickup simply cannot be met. So, they added a special case:

Quote:
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.
If you drive a vehicle with a separate trunk, even if you have both the firearm AND the ammo in locked containers you still can't transport them inside the passenger compartment. They might not be "readily" accessible if locked, but they are "directly" accessible. The locked container part is a special case applicable only to certain vehicles.

However, my initial point (several posts up) was that NJ changed "or" to "and," so for travel through NJ your understanding of the law is the only one that would work. (Except for that pesky clause in the FOPA that says 'the laws of any state notwithstanding," or however they phrased it. I would not want to argue that point with a NJ trooper on the side of the NJ Tpke.))

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; July 5, 2010 at 10:01 PM.
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Old July 5, 2010, 10:14 PM   #19
stargazer65
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Just got back to CT a few minutes ago BTW. No problems in NY or NJ. Looks like there's been some fighting on this thread while we've been gone.
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Old July 5, 2010, 10:48 PM   #20
chris in va
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Amazes me that some states could care less if you have a firearm in the vehicle, while others demonize it like they're rattlesnakes ready to strike. Never will understand how geography changes that line of thought.
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