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Old August 21, 2011, 04:10 AM   #1
JustThisGuy
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I was just reading uFu's post "Moving a Handgun", which is an interesting read. Thanks uFu!

And I got to thinking. In a couple of years I'll be retiring and will be spending about 3 to 5 years living in our 34' Airstream Travel Trailer, touring these great United States (lower 48). We intend to see every state. I intend to take along my Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL) and my wife and I both carry + a 12ga in the trailer.

States like Ill, NJ, NY and even Oregon are unfriendly to Texas CHL holders. We do intend to stop in those states. The Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA) applies to persons transporting a firearm from one permitted state to another, but it seems that it would not apply to our case.

Is there any universal safe rule that RVrs can follow to be certain of abiding by the law in "unfriendly" states, while traveling or staying in RV parks? We intend to carry where allowed and store locked and unloaded in the RV where not allowed to carry. In some states, we will have to open carry (loaded or unloaded) due to non-reciprocity (Oregon, CA, etc.). In other states, we assume that we can just unload and keep the firearms in a locked storage area of the RV, but I don't want to be unintentionally breaking any laws.

So, this leaves me with three questions:
1) Are there any states (or Cities) where we simply cannot take our firearms while RVing?
2) Do any states have laws which grant 2A rights to their own citizens and deny the same rights to the citizens of other states (except for CCW)?
3) Am I generally legal if my firearm is contained in the trunk unloaded and in a locked case?

Edit: Note: www.handgunlaw.us is vague on many issues related to RV use/storage. For example, in DC it states that any carry inside a vehicle is against the law. So does that mean that I cannot go through Washington, D.C. with a handgun unloaded and in a locked compartment inside the RV? Does that mean that I cannot stay in a RV park in D.C.? Also, some states consider that an RV is a vehicle, while others consider that it is my home, with all rights attendant to a home. Some states treat motorhomes differently than trailers. So, help please!!!!
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Old August 21, 2011, 05:28 AM   #2
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NY is such a state. You cannot have a pistol in your possession in NY with out a NY permit. They do not issue permits to non residents,


Add: In 3 years or so such laws may be overturned. There are law suits in progress on this very matter.
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Old August 21, 2011, 02:42 PM   #3
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Old August 21, 2011, 03:38 PM   #4
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I RV alot and carry everywhere i go,including NJ,and as far as i'm concerned my RV is my home,so i have the right to protect my home.So far, i have never had any LEO'S want to search my RV and if they did they wouldn't find it anyway.But if you feel better abiding by every letter of the law in every state,then do so.
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Old August 21, 2011, 07:34 PM   #5
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You have problems with a lot more states than just Ill, NJ, and NY. You have issues with ALL of the New England states other than Vermont, for example, and I think you will have issues with both Oregon and California on the other side. And I think you're going to have problems in GA and SC, and possibly NC as well.

I think in most states it isn't even accepted law that an RV when parked constitutes a "dwelling."
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Old August 22, 2011, 03:06 AM   #6
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Does anyone know, is it legal to keep a firearm unloaded and within a locked container everywhere one is in an RV? Or would that just be too simple a policy to follow?
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Old August 22, 2011, 10:01 AM   #7
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JTG,

If you're asking about a handgun the answer is NO. Some states/cities do not allow you to possess a handgun without official permission. Even though you may be passing through the state without stopping and FOPA (federal law) allows you to do so, some jurisdictions have a history of ignoring FOPA and making the owner jump through expensive legal hoops to make the charges go away and het his handgun back. Places like Chicago, NYS/NYC come to mind.

If you're in an accident and the police feel the need to impound your RV, will they find the handgun while taking inventory? It's a lot like playing the lottery...just how lucky do you feel?

Rifles and shotguns are perceived quite differently by police, especially if they don't have any black plastic!
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Old August 22, 2011, 10:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don H
Even though you may be passing through the state without stopping and FOPA (federal law) allows you to do so, some jurisdictions have a history of ignoring FOPA and making the owner jump through expensive legal hoops to make the charges go away and het his handgun back. Places like Chicago, NYS/NYC come to mind.
Beyond this, the opening post indicated that they plan to STOP in each of the lower 48 states. The FOPA applies to transiting through intervening states. One of the basic criteria of the FOPA is that possession and carry of the firearm must be legal in the place where the journey starts and the place where the journey ends. Each time you stop to engage in sightseeing, that's a destination.

Unfortunately, you have to deal with 48 states and 48 different sets of rules, With stops planned in all 48 (lower) states, the FOPA is going to be of very limited applicability. There isn't going to be any single, simple, one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A jump say from Texas into Oklahoma might be no problem whatsoever. New York into Massachusetts? EEK! Probably not legal in either jurisdiction without a carry permit issued by that state (they don't have reciprocity with anyone).
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Old August 22, 2011, 10:35 AM   #9
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Aguila Blanca, unless you know something I don't (which is always possible), he would have no problem at all in GA or the Carolinas, in all of which vehicle carry is legal, let alone RV.
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Old August 22, 2011, 06:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
Aguila Blanca, unless you know something I don't (which is always possible), he would have no problem at all in GA or the Carolinas, in all of which vehicle carry is legal, let alone RV.
You may be correct. I am not a lawyer and I make no claims to know anything about the gun laws of the 50 states. I'm still learning about previously-unknown nuances to the laws right here in my home state.

What I do remember is, when I drove to the last SHOT Show in Orlando (three years ago?), I was okay in VA and NC, but I had to disarm and unload to transit SC. I thought I had to remain disarmed through GA as well, then once I hot FL I was once again good to go.

My point wasn't to cite specific laws so much as to emphasize that (a) the FOPA will not apply if the OP is making sightseeing stops in each state, and (b) he will NOT find the one-size-fits-all blessing he's hoping for. It doesn't exist. Each state's laws are different, and for a trip such as he is contemplating, it's a legal minefield.
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Old August 23, 2011, 04:44 AM   #11
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So what I am hearing is that there are some states and municipalities where ANY possession of even an unloaded firearm locked into a secured compartment within the Airstream could constitute a crime (misdemeanor? / felony?).

If so, I had better find out which and map such.

If so, I wonder if I could arrange to store my handguns (wifes and mine) in a gun shop in a border town of a friendly state until I return to that state?

Or ship the handguns to myself at a Hotel or RV Park where I have a reservation in the next state onward that is friendly?

Any other practical suggestions on how to handle this?
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Old August 23, 2011, 08:23 AM   #12
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Basically anything North of Maryland excluding PA avoid.
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Old August 23, 2011, 08:52 AM   #13
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Perhaps the current version of this might assist in some way:
http://www.gunlaws.com/travel.htm
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Old August 23, 2011, 11:06 AM   #14
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Ditto the "gunlaws" book. The laws vary so much that you will not get complete advice here. In addition to the "gunlaws" you might consider contacting states that you plan to go through on the next trip.

In past years I did some RVing, but did not go East, not only for the gun laws, but for the traffic. I also tried to avoid time in CA when I could. Best of luck in learning the laws, and have a great time.

Jerry
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Old August 24, 2011, 03:23 AM   #15
JustThisGuy
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Wow! Thanks very much to CowTowner and JerryM for their excellent reference. I have ordered the 50 States Gun Laws book already.

It is truly sad and frustrating when a devoutly law-abiding citizen can unknowingly and unintentionally break the law of a state while exercising his nationwide constitutional right to keep and bear arms, simply because he/she are traveling throughout the United States which is their right.

I wonder if SAF would be interested in taking up a test case for an RVer who is unable to comply with the various laws of all 50 states (or even the lower 48) and exercise his/her right to keep and bear arms?

It would be different if an RVer could simply unload and lock his/her firearm while traveling in a 2A unfriendly state, but for more than a few states, there is simply no way that a person on vacation from another state can be in possession of a handgun even unloaded and locked, and comply with the law. No way even to obtain a non-resident carry permit. That to me seems unconstitutional. Is my constitutional RKBA void because I am on vacation?
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Old August 24, 2011, 07:46 AM   #16
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HR 822 - Reciprical Right to Carry Bill

This just in: "HR 822 is a bill that would mandate states to recognize each others concealed carry licenses pretty much the same way the states recognize driver’s licenses."

More on this at: http://concealedcarryforum.com/forum...TOPIC_ID=31417

"Like most proposed bills to Congress, this one is not without controversy.

The Police Foundation insists the bill has the potential to endanger the lives of police officers, who would have trouble identifying legitimate gun permits from fraudulent ones."

Let's watch this bill. It affects us all.

P.S. Thanks NRA!
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Old August 24, 2011, 08:36 AM   #17
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non resident concealed carry permits for some of the NE states are pretty easy to get

new hampshire and maine come to mind...easy

even ct and mass are "doable" although there are some
tough hoops to jump through

some, like ny, you can just forget about

(but ny will allow you to transport rifles and shotguns unloaded, although
there are limitations like only 10 round mags, unless marked as preban...
you would have to check hard on these....especially ar15 style....things
such as bayo mounts, movable stocks, etc)

so....you just drive through ny and nj, only stopping for gas and
the bathroom, and keep heading north....

pa non res isnt hard, but you have to do it in person now

also, florida and utah non res permits will give you many other
states you can carry concealed handgun....some work to get but they
are also "doable"

if you have time, you can start working on these

lots of info out there on the web
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Old August 24, 2011, 10:47 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustThisGuy
It is truly sad and frustrating when a devoutly law-abiding citizen can unknowingly and unintentionally break the law of a state while exercising his nationwide constitutional right to keep and bear arms, simply because he/she are traveling throughout the United States which is their right.
What "nationwide constitution right" is that? The Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, was enacted to constrain the powers of the federal government and did not apply to the states. It was not until quite some time later that some but not all of the BoR was incorporated to the states. The Second Amendment is just now being incorporated to a degree and how much of a degree remains to be seen.

As far as incorporation of the Second goes, this will be another "right" that the states will lose the ability to control and another gain of power by the federal government. Whether this will be good or bad will remain to be seen...once control of a "right" falls under federal purview, it only takes a Congressional vote, the stroke of an Executive pen or a federal court decision to alter that "right" for the entire country. The Feds giveth and the Feds take away!

I an very wary of increased Federal powers in any area; the potential for abuse is very great and the Federal government has consistantly shown great capacity for creative logic to support its agenda, the recent Executive Order regarding deportation is a prime example of duplicity.
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Old August 25, 2011, 01:07 AM   #19
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Quote:
"What "nationwide constitution right" is that? The Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, was enacted to constrain the powers of the federal government and did not apply to the states. "
With all due respect, no state has the right to violate any provision of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights were ratified by the States in order to form a Union. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are binding upon all states and no state may make any law which countermands any provision of the Constitution or any of its Amendments.

If you can cite legislative or case law to the opposite, I will politely relent.

When SCOTUS rules against a state, it is very often ruling based upon that state violating a provision of the U.S. Constitution or one of its Amendments. If that were not true, the Supreme Court would have no power over any state, as only state laws would be applicable to states. If that were true, the Supreme Court could only rule against the Federal Government.
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Old August 25, 2011, 05:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don H
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustThisGuy
It is truly sad and frustrating when a devoutly law-abiding citizen can unknowingly and unintentionally break the law of a state while exercising his nationwide constitutional right to keep and bear arms, simply because he/she are traveling throughout the United States which is their right.
What "nationwide constitution right" is that? The Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, was enacted to constrain the powers of the federal government and did not apply to the states. It was not until quite some time later that some but not all of the BoR was incorporated to the states. The Second Amendment is just now being incorporated to a degree and how much of a degree remains to be seen.
This is incorrect on a number of points. You are correct that the Bill of Rights -- and the entire Constitution of the United States -- was written to constrain the Federal government. The 14th Amendment was what began the process of making the various amendments comprising the BoR applicable to the states as well as the Feds. But it is not correct to say that "The Second Amendment is just now being incorporated to a degree and how much of a degree remains to be seen." Incorporation is done. McDonald v. Chicago took care of that. The SCOTUS ruled that the 2nd Amendment applies to the states. That's it -- incorporation is over, done, the law of the land.

What is being worked out through numerous courts and cases now, post Heller and post McDonald, is not the degree of incorporation, but rather what degree of infringement ("regulation") is allowed under a Constitutional provisions that states no infringement (regulation) is allowed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don H
As far as incorporation of the Second goes, this will be another "right" that the states will lose the ability to control and another gain of power by the federal government. Whether this will be good or bad will remain to be seen...once control of a "right" falls under federal purview, it only takes a Congressional vote, the stroke of an Executive pen or a federal court decision to alter that "right" for the entire country. The Feds giveth and the Feds take away!
How does interpretation of the Federal Constitution by the Federal courts remove any power from the states? The 14th Amendment was enacted over 100 years ago, so it's not like this is something new. And, since the 2nd Amendment is part of the Constitution, the right it guarantees cannot be taken away by vote of Congress, by the stroke of a pen, or by a Federal judge. The Constitution can be changed only by constitutional amendment.
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Old August 25, 2011, 10:19 AM   #21
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Additional complication...

Which may or may not have benefits to you. And that is that your camper/RV/trailer is your home. There are places that, while they restrict or prohibit carry, allow posession in your home. Also it may be that even in places that do not, unloaded, locked away (inaccessible) may cover you from prosecution as you visit some places. MAY.

I'm not a lawyer, don't pretent to be one. Get good, sound, legal advice from a professional, before you travel.

Also be aware that very few cops are well versed on the finer points of firearms law. Arrest is very likely in those areas that are most restrictive. The general attitude seems to be, when in doubt (and the cops are not likiely to BE in DOUBT), arrest, and let the courts settle it.

My late father-in-law solved his version of the problem (he only traveled the west, Canada & Alaska) with one of my Christmas gifts, a Marlin carbine in .357mag. Short enough to be handy in the camper, and a rifle, so it avoided all the handgun restrictions.

Good luck, enjoy your trip(s), but please get real legal advice if you plan on taking a handgun with you. Its a very small price compared to what you would spend (even if innocent) if arrested.

Also, carry a written copy of the advice (citing law/code references for each state) with you. It may just help you out, proving you are acting in good faith, and certainly can't hurt. A friend of mine rides an "antique" motorcycle, and under our law, is exempt from the helmet law when he does. He carries a copy of the state code with him to show the cops. He says it gets him ouit of about half of the tickets. The other half the time, the cops wriite the tickets anyway, and he gets them thrown out in court.

Good luck and have a good trip.
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Old August 25, 2011, 10:53 AM   #22
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I am very interested in this. I plan on travelling when I retire (via sailboat, but I may try an RV... depends on if I am alone or not. I love being afloat, others don't.) and this is an interesting topic. Thank you for giving me something to think about. I will have to talk to my lawyer about the legalities of this.
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