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Old May 13, 2013, 10:09 AM   #1
wyobohunter
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Southern Appalachia Trail and Open Carry

I'm going to South Carolina to support my nephew who will be graduating from Army basic this summer.

While in the south I'd like to hike a bit of the AT. Probably just a bit, maybe camp 1-2 nights at most due to the fact that most of my vacation days are going to be used up during hunting season here.

Top things to consider is legality and choice of section to hike.

Anybody have current info on Georgia, North Carolina an Tennessee OC law for an out of stater with no carry permit?
Where would you go? Obviously I'll be doing some independent research so no need to reply "read state gun laws". I think it's an interesting topic.

Second thing to consider - gun choice. The handguns I own and am considering are.

1-Ruger Vaquero in .357 Magnum with 5 1/2" barrel. Haven't patterned any snake shot with it but I know CCI makes it so that'd add versatility.

2-Sig Sauer P232 in .380 Auto. Nice and light but really only good for two legged predators. It's very accurate and I'm sure I could pop a snake if it would hold still... But sending a solid projectile out there to kill a snake seems a bad idea, I've heard the AT Can be a bit crowded.

3-1911 in 45 Auto- good four two legged, marginal for even black bears. Will not likely function with snake shot if anyone even makes it. I think I'm ruling this one out but I'll leave it here in case there is something I haven't thought of.

4-Ruger SRH Alaskan in 454. I have some nice 45 Colt loads for it and have developed my own shot shells that pattern very well out to 10 paces. This seems like the best choice to me but I've never bummed around the woods in the south.

1- Where would you go and why?
2-What would you carry and why?

Last edited by wyobohunter; May 13, 2013 at 10:19 AM.
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Old May 13, 2013, 12:12 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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I am not familiar with the gun laws in any of those states, but I will mention that you should keep in mind that the Appalachian Trail is not a park, either state or Federal. It is a trail. Portions of it may traverse state or national parks or forests, but other portions are on private property by agreement with the owners thereof. I think part of your preliminary research needs to be identifying the portions of the trail you want to hike, and determining who owns those portions so you can then figure out what laws and rules apply.
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Old May 13, 2013, 12:38 PM   #3
Tom Servo
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Quote:
Obviously I'll be doing some independent research so no need to reply "read state gun laws".
Since this is a public forum, that response would not be out of place.

In this case, you're out of luck, as Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina all require permits for any mode of carry.
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Old May 13, 2013, 12:46 PM   #4
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You could come up to Virginia and be fine.
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Old May 13, 2013, 03:08 PM   #5
orangello
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From their FAQ's:
Quote:
Can I carry a gun?
ATC strongly discourages hikers from carrying firearms: Most experienced A.T. hikers consider them impractical and unnecessary, and encountering an armed stranger makes many people uncomfortable. To legally carry a firearm on the Trail, you must meet the permitting standards of the state and locality in which you are hiking. On national-park lands, discharging a firearm is illegal, even if you have a legal permit to carry it. Extra efforts may be required to secure weapons in towns to abide by local ordinances and private-property owners' rules. (Firearm rules vary by land ownership. The Trail crosses 14 states and more than 90 state, federal, or local agency lands, with each having its own rules and regulations; you are responsible for knowing and following those rules.) In areas of the Trail corridor where hunting is legal, hikers may see hunters carrying firearms. Hunters must abide by their own set of firearm rules, somewhat separate from firearm-carry rules but also varying by state and county.
http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiki...ations-permits Appalachian Trail Conservancy


I'd find a less-crowded trail in a more carry-friendly state/states, perhaps maintained by a more carry-friendly organization. Maybe in AZ?
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Old May 13, 2013, 03:15 PM   #6
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opencarry.org, handgunlaw.us

You should just get a WY permit and you'd be good to go all through the South. With no permit, you'll have issues in GA and TN-NC is OK though.

You can't OC in SC, even with permit.
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Old May 13, 2013, 03:23 PM   #7
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While the legal question appears settled. I can't really imagine the need for a .454 in the south. It's overkill but if you like it carry it. A .357 is probably the most versatile with loads from snake (about a 10 foot effective range) to magnum loads which will take out a black bear.

Last edited by myusername; May 13, 2013 at 11:48 PM. Reason: for brevity
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Old May 13, 2013, 05:31 PM   #8
Tom Servo
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This subforum is dedicated to discussions of law and civil rights. Questions of what to carry and why would belong in the General Handgun forum.
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Old May 13, 2013, 06:39 PM   #9
wyobohunter
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Southern Appalachia Trail and Open Carry

Yeah, makes sense. I think I'll keep the what to carry question to myself. At least one answer already has the early scent of a "what gun for bear" thread.

Maybe I'll see how likely it is to just get my WY CC permit before then. Otherwise I'll stick to hiking in a state that I more agree with the gun laws.

Edit- looks like I'd be legal in North Carolina, especially if I stick to the Great Smoky Mountain NP. More reading required to verify.

Last edited by wyobohunter; May 13, 2013 at 07:08 PM.
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Old May 14, 2013, 09:41 PM   #10
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Do you have a CHL? NC, SC and TN all have reciprocity with Wyoming.

NC does allow OC. TN allows OC with a permit. SC bans OC entirely.
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Old May 15, 2013, 07:20 AM   #11
wyobohunter
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Southern Appalachia Trail and Open Carry

NC does allow open carry, it is a "gold star state" according to open carry.org.

I don't have my WY CC permit because you don't need the permit to CC or OC in Wyoming so long as you are a resident. I may get one just for the reciprocity.

I figured, the new law about weapons carry in National Parks + North Carolina gun law makes it a pretty easy choice. I called Great Smoky Mountain NP and asked several questions, including about gun laws.

I'll make reservations and hike/camp a section of the AT in GSMNP in NC, where it is perfectly legal for me to OC.

Thanks all.

Last edited by wyobohunter; May 15, 2013 at 07:27 AM.
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Old May 18, 2013, 01:38 PM   #12
wyobohunter
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Southern Appalachia Trail and Open Carry

Finally, I was kind of surprised to find out that several southern states are not gun friendly. What's the deal with that?
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Old May 19, 2013, 10:46 PM   #13
Merad
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Quote:
Finally, I was kind of surprised to find out that several southern states are not gun friendly. What's the deal with that?
I can't think offhand of any southern states that I'd consider "not gun friendly". Are you talking about open carry specifically?

Bear in mind that we have people. Lots of them. Population densities along the south eastern coast start at 30x greater than that of Wyoming. NC for example has almost 20x the population of Wyoming in about half the land area. Lots of people packed closer together leads to different attitudes about things like open carry.
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Old May 20, 2013, 09:23 AM   #14
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merad
I can't think offhand of any southern states that I'd consider "not gun friendly".
How about South Carolina? They don't even recognize my Florida permit. That's not very "gun friendly."
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Old May 20, 2013, 06:12 PM   #15
press1280
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SC has that weird law that doesn't allow them to recognize non-resident permits, and has no unlicensed carry. So someone from a non-reciprocal state can't carry there.
I believe they were working on improving their laws, as they do indeed stick out as non-gun friendly compared with the rest of the south.
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Old May 20, 2013, 06:12 PM   #16
wyobohunter
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Southern Appalachia Trail and Open Carry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merad View Post
I can't think offhand of any southern states that I'd consider "not gun friendly". Are you talking about open carry specifically?

Bear in mind that we have people. Lots of them. Population densities along the south eastern coast start at 30x greater than that of Wyoming. NC for example has almost 20x the population of Wyoming in about half the land area. Lots of people packed closer together leads to different attitudes about things like open carry.
I think you are using population density and total population interchangeably.

www.city-data.com/.../Charlotte-North-C...
Charlotte, North Carolina detailed profile. ... Population density: 3031 people per square mile ...

And


www.city-data.com/city/Cheyenne-Wyo...
Cheyenne, Wyoming detailed profile. ... Population density: 2830 people per square mile ...


A difference in population density of about 200 isn't much really. Yet Cheyenne (our biggest city) has the same gun laws as the rest of the state.

I imagine there are lots of small towns/rural areas in NC where the laws are the same as in Charlotte.

I could understand your point if the OC law only applied in urban areas, it seems to apply everywhere.

Maybe my personal definition of "gun friendly" is just different from yours. It is subjective. IMO requiring any type of permit to purchase, own or carry a firearm is not gun friendly.

Last edited by wyobohunter; May 20, 2013 at 06:23 PM.
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Old May 20, 2013, 07:06 PM   #17
elDiabloLoco
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Quote:
Maybe my personal definition of "gun friendly" is just different from yours. It is subjective. IMO requiring any type of permit to purchase, own or carry a firearm is not gun friendly.
Agree. Was much surprised to find that NC legal framework was so unfriendly to firearms.

The answer is political. Obvious when you examine the NC political landscape and make-up of the NC house and senate from the late 1800's through 2012. A century of single party rule.

O'course this answer is probably unwelcome on this forum.
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Old May 20, 2013, 07:41 PM   #18
wyobohunter
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Southern Appalachia Trail and Open Carry

Oh gees, I just realized I mixed up NC and SC. Therefore I shouldn't have compared Charlotte with Cheyenne.

Greenville, SC density 2,026.9/sq mi / 58,409 total

Cheyenne is around that population but more densely populated.

I spose it's a red/blue state thing

Last edited by wyobohunter; May 20, 2013 at 07:54 PM.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:30 PM   #19
alex0535
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Go here and put in the state you are from. IF you have a wyoming carry permit, I believe that you could concealed carry through much of the Appalachian trail.
http://www.usacarry.com/

Open carry would be determined by the individual states laws determining whether or not open carry is allowed.

Georgia has open carry and reciprocity with wyoming if you have your permit. With a wyoming permit this should mean you can concealed carry through SC. NC is an open carry state, TN is not an open carry state.

SC does not have reciprocity with Georgia carry permits.

Also a for a significant portion of the AT, it is illegal to discharge a firearm.

Last edited by alex0535; May 20, 2013 at 10:49 PM.
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Old May 20, 2013, 11:57 PM   #20
Merad
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Quote:
How about South Carolina? They don't even recognize my Florida permit. That's not very "gun friendly."
Your info may be out of date. SC is listed here: http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/new...led_carry.html

Quote:
I think you are using population density and total population interchangeably.
I was referring to overall state population density. Areas that are considered rural here are absolutely packed full of people by the standards of many western states. It leads to different attitudes.
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Old May 21, 2013, 01:05 AM   #21
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merad
Your info may be out of date. SC is listed here: http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/new...led_carry.html
My information is not out of date ... I am not a Florida resident.

Something like 32 states recognize a Florida non-resident permit, but the state two states to the north doesn't. Of course, Florida doesn't recognize SC non-resident permits, either. The south is really not anywhere near as "gun friendly" as many southerners would have us believe. Driving from Virginia to Florida you really have to stay on your toes about what state you're in, and what rules they have that the last state didn't.

But -- back to SC -- I can carry all the way down I-95 from Virginia to Florida on my Florida non-resident permit ... except in South Carolina.
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Old May 21, 2013, 07:05 AM   #22
wyobohunter
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Southern Appalachia Trail and Open Carry

I wasn't trying to insult southerners, I was just surprised. I've always thought that the southeast has a lot in common with the rural Rocky Mountains. I guess they do. There are exceptions in both regions: South Carolina and Colorado.

Wyoming isn't quite gun friendly enough for me. When I moved here I had to OC for a year because they don't allow non residents to carry concealed without a permit. Now Alaska, that is one gun friendly state. I miss it.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:08 PM   #23
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I hiked the AT and the only times I ever wished I was carrying were for 2 legged critters, usually when staying the night at a shelter near a road crossing. If you encounter bear or rattlesnakes, consider yourself lucky. Plenty of them around, but a well traveled trail isn't the best place for an encounter. I got asked a number of times if I carried, usually followed by "but aren't you afraid of the bears?" "Nope, I'm afraid of the skunks, I gotta carry this pack all the way to Maine". The smokies are pretty well bear polluted though and since there isn't hunting in the park, they aren't as fearful as bears elsewhere. The shelters there all have chain link fencing across the front and bear boxes/poles for food storage.

If you go in the smokies, road access is limited, going in the central road may be your best bet. Clingmans Dome is the highest point on the AT and Charlie's Bunion has some great vistas. It's also worth checking out some of the southern balls (goggle Appalachian trail balds and you can get a list of them). Roan mtn is pretty cool area, as are the Grayson highlands over the border into Virginia.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:15 PM   #24
wyobohunter
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Southern Appalachia Trail and Open Carry

Thanks, advice is much appreciated!
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:59 PM   #25
Hiker 1
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Getting your Wy CC permit would be the best way to go. Also, I don't know if you've done much hiking but a full-size piece gets heavy real quick. OC or CC, give some real consideration to how you're going to carry. It's easier said than done with a full pack, if you want easy access to it.

Last edited by Vanya; May 22, 2013 at 07:38 AM. Reason: Colorado is a very long way from the AT.
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