One of the best things about being a gun guy and traveling is having the ability to meet great people and go on some fantastic range days. I’ve had a ton of fun meeting new shooters and having different perspectives at different range days. I’ve also had the opportunity to shoot a few amazing guns I would never be able to if I didn’t travel. It can be a peace of mind to travel with your concealed carry firearm. This is especially true when driving with family across the country. There are a few things to watch out for though when you’re traveling.
One of the most important things to consider when traveling with a firearm is what state laws say about concealed carry. It’s never a bad idea to pick up either an updated state by state concealed carry book or have an app with local state laws. Both will usually have whether or not you have reciprocity laws as well. It’s never a bad idea to do a little research before traveling through each state as well. I learned this by experience in Florida one year visiting my dad.
In Michigan, the law states a firearm is considered concealed anywhere inside the vehicle. That means it can be on the seat next to you, in plain view and still be considered concealed. Florida’s definition of concealed is more traditional where people must actually conceal the gun inside the vehicle. These are two very different definitions for concealed. When I talked to a friend who is a Florida state trooper, he said it’s a common issue they see. Every state is different, so make sure to spend a few minutes researching on a verified source. Many states will have their laws listed on the official website.
Planning Your Trip Off Reciprocity Laws
It’s never a bad idea to look at your trip and try to go through gun friendly states. I’ve had to drive through Illinois a few times when going on a trip and it’s awful every time. The official law with traveling through Illinois is to have your firearm locked and inaccessible in the vehicle. You also cannot stop while traveling through the state. This means no bathroom or gas breaks so I always need to plan accordingly. I have run into law enforcement especially in the Chicago area, that say it’s not legal to drive through Illinois at all. With the level of confusion between officers and people in general, sometimes it’s easier to avoid areas altogether. When heading south I will often drive through Indiana instead of Illinois. I totally understand, it may not be possible or convenient but sometimes its the best option. Personally, I’d rather have my BG Defense AR pistol at the ready in the truck than locked up in Illinois.
In general, I love traveling and shooting with new people whenever I get the chance. I think with a little bit of planning and research, it’s possible to travel freely with your firearms. The more I started traveling around the country with the firearms, the more I learned what to do and what to avoid on the subject. I peeled all the gun stickers off of my truck and keep it as discreet as possible.
It’s always a good idea to be as low profile as possible when traveling so you don’t attract any unwanted attention on yourself. I used to worry about leaving any firearms in my vehicle. I ended up purchasing a BOSS StrongBox for inside my truck and I’m extremely happy with it. It adds another level of security for my firearms and valuables when traveling, as well as gives me a level of comfort knowing my gear is locked up. Traveling can be a great experience with your firearms, but it’s something that takes planning and research ahead of time to properly and lawfully do it. Let me know what you guys do when traveling around the country with firearms, Id love to hear more. Leave a comment below with your thoughts and stay safe out there.