Article Courtesy of at Woodall’s Family Camping, RV Campground and Travel Destination Blog.

Written by RA Manseau

So your family is crossing the country to see Aunt May and Uncle Joe. And,  they love to go target shooting and hunting with you. Do you know the rules for gun transporting across state lines?

Transporting a firearm across state lines in the U.S. is normally not a problem as long as you follow the gun transport laws laid out by the Gun Control Act which is enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Federal gun transport laws provide that any individual (except convicted felons, persons under indictment for felonies, mental defectives or incompetents, illegal users of controlled drugs, illegal aliens, veterans dishonorably discharged, those who have renounced their U.S. citizenship, fugitives from justice, persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, and persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders) may transport a firearm from one location where the individual is lawfully allowed to posses and carry a firearm to another location the individual is lawfully allowed the firearm, as long as it is unloaded and not in the passenger compartment of your car, which normally means in the trunk.

But, what about in your RV, where you have no trunk? Gun transporting in your RV across states lines is basically the same; the gun should be unloaded and stored in the back of the RV in a locked compartment. It should never be in the glove box or console. The key to transporting a firearm is that it should never be where you or anyone else can get to it easily and it must be unloaded.

State and local gun transport laws vary from place to place and it is your responsibility as the gun owner to research the laws of the area you are visiting or passing through. A good case in point is Chicago. The City of Chicago, Illinois requires every firearm possessed in the city to be registered. Chicago does not register handguns that were not previously registered there. There are places that do not allow possession of any handgun. California has strict regulations that may require a California permit and registration for specific semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic pistols, shotguns and any other firearm that is considered an “assault weapon” before you enter the state.

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  6. C A

    I have a cwp from Fl and always bring some type of protection with me when we travel. I do limit my time(thus don’t spend my money there) in Illinois and the other restrictive states because of their laws contrary to our constitution. I have even not planned any trips thru Canada because I don’t know what I would do with my firearm. I would not hesitae driving thru Canada with out protection, but since we do a lot of driving at night (and have broken down in the boonies)we feel more secure traveling with protection.

  7. Jim

    from wikipedia

    [edit] “Safe passage” provision
    One of the law’s provisions was that persons traveling from one place to another cannot be arrested for a firearms offense in a state that has strict gun control laws if the traveler is just passing through (short stops for food and gas and presumably overnight stops on long trips excepted) and the firearms and ammunition are not immediately accessible, unloaded and, in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment, in a locked container.[5]

    An example of this would be that someone driving from Virginia to a competition in Vermont with a locked hard case containing an unloaded handgun and a box of ammunition in the trunk could not be prosecuted in New Jersey or New York City for illegal possession of a handgun provided that they did not stop in New Jersey or New York for an extended period of time.

  8. Gus Jones

    Somebody at Woodalls should look up the Federal law that prohibits licensed concealed handguns from crossing State lines thus eliminatingf the reciprocity bewteen many States. This is a step from eliminating all firearms.

  9. E Rieg

    The actual name is the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986. It was enacted to protect hunter and competition shooters going to and from hunts and or matches

  10. E Rieg

    You only permitted to have a gun in your rv if the state permits you to have one with you. If the state ie: Mass, NY NJ Maryland you cannot I repeat cannot spend the night. Google the Peaceable Journey Act you will find it there.
    If you have a concealed weapons permit from from your state and the state you are in honors your permit you may have it in your motel room or rv. If the state does not permit you to have a gun you may not spend the night.

    As far as when you move, you take your firearm to a dealer in the state you are moving from and ship it to a dealer in the state that you are moving to. Therefore when you pick it up you will adhere to all local laws such as waiting period and permits. You cannot even give a handgun to a relative in another state, it has to go from dealer to dealer. I could not give a gun to my police officer nephew in Texas as a gift. I had to ship it to a dealer. The laws are very strict.

  11. Jim

    E. Rieg, Am I wrong, your TT or MH or motel room by Federal standards is concidered your domicile for the night (you are parked) your weapon is permited in your domicile. If you stop to visit Uncle Joe and the weapon is in a tow vehichle you are Illegal, You are allowed to stop for the night. Take the weapon out of TV and place it in your domicile (MH, TT Motel room). This all has to do with traveling through, not stoping for a while to sight see or visit Uncle Joe

  12. Carl C

    E. Reig, What are people supposed to do when they move from a state with loose guns laws to one as restrictive as New York state?

  13. Carl C

    I did a little more digging and for New York state, here is what the law says concerning ‘Self Defense Sprays”:

    Section 265.25 (14) and (15) The possession of “self-defense sprays” by persons who are not felons or who have been convicted of an assault, 18 or over for the protection of person or property and its otherwise lawful use is legal. “Self-defense spray” is defined as “a pocket sized spray device which contains and releases a chemical or organic substance which is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air or any like device containing tear gas, pepper spray or similar disabling agent”. There are certain labeling requirements. Sales require both a seller’s license and the completion by a purchaser of a registration form. New York residents may only purchase defense sprays from licensed Firearms Dealers or licensed Pharmacists in that state. No more than two sprays may be sold at any one time to a single purchaser.

    SOURCE: , downloaded: 4/15/2010

    Therefore, I would imagine that one spraying bug-spray would be breaking the section of the law where-as not to permanently injure an assailant. Also, since Wasp Spray is not labeled for use *as* “self-defense spray”, that too could be used to convict the victim of a crime. Under which statutes, I am unaware.

    So, much kudos to Mr. Johnson above for providing the link to It is a very informative site and covers all the 50 states and its territories.

  14. John J

    In Canada we don’t normally carry firearms at all, if you were on your way to go hunting you may be able to carry your rifle (locked and stored correctly) but you should check out the regulations thoroughly before entering Canada.
    Essentially handguns are all but impossible to have in your possesion without very difficult to meet requirements.
    I have looked at carrying bear repellant in the doorway of my trailer for safety from 4 or perhaps 2 legged intruders. It would probably still bring you some trouble with the law but will give you some peace of mind…

  15. E Rieg

    Please be aware of the “Safe Journey Act”.
    Please Please research this if it is not complied with you will go to Jail!!!! If a state such as New York, New Jersery, Maryland, Mass, does not permit firearms in private Vehicles, You may travel THROUGH a state but not spend the night. You may get fuel and food but that is all. Your Guns must be in one Locked box and the Ammo in another if it is in the DRIVERS COMPARTMENT. One locked box if it is a trunk.
    I am an NRA instructor and teach this for a living and have heavily researched this. If your state offers concealed Weapons Permits GET ONE if you are going to carry in your rv.

  16. Carl C

    Other than law enforcement officers (active, retired or previous)…who the heck is going to get away with spraying poison at someone…even an intruder? The container itself even says it’s a federal crime to use the agent in any manner other than that which it was designed.

    So yeah, you fend off the intruder. He gets captured and starts complaining to his DA. Bingo: you’re next on some hit-list from an overzealous DA or cop. Not exactly a good problem to have.

    I’m not saying I’m going to have any sympathy for some burglar who was sprayed with the stuff but come on.

  17. Jim G

    My earlier post regarding Gun Toting Rvers prompted numerous provacative comments, one in particular talks about RVers and Murder which prompts me to ask the community at large if there are any credible stats about incidents involving weapons, guns in particular, involving those of us who travel in RVs. Since this is obviously a very sensitive and personal issue I would be interested in related commentary.

  18. Dennis Gruner

    A good reason for all tourist that are pro gun to never spend any of our dollars in Calif.

  19. Jack Daniels

    Joe K,also heard you had to have a baseball with that bat or it is considered a weapon in your vehicle.As a retired OTR driver,some DOT officers told me to put the “tire thumper” in my side box,not have it in the cab.

  20. Joe K

    Wasp spray and a baseball bat work just as well…
    As a retired police sergeant/firearms instructor, it’s just as effective and has two other uses.

  21. jw

    I am re-thinking travelling in the US!

  22. Ken K

    Carry both.

  23. If you fire a “Dirty Harry” 44 magnum at someone in your RV and that bullet does not hit any bone, only soft tissue – there is a good chance it will pass through your thin walls, and through the thin wall of the RV next to you and end up killing some guy sitting there watching TV. On the other hand, if your shoot someone with a shotgun, they will be dead and you might bust out your front window, but the RV next to you will be safe. Also, if someone is trying to get into your RV and they hear that “metal to metal” slide as you chamber a round they would be a fool to stick around. Carry a shotgun not a handgun.

  24. Jim G

    You folks are reading WAY TOO much into my comments. I support the right to bear arms but as a former law enforcement individual I carried a 357 and always prayed I never, ever had reason to remove it from the holster.

  25. TomK

    C’mon Jim G. How many murders have “gun toting RV’ers” been accused of? Or better yet, convicted of? Can you name one?

    Our gun laws are sometimes overly restrictive because of the missinfomation that has been spread but can you really name one single law abiding RV’er that was convicted of murder with a legally owned gun?

  26. hoppe

    Jim G; I’d much prefer us to be armed than not. I hope you never have to find out why! I’m in favor of personal rights ALL OF THEM!

  27. Jim G

    Gun Totin RVers; not a pleasant image

  28. Ward Johnson

    I would higly recommend the following web site as an excellent resource on concealed carry permit reciprocity and as a resource for gun laws in all of the 50 States:

  29. catchesthewind

    Robert, Even if you have a concealed carry permit stay out of Maryland as they do not accept any permit other than their own save for the federal retired law officers carry permit.
    For you FULL TIMERS. Your coach now becomes your DOMICILE. That is a very important distinction because now your coach enjoys the same constitutional protections as a stick built house.
    Article IV sec 1 of the constitution says: Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records and proceedings of every other state.
    Now this is the section that requires one state to accept the drivers license of another state. Now since a carry permit is a legal document of one state it by constitutional standards must be acceptged by any other state. Although I suspect it will take a SCOTUS opinion to give it teeth.

  30. B.J. McCord

    I just don’t go into, or spend any money in California or Illinois.

  31. Robert Neville

    However, if you have a Concealed Carry License, and you enter a State which has reciprocity with the State which issued your CCL, you may legally have the gun loaded and strapped to your side as long as it is concealed. Or it can be in your glovebox, or anywhere else as long as it is concealed. Am I correct?