What Do You Need to Know Before Moving Gun Safe to Another State?

As a responsible gun owner, you must ensure that you have a permit for your gun safe and its contents. This is also true when transporting these things across state lines. Here are the things that you should know about it.


Learn The Laws of Gun Safety and Guns Transport

The federal, state and county governments have laws governing the use of guns. These laws apply to the transport of these things across jurisdictions, too. Every gun owner who travels with their guns and gunsafes must be aware and follow these laws.

Keep in mind that there are no uniform state transportation laws about firearms. Ask the state authorities about the specific procedures before crossing the state lines.

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You should be provided with a clear list of dos and don’ts for the papers and procedures, too. You may find out about the specific processes and procedures by:

  • Contacting the state's Attorney General where you will be transporting the firearms
  • Contacting your local gun club or the NRA-ILA.
  • Reviewing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Guide in the NRA-ILA website

You should ask about whether the state issues permits to non-residents. If yes, be sure to get detailed information about the process. You should be ready with the papers, too.

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Many states will demand permits in carrying loaded firearms on or about your person. Some states will not issue permits to non-residents so be careful about it. When in doubt, keep these general tips in mind:

  • Carry your firearms unloaded.
  • Place them in a locked gun safe or case for transportation.
  • Store the gun safe in a safe area.

The safe areas in a car include the truck and attached toolbox. Basically, the guns should be inaccessible from the passenger compartment. The gunsafe and guns should also not be visible from outside the car.

The ammunition should be stored separately from the guns. You should also ensure that these are stored in a locked container.

Aside from the issue of storage, you should be aware of the documentary requirements. If you’re travelling to areas with restrictive laws, you’re well-advised to secure applicable permits.

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These permits can include firearms licenses and drivers’ license for identification purposes. You should carry printed copies of official publications containing pertinent provisions of the law. You can read the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act for relevant passages on gun transportation.

Emphasis should be made that some state and local governments consider many FOPA provisions as affirmative defense.This means that you can only raise it after an arrest. You should consult your lawyer about this matter for your own protection.

You’re also well-advised to declare that you’re carrying firearms and/or ammunition when travelling across borders. Your honesty at the onset can mean a world of difference when crossing state lines.

Get to Know The Basics of Federal Law

Under the FOPA, a person transporting firearms for lawful purpose is protected by law from local restrictions that would otherwise prohibit it.

Keep in mind that the law explicitly states that the person can transport firearms from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry it to any place where he may also lawfully possess and carry it.

But there are also people who cannot transport gun safes with guns across state lines. These include:

  • Convicted felons
  • Persons subject to certain domestic violence-related restraining orders
  • Persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes involving domestic violence;
  • Illegal drug users
  • Most non-immigrant aliens
  • Illegal aliens
  • Adjudicated mental defectives
  • Persons under indictment for felony crimes
  • dishonorably discharged veterans
  • Persons who have renounced their U.S. citizenship
  • Fugitives from justice

There are no federal permits needed for the interstate transportation of firearms. In fact, there are none available. You can transport your guns from Nebraska to Colorado without getting permits. The assumptions here are that you:

  • Followed the above-mentioned general rules about gun storage in vehicles
  • Don’t belong to one of the above-mentioned classifications of persons who cannot legally transport guns across state lines

Indeed, we live in a country where gun transport appear as easy as can be!

Slippery Slope in The Laws

But it’s not as easy as it looks! Gun owners often encounter a slippery slope in gun laws enforcement. What branch of government has the ultimate jurisdiction – federal, state or local? You will find that there are no uniform rules and regulations!

By virtue of Printz versus the United States (1997), the states aren’t legally obligated to follow and enforce the federal government’s gun laws. This means that the state and local laws can take precedence over federal law!

Plus, some states adopt the principle of pre-emption. This means that firearms regulations are only governed by the laws of the particular state. These states also allow their local jurisdictions to pass highly restrictive laws.

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The result: The federal government may allow transportation of guns in gunsafes across state lines without formal permits aside from the firearms license. But the state and local laws will likely say otherwise.

There are a few things to consider when transporting guns with or without a gunsafe. First, remember the Safe Passage Provision in FOPA.

Basically, a gun owner is protected by the stricter gun control laws in an area for as long as he’s just passing though it on his way to his final destination. The term “passing through” can include stopping to eat or refuel.

Second, majority of the state accept a Shall-Issue jurisdiction. This means that a person meets the reasonable criteria for gun ownership. The option to get a license for a concealed weapon is present.

In May-Issue states, such as e New York and California, the law demands a permit to carry. The approval of the permit depends on the discretion of the local authorities.

Final Verdict

​The gun control laws change over time. You should then keep abreast of these changes so that you can comply with their requirements. You want to be a responsible gun owner and it starts with getting the necessary permits.

​When in doubt, you should always ask your lawyer and the local authorities. You shouldn’t take chances about carrying and transporting guns because of the risks of imprisonment.

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