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TACTICAL TRAILERS - RV Traveling with Firearms.

Traveling with firearms can be stressful, especially when crossing multiple state lines, but it's not as difficult as one might think. As long as you do your research, finding what's required in each state will help ensure a smoother ride. (pun intended)

First things first, an RV by definition is a motor vehicle so the rules that would apply to an automobile would also apply to your RV, specifically the type you drive. Only when it is parked and utilities are hooked up does it begin to transition to more of 'dwelling' and thereby shifting how the local state laws function in comparison.

Now that we've established that your RV while on it's way towards whatever delightful destination you've selected, functions as a vehicle you'll want to make sure that you understand the rules for such. Under most circumstances you are required to transport your firearm-unloaded-ammunition separate- inside a hard locked case. Same goes for those of you pulling your travel trailer. The difference is, where exactly?

For towing vehicles storing that locked firearms case in your vehicle's trunk is ideal and preferred. No trunk? Don't sweat. Alternatively you can store it in either a back cargo area in your SUV or a cabinet in the RV furthest from the drivers cabin area. Essentially the idea is it should not be easily accessible while driving.

Some suggest the undercarriage storage on your RV, but personally I feel like that area is more vulnerable to theft (especially in rest stop parking lots), so my vote is in the very rear of the RV.

Now if you have a concealed carry permit, you may be legally allowed to continue carrying concealed while traveling, but it comes done to the states you are driving through. Best thing is to use the links below to confirm your State issued Permit's reciprocity with those states you will be traveling through. In some cases you may need to unload your firearm and store it locked in a box as mentioned above until you pass through the more restrictive states.

Another thing to think about is magazine capacity and ammunition restrictions. May not be a bad idea to pick up some 10RD mags for whatever gun you plan on traveling with and storing them in the RV or with your other travel gear. Finding out the night before your trip that the state your going to has a magazine capacity restriction could be a REAL bummer if you don't already have those 10RD mags. Same goes for ammunition. States like New Jersey do not allow hollow points, so it's probably another reason to avoid driving through NJ if you don't need to.

The biggest variable with traveling with firearms is how and when making stops changes the game. If you're pulling off the highway for gas or a quick bite, because you know you can't resist McDonald's fries while on a road trip, you're covered by FOPA (Firearm Owners Protection Act). BUT, if you decided to deviate from your route, make a few other pit stops in that state to see friends or even stay the night to catch some rest, now you are no longer covered by FOPA. At that time, you would then be considered a visitor to that state and must be compliant to their local state laws. That can be a big deal depending on where you land. My recommendation, unless you need to stop for gas, or a bathroom break, stopping for any length of time in "Non Free States" is a risk not worth taking. In March 2020 a new bill was introduced. (H.R. 5935) that clarifies the federal definition of “transport” to explicitly include stops for food, fuel, stays in temporary lodging, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, or any other activity “incidental to the transport.”. We'll have to wait and see how that will shake out, but it can definitely offer responsible gun owners another layer of Federal Protection.

So after traveling hundreds if not thousands of miles and consuming more Auntie Anne's rest stop pretzels that you did all last year you're going to want to make sure that the way in which you store your firearm is as reliable as what you have at home. Companies like Vaultek Safe, have an impressive selection of quick access safes for the home and for travel. Better yet, many of their safes offer multi entry options like biometric fingerprint, numeric keypad and manual backup key. The later is critical in my opinion because let's face it, electronics can sometimes fail and usually thanks to Murphy's Law, just when you need them. Having the option for a backup key access can make all the difference. I actually discovered the value of this firsthand after a previous manufacturer's safe died on me and my only recourse for opening it was quite literally 'breaking into my own safe'. Not good. After that I swore I'd pay just as much attention to the quality of the safe as I did my personal defense tool that went inside it.

Now that your RV is all hooked up you can rest a little easier knowing that it's state of being changes the definition to "Dwelling". This is an important distinction when it comes to 'use of force laws', also something you should research and understand for the state you've just traveled to. Best thing to do is a little research reading before your wheels hit the highway. To help guide you here are some valuable links.

CCW Reciprocity Map (Where can you Legally Carry?)

Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA)

Gun Laws by State (Firearms, ammunition and magazine restrictions)

Use of Force Laws by State

VAULTEK Safe (Great for storing your firearm at home or while traveling)

Laws change frequently. If you’re not sure about the current legal aspects of traveling with your firearm, check with an attorney. This content is for informational use only and is not a substitute for legal advice or verification of state laws.


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