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Transporting Firearms in Automobiles

Under federal law, a person is allowed to transport a firearm across state lines from one place where it is legal to possess firearms to another place where it is legal to possess firearms. The firearm must be unloaded and in the trunk of a vehicle. If the vehicle has no trunk the firearm must be unloaded and in a locked container (not the glove compartment or console). This federal law overrides state or local laws.

Many states have laws governing the transportation of firearms. Also, many cities and localities have ordinances restricting their transportation. Travelers must be aware of these laws and comply with the legal requirements in each jurisdiction. There is no uniform state transportation procedure for firearms. Upon reaching one’s destination, the state law—or, in some areas, municipal law—will control the ownership, possession, and transportation of the firearms.

It must be stressed that as soon as any firearm—handgun, rifle, or shotgun—is carried on or about the person, or placed in a vehicle where it is readily accessible, state and local firearms laws dealing with carrying come into play. If a person wishes to transport firearms in such a manner, it is advisable to contact the Attorney General’s office in each state through which the person may travel; reviewing an NRA State Firearms Law Digest is also recommended to determine whether a permit is needed and how to obtain one. While many states require a permit for this type of carrying, most will not issue such permits to non-residents, and other prohibit such carrying altogether.

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