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Transporting a Firearm in Your Motor Vehicle: An Overview of the Northeast

Firearms Legal

disassembled handgun

We get asked a lot about transporting a Firearm in a vehicle. There are a lot of states that have different rules on transportation of a pistol or handgun and whether it can be or must be concealed. Below is a list of States and some of what their State Agencies have to say about transportation of a firearm in their state. We have added the website(s) as these rules/laws can change. You should always look just before your travels(s) to verify what rules/laws are in effect, but, below, are some of the websites that will assist.

As a general rule, start with the Federal Transportation of Firearms Statute, which is, generally, the default rule on firearms transportation. It can be found at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/926A

Federal Statute(s): “18 U.S.C. 926A – Interstate Transportation of Firearms. Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, that in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.”

For a general overview of philosophy and States, start here: https://www.nraila.org/articles/20150101/guide-to-the-interstate-transportation

Connecticut: General Rule: Federal Transportation Statute controls. If you are legally authorized to carry a firearms in the State you are coming from and legally authorized to carry a firearm in the State you are headed to, then you may transport a Firearm in accordance with the Federal Transportation Statute. If you have the Firearm in your vehicle, have it broken down and the magazine kept separate from the Firearm and unloaded. Further, it should be stored outside the passenger compartment of the vehicle. For SUVs (and trucks), it should be kept in the farthest part of the vehicle away from a person in a locked box and, also, unloaded. For up to date information, call 860-685-8290. See: http://www.ct.gov/despp/cwp/view.asp?a=4213&Q=494632&desppNav_GID=2080 See also: https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/firearms.htm

Delaware: General Rule: Delaware law allows residents of other states who have been issued a concealed deadly weapon license or permit by certain other states to lawfully carry concealed deadly weapons in Delaware if the state is on the below list of reciprocating states and the person is visiting or traveling through Delaware. See: http://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/criminal/concealedweapons.shtml See also: http://www.delcode.delaware.gov/title11/c005/index.shtml

Maine: General Rule: “Effective October 15, 2015, Public Law 2015, Chapter 327 (LD 652), “An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit,” allows a person who is not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm to carry a concealed handgun in the State of Maine without a permit. This law also authorizes a person to possess a loaded pistol or revolver while in a motor vehicle, trailer or other vehicle being hauled by a motor vehicle.” “Concealed carry without a permit is limited to people who are 21 or older, with the following exception: If a person is 18 years of age or older, and is on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard, or has been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces or the National Guard, and is not otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm, the person may carry a concealed handgun. A person who is 18-20 years old and without the referenced military qualifications must have a permit to carry concealed. The law applies to both residents of Maine and non-residents. The law does not otherwise change where a person may carry or who may possess a firearm. See: http://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/licenses/weapons_permits.html

Maryland: General Rule: “How can I legally transport firearms within/through Maryland?" They must be unloaded, in a carrying case, holster with a flap and the ammunition should be separate. It would be best to keep the unloaded weapon in the trunk where you do not have access to it. There are further regulations but essentially you can only transport a handgun between residence, to and from a repair shop, a shooting sporting event, between a residence and place of business if substantially owned and operated by the person. See: http://mdsp.maryland.gov/pages/faqs.aspx See also: http://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2005/gcr/4-203.html

Massachusetts: General Rule: Transporting Firearms. Q: How do I transport a gun in my vehicle? A: [Resident] A person with a Class "A" LTC may transport a handgun loaded or unloaded on his person or under his direct control in the vehicle. If the handgun is not under his direct control, it must be unloaded and in a locked case, locked trunk, or other secure container. A person with a Class "B" LTC must transport handguns unloaded and in a locked case, locked trunk, or other secure container. All persons transporting large capacity rifles and shotguns must transport them unloaded and in a locked case, locked trunk, or other secure container. Trigger locks do not meet the requirements of securing a weapon during transport in motor vehicle. For more specific information see M.G.L. c. 140, §131C. See: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/firearms-reg-and-laws/frb/frequently-asked-questions.html A: [Non-Resident] Section 131G. Any person who is not a resident of the commonwealth may carry a pistol or revolver in or through the commonwealth for the purpose of taking part in a pistol or revolver competition or attending any meeting or exhibition of any organized group of firearm collectors or for the purpose of hunting; provided, that such person is a resident of the United States and has a permit or license to carry firearms issued under the laws of any state, district, or territory thereof which has licensing requirements which prohibit the issuance of permits or licenses to persons who have been convicted of a felony or who have been convicted of the unlawful use, possession or sale of narcotic or harmful drugs; provided, further, that in the case of a person traveling in or through the commonwealth for the purpose of hunting, he has on his person a hunting or sporting license issued by the commonwealth or by the state of his destination. Police officers and other peace officers of any state, territory, or jurisdiction within the United States duly authorized to possess firearms by the laws thereof shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have a permit or license to carry firearms as described in this section. See: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXX/Chapter140/Section131g See: http://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/licenses/weapons_permits.html See also: https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-gun-laws/maine/

New Jersey: General Rule: All firearms transported into the State of New Jersey: Shall be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and in the course of travel, shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances. The firearm should not be directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle. If the vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the firearm and ammunition must be in a locked container other than the vehicle's glove compartment or console. See: http://www.njsp.org/firearms/transport-firearm.shtml See also: http://nj.gov/oag/services_arms.htm

New York: Be very careful transporting a firearm in New York. The general rule is that you are guilty of a crime, unless some exception applies. The burden is on you to find that exception. General Rule: New York Penal Law Section 265.19: A person is guilty of aggravated criminal possession of a weapon when he or she commits the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree as defined in subdivision three of section 265.03 of this article and also commits any violent felony offense as defined in subdivision one of section 70.02 of this chapter or a drug trafficking felony as defined in subdivision twenty-one of section 10.00 of this chapter arising out of the same criminal transaction. Aggravated criminal possession of a weapon is a class C felony. a. Paragraph (h) of subdivision twenty-two of section 265.00 and sections 265.01, 265.01-a, subdivision one of section 265.01-b, 265.02, 265.03, 265.04, 265.05, 265.10, 265.11, 265.12, 265.13, 265.15, 265.36, 265.37 and 270.05 shall not apply to… 3. Possession of a pistol or revolver by a person to whom a license therefor has been issued as provided under section 400.00 or 400.01 of this chapter or possession of a weapon as defined in paragraph (e) or (f) of subdivision twenty-two of section 265.00 of this article which is registered pursuant to paragraph (a) of subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter or is included on an amended license issued pursuant to section 400.00 of this chapter. In the event such license is revoked, other than because such licensee is no longer permitted to possess a firearm, rifle, or shotgun under federal or state law, information sufficient to satisfy the requirements of subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter, shall be transmitted by the licensing officer to the state police, in a form as determined by the superintendent of state police. Such transmission shall constitute a valid registration under such section. Further provided, notwithstanding any other section of this title, a failure to register such weapon by an individual who possesses such weapon before the enactment of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which amended this paragraph and may so lawfully possess it thereafter upon registration, shall only be subject to punishment pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter; ?provided, that such a license or registration shall not preclude a conviction for the offense defined in subdivision three of section 265.01 of this article or section 265.01-a of this article. See: http://codes.findlaw.com/ny/penal-law/pen-sect-265-19.html See also: http://codes.findlaw.com/ny/penal-law/pen-sect-265-20.html

Vermont: General Rule: The Federal Statute applies. § 4003. Carrying dangerous weapons. A person who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon, openly or concealed, with the intent or avowed purpose of injuring a fellow man, or who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon within any state institution or upon the grounds or lands owned or leased for the use of such institution, without the approval of the warden or superintendent of the institution, shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $200.00, or both. See: http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/13/085/04003 See also: http://ago.vermont.gov/divisions/criminal-division/gun-laws.php See also: http://legislature.vermont.gov/

Be sure to check back soon as we will be adding more states to this list!

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is solely a general legal discussion of the general firearms law and should not be considered as giving legal advice, nor creating an attorney-client relationship. The websites referenced are managed by third parties and not by Firearms Legal Protection or anyone associated with Firearms Legal Protection and are meant only as a starting point in any relevant discussion on the point. If you have a legal issue regarding the transportation of a firearm, please contact counsel in that state. If you are a member of Firearms Legal Protection, you may contact us.