Video: Transporting Handguns
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Transporting your handgun: moving it from point A to point B and probably back again. How hard can it be? Well, when you add a car to the mix, possibly a commercial airplane, a bunch of rules and regulations from the federal government, and state laws that can change a bunch when you cross state lines, it can get amazingly complicated. So let’s cover the basics.
Unless you have the appropriate carry permits for all states in which you’ll be traveling, you need some kind of case for transporting your gun outside your home. It can be as simple as a zippered, soft-sided case, sometimes called a pistol rub. These are inexpensive, offer decent protection, and even come in locking models for jurisdictions where it’s required the handgun case be locked when transporting in a vehicle. However, soft cases do not meet requirements for flying with your gun. Nor are they a good long-term home storage solution, unless secured in a larger safe.
Another great soft case is a range bag. These have special padded sections for your guns and allow you to carry in one place all the gear you’ll need to enjoy a range session. You just grab it from your car and go. However, these are not intended for any kind of long-term storage, as it’s not recommended to keep ammo in the same place as your guns for home storage. Next step up is a hard-sided case. The quality hard-sided case solves a lot of problems. It’s lockable, so it can provide a good long-term storage solution. It’s rugged to protect your gun well, and many are foam-filled, so you can customize the interior to your gun and non-ammo accessories—like magazines and optics. And they meet the requirements for checking your guns on a commercial airline. If you’re only going to have one case for your gun, it should be a top-quality, lockable hard-side.
Let’s touch quickly on flying with a handgun. It’s not as difficult as you might believe. The gun, ammo, and accessories must go as checked baggage—not carry-on. The gun and magazines must be unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided case. Ammo must be separate from the firearms, in its original packaging or hard-sided container that separates each cartridge. No loose ammo is permitted. You must declare you’re transporting a firearm to the gate agent at the counter when you check in for the flight. And please, don’t say, “I’ve got a gun.” Calmly tell the agent, “I’m checking an unloaded, locked firearm in this case.” Always consult your individual airlines and Transportation Security Administration Regulations online before you head for the airport.
When transporting in a vehicle, it’s best to stow the cased gun out of reach, hidden from view from outside the vehicle. Things escalate quickly in a traffic stop if the officer approaches your vehicle and sees an accessible handgun inside. Be certain of your state’s regulations, but if you have the proper permitting to carry in a vehicle, you can keep the gun in a holster.
These tips will get you and your handgun from point A to point B and back again safely, legally, and comfortably.