Stay Safe, Stay Legal: Frontier Justice’s Top Tips for Traveling With a Firearm
Traveling with a firearm
The United States of America is an absolutely beautiful country, and every state is unique and wonderful in its own way. We love this country and encourage everyone to spend time sight seeing across the states. But if you’re planning on bringing your firearm along for the ride, there’s some important things you need to know.
Owning, operating, and carrying a firearm is your constitutional right as an American citizen, but just about every state has different laws about who, how, and when you can have your firearm on your person.
We are committed to educating our community about proper, lawful firearm ownership at Frontier Justice, and we want everyone to remain both safe and legal. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide to traveling with a firearm! You can also feel free to reach out to our firearms experts directly, or stop by one of our three store locations in Lee’s Summit, Kansas City, or Omaha and talk with us in person.
Our guide to traveling with a firearm
Unless you’re an avid bike rider or committed to incredibly long hikes, there’s two primary modes of transportation in this country: driving or flying. Both come with their own set of challenges and rules to follow while traveling with a firearm.
There’s nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned road trip. Hitting the highway and traveling to your destination can be a wonderful experience, whether you’re just making a quick hop across state lines or driving clear across the country.
One way to have that good time turn sour quickly, however, is getting caught unaware by unfamiliar concealed carry or firearm possession laws. That’s why our first tip for driving across state lines with a firearm is to know the firearms laws of your destination state, as well as any other states you might travel through.
According to the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action:
“Federal law does not restrict individuals from transporting legally acquired firearms across state lines for lawful purposes except those explicitly prohibited by federal law to include convicted felons; persons under indictment for felonies; adjudicated “mental defectives” or those who have been involuntarily committed to mental institutions; illegal drug users; illegal aliens and most non-immigrant aliens; dishonorably discharged veterans; those who have renounced their U.S. citizenship; fugitives from justice; persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence; and persons subject to certain domestic violence restraining orders. Therefore, no federal permit is required (or available) for the interstate transportation of firearms.”
While a federal permit isn’t required to bring your firearm across state lines, that doesn’t mean the state-specific concealed carry laws are similar to your own. For instance, in our home states of Missouri and Kansas we have constitutional carry. That means Missouri and Kansas law doesn’t require a permit to carry a firearm for any person at least 19 years of age, or 18-years-old and a member of the United States Armed Forces.
But, Missouri’s constitutional carry only applies to citizens of Missouri. For citizens of other states, you must have a concealed carry license to legally carry your firearm on your person.
This also applies to how your firearm must be stored in your vehicle. Even if you just want to leave your firearm in your car, there are rules based around how “readily available” the firearm is, depending on what state you are in.
Concealed carry reciprocity simply refers to the validity of your concealed carry permit or license beyond your issuing state (other states reciprocating the rights of yours). For example, if you have a Kansas concealed carry license and travel across state lines to Missouri, your license is still valid because Missouri has reciprocity with Kansas’ concealed carry laws.
When in other states that recognize your concealed carry license, you must follow the laws and limitations set forth by that state, not your own. You can learn more about concealed carry, including traveling with a firearm, by taking one of our concealed carry courses taught by your expert firearms instructors.
Investing in a quality lock box is another important tip for driving across state lines with a firearm. We carry a variety of great lock box options both in our stores and online. These range from affordable options that provide strong security, to higher-end storage solutions with built-in biometric locking for the ultimate protection. If you plan to store your firearm in your car while traveling, we also carry lock boxes with cable locks so you can tether your case to your vehicle for an added layer of security.
Also, when traveling, try to remain as inconspicuous as possible. If you flaunt your firearm ownership all over your vehicle with multiple gun manufacturer stickers and logos, you can actually draw more attention to yourself and make your vehicle a target for theft. Remember, the whole point of concealed carry is to keep your firearm concealed unless necessary.
Going through security at an airport can be a real nightmare. If you’ve experienced the long lines and the annoyance of having your bag searched over a bottle of liquid just one ounce over the allowed size, you probably assume flying with a firearm is nearly impossible. Well, it’s actually much simpler than you think!
Traveling with a firearm on a commercial aircraft is absolutely permitted by the Transportation Administration Administration (TSA), so long as you check your unloaded firearm with your luggage. When checking your baggage, simply declare your firearm each time you present your baggage.
The TSA requires all firearms be stored in approved hard-sided containers for transport, and only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock, unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations.
Frontier Justice carries multiple TSA-recognized lock boxes, but any brand or type of lock can be used to secure your firearm for the flight. Ammunition is also prohibited in carry-on baggage, but can be transported in checked baggage. You can carry the ammunition in the same hard-sided, locked case as your firearm, as long as it is packaged in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition.
Just like driving with a firearm, you also need to know the laws of the state you’re flying to before carrying your firearm in public.
Less-lethal self defense options
If you prefer to leave your firearm at home, don’t feel comfortable traveling with a firearm, or aren’t comfortable carrying a firearm at all, there are still reliable less-lethal self defense options for you.
Byrna pepper ball launchers
There isn’t a line of less lethal personal protection tools on the market that we believe in more than Byrna self defense products. For anyone nervous about owning a firearm, or needing personal protection that’s easy to travel with, Byrna is a fantastic alternative.
The pepper ball launchers come in multiple configurations, with options that resemble semi-automatic handguns and others similar to AR-15s. These launchers shoot projectiles filled with an all-natural pepper formula that’s one of the most powerful on the market. This formula causes many detrimental physical effects, like burning in the throat, wheezing, gasping, and gagging.
On top of the stopping power of the formula, Byrna launchers pack a punch that will stop any attacker in their tracks. Powered by compressed air (CO2), it shoots projectiles that can disable a threat from up to 60 feet away.
Byrna launchers are not classified as firearms, so there is no required background check or permit needed to own one. There’s no restrictions on interstate travel with Byrna products, and you can even fly with them in checked baggage, with a maximum of 4 CO2 canisters.
Other considerations before traveling with a firearm
There are a few more factors to keep in mind when traveling with a firearm. As we’ve said, you need to familiarize yourself with the laws of the state you’re traveling to so you’re aware of all regulations you’re expected to follow.
Many states and cities are implementing bans on large capacity magazines. In Colorado, for example, it is illegal to sell, transfer, or possess a magazine larger than 15 rounds. In many other states like California or New Jersey, that magazine capacity is hindered further to 10 rounds.
Restrictions also apply to less-lethal options like pepper spray and pepper ball launchers. Some states restrict who, how much, or what type of pepper spray or pepper ball can be used, so make sure to check those laws as well before packing less-lethal self defense tools.
Check with the experts at Frontier Justice before traveling with a firearm
If you’re still concerned about traveling with a firearm, need to get your concealed carry license before traveling, or want advice on the right lock box for your travels, our firearm experts are ready to help.
We are proud to serve our community through quality equipment and firearms education. Learn more about what makes Frontier Justice different by reaching out to us, signing up for our membership club, or scheduling a class. You can also always simply stop by to check out our store, boutique, and range for yourself!