I got a call from a reader recently that was planning a trip to Ohio. He asked if I could help him find information on transporting firearms across state lines. I have to say I really respect a firearms owner that thinks ahead. Properly prepared, he will return home without any legal problems.
There’s a web site on the internet that keeps up with firearms laws across the states and provides a lot of information on subjects such as carrying firearms in vehicles, concealed handguns and requirements to notify law enforcement officers of concealed handguns. To find the site, simply enter HANDGUNLAW.US into your favorite search engine.
In the event you don’t have access to the internet or can’t find the information you’re looking for, there’s a safe default method of carrying firearms in a vehicle that will keep you out of trouble. The following is a federal statute designed to allow firearms owners to transport firearms across state lines. If the guide lines of this statute are followed exactly, you won’t have any problems. If you decide you don’t have to follow the law exactly, you’re on your own, brother.
“18 U.S. Code § 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.”
While we’re on the subject of carrying firearms in vehicles, let’s take a look at the laws a little closer to home. In Virginia, it is legal to be on school property with long guns (rifles and/or shotguns) in the vehicle if they are not loaded. If you forget to unload your rifle or shotgun before you go on school property and a deputy discovers that, you’re staring down the barrel of a felony conviction.
Aside from going on school property, the state allows counties to make local ordinances concerning the carrying of guns in vehicles on the highways. Floyd County does not prohibit the carrying of loaded long guns in vehicles. I have not investigated the ordinances of our neighboring counties, so if you’re planning on crossing county lines, it might be best if your rifle or shotgun is unloaded.
Personally, I’m a little hesitant to ride around with a loaded long gun in my truck. I’m just not willing to risk the chance of something happening and blowing a hole in the floor board or side wall of my pick up. I’ll have plenty of time to load my gun when I get where I’m going.
I’ll make one more suggestion before I close. Put your rifle or shotgun in a case when you carry it. This will protect your gun from dirt and scratches and it also promotes the safety factor. By now, I’m sure you know I’m all about safety, right?