When traveling with firearms, storage becomes a vital consideration. Whether you plan to go hunting, travel to a gun show or carry a weapon for self-defense, how you store your gun is something you will need to plan carefully, especially if you’re traveling by airline or driving across state lines.
As always, storage is a basic factor in gun safety. But when you’re traveling, there are additional variables to consider, including practicality, maintenance and potential legal issues. Knowing how to store your weapon properly can make traveling easier and help you avoid potential hassles.
Here are some important considerations to take into account when you’re traveling with guns while on the go.
Be Aware of Any Local Laws
Carrying a concealed weapon across state lines could spell trouble. Thus, before traveling with a firearm, it’s important to be aware of any local laws or ordinances that may prohibit the carrying and/or storing of guns. In particular, laws for transporting firearms vary by country, state and locality, as well as mode of transportation.
Plan to check your weapon at the airport before heading on vacation? Federal regulations require your weapon to be unloaded and stored in a hard-sided locked container while in baggage. You must also declare your weapon as checked baggage. Buses, trains and other forms of transportation also have their own policies for firearms.
For instance, if you reside in California and are traveling in an automobile or camper, you must transport your gun unloaded and locked either in your trunk or in a hard container other than your utility or glove compartment. Moreover, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action advises neophyte gun owners to always transport any weapons in a locked container and store them anywhere that’s not accessible to any passengers. All ammunition must also be stored in a separate, locked container.
Consider Your Gun Case Options
These days, gun cases come in two main varieties: hard and soft. Hard cases are made of materials like aluminum, plastic or fiber-reinforced composites. Meantime, soft cases are typically made of anything from canvas or vinyl to leather, fabric or ballistic nylon.
If you’re traveling with a firearm, you typically need a hard case to comply with regulations. But say you’re just driving about town with your concealed carry gun. In these instances, you can use a soft case. The best hard cases include features such as shock-resistant exteriors, o-ring seals to keep out moisture and valves to release air pressure. For soft cases, more durable soft materials like leather provide better protection for your weapon than cheaper materials such as canvas.
Gun cases also come in various styles for different types of weapons. Some pistol cases and most rifle cases have handles. Some cases may have compartments for scopes and other accessories, while others are made of custom foam you can use to shape your personalized compartments. Cases designed for concealed carry may look like guitar, tennis or baseball gear bags.
There are also cases and accessories designed to meet the needs of hunters using an ATV or UTV as a hunting platform. In fact, many popular outdoor retailers carry both special UTV gun cases as well as ATV/UTV gun storage and mounts that make it easy to store your gun while hunting.
Contemplate Your Ammunition Storage Options
Because local laws and ordinances often require ammunition to be stored separately from firearms, ammunition storage is also something to consider when transporting weapons. One good option includes the use of a dry-storage box (also known as a universal storage box or survivor dry box) made out of materials such as polypropylene plastic or resin. A good ammunition box is water-, dust- and weather-resistant. Plus, most dry boxes have a heavy-duty handle for easy carrying.
Be Mindful of Storage Options to Avoid Breaking the Law
Being aware of local gun laws and ordinances and purchasing the right type of case are just a couple of key considerations to keep in mind when traveling with a firearm. Taking these factors into consideration will not only help to protect your firearms or other gun-related investments while traveling, but can also keep you out of trouble with the law.