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Wed May 4, 2016, 09:16 AM


Open Carry America (Part Two) Interstate Travel as an Armed Civilian

Open Carry America (Part Two) Interstate Travel as an Armed Civilian

by CompanyFirstSergeant

National Parks

Although the Unites States (Federal) Government is the most powerful organization in human history, the amount of acreage east of the Mississippi River that it actually owns and has jurisdiction over is relatively small.

Out west, most of the land is either national forest or national park land. National forest land has traditionally deferred to state/local law for the regulation of firearms, not so for national parks.

Oddly, as part of credit card reform legislation, in 2009 an amendment was tacked-on to a bill that deferred to state and local law as a guide to whether or not civilians can carry firearms in national parks.


Since 2009, national parks have become predominately pro-carry locales, the main exceptions being the interiors of federally owned buildings such as welcome centers and maintenance buildings. These are still off-limits to carry.

Crossing State Lines

Prior to the legislation described above, one of the most significant pro-carry milestones on the federal level was the legal protection given to the act of crossing a state line with a firearm.


The Firearm's Owners Protection Act of 1986 enabled a civilian, who is otherwise following the law, to cross state lines with a firearm secured in a non-accessible location in their vehicle (unless they have a carry license for both of the two adjoining states).

Under this law, the civilian is permitted to leave a state in which the firearm is legal, and enter a state in which the firearm is illegal, if the intent of their journey is to eventually arrive in a final jurisdiction in which possession of the firearm is again legal. Any stops and deviations from a direct route should be kept at an absolute minimum, and the final destination can not be within the 'illegal' state.

State Laws

The vast majority of laws that United States citizens obey on a daily basis are state and local laws, not federal, and except for post offices, secure areas of airports and federal offices, firearms laws are no different.

This nation is a patchwork of laws, and an armed civilian traveling from state to state will need to know a textbook size volume of information, but it is possible. Let's look at different categories of states:

1. Constitutional Carry: this is a small but growing list of states in which it is legal to carry a loaded handgun, by a legally eligible individual, for lawful purposes, in lawful locations, without a license for either open or concealed carry.

2. Open Carry Right/Concealed Carry Privilege: This, combined with the category below, still describes the majority of states in the nation. Open carry is available without a license, concealed carry requires a license. Some states may consider travel in a vehicle as concealed carry.

3. Licensed Open/Concealed Carry: A license is required for either open or concealed carry. Some states may be a combination of this and #2 above, depending where in the state you are located.

4. Concealed Carry Only:
There are a small number of states in which open carry is either unlawful, or so contrary to the local culture, that police involvement would be inevitable, regardless of legality.

5. Non-Carry: A small handful of jurisdictions still do not issue licensed for self defense at all, such as New York City, New Jersey, District of Columbia and many cities in California.

Up next: state to state license recognition, reciprocity and non-resident licensing.

Link to Part Three: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172191778

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, anything contained herein is subject to change, and no individual should attempt any travel with a firearm based on the above information. This information is the result of years of research by a non-legal-professional.

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