When you cross state lines with a firearm – or even when you travel within your own state – you have to stick to the rules or risk facing serious consequences. Whether you’re flying or driving, you should start by protecting your rifle, shotgun or pistol with a sturdy, reliable hard gun case that locks. Use this guide to get all the pro tips you need to consider before traveling with firearms by plane or car.
If you’re traveling with a rifle, pistol or shotgun in your vehicle, you have to know federal laws and the laws for each state you travel through. The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, or FOPA, allows you to transport firearms for lawful purposes, provided that you’re taking your gun from one place you’re legally allowed to possess it to another place you’re legally allowed to possess it. Every state has its own laws about the act of transporting guns, which often include the types of locks you have to use and where the gun has to be.
For most people, the best way to safely transport a firearm is in a hard gun case with a foam interior. A case with a hard shell protects firearms from other luggage, and the foam inside keeps them safe from bumps and dings.
In most cases, you can legally transport your firearms across state lines if they’re unloaded, stored in a case, and locked in the trunk or in another place where they’re inaccessible to you or anyone else in your vehicle. There are some exceptions, including those for concealed-carry permit holders, so it’s important to double-check each state’s requirements before you buckle up for the trip.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific rules about flying with a gun. Here’s a quick run-down of the TSA’s rules for transporting a firearm on an aircraft:
Finding a gun case for flying doesn’t have to be difficult. In the vast majority of cases, it’s best to use a hard gun case for any long-distance travel. While hard cases tend to be larger than soft gun travel bags, they provide superior protection.
These are the features you should look for to safely transport your guns in a hard case:
If you’re not sure about the legal aspects of traveling with a firearm, check with an attorney or read your state’s laws. Your two main priorities are to keep yourself out of hot water and keep your firearms, yourself and the public safe.