Carrying a Concealed Weapon Across State Lines – Legally

Posted on Sep 16 2011 - 1:00am by Harrison

Today in the United States, if you have a driver’s license in Florida you can drive to California – and all the states in-between – legally.  But if you have a concealed carry permit (CCW) for your pistol you could not keep your firearm handy because Kalifornia does not recognize permits issued by other states.

Sounds crazy.

There is a confusing patchwork of handgun laws in the United States.  Last year, when I drove to Wyoming and back I ran into these differing rules.  The NRA has a great map of the U.S. showing all the differing rules and regulations.

In Kalifornia, my handguns needed to be unloaded and in the trunk of my car.  In Nevada a loaded handgun can be carried unconcealed.  When I drove into Utah I could legally carry my handgun on my hip, unconcealed, but only if there was no round in the chamber of my semi-automatic pistol (a revolver needed to have two empty chambers to be legal).  When I got to Wyoming and Idaho, I could legally carry an unconcealed, loaded handgun on my hip but when I returned to Kalifornia everything had to again be stashed in my trunk.

Had I not done careful research before leaving on my trip I could have unintentionally broken the law and been arrested.

As with all gun laws, criminals will never follow them so only the law abiding citizen will be penalized.

The crazy thing about applying for a concealed carry permit in Kalifornia is that you can obtain one depending upon where you live.  The sheriff of each county has to approve a CCW application.  Ironically, those of us who live in the highest crime counties (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and San Diego) have zero chance of ever getting a permit.  But if I lived in a smaller rural county I could get a permit and carry it throughout the state.

Insane to think someone in Ukiah County would be “more eligible” than someone in San Francisco County just because of where they live.

The U.S. House of Representatives is again considering a bill which would force states to recognize a person’s concealed carry permit lawfully issued in one state in another state.

Liberals and anti-Bill of Rights groups are outraged (again).  The bill is being sponsored by Representatives Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and Heath Shuler, D-N.C.

This bill, should it become law, will help bring common sense back to protecting one’s self from harm though it will likely fail to make it all the way to President Obama’s desk.  Even if it did make it to the White House, Obama would veto it because he is anti-2nd Amendment.

Imagine if you drove from Maryland to Virginia and all of the sudden your driver’s license, automotive  and health insurance, and credit cards didn’t work because you had left your home state and entered a different one.  Would people stand for that?  Would this situation even make any sense?

Why should the situation be any different for a legally issued firearm permit?

Would a triple murderer on the run from the law not carry his handgun concealed because he’d be breaking the law?

8 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Steve Dennis September 16, 2011 at 3:42 AM -

    I agree with you Harrison, it is unacceptable that a person could get in trouble with the law simply because they crossed state lines with a weapon that they legally owned and were carrying in their own state. I know this failed once before but it is about time for someone to pass legislation that helps protect the second amendment.
    This bill will not help the criminals who would commit violent crimes anyway, but it would help to protect law abiding citizens.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..New Hampshire House overrides Governor Lynch’s Castle Doctrine veto

    • Harrison September 16, 2011 at 9:37 AM -

      It will fail again but I think the issue should still be pushed. Liberal states try and argue they have “unique conditions” in their states but I think that is BS… crime is crime.

  2. Jack Camwell September 16, 2011 at 5:39 AM -

    The only problem I see with this is state’s rights. So long as no state bans the ownership of guns, then there is no violation of the Constitution.

    But as far as how a state wants to regulate the ownership of guns, that should probably be left up to the states themselves. Even if we think the rules are stupid, the people have a right to decide for themselves what the rules are.

    Isn’t that the whole point of the mixed government system we have?
    Jack Camwell recently posted..When will they get the point?

    • Harrison September 16, 2011 at 9:33 AM -

      “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

  3. LD Jackson September 16, 2011 at 2:10 PM -

    I would be in favor of this legislation. If I am not mistaken, Steve Dennis wrote a post earlier this year that highlighted exactly how needful it is for CCW permit holders to be recognized in all states. This patchwork of laws we have now makes it very easy for someone to get in trouble with the police, no matter how hard they try to obey the law.
    LD Jackson recently posted..Rick Perry – On Immigration

    • Harrison September 16, 2011 at 2:47 PM -


  4. sharon smith September 16, 2011 at 4:56 PM -

    Just like the tea party, the NRA is a grassroots organization in support of preserving and enforcing our Constitution. More people should join the NRA, especially if they are gun owners to begin with. The NRA has estimated that only 50% of gun owners are also NRA members. Would we still have a second amendment without the NRA?

    There are states that are a royal pain in the butt with concealed weapon permits. These staes demand to be exclusive with their rigorous gun laws. The Utah license is great. I believe the Utah permit is recognized in more states than any other state issued permit.

  5. William McCullough September 17, 2011 at 12:40 PM -

    Those of us who have been in law enforcement in California have specific knowledge of this conundrum. On one hand some Police Chief’s and Sheriff’s will issue permits to political supporters and anyone who can validly prove their life may be in danger. The mystery here is the California Association of Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s actively campaign against allowing that privalage. This of course is pure hypocrisy.

    The law should be firm, either everyone can conceal carry or no one but law enforcement can conceal carry. But then California is such a strange place. They don’t call it the ‘left coast’ for nothing….WM