Drivers Education

Can You Carry a Gun in Your Car?

Can you carry a gun in your car? Carrying a gun in your car varies by state, but there is more to this, which this article explains. Besides, driving with a gun is not the problem; the problem is what you should understand.

Some states allow concealed loaded handguns in a car but must be possessed by a lawful owner. Depending on your state, you may require a state permit to drive with your gun. Also, you may have to unload and case your handgun and long gun. Some state laws mandate ensuring that your gun is inaccessible for immediate use in a car.

What if you are transporting a gun to a different state in a car? You would be crossing state lines, and you must familiarize yourself with the gun laws of the state, including FOPA (Firearm Owners Protection Act).

Can You Carry a Gun in Your Car?

The general answer is “Yes”, you can carry a gun in your car. In some states in the US, you are allowed to carry a loaded gun with a concealed carry permit. Your gun may have to be unloaded, and the ammo must be in a particular place, typically inaccessible for immediate use. Moreover, it must be in a safe state.

In Texas, for example, it is legal to carry a gun in your car, except you are prohibited. As mentioned earlier, it has to be a concealed carry, such that you put it out in a case. Gun possession in a car is legal under the License to Carry and Castle Doctrine laws. Meanwhile, holstered open carry is legal under License to Carry.

In Louisiana, it is also legal to carry a gun in your car. Driving with a gun in your vehicle is considered an extension of your home. Moreover, open carry is lawful in Louisiana without a carry permit, but you must be 17+ of age. You can also transport loaded long guns in a car with no gun license.

Before you drive with a gun, refer to your state laws and requirements for carrying unloaded and loaded guns in a car. Note that an error can be expensive.

Can You Drive with a Loaded Gun?

Yes, you can drive with a loaded gun in some states. Open carry, whether unloaded or loaded, is lawful unless you are prohibited from gun purchase or possession. However, open carry may be restricted in places like schools, post offices, federal properties, etc.

In GA, for instance, you need a valid CCW. You do not require a state permit for open carry but may require a permit for concealed carry. GA also recognizes CCW permits from some other states. regarding the gun transport laws, your gun must be unloaded in GA with GA – WCL, but concealed carry must be handled by an authorized user in a car. In essence, with the appropriate permit, you can drive with a loaded gun.

What Happens When You Drive and Have a Gun Without License?

What happens when you drive and have a gun without a license depends on various factors, including your state laws, self-conduct, etc.

Suppose you get pulled over in your home state, North Carolina, and you do not have your DL and CHL, which makes you a licensed holder.

You may be arrested for unlawful concealed firearm possession. However, your date of birth and name should make it easier for the cop to access your records. In California, the cops can tell whether you have a valid concealed handgun license. But then, the state mandates having a drivers license (not a fake driver’s license) or photo ID and CHL card when you conceal carry.

Yes, your report reads that you are a CHL holder’, but the police can’t verify whether your CHL is valid. Some police officers may cite you for not possessing a driver’s license and gun permit, but you may be able to fight it or get a judge to reduce the ticket. If the police let you go, you would be advised to holster an open carry.

In out of state, the cops may be unable to access your CHL information, assuming you’re a CA license holder. They would arrest and charge you for unlawful carry, of course, unless it is a permit-less carry state like Louisiana.

The Best Way to Carry or Conceal a Gun in Your Car Legally

The best way to carry a gun in a car is to know your state laws. In some states, open carry is legal but must be concealed, and others prohibit concealed carry, etc. In Texas, you may carry a gun in your car if you are not prohibited but must be concealed; the Castle Doctrine. Castle Doctrine covers beyond your vehicle.

The best way to conceal a gun in the vehicle is in a holster in the steering column, especially without the intention to carry the gun when exiting the vehicle. The gun position has to be concealed from an instance where a cop pulls you over and must not be easily accessible at the point of intended use.

If you possess a License to Carry, you can open-carry a gun in your car. You would also require a belt or shoulder-mounted holster.

When you exit the car with the gun inside, for instance, entering a restricted area, like federal property or school, or have no permit to use it, bolt the gun to your car frame.

Alternatively, you may store the gun under your car seat.

Some drivers use roof-mounted safes, which means someone can merely see the underside of the headliner when they kneel outside.

You may also use or rely on your vehicle safe, but it is not enough to deter a determined thief. However, it discourages an incidental thief from getting the gun.

Final Thoughts

It may be unlawful for you to separate from your firearm in the car, especially when you leave it unsupervised. Make sure to store your gun off passers-by sights when exiting the car.

If you gave a restricted weapon, you might be able to transport it to various places. In essence, the rule of thumb is to know the rules. Otherwise, you may be arrested, and your firearm can be seized. At worse, the state can revoke your firearm possession permit. Meanwhile, can a cop commandeer your car?

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Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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