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How To Move Guns Out of State

Updated Nov 5, 2022

Updated Nov 5, 2022

Home > Moving > How To Move Guns Out of State

Firearms have a lot of regulations and safety restrictions around them. As a result, moving guns out of state can seem overwhelming, but it needn’t be.

To help, we’re sharing our top tips for how to move guns out of state while following gun laws, local laws, and federal regulations.

Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986

The Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, also known as “The Peaceable Journey Law,” allows individuals who legally carry firearms to transport them across states where they don’t have a valid permit. However, the individual must have a legal and valid firearms license in their state of origin and their destination state.

For example, if you’re moving from California to New York, you need a legal permit to carry in California and New York. However, you wouldn’t need one in other states that you may drive through, such as New Jersey or Maryland, because you are a non-resident.

Keep in mind that this is federal law. States may also require you to have specific permits or adhere to state firearm laws. Currently, there is no standard among states, so you’ll need to research everywhere you plan to travel. Make a list of all the states you plan to travel through, and go to each official state’s website to learn more about their firearm laws.

Laws may also vary based on the type of firearm. For example, rifles, long guns, assault weapons, and shotguns typically have stricter laws than handguns.

Will Moving Companies Transport Guns?

Moving companies can legally transport guns as long as they comply with federal and state laws. However, many professional movers are uncomfortable doing so, so this is something that you’ll want to ask upfront. Typically, there is no additional charge for transporting firearms.

If the moving company is OK transporting your firearms, ensure you properly document the number and type of firearms on the moving paperwork. Your guns should also be unloaded and correctly packed before your movers take your belongings.

Once your movers are in possession of the firearms, they are legally obligated to comply with federal and state laws.

Never hide your guns and ammunition in incorrectly labeled boxes. Not only is lying to your movers about the contents of a box containing firearms illegal, but it’s very unsafe and may result in criminal charges like misdemeanors from law enforcement. Ammunition is explosive, so including it with household goods could lead to dangerous explosions during transportation.

Gun Safety Tips While Traveling

If you’re planning on moving your guns across state lines yourself, take the following gun safety tips to heart:

  • Never transport loaded guns.
  • While driving, your firearms and ammo should never be within easy reach of you or your passengers.
  • Check all state laws for any states that you’re traveling through.
  • Place firearms in the cargo compartment or trunk of your vehicle, not under your seat or in the glove compartment.
  • Never transport guns through Washington D.C. This is illegal.
  • Check with local laws that you’re observing all concealed carry laws to ensure that you safely complete the transportation of firearms.

If you plan on flying on a commercial aircraft with your firearms, your gun must be unloaded and placed in a checked bag. Guns may not be placed in carry-on baggage and must be within a hard-sided container that is locked. The gun owner (you) must keep the key or combination to the locked container on your person. Be prepared to provide the key or combination if requested by TSA.

Final Thoughts

Moving guns out of state doesn’t need to be complicated. Take a few precautions by either contacting your moving company about transporting your firearms or researching what state gun laws are in the areas you’re driving through.

Don’t forget to add these items to your moving checklist as you plan out your move.

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