Moving Guns Out of State
Your guide to moving guns and ammo across state lines legally and painlessly!
Most states have fairly strict regulations when it comes to firearms. A person who lawfully possesses a firearm may transport or ship the firearm interstate when changing their state of residence per federal law 18 USC § 926A.
There are a lot of different things to take into consideration when moving. The transportation of firearms is something that can be incredibly confusing if you aren’t aware of laws and regulations.
We’ve compiled all of the information you need to educate yourself so that you can move your guns confidently and lawfully! After all, it is your right!
Peaceable Journey Laws & the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA)
As long as you’re moving your firearms for peaceful purposes, you’re protected under the Peaceable Journey and FOPA acts.
Peaceable Journey Laws were created to simplify the moving process while providing those moving legal protections.
After an increased number of prosecutions, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) was signed in 1986 to clarify the laws surrounding the transportation of firearms, so that there could be no misinterpretation on a legal or personal level.
Federal code 18 USC § 926A states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a state or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport firearms for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation, the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.”
In summary, as long as you’re moving to and from somewhere that your guns are legal, it is legal for you to transport them.
If you’re moving yourself to save some cash, it’s your responsibility to ensure everything is legal.
Every state has its own regulations for firearm transportation, so while it is important to know about the federal law, please remember the first line of it which states that state laws still do apply!
To D.I.Y. a move with firearms, follow this list!
- Map out your route and make a list of all of the states you’re driving through.
- Research each state’s firearm laws.
- Print the webpage displaying the laws from each state’s official website.
- Make a binder and keep these documents on hand, ensuring you’re following all guidelines at all times.
States may require different things for different types of guns. Some states require nothing, others require a permit even if you’re not planning on even stopping for gas in that state.
Don’t risk getting pulled over with an unpermitted gun in a state with harsh gun laws!
It’s important to note when traveling with firearms that,
- Guns should NEVER be transported while loaded. Unload them every time.
- Guns and ammo must be out of the reach of the driver and passengers.
- Some states will let you stop with a gun, others require you to drive straight through. Plan your trip accordingly.
- Washington D.C. does not let you drive through transporting firearms for any reason.
- Restrictions can apply to those with mental illnesses, domestic violence charges, criminal backgrounds, illegal discharges from the military, no citizenship, etc.
Will Moving Companies Move Firearms?
Moving companies are legally permitted to transport firearms in accordance with state and federal laws.
Some companies will, others do not deal with guns at all. Be sure to ask companies about their firearms rules before choosing to work with them. Once they accept them as your shipment, obeying rules and regulations is their responsibility. This is a stress-free way to move your guns, as you no longer have to worry about any of the responsibilities yourself.
The ATF requires guns and ammo to be labeled as “sporting goods” or “outdoor gear”, not “guns” or “firearms”.
Ammunition is explosive; therefore, it is critical to ensure that your moving company is aware of your firearms ahead of time. Mislabeling boxes and attempting to hide the contents is not a good idea and can lead to legal issues that you don’t want to deal with.
Finding a moving company well versed in moving firearms is the best route, as they can advise you and assist with all of the necessary steps.
Gun laws are constantly changing, so the best way to operate is by researching close to your move date. This will provide you with the most accurate legislation and ensure that your move is seamless.
Moving guns doesn’t have to be stressful! Whether you’re doing it yourself or using a moving company, educating yourself is the most important step to ensuring an easy trip and no issues with transportation.
No one wants to get pulled over with a bunch of guns in their car that aren’t supposed to be there! Part of being a responsible gun owner is knowing how to properly transport your guns, don’t be intimidated by the process!
Good luck on your move!