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Guns in Cars: Safe Storage & Legal Considerations in 2024

Having a gun in your car is legal in many states, but there are specific regulations and considerations you should be aware of. Additionally, certain places like schools, government buildings, and private properties may have their own rules regarding firearms in vehicles, which is why you should always research and follow the laws to ensure you’re legally and responsibly transporting firearms in your car.
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Federal Firearms Transportation Laws

Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 aka “The Peaceable Journey Law”

According to USCCA, the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, also known as “The Peaceable Journey Law,” grants individuals the right to transport firearms through states where they do not possess a valid permit, provided they are legally permitted to carry in both the state of origin and the destination [1]. However, the individual must be in transit and cannot linger in states where firearm possession is prohibited.

Additionally, the firearm must be unloaded and secured in a locked container or out of the driver’s immediate reach, unless state law dictates otherwise. It’s advisable to store ammunition separately, preferably in a locked container. Some states may require uninterrupted passage, while others allow brief stops.

It’s important to note that this act does not authorize the use of firearms for defensive purposes during transit.

Fed Interstate 18 USC § 926A — Vehicle carry unloaded and secured

Under Federal Interstate 18 USC § 926A, individuals are permitted to carry unloaded firearms in vehicles, provided they are secured. These provisions aim to safeguard travelers’ rights to transport firearms for lawful purposes between locations where possession is legal.

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. It is recommended that ammunition be in a separate, preferably locked container

Penal Code § 25400 PC – Carrying a Concealed Weapon

According to SCLG, California Penal Code § 25400 PC makes it a crime to carry a concealed firearm on your person or in a vehicle unless you have a valid CCW permit. Carrying a concealed handgun without a valid CCW permit can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, punishable by up to 3 years in jail [2].

PC 25400 specifically pertains to firearms capable of being concealed, such as pistols and revolvers.

Here are five essential points to understand about California’s concealed carry regulations:

  • Carrying concealed without a permit may lead to a minimum 3-month jail term if you have prior convictions for felonies or firearm offenses.
  • A straight felony conviction under PC 25400 can result in permanent loss of gun rights unless a pardon is obtained.
  • However, if the charge is classified as a wobbler, it might be possible to regain gun rights through a petition.
  • It’s important to note that a PC 25400 charge is distinct from charges related to carrying a loaded firearm (PC 25850) or openly carrying an unloaded firearm (PC 26350).
  • Additionally, SB 2 prohibits carrying firearms in most public places, even with a valid CCW permit.

Unlawful Transportation of Firearms Federal

The core objective of 18 USC Section 922(e) revolves around regulating the transportation and delivery of firearms and ammunition via common or contract carriers in interstate or foreign commerce. This statute emphasizes transparency and accountability, mandating that anyone dispatching a package or container containing firearms or ammunition to a carrier must furnish written notice to the carrier regarding the contents.

This written notice is a safeguard to ensure that carriers are aware and can take necessary precautions when transporting firearms or ammunition. However, the law also acknowledges the rights of individuals.

For instance, if a passenger is transporting firearms or ammunition across state lines or international borders using a common or contract carrier, they have the option to surrender the firearm or ammunition to the designated official, such as a pilot or train conductor, for the duration of the journey. This provision safeguards the individual’s rights while maintaining journey safety.

Additionally, the statute includes a crucial directive for carriers, explicitly prohibiting them from labeling or tagging packages containing firearms in a manner that would disclose their contents to the general public. This measure is essential for preserving the privacy and security of the shipment, mitigating potential theft or misuse risks.

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