A Peaceable Journey?

May 3, 2023
Mike Sampson

Those of us who study state gun laws likely have run across the term “peaceable journey” when considering travel in our United States.

An avid Gun Talk reader and friend who read my April 19 article “Have Gun—Will Travel?” e-mailed me and asked for more explanation about peaceable journey. I thought other Gun Talk subscribers might like to know more too.

Under the national Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, applicable to most states, here’s a definition:

Peaceable journey allows a gun owner to travel through states where they do not have a license to carry, without fear of being arrested. Most states require the firearm be unloaded, in a locked box, or out of the driver's reach when they are in the vehicle. In some states the drivers must pass through the state without stopping, and in others only short stops are tolerated.

My friend’s question and my recent trip from Arkansas to Kentucky prompted me to take a deeper look at some state gun laws and to research peaceable journey.

For a quick look at state peaceable journey regulations take a look at Comparison of Peaceable Journey Nationwide (gunlaws101.com).

Kentucky, which offers permitless carry, does not honor “peaceable journey.” But with permitless carry, does one need to worry about peaceable journey? Nor does Indiana, but that state is permitless carry too.  Arkansas does for handguns, but has permitless carry. Illinois honors peaceable journey for long guns and handguns but has severe firearms restrictions and no state reciprocity. Keep in mind when traveling, many states require that weapons generally need to be secured out of reach.

For specifics, American Firearms Training describes the federal peaceable journey law:

United States Code Title 18, Section 926A  Interstate transportation of firearms
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 a firearm 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.

U.S. Concealed Carry Association confirms this interpretation.

If you travel among states, take a look at reciprocity if you have a CCW in your home state. Pushing your Congressional delegates to implement national reciprocity can’t hurt either.

As antigun pressures increase, there is even more need not to run afoul of state laws when traveling. Do some research and know the laws with the links in this article and at Handgunlaw.us to Stay safe, be prepared on the road.~ Mike

Mike Sampson
Mike now calls Northwestern Arkansas home, but has lived and worked in several states and internationally. He has been an independent contractor and consultant since 2006 specializing in risk management, emergency management and training. In addition to work as a law-enforcement planner and technical writer with the Boise, Idaho, Police Department, he has experience in journalism, crop and animal agriculture, dryland farming for 20 years in western Kansas, plant and animal diseases, pandemic influenza, agroterrorism, bioterrorism, food safety and healthcare marketing.

He has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and has newspaper and agency writing and editing experience. At Washington State University in Pullman, he earned a master’s degree emphasizing adult education and communications.

While living in Lander, WY, Mike provided photographic coverage of the One-Shot Antelope Hunt for three years, and got to meet and accompany folks such as Chuck Yeager, Carroll Shelby, Buzz Aldrin, Dale Robertson and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf on their hunts. He also worked as an outfitter’s guide.

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