Can I Go On Vacation With My Gun?

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Summer is upon us, and it’s the time of year when many of us go on vacation. For the gun carrier, this can present a number of questions like, can I bring my gun with me to that state? Will my carry permit work in that state? Can I carry it in state parks?

Let’s discuss this more in-depth.

Can I go on vacation with my gun?

You can go on vacation with your gun as long as you meet the requirements of the state where you’re going. Don’t bring or carry your gun in a state where ownership and carrying is illegal.

Sadly, it varies from one state to the next.

To get a definitive answer, the best bet is to always visit the state’s website where you’ll be vacationing. The state website, not to mention federal travel laws, should always act as the final authority on the subject of what you do or don’t do.

Before you go on vacation with your carry gun, think about the following.

Know the gun laws:

You should always freshen up your knowledge about the gun laws in any state you visit for vacation, or otherwise.

At least part of the issue surrounding the current makeup of our country is that each state has different laws on the books. And, making matters even more confusing is when a specific state has different laws by county or jurisdiction.

I always learn the gun laws whenever I travel to a different state to make sure I don’t end up in prison.

I currently live in North Carolina, but I’m in South Carolina every week and Tennessee several times each year. I have had to become familiar with the laws in those states so I know what to expect. When I travel to Florida later on this year, or Nevada next year, I’ll do some research to see what has changed.

Furthermore, if I was to plan a visit anywhere else, I’d want to know what they frowned upon before actually going. You should always know the laws, even if you have no plans to follow them.

There are some states that are so freedom-averse that I don’t even visit. If you find yourself wanting to visit one of those states, I offer you the following advice –

Go somewhere else:

If the gun laws in the state you plan to visit aren’t very good, it may be a good idea to go somewhere else. I’ve been looked at strangely after telling people that I refuse to go to Hawaii because I can’t bring my firearm with me, and to be honest I don’t really care.

I don’t like the beach anyway.

I’m not going to lie, the number of times I’ve chosen to not go on vacation to a state that was anti-freedom is astounding. In fact, I still have family in New Jersey whom I haven’t seen in many years because, while my family is pro-gun, the state in which they live is not.

It’s not about fear as much as it is about being prepared for anything, or because I just refuse to give my business to anyone who hates freedom, including individual states like New Jersey, New York, Maryland, California, and a few others.

I’m just not going to go to an area that restricts the rights of Americans, and I suggest you do the same.

Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity:

One of the bigger aspects of knowing what is favorable between states is checking up on which states share concealed carry reciprocity with your state’s permit. What I mean, is that each state in the union decides which carry permit they’d allow.

For example, I have an NC carry permit and Washington State currently, as of this writing, reciprocates with North Carolina. So if I visited friends in the eastern part of that state, my permit would be valid.

However, if I still lived in Pennsylvania I wouldn’t be legally able to carry in WA if I was to vacation there because they don’t share reciprocity.

Know federal travel laws:

Federal travel law states that if you can possess and carry it where you’re from and where you’re going you’re allowed safe passage through other states.

What if you have to travel through some of those states on your way to your vacation destination? For example, what if on my way to New Hampshire, a state that reciprocates with my NC carry permit, I have to drive through New York?

While I could sidestep Maryland if I wanted to tack on extra travel time, there is no way around the Empire State. The only way to go from NC to NH is through NY. Period.

Thankfully, there is a federal provision in US Code 926a that prevents you from getting in trouble.

It makes it so that if you can legally own the firearm where you’re from and can have it where you’re going then New York shouldn’t be able to do anything to you because it’s prevented by a superceding law.

I’m not a lawyer, and you should always read the laws for yourself and check in with an attorney. US Code 926a is one of the most important pieces of ammo you can arm yourself with because, as we’ve found out, many local and state police aren’t aware of federal law.

Read up on traveling to another state by plane, next.


Before you go on vacation, it’s a good idea to know the laws of the state you plan to go to. There are a lot of resources available to you, but the best, most up-to-date method is to go straight to the source as you check out that state’s website.

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