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One State’s Horrible Gun Laws for Travelers Strike Again – Will You Be the Next Statistic?

New Jersey’s gun laws are getting pretty good at making criminals out of law-abiding citizens. You may remember the case of Shaneen Allen, a Philadelphia mother of two who faced jail time in New Jersey for merely possessing the firearm she was authorized by Pennsylvania to have. Allen had previously been robbed twice while leaving work, and so purchased a gun, and also obtained a license to carry. When she told a NJ state trooper during a traffic stop that she had both the gun and PA-issued concealed carry permit on her person, she was arrested for violating New Jersey’s firearms laws. The prosecutor of Atlantic County sought to make an example of her, and she was facing several years in jail. It was only after a public outcry ensued in her defense that the prosecutor backed off and Allen was able to avoid imprisonment.

Now comes the case of Pennsylvania corrections officer Raymond Hughes. Hughes and his wife were recently returning home from a concert in New Jersey when they were involved in an automobile accident. When Mr. Hughes incidentally declared to police that he had a gun under the seat, he was charged for carrying a weapon without a New Jersey permit, despite being duly licensed in his home state of PA. Not only was Hughes been suspended from his job as a corrections officer, he was facing a possible 3 ½ year prison term, as well. Ultimately, the state decided to drop the charges on the basis of a technicality, but that does not change the fact that New Jersey’s laws, vis-à-vis this sort of thing, are just ludicrous.

2016-02-29_18-19-32That both Allen and Hughes managed to get by without going to prison, while surely a relief to each of them, should be of little consolation to the rest of us who would like to have complete peace of mind as we travel about the country under what we would like to think are the inherent protections provided by the Second Amendment. The fact is, however, that much of the intent and spirit of the Second Amendment has been allowed to be suffocated by state legislatures happy to put chokeholds on gun owners; until some kind of national reciprocity law is passed at the federal level that allows concealed weapons permit holders licensed by each state to remain out of trouble when they carry a weapon throughout the country, then the kind of trouble that befell Ms. Allen and Mr. Hughes will be lurking for us all.

My suggestion for avoiding these kinds of jams is for all gun owners to keep handy a convenient reference guide that informs them as to the relevant laws of all fifty states. To that end, I highly recommend the Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States. This is a terrific, 8 ½ x 11 physical book written by J. Scott Kappas, a Kentucky-based attorney who also operates a firearms business. The Traveler’s Guide provides a wealth of information on this subject, information that answers all of the questions you will have as a gun-carrying traveler to other states, including:

  • Which states allow me to carry a “loaded” firearm in the passenger compartment of my vehicle?

  • Which states allow me to carry a concealed firearm with or without a license to carry?

  • Which states honor my permit to carry a concealed firearm?

  • Which states’ laws allow open carry of a firearm while on foot?

  • Which states prohibit the mere possession of a handgun while in a vehicle?

  • Which states allow me to carry a firearm in their state parks?

  • How can I transport firearms on commercial airline, cruise ships & trains?

  • How can I transport firearms through a state that prohibits any gun possession?

The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm laws of the Fifty States provides the answers to these questions, and so much more. The bottom line is that if you are a gun owner, this book is a “must-have” if you ever expect to travel outside of your home state; I highly recommend it. To order your copy, Click Here.

 By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large