Almost everyone on the road has heard of Jason’s Law and the controversy that has followed in trucker safety. As politicians argue about trucking regulations and safe rest stops, truckers are still struggling to find a place where their life is safe as they sleep. Many suggestions have been offered, but there is one that I see popping up a lot among the blogs and social media. There are constant replies that look something like this: “.357!”, “My .45 is all I need”, “Get you a firearm and have it ready.”
Whether you agree or disagree, there are truck drivers out there who are determined to take control of their own situation with a personal firearm. As an avid firearm collector myself, I wanted to know what steps were needed to carry a firearm legally on the road.
It turns out that the answer really is “it depends.”
For those looking for federal law, there’s not much besides Title 18 U.S.C. 926a. in which the law states:
Sec. 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.
The problem here is the law is vague. This law deals with “transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm.” Does this include carrying a personal firearm? Or does it only apply to guns as a product being transferred? If you are carrying a firearm for protection, how useful is it being locked up without ammunition in a different location?
I have never met a criminal that gave you time to get out of your truck, go into a different compartment, unlock a box with your firearm in it, get the ammo and then load the firearm before they try to rob or kill you.
The federal law is not much help, but truck drivers must be extremely aware of state laws and company regulations. If you are planning on carrying a firearm then you should be a responsible person to begin with. It is a great responsibility to decide that you are the one to use a weapon in a situation. That means, you should responsibly check each state’s laws before you drive there and check your company’s rules before you make a decision.
Some states have restrictions but you have a pass if you are simply moving through and only stopping for gas or food. Other places, like Washington D.C. are strictly no-gun zones. That means only the criminals can carry guns in D.C..
I recently had a Twitter conversation where a trucker claims his life was saved simply by showing his gun to someone who was waving a gun at him. The situation was diffused and he is still driving safely on the road. He wonders if he would still be alive if he had not had a gun. Another trucker was just recently shot in San Antonio at an ATM. I doubt a gun would have helped him in this situation, but shouldn’t he at least have the option to try and protect himself?
For those of you thinking about carrying, what do you think? Should there be federal law or should you simply go state by state? Should responsible citizens be able to gain a universal carry permit? How far is too far?
, gun laws