Traveling Cross Country With A Gun In Your RV

By Trey Copeland

Guns in Your RV and Camper
Traveling with Guns in Your RV and Camper, Locked and Stored is Best
Camping World
Camping World

Lincolnshire, IL – -( So it’s spring time and you are ready to travel across the country in your RV. If you’re a fan of target shooting and hunting like I am, then you will most likely have at least one firearm with you at all times.

But do you know the rules and regulations on traveling with a firearm in your RV?

Transporting a gun across state lines in the United States is normally not an issue. As long as you follow the laws stated in the Gun Control Act of 1968, which is enforced by the National Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, then you should be fine.

Federal law permits “peaceable journey” transport of firearms across state lines. Any individual (except convicted felons, persons under indictment for felonies, mental defectives or incompetents, illegal users of controlled drugs, illegal aliens, veterans dishonorably discharged, those who have renounced their U.S. citizenship, fugitives from justice, persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, and persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders) may transport a firearm from one location to another as long as the individual is allowed to do so. No federal permit is required to travel with a firearm in your vehicle. Basically, if the gun is unloaded and in a locked container, you can’t get in trouble for having it ride along with you, but it is highly recommended to store the firearm in the trunk.

But what about when traveling in your RV where you have no trunk to lock your firearm?

The good news is transporting firearms across state lines in your RV is the same as any other automobile. The gun should be unloaded and stored in the back of the RV in a locked compartment. It should never be in the glove compartment or center console. The key to transporting a firearm is that it should never be where you or someone else can easily reach and it must be unloaded. Most outdoor retailers such as Camping World carry gun cases and racks for transporting guns.

Now, these rules are mostly applying to RVers who do not have their concealed carry license. If you are federally licensed to carry a concealed weapon, then you may carry your firearm within reach of you. If you are seeking to carry a concealed weapon across state lines, it is advisable to check what the law says for each individual state. You can see a list of available state laws here –

State and local gun transport laws vary from place to place and it is your responsibility as the gun owner to research the laws before you embark on your trip.

For example, New York law says if you are traveling across the state and can legally possess the firearm where you started and where you are going you can transport it legally with no issues, but if you stop in NY and spend the night at a campground or hotel, you are in violation of NY law and can be arrested if found with a firearm.

So what about campgrounds? What are the laws pertaining to firearms on the premise? First, you should have contacted the campground before hand to find out the gun laws. Every campground, whether public or private, is different and laws could vary from campground to campground. For example, Kentucky law does not prohibit the owners of private premises from excluding persons carrying firearms. Failure to vacate private premises when asked to do so could result in a criminal trespass charge. Simply, if the campground does not allow firearms, you should turn around and find another place to stay.

Like myself, I do a lot of boondocking. Boondocking is the free way to camp. Larger retail stores like Wal-Mart allow RVers to use their parking lots for overnight parking, in fact, most stores encourage it. It’s recommended to call ahead or go in to talk with the manager to make sure they are ok with you parking overnight. Also, Wal-Mart allows customers to bring handguns on the premises if legally permitted.

Transporting a firearm under the provisions of the Gun Control Act is not complicated as long as you follow the gun transport laws. But, do not ignore local and state laws. It would be unwise to take your gun from its secured location unless you know for sure that in the area you are visiting you will not be in violation of any local or state laws.

Here are some more resources for further reading on Travel with Guns:

  • State-by-State Handgun Laws – website with detailed information of interest to travelers
  • The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States – handy printed guide for purchase that you can stow in your vehicle
  • Which States Honor Your CCW License? – list showing which states honor your CCW license
  • Gun Laws By State : Great reference book. If you own firearms or plan to and want to know you’re following the law of each state but don’t want to spend weeks trying to figure it out, this book is for you. A great resource to have with you when you travel.
  • BATFE’s State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms, 2010-2011 – nitty gritty details of state laws, not for the feint of heart


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Thanks. That ‘s a good one. It’s pickup truck and travel trailer actually


When I travel I research all the states that do not my concealed carry permit from Michigan. I mark them on the map as evil states and try to avoid them and not spend any money if possible. Never thought the Constituition was something each state could ignore. I guess if that’s the case it would be advisable to remove the first amendment from DC and California. It would be nice to hear silence from those two places.


Lol! How did you all miss this in the article??? “The key to transporting a firearm in your RV is never have it where you can reach it quickly and it must be unloaded”. WHAT??? Then what is the purpose of arming yourself if you can’t get to it quickly for rapists, murderers, kidnappers, thieves and any other form of absolutely necessary self protection?? I can tell you this: Those criminal’s guns ARE within their reach and they are definitely loaded. You people crack me up.


I agree with you. Some people even will suggestv taking the gun apart, and hiding the pieces in different locations. That’s DUMB!


Camping World is an outrageously expensive outdoors supply. That is the last place I would shop for any supplies.


Be very careful going through NJ. The laws are the most restrictive in the country. NJ does not honor any other state’s conceal carry license. Only retired LE and security guards can get a conceal carry permit in NJ. NJ only allows you to carry a handgun in your vehicle if you are going to/from the gun store, a firing range, or another one of your properties. There has been a couple of high profile incidents in the last year or so with people coming into NJ from other states where they have their CC permit and they get stopped… Read more »


I live in New Jersey , if you shoot an intruder that breaks into your home you go to jail he gets to take you to court and take everything including home , pensions, and all investments. The only way you are off the hook is if he had a gun pointing at you. Even if he has a gun if he did not threaten you and you shoot your life time in prison .


Well folks, I certainly agree with kitty bell. I have always carried a gun for protection in a Motor Home. It is absolutely necessary!! However, last summer I went into Canada thru Detroit and did not declare, The Canadian Border Cops decided to search and found my 2 revolvers and arrested me( I`m 81 Years Old) Locked me in a cage for several hours ,took my French Bulldog away from me,and after they decided I was not a risk,fined me $2000.00 or they would confiscate my Motor Home!! How Nice!!! Kept the guns also!!! I guarantee the Bad Guys with… Read more »


Ahhh Canada. I sailed my 42 ft sailboat across Lake Ontario from NY to near Toronto. The Canadian aurhotities intercepted me about 3 miles from the marina. Canada Customs boarded me, did not allow me to leave my boat and asked and I quote, “Do you have any restricted weapons on board?” I researched the restricted weapons list before I crossed the lake. I had a 12 gauge pump shotgun secured in my aft cabin closet which was locked. I answered truthfuly. NO. They searched and found it and you would think I was Usama bin Laden. They tore my… Read more »


Funny is it not, that one State in such a great nation of States can hold back freedom from citizens of the entire nation by their draconian firearms laws. If they are going to hold that law over my head, then i should get to vote for those who enact those laws! Basic freedom there. Personally I don’t care if I ever go to New Jersey again, passed through there in the mid 1970’s, didn’t think much of it then, didn’t loose anything there, so no reason to return. Think I will stay West of the Mississippi River where folk… Read more »

Jerry J

I never would keep a firearm in glove box for two big reason. 1. First place a thief would look if you go inside somewhere. Only thing keeping honest people honest is a piece of glass. 2. If you get pulled over by authorities for anything, if nothing more than an insurance card check, and you open glove box and pull out a pistol because the paperwork is under it. Bad things will happen.


Hence why it would be a good idea to simply tell the police officer there’s a firearm first. That kind of defeats your 2nd point. As for your first point if you have a vehicle with bad security or an vehicle with a jimmy-able glovebox you wouldn’t want an in there, but a good, modern, lockable glovebox is going to work just as well as any storage container.


Good reading material . Though one important subject not mentioned . That is “reciprocity law” between 34 states that allow the concealed carry permit holder resident of one state can legally carry in other 34 states . That is a lot of states 34 out of 50 .
Never heard of it ? read for yourself


Thank you for that link!


This article seems like an ad for Camping World. That’s OK, everybody has to make a living. The place to go to find the laws is It’s a comprehensive site and kept up to date.


I was under the impression it is legal to transport a firearm in a vehicle in California as long as it is unloaded and stored out of reach of the driver and in a locked compartment separate from the ammunition .

I was also under the impression you may carry a gun on your person in California if you have the proper permit , the ease of which to obtain varying widely by locality .

That’s all not true ?


We went thru and stayed in canada several days last summer, I did not take my pistol with us however I did take bear spray and a marine flare pistol. Crossed four different boarder crossings without incident. Granted you won’t kill anything with it, but it should suffice to get their attention and alone.


What happened to the Wild West days and Bad Bob?

Eric Nichol

Yes,city ordinances can, and DO apply to Walmart parking lots.


1. There is no federal license to carry. Some folks can carry because of their special status, but that doesn’t apply to us Peons. 2. As long as it is legal in any state you are passing through, you don’t even need to keep it in the locked case. Note that laws vary state to state and you would need to be aware of the laws in every state (and possibly county/city in some states without preemption) you pass through. In Alabama for example (this was 15 years ago, so the laws may have changed), you could open carry walking… Read more »

Bulent Aliev

That’s why I left Canada 30 years ago and never had desire to go back even for a visit.


FFL holder can y anything anytime. That s a Federal License.


An FFL is not a carry permit. It allows one to make, sell, and/or gunsmith depending on the type of FFL. It also allows one to receive guns across state lines.


I see many comments from folk who have parked beneath the “NO OVERNIGHT PARKING” signs at Wallmart, and upon asking inside are given permission, the signs are there to satisfy city and state regulations. That said, it there are city and state laws governing them (to protect local campgrounds) then nothing saying a police officer or deputy sheriff may knock on your door at 2:00Am (a favorite time to check these things out) and issue you a $300,00 ticket for unlawful overnight parking, could and has happened, so my advice as a retired police officer with a paralegal degree, if… Read more »

Joe at

Then that’s when you don’t answer the door. Problem solved and no ticket.


To second what trketed said, our local Walmart would love to allow campers, it’s great for business, but there are local ordinances against it. I know it’s not really pertinent to the article, but I wanted to throw it out there.

don holmes

to Brian Winters. N.J. the home of Cris Cristie ? He is so anti U.S.Constitution and somewhere between moderate and its my way or the highway. Remember N.J. laws come election time. We can’t afford another lying politician.


Where are you going to find a politician who doesn’t lie?


I’ve occasionally experienced Walmart stores that do not permit overnight camping, This is usually due to local city/county regulations that prohibit camping in parking lots.


What if your in a pickup truck and you do not have a locked compartment in the back of the bed to put your gun in?

brian winters

If you travel thru nj with a firearm in your rv do not stop overnight. If you do you loose the federal passthru exemption. I know of at least 3 examples of people who left eh highway to sop at a rstaurant for dinner going thru nj and when it came out due to an motor vehicle accident they had an unloaded cased firearm they were arrested and spent the night in jail. Nj has horrible laws.

YSgt B

1.) Aside from the “Only Ones” (law enforcement), could you provide an example of being “federally licensed to carry concealed weapons”?

2.) I’ve talked to WalMart HQ, and their policy (unless it has changed recently) is that they DO NOT PROHIBIT weapon possession at/in their stores unless prohibited by law. They are actually very firearms friendly, at least in my experience. I’ve carried openly and concealed in their stores, and aside from an overreaction by a young, misinformed tire buster at a store in Ohio, I’ve never had a problem.


I’d would have loved to seen the expression that tire guy.


It is getting more and more complicated to do anything anymore when or where a firearm is involved…Know this law…Know that law…Most laws are written so that it almost requires an attorney to figure out what exactly what is legal or permissible and what is not…When I’m camping I always have a firearm with me…Law or no law!

Fed Up

Not all Walmart locations permit staying overnight. I ran into a few in CA that informed us as soon as we arrived that we would be towed if we parked for longer than our shopping trip.

Talk about making you feel welcome…

Gary Mosteller

Some states and or counties have city ordinances against overnight parking even in your car. Walmart or the retailer has no control over this and must enforce it. My advice is to leave California anyway.

Super Genius

Gary: you are wrong. Walmart is private property. City ordinances do not apply there.

Marion W

If a city has ordinances that do not allow overnight parking, it would apply to a Walmart parking lot. Being a commercially zoned property, Walmart falls under city zoning ordinances.