Interstate Firearm Transport Protection Bill to Protect Travelers With Guns

By Larry Keane

PSA AR15 Midlength Jim Grant
HR 225 would help protect gun-owners from facing jail time for traveling to ban-states while in otherwise legal possession of firearms like this PSA AR-15. IMG Jim Grant

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Traveling between two dots on a map would become less worrisome for travelers transporting firearms if Congress listens to what U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) is offering. He’s introduced H.R. 225, a bill that would remove the legal pitfalls for interstate travel with firearms.

The legislation couldn’t be more timely. America saw its strongest year for background checks ever, with 21 million clocking in throughout 2020. Over 8.4 million people purchased a gun for the very first time, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) survey estimates. It was also a year that saw a rise in hunting license sales and activity as shooting ranges as many sought outdoor opportunities across the board to beat being bored during coronavirus quarantine protocols.

Those gun owners are going to travel and, with a confusing patchwork of laws between the states, it’s time that firearm transportation laws caught up.

Road Blocks

The difficulty for gun owners traveling with their firearm is that each state regulates firearm possession differently. Some states ban modern sporting rifles, posing a traveling obstacle to those firearm owners who need to pass through that state to get to another. This is a real concern for firearm owners who must drive or even stop on flights in states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, or Maryland. Traveling with a modern sporting rifle or standard magazines might not be an issue in New Hampshire but traveling with firearms through the corridor of those strict gun control states means navigating more than just road hazards. It’s weaving through legal hazards too.

This common situation unwittingly turns law-abiding Americans into instant criminals, oftentimes without their knowledge or intention. The case of John Filippidis of Florida gained national attention. Filippidis was pulled over for speeding in Maryland while driving with his family. Police suspected he had a firearm in the car and spent over an hour searching his vehicle, his family scared and watching.

It happened to Army 1st Lt. Augustine Kim. He was traveling from his parents’ home in New Jersey to his own home in South Carolina. While en route he stopped at what was then called Walter Reed hospital in Washington, D.C. in 2010 for a medical appointment. He consented to an officer searching his car for firearms. He told them he had a modern sporting rifle properly locked in the trunk. The problem was modern sporting rifles are banned from possession in the District of Columbia. The Army officer was handcuffed and hauled off to jail, facing 20 years, $20,000 in fines, and four felonies. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge and spent the next two years fighting to get his rifle returned. It took the intervention of U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both Republicans from South Carolina.

This circumstance is common with those in the trucking and transportation industry too, not just private citizens traveling across state lines.

Similar situations arise when hunters travel with their firearms on hunting excursions in other states. Should they be delayed at airports and required to stay overnight away from home, they may be vulnerable to similar inquiries and confiscation by local law enforcement enforcing the very strict gun laws of those states. U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) spoke about this exact situation describing why he supports the effort to pass the firearm interstate transportation law update. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) has led the charge in the House of Representatives before as well.

The Solution

Congressman Griffith’s bill would protect lawful gun owners from falling victim to strict gun control laws in other states should the owner find themselves traveling through or temporarily required to stay over. It’s a commonsense fix that should be a bipartisan law Congress could agree on. It’s not requiring states to change or adopt new standards. It just allows a traveler who is passing through to do so without fear of jail time. This is legislation that should be voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives.


About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect, and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org

National Shooting Sports Foundation

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Ansel Hazen
Ansel Hazen (@ansel-hazen)
10 months ago

This is exactly my problem living in Maine. I can’t go further south than NH on the road safely. Same deal with my concealed carry permit. No reciprocity in the corridor below NH that prevents me from taking any sort of vacation elsewhere. And the kicker is my CCP renewal was a 6 page document that allowed for the release of my medical history and background checks. Yet I renewed my drivers license that allows me to drive in all 50 states ONLINE without providing a single scrap of evidence I was who I said I was. HR 225 should… Read more »

musicman44mag
musicman44mag (@xman)
10 months ago

I will say it again. You want to fix the problem? Constitutional carry and end the BATF insane laws that they enforce and make all states follow the new Federal Laws which is there is no law regarding what you can and cant have with the exception of fully auto. Make BATF take care of terrorists and not common gun owners or their appliances or attachments and only care about straw purchases and things that we are not supposed to have like surface to air missiles and the other toys that Iran gets courteous of obummer given U.S. tax dollars..… Read more »

Macpuma
Macpuma (@mpipesaol-com)
10 months ago

Didn’t we already get this “right” when we surrendered our right to buy new machineguns in 1986?

musicman44mag
musicman44mag (@xman)
10 months ago
Reply to  Macpuma

?

Larry
Larry (@larry)
10 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

The question mark (even if it indicates true ignorance) is actually an eloquent comment on how much ‘protection’ gun owners ultimately got from the Firearms Owners Protection Act.

Took a ‘farewell’ RV trip to New England a couple years ago. Plotted my route to take me from PA to VT through upstate, as expeditiously as possible (under three hours). Totally avoided NJ, MA, CT, RI, NYC, and (otherwise) NY state. It’s a damn shameful thing to admit that we have our own ‘Iron Curtain’ in the USA.

Elisa Delaurenti
Elisa Delaurenti (@elisa-delaurenti)
10 months ago

As if the DNC/CCP now in control of all three branches of govt would EVER allow this…..

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
10 months ago

Even if strengthening the Safe Passage part of FOPA were to pass, New Jersey would still ignore it. NJ does not even recognize a LEOSA Permit.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag (@xman)
10 months ago
Reply to  Ryben Flynn

Kommiefornia too.

Hawk
Hawk (@hawkebh135)
10 months ago

First things first. As a former law enforcement officer, there must be probable cause to search a vehicle unless you give permission. Easy way out of that is, DO NOT give permission to search. If they have probable cause and not just reasonable suspicion, they can get a warrant. If not, then you go on your way and they can’t do a thing. A search warrant takes time and they can hold you there for a “reasonable” amount of time. Who determines what is reasonable? It’s time to fight back people. It always made the job easier when someone said… Read more »

nrringlee
nrringlee (@nrringlee)
10 months ago
Reply to  Hawk

Terry v Ohio. Never consent to a search. It is nothing personal. I have many, many friends who are law enforcement officers at many levels. They know me well enough to know that I can both love them as brothers and sisters and distinguish between unlawful state power and friendship. Be polite, never consent.

DonP
DonP (@donp)
10 months ago
Reply to  nrringlee

I consented to a search a few years ago on my way through Mississippi when stopped for speeding. It was a K-9 unit and he was looking for people running drugs. The dog hit on my car initially when walking around the car. The officer pulled out the pistol in my console (which I had told him about) and then found the other two when searching my trunk. The dog didn’t hit on anything inside the car and it was determined that someone most likely had tried to open my car at the hotel the night before who had been… Read more »

Larry
Larry (@larry)
10 months ago
Reply to  DonP

Well, fine, if you’re breaking a traffic law and you know it, you’ve limited your own options.

RoyD
RoyD (@royd)
10 months ago
Reply to  DonP

I have only had one LEO request to search my vehicle in the 51 years that I have been driving. That occurred around midnight one night about 25 years ago as I was on my way home after working out after work. Sherriff’s Deputy got me doing 55 in a 45 one on a rural road that never saw traffic at that time of night. I was in my workout clothes and he asked if he could search the car. He was an older, 60+, guy and a little pudgy. He was nice about asking and it was a warm… Read more »

Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove (@dr-strangelove)
10 months ago
Reply to  Hawk

I’m a truck driver and state troopers can search my commercial vehicle anytime they see fit. However, the FMCSA does “allow” me to transport a firearm in a locked case, out of reach, with the ammunition stored separately.

Nilsigne
Nilsigne (@confusedforeigngirl)
10 months ago

It won’t pass. The republicans should have done this long ago when they had more political power, but now with a bunch of democrats taking position and the balance of power shifting, this seems more like a ploy to drum up support of gun owners

musicman44mag
musicman44mag (@xman)
10 months ago
Reply to  Nilsigne

The B.S. is that it shouldn’t even be required in the first place. Just the master in charge flexing their I am in control muscle. Constitutional carry must be the mandate and the law of the entire country and end the ATF when it comes to regulation of firearms. They need to spend all their time finding and capturing terrorists.

Last edited 10 months ago by musicman44mag
Nilsigne
Nilsigne (@confusedforeigngirl)
10 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Yah I agree. I drove through Colorado three times last year and was always nervous about getting pulled over since they have those dumb magazine limit laws there

Larry
Larry (@larry)
10 months ago
Reply to  Nilsigne

The Republicans explicitly promised us this in 2016. They unexpectedly found themselves in control of both houses and the White House, and promptly went bats*t trying to think up excuses why they weren’t keeping that promise. As a “gunwoke” voter, the GOP can go pound sand for my support from now on.