Senior Member
Kind of hate to bring this up as it might start a flood of comments regarding our right to bare arms, but after reading the odometer comments on hand guns, I just had to ask.... :question:
What are the rules about carrying a hand gun while traveling from state to state and/or spending your winter months in a warmer state, like Florida? Do you have to have a hand gun lic from each state that requires it (if your traveling through that state) or is a lic from your home base state ok for the rest of the states?
I want to protect my family, but I don't want to break any laws.
comments.... :dead:

Unless you are a sworn police officer or police retiree, your homestate permit does not apply in most other states. There is a few books available listing the reqmts for each state. Suggest you get a copy.
Consider carrying a pump shotgun instead of a handgun. Put a pistol grip stock on it and it is quite compact. Nothing like the sound of a round being jacked into the chamber of a shotgun to get the attn of the bad guys.
Best defense of course is to be aware of your surroundings when stopping and parking. During 4 yrs on the road we fortunately have had no incidents.


Senior Member

The rules vary greatly from place to place. One of the 'Gun Laws of all 50 states' books would be invaluable to see what the rules are where you happen to be (but only at the time the book was written, of course). Some states require a state permit even to possess a firearm, while others require a permit to carry concealed. The possession permit is of value only in the state of issue. The concealed carry permit may have some states which have worked out a reciprical agreement with the state of issue.

The odds approach 100% that if you travel a lot, you will at some time be in violation of some law. Your best bet for avoiding/minimizing trouble would be if the gun is unloaded and locked in a 'vault'. (Note that those 'blind' opening vaults and clips/speedloaders can still allow adequate access). Also look into a Federal law which is alleged to state (or used to) that if you are 'transporting' a weapon from a location where you are legal to another location where you are legal, you cannot be charged with illegal possession while 'passing through' any jurisdiction between them. 'Transporting' probably indicates unloaded and cased.

It's just to much of a risk. There are two ways of lookin at it though. No one "should" know you have it unless you "really" need it. In that case it may be worth the penelty. I like the pump shotgun. First of all like was said the sound is enough to make a point. Second it's a much better self defence weapon.

There are thoughts about your camper being your home and the right to have protection in your home but I don't trust some local cop and "his" court.


Senior Member

The shotgun does have some attractions for protection. There are some caveats though, as well. The sound is indeed intimidating and if stored with shells in the magazine but none in the chamber, is perhaps the 'safest' loaded but accessible firearm. However, as with any clip or magazine, you should remove the ammo every so often and let it 'recover' to prevent the spring from taking a 'set' leading to feed failure. Due to the size, it is harder to keep out of sight, protect from theft, and if you use a trailer, move back and forth between the trailer and tow vehicle. The latter is not a factor in a motorhome, of course. In a trailer situation, possibly a revolver or no gun in the tow vehicle and the shotgun in the trailer would mitigate this factor.

Loading/reloading is in most cases slow and subject to fumble. The shotgun is famous for encouraging bad marksmanship because 'shot spread' seems to imply 'close' is good enough. Well, its not, cause the spread is not that much at short range. One is less likely to practice with a defensive shotgun, although too many people don't practice with their defensive handguns, either.

Selection of ammunition is also important. Buck shot (#4) is the most effective, but will likely penetrate not only your flimsy wall, but the one next to you. #00 Buck, the stuff most places will try to sell you for defence, is best only if you are likely to be attacked by a Buick :) Bird shot may not overpenetrate and be less unpleasant to fire, but is not as effective at stopping a person (or large animal).

And lastly, although there are places where the shotgun won't get you in trouble and a handgun will, there are other places where both will cause problems.

C Nash

Senior Member

Personally, I like the shotgun with bird shot even for protection. Lot more shot and will do more damage at very close range than buckshot and will make him speed up if running away. Saw a man that had been shot at close range with bird shot and it was a terrible sight. He was where he was not supposed to be and he is now where he should be. Like stated, there is something very un-nerving about the breeching sound and most know it's hard to miss with a shotgun. Don't know about the shotgun with the pistol stock, law might frown on them. I believe in protecting my family with whatever means it takes. If it was just me, might think different. Used to be able to run pretty fast and probably still could, if I had to. :laugh: (AJMHO) and I'm sticking to it :evil:

Far be it from me to suggest that anyone do anything illegal but based on the number of times that I have had a law enforcement officer come through and search my RV I would feel quite comfortable secluding the weapon of my choice inside the RV.

Although I would prefer a handgun or a shotgun to carry with me in my travels through U.S. and Canada, I prefer a "Compound Bow". I enjoy fishing and hunting, and bowfishing combines the 2 sports. I have never considered arming myself with a firearm, and perhaps that is because I feel "safe enough" with the bow. I have never worried about crossing the border with one, or the police searching my vehicle, nor do I worry about a criminal at my door. The criminal the way I see it does not want any kind of shoot out, to him its a job (LOL), and he is interested in easy opportunities. He also assumes most people are unarmed (especially in Canada), which is his advantage. However, fire an arrow through your door/window and guranteed he will not "stick" around. By the way, a bow is more accurate then a handgun at 25yds, and todays compound bows come with a front and rear sight (peep sight built into the string). A few hours training is all that is needed to be shooting within a 6 inch circle consistantly. Also, there are a lot of exremely short bows made today (eg-32" length), perfect for tight quarters. If still not your bag, try a crossbow (although reloading is slower), but more accurate, easier to shoot.

Other advantages of a bow:
1. No licensing, no training courses, no police checks, no club membership required (In Canada you can only travel to target shoot at a club, using the shortest route to get there). That leaves you completely defenseless in your travels throughout Canada.
2. Family entertainement (target shooting)
3. When the fish aren't biting and your hungry, stick em' (Pike are tasty)!
4. Range of guns is too far and can hurt others, the bow offers true short range protection which is all you need. They are powerful as well, and can shoot clean through a bear at short range.
5. If your vehicle is broken into, your handgun might be used in another crime (you may be the one going to jail).
6. Used bows are available at any fishing/archery shop for the $100 range. Get a recurve bow for $25-50 at a pawn shop. Compound bows are easier to shoot (less draw strength required) for women.
7. In Canada your gun must have a trigger lock, and bullets must be stored seperately under lock (rifles inc). No problem getting the firearm prepared just before bedtime, but what if it is daylight hours and there still locked up. Man or beast, your not ready to use it, and if you leave them unlocked and a policeman shows up, your holiday just ended.

It's not the perfect solution (I prefer an Uzi, grenade,etc), but it is a no hassle solution. All you have to do is show the punks your not defenseless, they are not going to chance getting hurt, too much explaining to momma later.

Considering the risks of carrying any kind of firearm (especially in Canada), try PREVENTION as your solution. A loud "siren" with a panic button, a big dog (or at least a beware of dog sign on the window), a cell phone,park under lights, stay near 24 hr businesses (people around...donut shops, 24 hr gas bars) and a compound bow if the criminal still hasn't got the message he isn't wanted. In most cases it will be punks wanting spending money, and any criminal that works the area knows the punishment when a crime is done while using a weapon.

You must also prove "deadly force" was used and your life was in "immediate" danger. So I just wouldn't start firing away without realizing the consequences (lifetime in jail). Do you want a dangerous shoot out? Do you want someone dead and police investigating when all you needed is to prove your not defenseless with some kind of warning shot (which a bow can do).

Check with your state licensing division. There are a number of states that have reciprocity agreements regarding their concealed gun laws. I live in Texas and we have reciprocity agreements with about 10 other states.


There is a great web site to help you with this. Just take a look at www.packing.org to find the rules for every state. Most states have reciprocal agreements so if you have a permit in Texas for example, it would be good in Florida and many other states. Some states also allow non-resident permits thus you could have permits in two or more states and by reciprocal agreements, be covered in over 25 states.

Just check the web site for every state and use discretion.

Motor on