How do you move to a new state with firearms?
We recently moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina with more than one gun. I won’t disclose what kind of guns or the number of guns, but suffice it to say that there is more than one.
Thankfully, the guns I have were legal in both PA when I lived there, and in NC where I’m at right now. But, since I have a lot of recent experience moving from one state to another with guns, I figured I’d answer the question …
How do I move to a new state with firearms?
Moving to a new state with your firearms can be an easy process if you’re moving from one state to another with similar gun laws. The first step is to find out if the new state’s gun laws will make you a criminal for possession. Next, you have to pack your guns and decide if you’ll move them yourself or if you’ll have a moving company do it for you. If you have a moving company do it, you must tell them they’re moving your guns, according to the BATFE.
Let’s discuss further.
Moving your guns
There are a lot of decisions you have to make when it comes time to move your guns to a new state. One of those is how you’ll be packaging them up to move. When I moved, I emptied out my gun safes and filled my many gun cases.
The reason why I did this is because my gun safe doesn’t offer anything in the way of protection from the guns banging into each other on a bumpy drive in the back of a moving truck.
If you don’t have enough gun cases, wrap them in something that can offer more protection, like a blanket.
Chances are good that you won’t be able to just load up your safe with its contents in it because of weight, so it is suggested that you box or case the guns up separately, at least until you get the safe on the truck.
Once you get on the truck you can put your goods back inside for safekeeping, or keep them in the case if you feel that’s safer.
If your guns stay out of your safe, or you don’t own a safe yet, make a mental note of where they are, and put them close to the front of the truck (so they’re one of the first items on), and place them in between furniture, in cabinets, etc., to keep them hidden.
Driving with your guns
If you move your guns in your rented moving truck yourself, or if you put them in the back of your car, you could end up with a different set of problems.
The reason why, for example, is that you may find yourself driving through a bad gun state. For me when I moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, the culprit was Maryland.
Just as long as you take some precautions and aren’t actually carrying a gun on your body, you should be fine.
Reason being, under federal law USC 926A we are federally protected to travel from one state where you can legally own and/or have your firearms, to another state where you can legally own and/or have your firearms.
This means that the police in Maryland can’t legally mess with you over your guns. But, that doesn’t mean that they won’t try and that’s the tricky part.
If they’re tucked all the way in the front of a moving truck you should be fine as it’s unlikely that a police officer will go through the trouble.
Knowing the laws
This is arguably the most important part about moving with guns. The last thing you want to have happen is to move across state lines and end up as a felon because you can’t own something in the state you’re moving into.
The Second Amendment is meant to protect the ability of United States Citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, but certain states don’t view the 2A with any authority and take matters into their own hands.
The simple way to combat this is to make sure you’re moving to a state that is gun friendly. But, you may not have that choice, like if you’re moving for work or something along those lines.
Should I Hire a Moving Company To Move My Guns?
One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether you’ll be moving your guns yourself or using a moving company.
I, personally, chose to do the moving myself. But, I moved everything I owned and just kind of stuck the guns in the front of the moving truck in separate gun cases to prevent them from getting damaged while in transit.
The ATF has weighed in on this. They’ve said that if you hire a moving company and they are moving your guns that you have to tell them that they’re moving guns. Here is a screenshot from the linked page:
To put it another way, if you hire someone you must tell them that they’re moving guns by law. Because I don’t want people who know where I live that I’ve got guns, I’d rather just move them myself and keep everyone else out of it.
But that may not be what is right for your specific circumstance. Only you know what you need and I can only provide you with some guidance.
Also in that screenshot is a quick word about NFA items, and you do need to get permission whenever you relocate and are the possesser of NFA items, which is yet another reason why I refuse to own such a thing.
And just so we’re all on the same page, and NFA item is something like a suppressor, an automatic machine gun, or a short barreled rifle that you had to get a tax stamp for.
If you’ve got an upcoming, out of state move in your forecast, it’s a good idea to have a solid idea of how you’ll be moving your firearms beforehand, so you’re not caught scratching your head when the time comes.