Traveling While Carrying
It is the holiday season which means that many people may be traveling to visit friends or family. I did some traveling myself recently and implemented concealed carry into my travels.
This past weekend, my parents and I drove from Salt Lake City, Utah to my hometown of Mountain View, California. Carrying throughout this trip was very important to me. We have all heard stories about the terrifying things that happen at rest stops and random gas stations in the middle of nowhere.
In the summer of 2018, my mom and I were driving me back to Utah for the new semester. We had stopped at a fast food restaurant in Nevada and our plan was for me to go in and order the food, while she waited in the car with my dog. As I was about to get out of the car, a man came up to the driver side window and started knocking on it. Neither of us felt safe in that situation, and we immediately locked our doors and drove away without our food or a bathroom break. The worst part was that I felt defenseless. My gun was in the back of the car, unloaded and in a locked container per California law.
Because of my past experience, I knew that I needed to carry on my trip. Before carrying across state lines, it is absolutely essential that you properly prepare for it by taking the following steps.
#1: Know the Law
You need to know the concealed carry laws for each of the states you will be traveling through. You need to know which (if any) of those states recognize your permit. There are so many resources out there that make it easy to know where you can carry based on which permit you have. My favorite is USA Carry – their map is super simple to use and the laws are frequently checked and updated.
In my example, Nevada recognizes my Utah carry permit, however, California does not. I carried my gun each time we stopped in Nevada. Once reaching the California state line, I had to follow the California law. This meant that I had to unload my firearm, and store it in a locked container for the remainder of our drive. (yes, I know that CA laws suck)
#2: Be Prepared to Follow the Law
Make sure you have the necessary supplies to follow the laws of the states you travel through. For example, if you will be driving through California at some point, make sure to have a storage container and lock so you can effectively follow the law. If you do happen to get pulled over for speeding or something and you are not following the law surrounding transporting firearms, you could face some serious consequences.
#3: Have a Good Carry Setup for Sitting in the Car
When sitting for long periods of time, consider how comfortable your carry setup will be. I have found that wearing my gun a little bit higher up makes it very comfortable for carrying while sitting. Keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you so try some different things and find what you like. I attached my holster to a belly band. I was very comfortable and it made it easy to keep on (and possibly access if needed) during any bathroom stops.
#4: Be Aware
I also want to stress the importance of being aware of your surroundings. When filling up your car with gas, pay attention to what’s going on around you instead of looking at your phone. The best way to be able to effectively stop a threat is by identifying it as quickly as possible. If you pull into a rest stop or other parking lot, make sure it looks safe before getting out of the car. This may seem like common sense but it can be so easy to fall into a pattern of assumptions. Assuming that things will be safe is a nice way to think about the world, but the reality is that it is not always true. If something seems sketchy or off, it most likely is.