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Know Your Gun Laws

By Frank Semeraro, AKA BIG GUN
Certified NRA Pistol Instructor

As gun owners, it is our responsibility to know our state and local gun laws.   Many people go out and purchase a firearm and never check the firearms laws of their state.    Not knowing your state gun laws or pleading ignorant isn’t a defense and can land you in jail for not knowing.   Since laws vary from state to state and people are constantly moving they should know the gun laws of the state they are moving to.

For example, I live in the great state of Tennessee.   There are no magazine restrictions here so all my rifle magazines are 30 round magazines.   Most of my pistols have 15 round magazines.   I know for a fact that if I moved to a state like New Jersey which has a 10 round restriction on both pistols and rifles, I could be in hot water if I was in possession of those magazines in New Jersey.

If you carry a firearm it is even more important to know your state and local laws.   You should know where you can and can’t carry.    Since the laws differ from state to state, it may be legal to carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol in one state but not another.    The same applies to state parks, school property, etc.

A good example is one day my wife and I were traveling on the bike.   The next thing I know the GPS routed us through Maryland.   I was carrying a loaded Glock with a 15 round magazine.   If I would have gotten pulled over I could have landed in jail because I can’t carry in Maryland.

What about shooting on your property.   I live outside city limits and I can shoot on my property.   People who live less than a mile away live within city limits and legally cannot.   They shoot on their property because they see and hear us do it but if a neighbor were to call the local authorities, they could find themselves in trouble.

There is a lot of confusion about permitless carry.   Typically, if a state is a permitless carry state, only residents of that state may carry.    A lot of people think that in a permitless state anyone can carry without a permit.    If you live in a permitless carry state you should still apply for a concealed carry permit.    The reason is that you will only have reciprocity in another state If you have a resident permit from your home state.    You should also know what states have reciprocity with your home state.    You should also know what states you can open carry in.     Some states allow concealed carry but prohibit open carry.    You should also know how to transport firearms in your vehicle when driving through states that are not gun-friendly.

Firearms laws vary from state to state and in some instances even from county to county.   Do yourself a favor and read your state and local firearm laws as well as the laws of any state you may be traveling through.