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Traversing Through NY and Gun Laws


Forewarning: I'm going to try and keep this as generic as possible for the benefit of myself and anyone who responds.

If someone was so inclined to take a trip from a southern state toward one north of NY on vacation, should they have concern about the transportation of firearms in the vehicle?

Details, I would like to give advice to someone who is considering traveling from a state well bellow the Mason Dixon line, to a state north of NY. The only options on this trip are tavel through NY/Canada or fly. They would most likely have a rental car with out of state plates. The question really comes down to, how safe would it be to travel through NY with firearms? They would prefer to drive, but going on an extended vacation without firearms is out of the question. If deemed to risky to drive through NY they would fly and check firearms, picking them back up when landing.

Well Canada is off the list. You cannot enter Canada with a handgun.


Just an FYI anything more than a 10 round magazine is illegal in NY, regardless of how many rounds you plan to load. As soon as you cross into NY you have broken the law.  Also NY has NO reciprocity for CCW permits.  The gun must be locked in the trunk during passage through NY and the ammo must be stored separately.  The law is a bit fuzzy about stopping in NY, even for fuel or food, so I would gas up in Pennsylvania and have lots of snacks and would not STOP.

While Vermont and Maine have Constitutional carry, New Hampshire at the moment does not.  I would check for reciprocity with NH.

I live in NY, and my advice is "Don't even attempt it". Odds that you'll run into problems are pretty remote, but if you do, you're screwed. Fly, take a boat along the coast, ship the gun ahead of you, or check it at a train station. Don't bring anything semi-automatic (and NY's definition of "Semi-Auto" or "Assault weapon" is a more broad than what you're used to, to the point of being absolutely absurd).

The laws are vague (the NY S.A.F.E. Act has a lot of ambiguity). The intent (they claim) wasn't to criminalize guns, but to give law enforcement a lot of latitude in enforcing gun restrictions. For the most part, if you or passengers in the vehicle have no records of felonies, and no psychiatric issues which the police would have record of (like a suicide watch, mental health detainment, or some drug convictions), and you have the guns safely locked in the trunk of a car, and they're registered to you, the police probably won't give you any shit. Most of them oppose the guns laws and are selective in their enforcement. However if they want to screw with you, they can. The poor enforcement of the gun laws is the only saving grace. Even if you are 100% in compliance, the laws are vague enough that you can still run into trouble.

Making matters worse, some cities and counties impose additional restrictions. Don't pass through Albany, NYC, or Buffalo. Drive around these areas. Rochester and Syracuse are not as bad, but still have their own restrictions. My advice would be to drive between Albany and Syracuse, up to Osweago, then through the Adirondacks. We still have our back-woods areas where gun ownership is normal (in practice if not on paper). But avoid all cities.

As a frequent traveler with guns, especially on a trip that far, I would fly. If nothing else the cost of round trip tickets may be even cheaper that the cost of rental car, gas, and food for the trip, and you get to add a couple days on each side of the vacation that would otherwise be lost to travel.

I remember how it was before I was a LEO trying to travel with a gun and have it as accessible as possible, and it would be much more of a pain now.

If you do drive, check over the vehicle every time you stop. There are some LEO out there who give themselves weird challenges, such as competing with another LEO to be the first to get a "felony tag light", which basically means you go out and stop cars with out tag lights till you get a stop that leads to a felony arrest.

If a traffic stop does occur, don't be standoffish, or try any of the crap you see on YouTube. It actually gives the officer reasonable suspicion to extend the stop, and you have no idea what the guy that had that rental car before you did with it. About half the drug traffickers we catch are in rental cars, to the point that when I rent a car I have one of our dogs run around it before heading out.


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