Peaceable Journey Law

Peaceable Journey refers to federal and state laws that address the transportation of firearms over state lines by firearm owners. The federal code 18 USC § 926A says that as long as the owner of the firearm can legally carry in the state they left and the state they are traveling to, the firearm is unloaded, and that the firearms any ammunition are not easily accessible that they can legally cross state lines.

Many states have laws addressing this in their state constitutions. These states often have their own slightly different rules about how the weapons can be transported. Vermont allows open carry in a vehicle without a permit, others like California require the gun to be in a locked box and unloaded during transport. The laws on travel also vary from state to state some states specify that the gun can only be transported in a private vehicle owned by the firearm owner. Many states also have a rule that you can only make brief stops, or like New York City no stops at all or you can be arrested. While most states only require that you are able to legally carry in the beginning and ending state some states require you to have a carry permit from their state, or a permit from another state that they honor when transporting firearms. Some states have slightly different rules regarding transporting long guns verses handguns; the handgun laws are usually stricter. Check the individual state’s pages for a complete list of other states permits that they honor and who honor’s their states permits.

The states that don’t have a specific law protecting owners transporting firearms in their state constitution are California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York. In these states it can be tricky to transport a weapon and they often have very strict rules regarding how they must be transported. A prime example In New York City, in NYC the firearm must be unloaded and in a locked container that cannot be easily accessed, and the journey must be continuous. An important note, in Washington D.C. it is illegal to transport a firearm for any reason through the area. If you are pulled over you will be arrested, it’s better to just avoid it altogether. It’s a good idea to call the state or county firearm office in the states that you will be passing through to familiarize yourself with their specific laws. Below is a checklist of what you need when transporting firearms over state lines and a copy of 18 USC § 926A.

18 U.S.C. 
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Sec. 926A - Interstate transportation of firearms
From the U.S. Government Printing Office,

§926A. Interstate transportation of firearms

Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver's compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

(Added Pub. L. 99–360, §1(a), July 8, 1986, 100 Stat. 766.)


A prior section 926A, added Pub. L. 99–308, §107(a), May 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 460, provided that any person not prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm be entitled to transport an unloaded, not readily accessible firearm in interstate commerce notwithstanding any provision of any legislation enacted, or rule or regulation prescribed by any State or political subdivision thereof, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 99–360, §1(a).


Section effective on date on which Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, Pub. L. 99–308, became effective, see section 2 of Pub. L. 99–360, set out as an Effective Date of 1986 Amendments note under section 921 of this title.