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Ok, I've looked at the .gov site, and read the NRA article. I've also perused handgunlaw.us for the applicable states.

Here's the thing. The federal law is mostly about travel by car or airplane.

I want to hike the Appalachian Trail.

So my question is on two parts:

I can hike from GA to PA with my GWL and Virginia non resident license. However, some states (like North Carolina) do not allow carry in National Parks, even if they have reciprocity with Georgia. This is extremely inconvenient as the AT goes back and forth across the line from Tenn to NC many, many times. Sometimes, it's right on the state line.

If the gun is unloaded and locked with a cable in the bottom of my pack while in the NC parks, would that be legal?

Now for the interstate part:

Clearly, the law is not designed for people who are not traveling by conventional means. There are no considerations for hikers, bicyclists, hot air balloon pilots, or people traveling through out of body experiences. Since I'm carrying everything on my back, it's a little unreasonable for me to carry a safe in my pack. Would it be considered locked if I had a locking cable through the action of an autoloader and it was stored in the bottom of my pack well out of easy reach?

I'm considering just dropping off my pistol at the Penn/NY border with a relative as the rest of the hike goes through some pretty nasty anti gun states. (Conn, MD, NJ, and NY) Luckily, the trail is short through these states, but I don't want any trouble.

But the bottom line is that I would like to be able to defend myself from 2 legged critters while hiking. I am getting old, I will be alone, and there have been many people robbed and murdered while hiking the trail. It's rare, but it does happen. So I would like to be able to defend myself.

Any thoughts? Ideas? Any cops want to hike with me?

And I will be taking my gorilla suit, so please don't shoot. Maybe I'll wear an orange vest so you know it's me.

Az
 

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Re: Interstate travel with firearms

...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...
As long as your beginning location is lawful (Georgia), and your ending location is lawful (Penn.), it does cover you. The relevant parts that are not automobile related can be broken down as follows:

...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...
the remainder of that sentence "or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle" does not apply since you're not in a vehicle, so the part before the "or" is what's relevant.

The question is whether the firearm is "readily accessible". I don't think making the gun non-functional is enough, because they require the gun be unloaded (which already makes it non-functional) AND not readily accessible, so I'm not sure a gun lock would be sufficient. To be safe, I think you would have to lock the gun and ammo in a bag or case to gain legal protection through FOPA.
 

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Re: Interstate travel with firearms

AzB please change the title to "Legally Carrying on the Appalachian Trail" or something like that.
 

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Re: Interstate travel with firearms

AzB I've posted this before(head nod to MP), but it bears repeating.

http://www.ncwildlife.org/NewsReleases/ ... stions.htm
QUESTION: I hold a North Carolina concealed carry permit. May I carry my concealed carry firearm on game lands when it isn’t a hunting season?
ANSWER: Game land regulations allow .22 caliber pistols, with barrels not greater than seven and a half inches in length and shooting only short, long or long rifle ammunition, to be carried as a sidearm on game lands at any time, other than by hunters during the special bow and arrow and muzzleloading deer hunting seasons.

QUESTION: I saw a news report that firearms are now allowed in “national parks.†What does this mean?
ANSWER: People who legally possess firearms under federal and state law can now possess those firearms in the national parks in that state. National parks should not be confused with national forests. National parks are under the U.S. Department of Interior, while national forests are under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

National forests in North Carolina, such as Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan, are designated as game lands and all state game-land regulations apply.
Under game land regulations, it is unlawful to possess a firearm or bow and arrow on a game land at any time, except:

•During the open hunting seasons for game birds and game animals
•When the firearm is cased or not immediately available for use
•When possessed and used by participants in field trials on field trial areas
•When possessed and used on target shooting areas designated by the landowner
•When possessed in designated camping areas for defense of persons and property

Game land regulations allow .22 caliber pistols, with barrels not greater than seven and a half inches in length and shooting only short, long or long rifle ammunition, to be carried as a sidearm on game lands at any time, other than by hunters during the special bow and arrow and muzzleloading deer hunting seasons.
 

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Re: Interstate travel with firearms

ookoshi said:
As long as your beginning location is lawful (Georgia), and your ending location is lawful (Penn.), it does cover you. The relevant parts that are not automobile related can be broken down as follows:
And with a Maine Non-Res could he then [s:3fryuvp2]carry[/s:3fryuvp2] transport the entire trail? Georgia to Maine.
 

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Re: Interstate travel with firearms

I believe based on the above that one could carry( ".22 caliber pistols, with barrels not greater than seven and a half inches in length and shooting only short, long or long rifle ammunition") in the National Forests of NC that the AT travels through(I believe that they are all "Game Lands"), I'm unsure on the legality of the Great Smoky Mountains since they are not legal for hunting.
 

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Re: Interstate travel with firearms

ookoshi said:
The question is whether the firearm is "readily accessible". I don't think making the gun non-functional is enough, because they require the gun be unloaded (which already makes it non-functional) AND not readily accessible, so I'm not sure a gun lock would be sufficient.
Hilter had a recommended method... Tie it to string and drag it on the ground thirty feet behind you.
 

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Re: Interstate travel with firearms

Depending on FOPA might be risky. The local police and courts may not consider your backpack to be not "readily accessible" in comparison with a car trunk. A few states are strict about how long you can stop and still be in transit. Anything longer than a gas and bathroom break and they have been known to charge people. I'm not sure if FOPA will help if you are caught on federal land. The credit card bill makes it legal on certain federal lands if the state permits it, but I doubt you could use FOPA in this case to say that the state permits it. Dropping it off in Penn might be a good idea. I read a story where New Jersey arrested and charged a woman after a search of her car discovered a single hollow point round. Her husband is a New York police officer and had dropped the round at some point in the car. The Peoples' Republic of New Jersey didn't care about the excuses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Interstate travel with firearms

mountainpass said:
AzB please change the title to "Legally Carrying on the Appalachian Trail" or something like that.
Ok. Seems a bit anal, but I'm happy to please. 8)

Az
 

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Re: Interstate travel with firearms

cpelliott said:
Depending on FOPA might be risky. The local police and courts may not consider your backpack to be not "readily accessible" in comparison with a car trunk.
But FOPA already sets guidelines for cars that don't have trunks. As long as the firearm is in a locked case, FOPA protects people who are in, for example, pickup trucks. The weapon can be in a case within reach as long as it is locked and unloaded. I think you've done a pretty good covering you a** by locking it up.

A few states are strict about how long you can stop and still be in transit. Anything longer than a gas and bathroom break and they have been known to charge people.
As long as you limit it to stops that are "necessary", I doubt they can find reason to charge you. As long as you only stop to rest / eat / go to the bathroom, I think that would be covered. If you stop to do something else though, that's risky.

I'm not sure if FOPA will help if you are caught on federal land. The credit card bill makes it legal on certain federal lands if the state permits it, but I doubt you could use FOPA in this case to say that the state permits it.
Why not? FOPA covers all interstate travel, it doesn't restrict itself to non-federal land.

Dropping it off in Penn might be a good idea.
And would defeat the purpose of protecting yourself while on the trail.

I read a story where New Jersey arrested and charged a woman after a search of her car discovered a single hollow point round. Her husband is a New York police officer and had dropped the round at some point in the car. The Peoples' Republic of New Jersey didn't care about the excuses.
This is completely irrelevant. No interstate travel was involved, and the ammunition was not in a locked case.

I believe based on the above that one could carry( ".22 caliber pistols, with barrels not greater than seven and a half inches in length and shooting only short, long or long rifle ammunition") in the National Forests of NC that the AT travels through(I believe that they are all "Game Lands"), I'm unsure on the legality of the Great Smoky Mountains since they are not legal for hunting.
NC code isn't relevant if you're traveling under FOPA and have the gun unloaded and locked up. Federal law preempts it.
 

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Re: Interstate travel with firearms

AzB said:
mountainpass said:
AzB please change the title to "Legally Carrying on the Appalachian Trail" or something like that.
Ok. Seems a bit anal, but I'm happy to please. 8)

Az
Well I walked 800+ miles of it in 1992, so it's a passion. :D

This will help others looking to hike the trail.
 

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ookoshi said:
NC code isn't relevant if you're traveling under FOPA and have the gun unloaded and locked up. Federal law preempts it.
It only covers motor vehicles.
 

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mountainpass said:
It only covers motor vehicles.
Really? Where does it limit it to motor vehicles?

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.
* Any person - includes him
* who is not federally prohibited - includes him (I assume)
* shall be entitled to transport a firearm, for any lawful purpose - includes him
* from any place he may lawfully possess and carry - Georgia, includes him
* to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm - Penn., includes him
if during such transportation
1) the firearm is unloaded
and
2) neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported
a) is readily accessible
OR
b) is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle

The only part of the code that references a vehicle is 2b. The rest of the code covers transportation in general.
 

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I would be extremely wary of carrying through New Jersey. We can debate the federal statute ad nauseum here, but New Jersey interprets it in its own special way, and it never comes out in favor of the citizen.

The state laws begin with the presumption that it illegal to have a firearm, period, then carve out a few very specific exceptions. I rather doubt walking 70 miles through over the course of several days meets one of those exceptions.

There is no firearms offense in New Jersey law that is not a felony, and the sentences (mandatory) are measured in years, not days or months.

I would also be wary of Massachusetts. Anyone know the laws there now?
 

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ookoshi said:
mountainpass said:
It only covers motor vehicles.
Really? Where does it limit it to motor vehicles?

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.
* Any person - includes him
* who is not federally prohibited - includes him (I assume)
* shall be entitled to transport a firearm, for any lawful purpose - includes him
* from any place he may lawfully possess and carry - Georgia, includes him
* to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm - Penn., includes him
if during such transportation
1) the firearm is unloaded
and
2) neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported
a) is readily accessible
OR
b) is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle

The only part of the code that references a vehicle is 2b. The rest of the code covers transportation in general.
Revell v. Port Authority (3d Cir. 2010)

http://volokh.com/2010/03/30/unexpected ... ossession/

Aha! That’s where the crime came in. The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act protected Revell on the plane, and would have protected him on the bus. But the moment the luggage came into his hands or otherwise became “readily accessible†to him outside a car â€"
 

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RecoveringYankee said:
I would be extremely wary of carrying through New Jersey. We can debate the federal statute ad nauseum here, but New Jersey interprets it in its own special way, and it never comes out in favor of the citizen.

The state laws begin with the presumption that it illegal to have a firearm, period, then carve out a few very specific exceptions. I rather doubt walking 70 miles through over the course of several days meets one of those exceptions.

There is no firearms offense in New Jersey law that is not a felony, and the sentences (mandatory) are measured in years, not days or months.

I would also be wary of Massachusetts. Anyone know the laws there now?
This is a very informative and interesting post. Thank you for posting this.
 

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Pertinent Excerpts.

2C:39-5. Unlawful possession of weapons.

b. Handguns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the third degree if the handgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person. Otherwise it is a crime of the second degree.

c. Rifles and shotguns. (1) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:58-3, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

(2) Unless otherwise permitted by law, any person who knowingly has in his possession any loaded rifle or shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

e.Firearms or other weapons in educational institutions.

(1) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any firearm in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution, without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution, is guilty of a crime of the third degree, irrespective of whether he possesses a valid permit to carry the firearm or a valid firearms purchaser identification card.

h. A person who is convicted of a crime under subsection a., b. or f. of this section shall be ineligible for participation in any program of intensive supervision; provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to a crime under subsection b. involving only a handgun which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.

f. Nothing in subsections b., c. and d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent:

(1) A member of any rifle or pistol club organized in accordance with the rules prescribed by the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice, in going to or from a place of target practice, carrying such firearms as are necessary for said target practice, provided that the club has filed a copy of its charter with the superintendent and annually submits a list of its members to the superintendent and provided further that the firearms are carried in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section;

(2) A person carrying a firearm or knife in the woods or fields or upon the waters of this State for the purpose of hunting, target practice or fishing, provided that the firearm or knife is legal and appropriate for hunting or fishing purposes in this State and he has in his possession a valid hunting license, or, with respect to fresh water fishing, a valid fishing license;

(3) A person transporting any firearm or knife while traveling:

(a) Directly to or from any place for the purpose of hunting or fishing, provided the person has in his possession a valid hunting or fishing license; or

(b) Directly to or from any target range, or other authorized place for the purpose of practice, match, target, trap or skeet shooting exhibitions, provided in all cases that during the course of the travel all firearms are carried in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section and the person has complied with all the provisions and requirements of Title 23 of the Revised Statutes and any amendments thereto and all rules and regulations promulgated thereunder; or

(c) In the case of a firearm, directly to or from any exhibition or display of firearms which is sponsored by any law enforcement agency, any rifle or pistol club, or any firearms collectors club, for the purpose of displaying the firearms to the public or to the members of the organization or club, provided, however, that not less than 30 days prior to the exhibition or display, notice of the exhibition or display shall be given to the Superintendent of the State Police by the sponsoring organization or club, and the sponsor has complied with such reasonable safety regulations as the superintendent may promulgate. Any firearms transported pursuant to this section shall be transported in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section;

g. All weapons being transported under paragraph (2) of subsection b., subsection e., or paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection f. of this section shall be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and in the course of travel shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances.

i. Nothing in N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent any person who is 18 years of age or older and who has not been convicted of a felony, from possession for the purpose of personal self-defense of one pocket-sized device which contains and releases not more than three-quarters of an ounce of chemical substance not ordinarily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury, but rather, is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air. Any person in possession of any device in violation of this subsection shall be deemed and adjudged to be a disorderly person, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100.00.

==========

2C:39-6. Exemptions.

e. Nothing in subsections b., c. and d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent a person keeping or carrying about his place of business, residence, premises or other land owned or possessed by him, any firearm, or from carrying the same, in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section, from any place of purchase to his residence or place of business, between his dwelling and his place of business, between one place of business or residence and another when moving, or between his dwelling or place of business and place where such firearms are repaired, for the purpose of repair. For the purposes of this section, a place of business shall be deemed to be a fixed location.

=========

2C:39-9 Manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement of weapons and dangerous instruments and appliances.

f. (1) Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells, or disposes of any bullet, which is primarily designed for use in a handgun, and which is comprised of a bullet whose core or jacket, if the jacket is thicker than .025 of an inch, is made of tungsten carbide, or hard bronze, or other material which is harder than a rating of 72 or greater on the Rockwell B. Hardness Scale, and is therefore capable of breaching or penetrating body armor and which is intended to be used for any purpose other than for authorized military or law enforcement purposes by duly authorized military or law enforcement personnel, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

h. Large capacity ammunition magazines. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of a large capacity ammunition magazine which is intended to be used for any purpose other than for authorized military or law enforcement purposes by duly authorized military or law enforcement personnel is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
http://lis.njleg.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/om ... k=&record={1A35}&softpage=Doc_Frame_PG42&wordsaroundhits=2&zz=

http://lis.njleg.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/om ... k=&record={1A37}&softpage=Doc_Frame_PG42&wordsaroundhits=2&zz=
 

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I hiked the entire length of the AT in 1992 without a firearm, and had no problems. If I were to hike the trail now though, I'd seriously consider not trying to wade through the impossible maze of laws, but just carry a weapon in a waist-pack (with my GWL) when I began my hike at Springer Mtn. in GA. I'd keep the weapon out of sight AT ALL TIMES unless I needed to use it, and NO ONE would know I had it. Before I left West Virginia, I'd send it home. On the northern portion of the trail, I think I'd be in more danger of being locked-up by the police and tagged with a felony conviction than harmed by criminals, though.

As far as personal safety, just don't stay in shelters near roads and be wary when going to and from towns when you leave the trail to resupply. If you have to hitch-hike to and from towns, don't do it alone. I also stealth-camp whenever possible, and use only gear that blends-in with the woods.

When I hiked the trail, several guys who were hiking with their wife or GF carried, and very few people ever knew about it. They had no problems. However, one guy who loved to brag (and target practice behind shelters) got busted in Shenandoah National Park after a hostel-owner reported him to the park rangers. They confiscated the weapon, but he didn't go to jail.

I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, John Muir Trail, Colorado Trail, Long Trail and a few others, and no one in law enforcement has ever expressed any interest in searching my pack.

However, as far as carrying / not carrying on the trail, I'm not offering any advice to you or anyone else, just stating what I'd do. Good luck, and enjoy your hike!
 

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rainmaker said:
I hiked the entire length of the AT in 1992 without a firearm, and had no problems
When did you start and what was your trail name? I started on April 11th 1992 as "Southern Style", as that's how I liked to eat.
 
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