One of the questions asked by many new gun owners is about Transporting firearms in motor vehicles.

The following was taken from the official website:

Handguns: Under a License to Carry (LTC), the holder is allowed to transport a loaded or unloaded handgun on his or her person or in a motor vehicle if the handgun is under his direct control. If the handgun is not under his direct control or is left unattended, it must be unloaded and in a locked case, locked trunk, or other secure container.

Large-Capacity Rifles and Shotguns: All persons transporting large capacity rifles or shotguns under his or her LTC must transport them unloaded and in a locked case, locked trunk, or other secure container. Trigger locks do not meet the requirements of securing a large-capacity firearm during transport in a motor vehicle. Large-capacity firearms left unattended in a vehicle must be unloaded and in a locked case, locked trunk, or other secure container.

Non-Large-Capacity Rifles and Shotguns: Non-large capacity rifles and shotguns may be transported under one’s LTC or FID license and must be unloaded but are not required to be in a locked case while transporting. Muzzleloading or other Black Powder arms must also be unloaded while transporting. Note: Although locking cases are recommended, only large-capacity rifles and shotguns are subject to this transporting requirement.

The laws for transporting a firearm can be confusing. Basically, if you keep the firearm unloaded, and locked in a case in the trunk or rear storage compartment of a truck or SUV you will comply with the current law.

This segment will focus upon a license to carry gun owner with an unrestricted license.

Under your LTC, you are permitted to carry the weapon on your person, either loaded or unloaded, while in the vehicle.

You are also permitted to transport the weapon if the handgun is under your direct control. Direct control is sometimes interpreted as to being within one’s normal reach or grasp. I have purposely not included the word lunge. Some people may argue for its inclusion however, individual actions may dictate the applicability of that word. As a practical point, the last thing any LTC holder should want – is to have his or her conduct subject to the scrutiny of an unsympathetic judge or jury.

The law also permits you to carry the weapon unloaded in a locked container which is sufficient to prevent unauthorized entry. There are a number of suitable containers including the Hornady and other companies which manufacture a heavy-duty steel container with lock and cable. The cable can be wrapped around a seat frame to resist its easy removal during transport within one’s vehicle. For another practical point, as a new gun owner, you want an immediate perception by any law enforcement officer (who you may encounter on a traffic stop) to be that you are a safe and responsible LTC holder.

Should you wish to learn more on the subject I encourage you to read the entire Commonwealth v. Reyes case – from which the following was taken:

What then qualifies as a securely locked container? At a minimum, to be secure, any qualifying container must be capable of being unlocked only by means of a key, combination, or other similar means. 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(34)(C) (2006) (requiring “secure gun storage or safety device” be designed to unlock only by means of key, combination, or other similar means). Beyond this requirement, the types of containers that might qualify are plainly varied. Although not enumerated in the storage statute itself, several types of qualifying containers are identified in other Massachusetts and Federal statutes regulating the storage of firearms. These provisions provide significant guidance on the subject, and we can presume that gun owners are familiar with them because in order to obtain either a firearm identification card or a license to carry a firearm in Massachusetts, a prospective gun owner must receive a basic firearm safety certificate after completing a course approved by the colonel of the State police. The curriculum of that course must cover “( a ) the safe use, handling and storage of firearms; ( b ) methods for securing and childproofing firearms; ( c ) applicable laws relating to the possession, transportation and storage of firearms; and ( d ) knowledge of the operation, potential dangers and basic competency in the ownership and usage of firearms” (emphasis added). G.L. c. 140, § 131P ( b ).

Statutory and regulatory references to acceptable containers include safes, weapon boxes, locked cabinets, gun cases, lock boxes, and locked trunks of vehicles. A leading secondary source, Law Enforcement Guide to Firearms Law (20th ed. 2012), published by the Municipal Police Institute, Inc., states that a securely locked container can include a soft gun case secured with a padlock, “as well as an expensive gun safe,” and that even “glass front furniture style gun cabinets are acceptable providing that they are capable of being locked.” Id. at 93. Commonwealth v. Reyes, 464 Mass. 245, 252-54 (Mass. 2013)

DISCLAIMER: This and other segments posted on this website are offered for educational, informational and discussion purposes only and is not offered as legal advice.