Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    West Philly, Pennsylvania
    (Philadelphia County)
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    Default Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    i just received the Travelers guide to firearms Laws (thanks @Berncly) a few weeks ago so we've been going over possible scenarios in our heads. Just to give you an idea of the situation, we will be traveling from Phila-Arizona and avoiding when possible any hostile states. we will be bringing a few rifles and pistols with us. pistols will be GLOCKS and Revolvers. Rifles will be bolt action and possibly an AK, AR, FAL,SKS.

    first scenario:


    when pulled over do you declare the pistols you are carrying on your person to the officer even if not asked? what do you do if you do declare them and the officer asks if you have any other firearms in the van? i've always though it best practice to offer the officer your permit with your license and let things unfold from there but having additional firearms in the van kind and being out of state kind of changes the dynamic.


    2nd Scenario:

    Were traveling with no guns on our person. all of the guns are stored correctly in locked containers separate from the ammo with magazines being EMPTY and stored with the ammo and a police officer pulls you over and subsequently asks if you have any firearms. are you obligated to tell him what you have in the back?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    In the can, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    The main points listed for each state will say firearms declaration required: upon first contact, upon demand, or none.

    If you are in a 'none' state then keep your mouth shut and be polite and professional as always.
    If you are in a 'first contact' state then declare at first contact and present your LTCF with your license, and be polite and professional as always.
    If you are in a 'upon demand' state then keep your mouth shut and only declare if asked, and if declaring then present your LTCF, and be polite and professional as always.

    In each scenario I would not volunteer that your collection is properly and lawfully stored in the back unless asked.
    If asked I would say it's back there while being sure to say it is properly and lawfully stored.

    If the questions head in that direction you will almost certainly be asked why you have the collection with you.
    I do not recommend responding "because Constitution mother fucker".

    Better to have your story straight ahead of time such as "we are traveling to Aunt Edna's place in state xyz for our family target shooting barbecue on date 123".
    Best to have your destination and travel itinerary available for casual verification along with hotel/camping reservations.
    It can also be helpful to have the travel laws printed and highlighted to respectfully and politely help clear up any possible confusion regarding legality.
    Again, not required by law, but helpful when talking to Trooper so-and-so on Rt Wherever at 2:00AM.

    If you are taking the collection it would be best to avoid hostile states as much as humanly possible.
    With your collection in tow, I would also recommend staying within 5-10 mph of the speed limit, and keeping the hookers and blow to a minimum.
    It is generally unhelpful when the local strippers are snorting blow off the Trooper's vehicle while they are handcuffed and bent over the hood.
    Regardless of who, what, where, and when, be careful to not make any sudden moves during a traffic stop, and be polite and professional at all times.
    How can you have any cookies if you don't drink your milk?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Southwest, Pennsylvania
    (Washington County)
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    Default Re: Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    Step one: Don't get pulled over.
    Step two: Present necessary documents.
    Step three: Don't say shit.

    That's what I would do.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    He's kind of in a tough spot.
    He's doing a long drive in a customized windowless box van that he will be sleeping in.
    If he is in a 'first contact' state or 'on demand' state and he keeps his mouth shut then they can arrest him and charge him just for that.
    His van may prompt more curiosity from a Trooper than a typical 4 door mid size sedan with an easily viewed interior, and once stopped I think questions are likely.
    Given his circumstances, I think he really has no choice but to follow the letter of the law regarding declaration.
    It's the best advice I can give here, obviously others may disagree.
    How can you have any cookies if you don't drink your milk?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    POCONO MOUNTAINS, PENNSYLVANIA, Pennsylvania
    (Monroe County)
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    Default Re: Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    If your pulled over My experience is if two officers exit their vehicle,let the Leo know ! The moment the 2 nd officer sees your firearm it is prudent of him to draw on target for their own protection.I taught many family members and always gave them advice after obtaining their CCW ! Now this is just one of 100s of scenarios and you can pick apart any one of them this is JMO/MDT

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Bucks County, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    Quote Originally Posted by Berncly View Post
    He's kind of in a tough spot.
    He's doing a long drive in a customized windowless box van that he will be sleeping in.
    If he is in a 'first contact' state or 'on demand' state and he keeps his mouth shut then they can arrest him and charge him just for that.
    His van may prompt more curiosity from a Trooper than a typical 4 door mid size sedan with an easily viewed interior, and once stopped I think questions are likely.
    Given his circumstances, I think he really has no choice but to follow the letter of the law regarding declaration.
    It's the best advice I can give here, obviously others may disagree.
    In that case, get motorhome plates. When pulled over, quickly jump in the back, stand in front of the fridge and yell, “ getting myself a brew, Trooper. Can I get you one too?” Troopers like gracious hosts when they go to peoples homes. When he asks if he can come in, yell, “ CONSTITUTION, Mother Fucker, get a warrant!”then burp, loud and long!

  7. #7
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    (Washington County)
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    Default Re: Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    I understand that his situation is unique, I still wouldn't say anything. I don't participate in fishing expeditions. There are too many laws in this country to possibly know you aren't incriminating yourself in some way. And even if you're actually clean and you know you're clean, you cant trust every cop to act properly. I just wouldn't say a damned thing. Shall inform laws are unconstitutional, imo.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Northern Tier, Pennsylvania
    (McKean County)
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    Default Re: Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    Do your research and write down some notes based on the rules of each state. If you don't need to say shit, don't say shit.

    When I travel I have a cross referrence list of the states with the basic info that needs to be known, such as: reciprocity (Y/N), must inform (Y/N), drink in restaurant (Y/N), pre-emption (Y/N), does signage carry weight (Y/N), state park carry (Y/N), FOPA (Y/N)

    You get the picture.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2007
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    Northcoast, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    Snappy answer for when they ask "are there any weapons in the vehicle?"

    "Yes, sir...there is a Glock in a locked case in the back, 50 rounds locked in the glove box and a tire iron by the jack."


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Declaring Firearms While In a Vehicle?

    Quote Originally Posted by God's Country View Post
    Do your research and write down some notes based on the rules of each state. If you don't need to say shit, don't say shit.

    When I travel I have a cross referrence list of the states with the basic info that needs to be known, such as: reciprocity (Y/N), must inform (Y/N), drink in restaurant (Y/N), pre-emption (Y/N), does signage carry weight (Y/N), state park carry (Y/N), FOPA (Y/N)

    You get the picture.
    Thanks for the reminder! I'll be driving cross-country in August, and need to do this.

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