Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

H.R. 4269: Protecting Lawful Transportation of Firearms

Friday, April 6, 2012

An important provision of federal law, intended to protect the right of law-abiding gun owners to transport firearms throughout our nation, has been ignored by anti-gun local officials and effectively gutted by the courts. H.R. 4269, introduced by U.S. Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), would rewrite the law to give it the effect Congress intended when it was passed more than 25 years ago.

The provision is a section of federal law (18 U.S.C. § 926A), enacted to guarantee the right of a law-abiding person to transport an unloaded firearm between a location where he or she may legally possess it and a destination where he or she may also legally possess it, regardless of state or local laws that would otherwise apply. Under the current law, the gun must be cased or otherwise not readily accessible.

Most states have never had a problem with this law.  However, both before and after enactment of FOPA, gun owners have had serious problems lawfully travelling in two states in particular: New York (especially New York City) and New Jersey. Rather than recognize the intention of Congress to protect the rights of Americans travelling with legally owned firearms, these jurisdictions have used overly restrictive state licensing laws to harass and prosecute travelers. For example:

  • In 2004, the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) arrested John Torraco at LaGuardia Airport for possession of a firearm.  Torraco, an attorney and law professor from Florida, had stored his legally owned unloaded handgun in his checked luggage.  However, when he declared the firearm to the counter agent (as required by federal law) he was arrested and charged with possession of an unlicensed handgun.
  • In 2005, William Winstanley, a New York state resident, was detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport when he attempted to check a handgun in his luggage, again in compliance with the requirements of § 926A.  Winstanley was not arrested, but his travel was delayed for several days while he proved that he was in compliance with federal law.
  • In 2005, Greg Revell, a Utah resident, was flying through Newark Liberty International Airport to his final destination in Pennsylvania. However, his flight into New Jersey was late, which caused him to miss his connecting flight. Revell was forced to collect his baggage and spend the night in a Newark hotel. When he attempted to recheck his baggage the following morning, he declared the unloaded handgun to the counter agent. PAPD officers arrested Revell for illegal possession of a handgun and ammunition under New Jersey law.  Revell spent three days in jail before he was able to make bail.

Each of these gun owners filed a civil rights suit in federal court.  However, in each case, the courts interpreted the law in a way that allows local law enforcement officials to detain or arrest travelers who make every effort to comply with federal law, and that deprive the travelers of any effective remedy after the fact. Many other cases have resulted in guilty pleas to reduced charges, civil penalties, and delayed travel.

While cases of inappropriate arrest or detention are most common at the New York City airports, they are not limited to those locations. In Albany, N.Y., detention of gun owners and confiscation of firearms have been reported by persons traveling in full compliance with § 926A.  The NRA has been forced to repeatedly warn gun owners that they should avoid using New York or New Jersey airports when traveling.

The clear intent of the law was to ensure that law-abiding persons could transport firearms between two locations where they have a legal right to possess them.  However, the refusal of the authorities in some jurisdictions to recognize § 926A, and the limitations placed on its protections by the courts, makes reform of this section necessary.

The new bill would:

  • Expand the protections afforded travelers to include “staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment; and any other activity incidental” to the trip.
  • Put the burden of proof clearly on the state to show that a traveler did not meet the requirements of § 926A, rather than allow travelers to be arrested and forced to raise § 926A as an affirmative defense.
  • Make clear that transportation of both firearms and ammunition is federally protected.
  • Make clear that violation of the right to transport firearms is judicially enforceable as a federal civil right, with attorney’s fees available to victorious plaintiffs in civil suits, as well as to defendants who prevail in criminal cases.

Finally, it’s important to understand that this bill is not a national right-to-carry bill intended to protect carrying of guns for self-protection. This is a much more limited reform, intended only to provide real legal protection for people transporting unloaded guns that are cased or otherwise secured against immediate access.

TRENDING NOW
Biden Reiterates Call to Ban 9mm Handguns

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Biden Reiterates Call to Ban 9mm Handguns

During a July 21 CNN “presidential town hall,” Joe Biden expressed his support for a ban on commonly-owned handguns. Responding to a question about the recent increase in violent crime, the career politician stated,

Great Expectations, Empty Promises: Gun Control in Washington State

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Great Expectations, Empty Promises: Gun Control in Washington State

For years, voters in the Evergreen State have been assured that if only they approve certain gun control ballot initiatives, they would “save lives” and reduce crime. The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), the organization pushing ...

How Anti-Gun Research Works

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

How Anti-Gun Research Works

The objective world mistrusts most gun policy research because it’s clear the objective is to produce an anti-gun outcome rather than honest analysis. Politicians and professional activists claim the mantle of evidence but will ignore ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner Ignores Violent Crime While Playing Politics with Gun Owners

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner Ignores Violent Crime While Playing Politics with Gun Owners

Similar to many other urban areas of the country, St. Louis saw a dramatic increase in homicide in 2020. The Gateway to the West’s homicide rate per 100 thousand residents exploded from 64.5 in 2019 to 87.2 in 2020. The homicide ...

Students “School” Antigun Education Officials on Civil Rights, Receive Large Settlements in Court Cases

News  

Monday, July 19, 2021

Students “School” Antigun Education Officials on Civil Rights, Receive Large Settlements in Court Cases

Last September we reported on the saga of Ka'Mauri Harrison, a Louisiana elementary school student who was suspended for having a BB gun that happened to come into view while the fourth grader was participating in online ...

Louisiana: Betrayal at the Capitol

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Louisiana: Betrayal at the Capitol

Yesterday, SB 118, Constitutional Carry, was defeated due to several Senators reversing their initial vote of support on the bill.  Two of the Senators who flip-flopped were Senators Patrick Connick (SD-8) and Louie Bernard (SD-31). 

NRA-ILA Applauds Rep. Claudia Tenney and U.S. House of Representatives’ Amicus Brief Supporting Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

NRA-ILA Applauds Rep. Claudia Tenney and U.S. House of Representatives’ Amicus Brief Supporting Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided to hear the NRA-ILA backed case challenging New York’s restrictive concealed-carry-licensing regime. NRA-ILA’s opening brief is located here.

Forty-Three Amicus Briefs Filed In Support OF NRA-ILA Backed Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Forty-Three Amicus Briefs Filed In Support OF NRA-ILA Backed Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided to hear the NRA-ILA backed case challenging New York’s restrictive concealed-carry-licensing regime. And just last week, NRA-ILA filed the opening brief in this crucial case, which is located here.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.