Full-time RV living is great, but you may be concerned with your security levels as a permanent resident. After all, you more than likely have all of your most valuable possessions with you, or you might just be worried about your personal safety. Perhaps you use your RV as a hunting cabin and house your hunting gear here. Whatever the reason, you might be curious about the stipulations on purchasing and owning firearms while full-time RVing. There are many factors to be considered!
What Firearm is Right For You?
Before making the decision to purchase a firearm, there are a few considerations to make first to determine whether owning a firearm while RVing is right for you. Some factors to consider include:
-Need for firearm: What reason do you want a firearm? Are you living in a bad area, or are worried about aggressive animals? Is your property at risk of theft or vandalism, or are you in danger of being the victim of a violent crime?
-Size of your RV: Do you have storage space with ample room for your firearm, and does this storage space lock? If you have children, is there space to safely keep the firearm locked out of their reach?
These factors can help determine the size and type of firearm to purchase. But how do you purchase as a full-time RV resident?
We would like to start out by saying that in no way are we declaring these statements as legal advice, and should not be considered as such, as laws are constantly subject to change. However, you should use this as a basis for general information in relation to current gun laws.
Purchasing as a Full-Time RV Resident
The process of purchasing a firearm is fairly precise in it’s limitations. Here is the list of some federal regulations for purchasing:
-You must be 21 years of age or older to purchase a handgun, 18 years for a long gun.
-You must purchase a firearm through a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer (FFL).
-You may purchase a handgun ONLY in the state of which you are a resident.
-A long gun may be purchased and transferred to any state, as long as the transfer is legal in both the buyer’s state and and the state where the transfer is made.
Basically, if you would like a handgun, you may only buy it in the state you are a resident of. If you are not a resident of the state where you are living full-time in your RV, or if you travel out of state in your RV, you may not purchase and walk out with a handgun. Only an FFL retailer can transfer your chosen firearm to another FFL dealer in your state of residence, where they will carry out the transaction. Laws are different for long guns, as you can purchase and transfer them to any state as long as it coincides with those particular states’ laws, and is a legal transaction.
Long story short, if you are not a resident of the state where you are living full time, or are on the road, you should be prepared to make a trip to your home state if you wish to purchase a handgun. At the same time, you will need to know exactly what the states’ laws say in terms of carry laws and permits, to make sure that you will be able to lawfully have your handgun in the state you are currently living in. Alternatively, it might be easier to declare residency in the state where you park your RV most often, in order to purchase a handgun without too much hassle. Again, each state is different, so be sure to do your research to see what exactly the law says and if there are certain waiting periods or restrictions on firearm purchases.
The requirements and restrictions of gun permits vary greatly by state, each one is unique and can have different stipulations than the last. If you are a full-time RV resident and are an official resident of that state, go ahead and research your state’s particular laws. If you travel from state to state in your RV, it is important to check the particular permit laws of those states you intend to pass through, to ensure that you are not violating their specific laws for open carry.
To be safe, it is a good idea to stow your unloaded firearm in a locked case and in an inaccessible area, like your trunk, when traveling. It is actually required in some states, with varying degrees of punishment for violations of your open carry permit.
There are exceptions to these laws when visiting national and state parks and wildlife refuges, as long as you are in legal possession of the firearm and it aligns with the laws of the state in which the park or refuge is located. However, a separate federal law bans the possession of firearms within federal facilities and buildings, which extends to areas where federal employees are working. For example, if there were certain caves or park areas that federal employees work, you would be banned from carrying in that area.
Things To Remember
Because the laws can vary so greatly from state to state, it is very important to check each state’s laws on ownership and open carry. As mentioned before, when in doubt, always keep your firearm in a locked case in an area of your vehicle where it cannot be accessed while the vehicle is in operation. In regards to firearms and full-time RVing, the same laws apply to travel. If you are in a motorhome, make sure to keep it in an external storage compartment or a compartment that locks and is inaccessible to the driver and passengers. If you are in doubt, double check the law, as it can be tricky with motorhomes.
Once you have reached your destination, you will be subject to state and local laws as far as ownership, transfer, and possession of firearms. Furthermore, generally speaking, a mobile home will be considered a home, and not a travel vehicle, and will make accessing your weapon lawful when it is no longer attached to a towing vehicle, is permanently attached to utilities, and is parked so that it cannot be started and driven away immediately.
In conclusion, check the laws or consult with an expert to ensure that you are in accord with the law when owning firearms and full-time RVing (or any time for that matter). It is always better to be safe than sorry!