The Gun Question: What You Need To Know
The controversial debate has been going on for years now. Yes, sometimes it can get dangerous on the road, and a driver is left with no options but self-defense. Is it legal for a truck driver to carry a gun for protection? Well, at the moment, there is no straightforward answer, and it isn’t very easy. What if you manage to carry a gun in your truck? What are the risks? Regardless of your opinion or options, you must consider the law and adhere to company policy.
What Does The Federal Law State?
Section 926A covers Interstate Transportation of firearms under CHAPTER 44-FIREARMS, PART 1- CRIMES, TITLE 18: CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE is the only written federal law that touches on the subject. The most widely accepted interpretation of that statute is that drivers can legally transport guns in a CMV. Still, the catch……..the gun must be unloaded and separate from the ammunition. The section further states that all CDL drivers must adhere to state regulations. Hence, the state laws rather than the federal law are what limits a CDL driver from carrying a firearm.
You can get arrested and charged if you cross over into states that do not recognize your gun permits. For instance, a gun permit valid in Ohio and Pennsylvania is not recognized in New York, and even with an unloaded gun; you are likely to get charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon in New York which can lead to serious jail time. That is why you should consider state laws when carrying a firearm in your truck.
Interstate Laws On Firearms
The state laws on firearms vary from state and state. No provision expressly favors CDL drivers from the rest of the law-abiding citizens. In most states, if you are allowed to carry a gun, you must have a valid concealed carry permit. However, sometimes you can get a concealed carry permit in your residential state, but once you cross over into a different state, you could get in trouble with the law. Hence, double-check states that will honor your concealed carry permit before crossing the border. Even if you are cleared to carry a concealed firearm in a specific state, there are other factors to consider, such as carrier company and dock/shipper yards policies.
Truck Companies Policies on Carrying a Firearm
Most trucking companies, if not all, will not allow drivers to carry concealed firearms in their trucks. The main reason why trucking companies do not allow guns in their trucks is to avoid lawsuits. Due to vicarious liability, if an unexpected plot occurs and an exchange of fire ensues, the driver and the company will likely face a Wrongful Death Lawsuit. No company wants to be sued for millions of dollars due to a careless driver. In such a case, the company’s defense attorney will argue the driver willingly broke company policy by having a gun in the truck.
Moreover, if your carrier company finds out you have a firearm in the truck, you will be fired immediately, and the details will be outlined in your DAC report. Remember, a DAC report that cites the driver was found with a gun in the truck against company policy will likely ruin your truck driving career since no company will want to employ you after that.
Private or Commercial Property Policies and Regulations
Even if trucking companies allowed drivers to carry firearms, which they don’t, private or commercial properties do not allow guns. Most private property owners, especially trailer yards and docks, will have a sign that reads ‘No weapons allowed beyond this point.’ If a gun owner gets caught with a firearm within the property, he/she can be charged with criminal trespass while possessing a firearm. That is a felony in most states that will strip the gun rights from the owner.
Most truck drivers who advocate for the right of truckers to carry firearms mention the Michael Boeglin case as a perfect example. Michael was recently shot dead in his truck at an abandoned parking lot, and his truck burned down. The aftermath gave rise to a petitioning of the bill named ‘Mike’s Law’ that accumulated 11,000 signatures from fellow truck drivers. The objective of ‘Mike’s Law’ was to make it legal for truck drivers to carry firearms throughout the United States. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass the House since the National Rifle Association preferred a bill that favors all Americans, not just truck drivers, to carry their permitted concealed weapons anywhere.
The only type of CDL drivers that have less risk while carrying guns in their trucks is self-employed or independent truck drivers. Regardless, even independent truckers risk being stuck in a legal minefield considering their concealed weapons permit are not universally acknowledged in all states. They cannot cross into private or commercial properties with guns without risking gun ownership rights. It’s all a quagmire, and until the laws are amended, the risk assessment remains the same. Now that you know the risks associated with carrying a gun in your truck before you decide to carry that firearm, ask yourself, is it worth the risk?
Are truck drivers allowed to carry firearms?
The answer to this question is complex and depends on the laws of the state you are driving in. Some states have laws that allow truck drivers to carry firearms, while others do not. Additionally, certain federal regulations may prohibit it as well. Therefore, it is essential to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or a lawyer knowledgeable in firearm laws before attempting to carry a firearm while driving. Additionally, many trucking companies have policies in place that prohibit the carrying of firearms in their vehicles. It is important to consult with your employer and abide by their policies.