Gun On Board. Should Truckers Be Packing?
The topic of truckers and guns has long posed debates – should you or shouldn’t you be packing? There are no federal laws that prevent you from carrying a gun in your truck, but is it something you can do in all states? This is an important question truck drivers should be asking before they decide to be packing a pistol in their cabs. State and local laws could trip you up, even though there aren’t federal laws stopping you.
Here we look at the big picture of packing a gun to help you decide if it is right for you.
Risk of Crime
First, you need to consider where you travel and if those areas are high crime hot spots. For example, Chicago and Detroit have high crime rates so some drivers might feel safer knowing they can protect themselves.
Another consideration is how often you cross state lines. Despite the federal laws, you do face consequences if you are crossing state lines. So, make sure you understand state and local laws if you travel across the country, or even just between a few states.
While owner-operators make their own rules, if you work for a company full-time chances are they have a no-gun policy. If you prefer to carry a gun, you could be at risk of losing your job if it is against company policy.
There are many truckers carrying guns in their cabs. Most have concealed permits but can’t carry their weapons over state lines. There is no doubt trucking can be dangerous leaving drivers vulnerable to hijacking, assault, and cargo theft. If you travel in areas that are isolated, or known as high-risk hot spots for theft, you might feel safer knowing you can defend yourself. Many truck drivers pass on a gun but choose to carry other weapons for protection from baseball bats to tasers. Writers on the truckingtruth.com forum mention wasp spray, bear spray, and a ball-peen hammer as effective methods of self-protection.
How to Avoid Charges and Complications
State troopers can choose to search a truck which can lead to charges if the truck driver does not have a permit for that state. If you are an owner-operator, you have the choice to carry a pistol or not. If the answer is yes, be sure to keep these things in mind:
● Know Your Permit: Depending on where you travel, be sure you have a permit and know where it is legitimate to avoid charges.
● Felony Records: Remember if you have a felony record you cannot transport a gun.
● Know Potential Penalties: You can face jail time for up to 10 years depending on the state if you don’t have a permit for the state.
● Concealed Weapons: In no carry zones, be sure to unload and unlock the gun and remove it from your cab as it is illegal under federal law to carry a concealed weapon within reach of your cab.
Keeping these things in mind will help you make smart decisions for carrying a pistol on board.
How to Stay Safe
Planning your trip is the best way to stay safe. Make sure you choose safe stops to reduce the need for carrying a weapon. Park in well-lit areas and try to choose stops with a lot of people. Research truck stops that offer a reservation option such as Truck Park, so you won’t be caught without a safe place to stop.
Regardless of whether you choose to carry a gun or not, being cautious and choosing safer locations for stops will reduce the need to defend yourself.