Regardless of an individual’s position on firearms, the simple fact of the matter is that motorcycle ownership and gun ownership often go hand in hand.

There are millions of peaceable, law-abiding, motorcyclists who own firearms for a wide variety of reasons, typically personal protection or for the simple enjoyment of target shooting or hunting. You’ve probably heard it a million times and argued for or against it in several different ways, but the right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed under the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

But that right to bear is not absolute, and exercising it properly has a lot in common with riding your favorite two-wheeler on public roads. Simply put, enjoying either freedom requires tremendous discipline in order to avoid running afoul of local laws. Ignorance of a specific law is no excuse, and that includes laws governing a person’s right to carry, or even transport, a firearm on a motorcycle. Riding with a gun is easy to do and nothing to be afraid of, but it is the responsibility of any motorcyclist to ensure that he or she transports any firearm in a manner that is compliant with the laws governing their route.

Knowing what is allowable, and what is required, under federal, state and local laws can mean the difference between being able to exercise a right and possibly losing it for good. Get it right, and there is really nothing to fear. Get it wrong and you could face fines, arrest, court appearances, or even incarceration…. A loss of mucho dinero – or worse – no matter how you slice it.

Ignorance of a specific law is no excuse, and that includes laws governing a person’s right to carry, or even transport, a firearm on a motorcycle.

Please note our wording from above: “a person’s right to carry, or even transport…”, we worded it that way because those two terms refer to distinctly different acts in the legal context of firearms. “Carrying” a firearm is the act of having a ready to use firearm on your person or easily accessible on/in your vehicle. However, “transporting” is simply the act of moving personal firearm(s) from one place to another. In the eyes of the law “carrying” is a much more serious and complex issue.

Frankly, we wanted to know the ins and outs ourselves, because several staffers are avid shooters who naturally also happen to spend a lot of time on motorcycles. It is logical to assume that we aren’t alone, so transporting a firearm on a motorcycle without a concealed carry permit is a subject of great interest to us. Thus, we did some digging and found workable solutions for most situations.

That said, it is important to note that we are not dispensing legal advice here, and neither we nor our parent company should be considered liable for any legal hassles that arise from following the suggestions contained herein. Anyone considering the transportation of a firearm while riding a motorcycle should contact their local law enforcement agencies or check with an attorney to clarify the legal requirements in their locales. In the end, it is your responsibility to know and obey the specific laws governing your ride route(s).

gun transport

After enduring California’s mandatory 10-day waiting period, Sean rode to his favorite local gun shop to retrieve our loaned Springfield test pistol.

For this investigation, began with the support of Springfield Armory and the loan of a brand new Springfield XD Essentials 9mm pistol. As with most of his personal firearms, our Editorial Director, Sean Alexander, chose the XD-9 for the primary purpose of target shooting, although its 4-inch barrel does offer a nice compromise between compactness and providing sufficient velocity for the 9mm cartridge to do its most effective work in a self-defense situation. Frankly, a tiny “carry” pistol wasn’t something in which we were interested, since none of us currently possess a CCW permit in our home state of California.

At the range the relatively inexpensive XD proved surprisingly nice to shoot with a natural pointing ability and smooth cycling from shot to shot.  It was also extremely accurate for a sub-$500 production pistol straight out of the box and it reliably fed and fired several different types of ball target and hollow-point defense ammunition ranging from 115 – 147 grains.  It’s an impressive piece, especially considering its $459.99 price point at our local gun store.

gun transport

We chose Springfield Armory’s XD-9 Essentials pistol for our feature. This affordable 9mm semi-automatic is a popular choice among firearms enthusiasts.

Assuming that a firearm owner is in good legal standing to transport a firearm for lawful purposes but does not possess a concealed carry permit for their state or county, transporting a firearm on a motorcycle can be done, but we’ve found that it must be done a certain way in most states if you want to avoid being hassled by the man.

In some states, the process is surprisingly easy. Currently, a number of states are classified as “unrestricted,” meaning that any person in good legal standing can open carry or even concealed carry the firearm during transport, with no permit required whatsoever. These states include Alaska, Arizona, Idaho (effective July 1, 2016), Kansas, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia (effective June 5, 2016) and Wyoming. For the rest of the United States, concealed carry and open carry are subject to restrictions either by the state as a whole or even from city to city or county to county within a state. The waters are especially murky if you live in New York or Maryland, where the Big Apple itself prohibits possession of any firearm while traveling within the city limits unless you have a state-issued permit. Likewise, Washington D.C. has restrictive possession and carry laws.

gun transport

If you’re a motorcyclist who has made the decision to purchase a firearm, your responsibilities are just beginning. After taking delivery, the first thing you need to think about is how to transport your new purchase without running afoul of the law should you be stopped by police.

Our recommendation? Know the requirements of these areas before you make the decision to ride a motorcycle with a gun in your possession, or just avoid these parts of the country altogether. If you do get stopped in one of these restrictive areas, it is best to make it clear from the get-go that you are just passing through, and that may not fly at all if you happen to be pulled over on a surface street in downtown Manhattan or Washington D.C..

The good news is that federal law recognizes the right of any law-abiding citizen to transport a firearm from point to point for lawful purposes as long as certain conditions are met. Title 18 Section 926(a) The Peaceable Journey Act, under Part 1, Chapter 44, of the federal code provides that:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation, the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, that in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.”

That’s comforting, except that what constitutes “lawful transport” may vary from state to state, and being stopped by law enforcement and found to be in possession of a firearm in places with more stringent gun regulations, such as New York, Washington D.C., Illinois or California, may create hassles you never dreamed of. For instance, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii (on handguns only), Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York also have laws that restrict magazine capacity on semi-automatic firearms — usually to 10 rounds — and it is a major violation for anyone to import magazines able to accept more rounds than are allowed in those states.

gun transport

For motorcyclists, transporting a firearm “out of reach” means placing the firearm into a locked gun case and then placing that case inside a saddlebag or backpack whenever possible. Keeping any ammunition inside the other locked saddlebag, or in a separate locked box within the backpack is a smart way to go.

So, as you can see, lawfully transporting a firearm requires some careful research, but does that mean you shouldn’t do it? That’s really your decision to make, but we would. We’re also confident that our method of transportation will survive legal scrutiny.

First and foremost, most states require that any firearm transported –for lawful purposes from one place where it is legal to possess it to another place where it is legal to possess it– be unloaded. That’s common sense but it’s also just the tip of the iceberg.

It is important to note that slipping an unloaded firearm into your jacket pocket and heading out on the highway is an invitation to trouble, since that constitutes a “carry” situation and most states require a permit if you want to “carry” concealed (out of sight). While it is true that carry permit reciprocity between states has increased over the past few years, if you plan to carry a concealed firearm in a restricted state you need to be absolutely certain that where you are going recognizes the permit issued by your home state. Otherwise, things could quickly turn criminally ugly.

But if you don’t have a specific permit, the smartest way to avoid a “carry” hassle is simply to follow the rules of the Peaceable Journey Act by keeping your firearm stored in a locked container out of your immediate reach during transport. For motorcyclists, that means transporting the firearm in a locked container within a saddlebag or backpack whenever possible, and keeping any ammunition in a separate locked container, like the other saddlebag, or a separate locked box.

gun transport

The luxury of saddlebags means the author is able to place the locked pistol case into one bag, while placing the locked ammo box (green box in Scott’s left hand above) into the other saddle bag prior to transport.

What if you don’t have a lockable case or a saddlebag in which to store your gun during “transport”? Even more precautions should be taken, such as rendering the firearm inoperable via the addition of a trigger lock, long padlock or a lockable cable that extends through the breech, the barrel or the magazine well of your gun. If you should be pulled over and are asked to present the firearm to a law enforcement officer, the fact that you are transporting a firearm locked in this manner will act as a strong signal to the officer that your intention is not to commit a crime or violate any “carry” laws.

And how would an officer know that you have a firearm in your backpack or saddlebag? Simple: If stopped for any reason, you’re going to calmly and clearly declare it. Immediately.

And how would an officer know that you have a firearm in your backpack or saddlebag? Simple: If stopped for any reason, you’re going to calmly and clearly declare it. Immediately. That in itself may sound like an invitation to search and seizure, and you might feel that such an admission right off the bat is somehow violating your right to privacy. If you want to set that kind of adversarial tone, more power to ya’, but you may already be in violation of the law if you keep your mouth shut because several states — even some with unrestricted carry and transport laws — have enacted “Duty to Inform” statutes that make it incumbent on any person in possession of a firearm to inform the officer of that fact when they interact with law enforcement.

Alaska (Alaska Stat. Ann. §11.61.220), Arkansas (Ark Admin. Code 130.00.8-3-2(b), Delaware (Griffen v. State, 47 A.3d 487), Illinois (430 ILCS 66/10), Louisiana, Michigan (MCL 28.425f(3)), Nebraska (Neb. Rev. Stat. §69-2440), North Carolina (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §14-415.11), Ohio (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §2923.16), Oklahoma (Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, §1290.8), South Carolina (§23-31-215) and Texas (must provide permit when asked for ID, §411.205) all have such statutes on the books, but even if you’re not sure whether the state you’re in has such a law, our suggestion is still to let the officer know that you are responsibly and lawfully transporting your firearm, and if he or she asks to see it, you should calmly and slowly tell them where it is and ask for their permission to get it out before you go reaching for it.

More than likely, doing so will put the officer’s mind at ease that your intent is to comply with the law and that you are willing to cooperate fully. That simple act will often go a long way toward helping you if you are actually in violation of some obscure law or another minor offense such as speeding. Granted, it’s no guarantee, but know it works because, on more than one occasion, some of our staffers (Sean) have been let off with a warning for such violations simply because they were forthright and cooperative about the fact that they were legally transporting a firearm. Don’t count on it, but it sure seems to help.

gun transport

Don’t speed excessively or ride recklessly with a firearm… not getting stopped in the first place is a great way to avoid law enforcement interactions while transporting your gun.

If you are stopped and you calmly present an unloaded and inoperable firearm in a locked container and show any ammunition is locked in a separate container, the officer may still insist on hassling you about it. If so, remain calm and by all means do not argue on the side of the road. However, it may also be possible that he or she simply isn’t certain about what is permissible when it comes to legal transport for lawful purposes. That’s why we suggest keeping a printed copy of the Peaceable Journey Act, complete with the title and section numbers, with you at all times. After all, it is federal law, which ultimately supersedes state or local laws whether the officer wants to admit it or not. Having a copy on hand is no “get out of jail free” card, and your intention is not to argue with the police but simply to make it clear that you have done your homework on the issue.

If you still don’t feel confident that you will avoid being “busted” even if you follow the aforementioned guidelines for legal “transport”, consider that virtually the same requirements are set forth in Canadian law. Our research of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website revealed that what Canada considers “non-restricted” firearms (basically any rifle or shotgun that does not feature automatic-fire capability) must be unloaded during transportation, while restricted and prohibited firearms (namely revolvers and handguns) must be unloaded, affixed with a secure locking device such as a trigger lock, padlock or a lockable cable through the barrel or the magazine well and locked in a sturdy, non-transparent container. Canadian law even specifies that automatic firearms have their bolts or bolt carriers removed if they can be removed. Canada also requires that a citizen obtain an Authorization to Transport, and the RCMP website even provides a contact phone number.

gun transport

A fast motor drive on the camera and some rapid fire by Sean made this muzzle blast photo possible…. after about 25 takes. Putting the ammo on an expense report made it all worthwhile.

At the end of the day, transporting any legal firearm on your motorcycle for lawful purposes, such as when heading to the range, your favorite hunting spot or your local gunsmith, need not be a source of anxiety as long as you follow these guidelines:


  • Transport your firearm unloaded.
  • Do store your firearm in a locked container.
  • Do store ammunition in a separate, locked container.
  • Do transport firearms and ammunition as far away from easy reach as is practically possible for that vehicle (for a motorcycle that means a backpack or saddlebags).
  • Do enjoy shooting. Do enjoy riding… do NOT enjoy shooting while riding. 


  • Don’t carry a loaded firearm unless you have a permit to do so.
  • Don’t carry a firearm inside your jacket or clothing unless you have a concealed carry permit or that particular state specifically allows it without a permit.
  • Don’t transport a firearm within easy reach.
  • Do not handle, show, or demonstrate the firearm outside of your garage, a firing range, or a gun shop. 
  • Don’t speed excessively or ride recklessly with a firearm… not getting stopped in the first place is a great way to avoid law enforcement interactions while transporting your gun.

While following this advice may not exempt you from being hassled by the man in the event you get pulled-over, properly locking and storing your firearm during lawful transportation will significantly reduce your chances of being locked up.


Concealed Carry

A MO reader offers his first-hand experiences on legally “carrying” a concealed firearm while riding

While researching this story, we figured there had to be a few readers who actually carry a concealed firearm while riding and who have obtained a permit to do so. Finding one was easy, as our recent point-counterpoint on firearms generated a fair amount of reader feedback. One of those readers was John Butrus of Dallas, Texas, a lawyer who also happens to moonlight as a professional poker player.

Butrus, 55, often rides his Kawasaki Concours 14 from state to state to play in poker tournaments, and he carries his firearm whenever and wherever he is legally allowed to do so.

“I took up riding about five years ago, and mostly what I like to do is go on long trips,” Butrus said. “I cross state lines a lot, I go to national parks and state parks. And, obviously, when you ride you wind up in restaurants and bars. I go to sporting events.”

Being a lawyer, Butrus did a lot of research into the legalities of carrying a firearm on his person when travelling on his motorcycle, although he stresses that he is not here to dispense legal advice; he is merely relating his own experiences, and his mindset, with regard to carrying a firearm.

“I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t wind up somewhere where it is a big problem,” Butrus said. “Like, for example, if I took a gun and rode to New York or New Jersey, that could be a major problem if I got stopped.”

Part of the issue that permitted carry holders face is simply keeping up to date on all of the changes in the gun laws from state to state. Lately, the trend has been that states are becoming more permissive when it comes to carrying a firearm. In Butrus’ home state of Texas, for example, the law was recently changed to allow persons with a valid concealed carry permit (CCW) to also open carry — in other words, carry a loaded firearm that is visible for all to see. Prior to January 1, the law required that CCW permit holders were required to keep their gun concealed at all times. That created some problems, according to Butrus.

“For example, if you are riding somewhere and you kept your gun concealed in a tank bag, and you stopped for gas, you either had to leave the gun in your tank bag or figure out a way to carry it on your person. But if someone saw you holding the gun, then it is no longer concealed. Texas was also considering letting everyone open carry, but that’s just kind of ridiculous. So, they limited it only to people who qualify for the (CCW) license.”

Like many of the gun laws themselves, CCW permit qualification requirements often differ from state to state. The vetting process usually involves a comprehensive application procedure that includes a thorough background check, personal interviews by law enforcement, fingerprinting and the applicant’s ability to demonstrate that he or she can safely operate a firearm as well as use proper judgment in a situation that could mean the difference between life and death.

And some states are classified as “shall issue” while others are “may issue” when it comes to CCW permits. Currently, 41 states are “shall issue,” meaning that anyone who clears the vetting process in their state must be granted a CCW permit. Nine states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island — are “may issue,” which leaves discretion for issuing a CCW permit to state or local authorities, who will usually stipulate that an applicant be able to show “good cause” for carrying a concealed weapon.

There appears to be no one-size-fits-all reason when it comes to being able to demonstrate good cause, and although this requirement has recently been challenged in the State of California, the argument that it is within one’s Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms simply does not qualify as good cause. And even if a person is issued a CCW permit in their home state, that does not mean that the permit is necessarily valid across state lines.

“There are a ton of websites that tell people which states have reciprocity, and every state has different requirements. And the thing is that if you would not qualify to carry in that state, you are not allowed to carry in that state. For example, if I ride into New Mexico, which I do all the time, New Mexico might have a provision that says that you cannot get a concealed carry permit if you are behind on child support — and I’m just being hypothetical here. I don’t know if that is the case. But if that were the case, and Texas does have reciprocity with New Mexico on concealed carry permits, and you get stopped in New Mexico and they find out that you are behind on child support, you are not eligible to carry in New Mexico. It is fairly complicated to figure out if you can carry concealed in another state with reciprocity. You really have to study their statutes to know whether you would qualify to carry in their state.”


And there is even more to carefully consider when crossing state lines with a concealed firearm. After all, it stands to reason that most permit holders do so in the interest of self-defense, but it is also crucial that they have an understanding of what constitutes self-defense.

“The law for use of deadly force varies,” Butrus said. “Hopefully you would never get into a situation where you might actually have to shoot someone, but you sure as hell want to make sure you are justified in doing it. I’ll give you a quick example in Texas: I don’t know why, but a couple years ago they changed the law so that if someone is creating mischief on your property you can shoot them. I think it was because prowlers were getting shot and then they wanted to hold the homeowner liable. But if you don’t know when you can use your gun, you could end up in major trouble.”

Although admittedly never having been in that situation, Butrus has found that the law enforcement officers he has encountered have been very understanding when made aware that he has a concealed carry permit and is carrying his firearm

“One time I was on my way back from New Mexico, and I was just east of Lubbock [Texas],” Butrus said. “It was early in the morning and it was a wide open road, and I was just kind of enjoying the ride when I came over a hill. There was a sheriff on the left shoulder, and he pulled me over and said I was going 104 mph. When I got my license out, he saw that I was carrying a concealed carry permit. Now, a lot of times I will just show them my permit anyway while I am giving them my driver’s license because that tells them you’re not a dangerous person and that you don’t have a criminal history. That will sometimes calm them down a little bit, and he ended up just letting me off with a warning. He never even asked me if I was carrying or not.

“They know what the requirements are to get a permit — background checks, fingerprints to the FBI, no history of addiction, no felonies, no domestic violence,” Butrus added. “It’s really hard. But, they do keep statistics on crimes committed by permit holders, and it is like nothing other than traffic offenses. Literally nothing. So, if you’re a cop who is pulling a 55-year-old guy with a permit, he is probably not the guy who is going to be giving you a hard time.”

Butrus said that he is always forthright about whether or not he is carrying his firearm when dealing with law enforcement.

“I’ve been stopped a few times in my car, and I always show them my permit, which looks just like a driver’s license,” Butrus said. “If I have a gun, I tell them, and if I don’t have a gun, I tell them. If I do have one, I tell them where it is and then ask them how they want to proceed. If it is in my pocket, I want them to know that it’s there, or if it is in my glove compartment I want them to know that it is there so that if I open up either one they will not think that I am reaching for a gun. You have to be careful how you handle the situation.”

  • Wow! Nice story, Scott. I was wondering about all this since I just bought a .22 rifle. It’s nice to know long guns, especially rimfire, are (mostly) exempt from all the locked-trunk craziness. It’s an M&P 15-22, so it breaks down quickly, AR-style, so I can just plop it into a messenger bag!

    • I would still strongly recommend locking a cable through the magwell of the lower receiver, even disassembled. That’s the serialized part of an AR platform considered the “firearm”. It just serves to de-stress the situation if it ever comes to an officer’s attention. The lock is like a sign reading “I’m Compliant!”

      • I do keep it locked.

      • Don Mei

        Why? If its in a trunk there is no point. Gun locks are for college kids who can’t afford a safe. If you have a pickup or SUV then some states require the firearm to be in a locked container. A gun lock does not meet this requirement. Again, this is a state by state issue and its imprudent to discuss generalities.

      • My sympathies for living in CA. As an Ex NY resident, I am glad I left for many reasons. This BS is just one. It’s like going from being a subject to a free citizen.

    • Don Mei

      Rim fire are not exempt in most states from locked trunk craziness because most states do not have a requirement that a gun be in a locked trunk. An article discussing issues like this on a national level when these laws are handled by the states is not only dumb, but downright dangerous.

      If you are talking about transporting interstate using the safe passage portion of FOPA, then ALL firearms need to be in a locked trunk or locked container. Again, this is a simply terrible article with lots and lots of bad info.

  • Chris

    It’s a silly shame all these laws have to be in the first place…Nice job on the article.

    • Tinwoods

      When you live in a big city like Los Angeles (me) or New York, you’re mostly glad that laws like these exist because there are a lot of bad people trotting around guns, but most of the times there is no real way to tell if someone is good or bad, so the rules have to apply to everyone. Same with the restrictive gun ownership rules. As a law-abiding citizen, I am good with all this if it means that a bad guy with a gun might get arrested when he’s pulled over for a broken taillight.

      • Chris

        That’s a viewpoint, for sure. I’m on the other side, however. As a retired cop (FWIW), laws do NOT stop your real problems, or only in a very rare instances. They mostly keep honest folks honest. And the vast majority of the time, they infringe on those honest folks’ right to protect themselves, their families, and others. But, this is why it’s such a hot, debated topic. Emotions, opinions, experience, mind set, etc.

      • Bullshit. I lived in NY for 40 years and the laws there didn’t make me any safer or feel safer.

        • Strat

          They’re just words on paper. Criminals don’t care about words on paper nor do they care about decals on doors showing a gun with a red line through it, except that they know that it will now be much easier for them.

      • Otto Maddox

        Yes, let’s make laws that treat everyone like a “bad guy”.
        Of course the bad guys don’t follow the rules and they’d get arrested when pulled over anyway.
        All these gun control laws do is control the people who are the least likely to actually do something illegal in the first place.
        And let’s ignore the fact that places with the strictest gun laws still have plenty of gun related crime.
        These are the place you’re most likely to need a gun to defend yourself. Yet we disarm the good guys. Yes, that makes tons of sense.
        But I’m glad you’re OK with it.

      • timdnml .

        Criminals don’t follow laws.

  • JMDonald

    I am comforted in the fact restrictive gun laws are known and observed by the criminal elements of our society. These elements knowing when it is legal to carry or transport a firearm will do so willingly so as not to be found in violation of said laws. At least we’ve got that going for us. Nice article and a good foundation of information.

  • DickRuble

    Next episode; bible thumpers.

    • Gruf Rude

      Is that a sub-category of the Christian Motorcyclist Association that only ride single cylinder motorcycles?

      • DickRuble

        with all the required safety gear: trigger safe lock boxes for their books..what editions to carry, two or four strokes…

        • timdnml .

          No two-strokes on Fridays…

  • Born to Ride

    Solid ten yard grouping on that last part of the video Sean. Respect +1

    • The comments on YouTUBE are giving me cancer. Do yourself a favor and don’t read them.

      • Born to Ride

        I was gonna give you a hard time about the first clip, but you were on target on that last one. Looked like 2-3″ at ten yards standing with a plastic gun, not slow-fire. That’s pretty damn good. YouTubers are douche bags.

        • First mag I was trying to capture stills of the muzzle flash, not really paying attention to point of aim, just keeping them down-range. That was the first target that three of us all shot, so not really Representative of anyone’s skills. Me, Scott Rousseau the author, and Jay McNally the videographer, are all decent shots. Scott and I shoot together all the time outside of work.

      • Wait! Now I want to see that and read the comments. Link please.

        Man, the other website I wrote for (that shut down) posted my video from the ZX-10R Sepang thing. It got 200 negative comments in 12 hours! They wrote some truly terrible things about my riding, sexuality, basic intelligence and ancestry. The summary of these complaints was that I wasn’t Adam Waheed. If they had to actually spend time with Adam Waheed, they would have thanked me with effusive praise…

        • Old MOron

          Cheer up, Gabe. My wife once complained to me that I am not Adam Waheed.

          Okay, she didn’t. But cheer up. At least you go over well with MOrons.

      • Born to Ride

        I went and read them out of curiosity, seems like they are basically saying that “guns are bad mm’kay”, “Americans are fat murderous bastards”, or “Commiefornia sucks, I ride with my desert eagle in my waistband pointed directly at my dick in (insert free-state name). ‘MURICA!”
        What I don’t understand is that the dissenters think guns are too dangerous and pointless for the average citizen to own. Don’t they realize that motorcycles are pointless and too dangerous for the average citizen to own? Motorcycles claim on average half the amount of lives that firearms do in this country per year. And that is only taking into account the fatalities of the motorcyclists themselves, not those who were killed due to being involved in the wreck. Should we ban bikes too? The beauty of living in this country is that we don’t take away the liberties of the many because of the abuses of the few and the unlawful. All the “enlightened” Europeans and rhetoric spouting disarmament advocates at home who can’t understand that simple mechanic need to revisit the roots “Liberal” ideology. (I do not consider myself a politically left or right, just pointing out an idiosyncrasy)

        • DickRuble

          Seems to me you’re puzzled that people consider guns and motorcycles differently. They’re basically discriminating. Could it be that they cannot remember the last time one guy with a motorcycle killed 21 kids? Can’t remember the last time someone killed his own kids and wife with his motorcycle either, though it seems more feasible if you convince all of them to ride with you.. Abuses of the few? The few are more and more numerous and murderous ..

          • I don’t see the connection either way. People will do stupid, dangerous and criminal stuff even if there were no bikes or guns. Shit, more people die from drunk drivers than firearms at the hands of someone else. Even in jolly old UK, the violent crime rate is pretty high for a first world country. Sure you probably won’t be shot, but you’re more likely to be stabbed, beat or raped. That said, Ted Kennedy killed more people than I have and most of us go through life not being a victim of violent crime. The bottom line is that behavior is a people issue, not a tool issue.

          • Born to Ride

            People on motorcycles kill wives and kids all the time. Sometimes they are their passengers, sometimes they are innocent victims of accidents caused by reckless or improperly trained motorcyclists. I understand what you are saying. One is a weapon and the other is a mode of transportation so they are apples and hand grenades right? Obviously you don’t share my point of view insofar that I see people as the inherent problem. Millions of men and women own millions of guns and use them lawfully to protect their families and themselves from assailants, and recreational equipment. At the same time ten thousand lives perish each year due to homicide with firearms and school shootings are a miserable reality. I don’t know what the answer is to the problem, but depriving law abiding gun owners (the demographic this article was written for) of their property or rights seems about as logical as enacting bans on “dangerous” motorcycles based on their appearance and features.

      • It’s the monotony of the voiceover that causing the comments. I feel like I am in a law class with Barry O. Lighten up, it would have helped. 🙂

  • clay

    Unfortunately there are so many flaws in this article it borders on foolish. The author should have done a LOT more research. I will grant the fact that he did say “transport” in the discussion as opposed to “carry” which is different. Still, I didn’t make it through the whole video because I was getting seriously frustrated with the inaccuracies.

    • Gruf Rude

      As a retired prosecutor, I thought the article did a good job of outlining the essentials of a complicated subject. I would be interested in a listing of your ‘inaccuracies’ as a service to readers.

      • Gruf Rude

        sorry, I did NOT mean to upvote my own post . . .

        • Born to Ride

          I don’t forgive you, but I did upvote you.

      • Don Mei

        1) He advocates announcing to an officer that you have a firearm. Dumb, unless required by law. It only escalates what might otherwise be a simple encounter. The author suggests that not doing so creates an adversarial situation. This is completelyt untrue. In 99% of traffic stops it won’t create any situaation at all. I’ve been driving for 30 years and have been stopped for traffic citations probably a dozen times. I’ve never had an officer search my car. No search, no guns.
        2) he fails to differentiate between transport and carry. In fact, he blurrs the two of them together. They are not the same thing. There are HUGE legal differences. In many many states, no license or permit is required to transport, but one is to carry. Also in some of the states that require you to tell a LEO if you are carrying, you are not required to tell if you are transporting.
        3) There is little mention of open carry laws. Its not uncommon to accidentally show a firearm when the wind blows garments up. In OC states this is a non-issue.

        4) He aludes to FOPA but never mentions the law by name. He also incorrectly states that it means different things in different states. This is completely wrong. I know of no instance of a person driving a firearm through any of the trouble states he mentioned, in compliance with FOPA, who had a problem. NONE. Find one and I’ll paypal you $20. Also, FOPA does not require the ammo to be kept separately. Only that the firearm itself is unloaded.

        more to come as soon as I finish sending my kids to school

        • All of the following is original text from the story: (a big/bold pull-quote) “Ignorance of a specific law is no excuse, and that includes laws governing a person’s right to carry, or even transport, a firearm on a motorcycle.” (then in the body) “Please note our wording from above: “a person’s right to carry, or even transport…”, we worded it that way because those two terms refer to distinctly different acts in the legal context of firearms. “Carrying” a firearm is the act of having a ready to use firearm on your person or easily accessible on/in your vehicle. However, “transporting” is simply the act of moving personal firearm(s) from one place to another. In the eyes of the law “carrying” is a much more serious and complex issue.”

          • In the CCW class I took, which was taught by a cop, said it’s a bad idea to say, “I have a gun”. Better to hand your CCW license over with your other paperwork and let the officer ask more questions.

          • One evening when returning from a long day at a remote long-distance outdoor range here in California. I was about an hour into the drive home when I made a fundamental error and completely forgot that I was transporting firearms in my car. I took the bait and engaged in some open-road play with another sportscar. Maybe a minute later, I was stopped by an unmarked Sheriff’s vehicle for a significantly large three digit velocity in a posted 65 mph zone. I immediately pulled-over well clear of the traffic lanes, lowered my driver’s-side window and slowly and calmly placed both hands out the window of my car and kept them in plain sight before the officer had even come to a complete stop behind me.

            There was a large, locked, rifle case extending from the passenger footwell up to almost the headrest of the passenger seat of my car (the only place in/on the vehicle that it would fit), there was clearly no way it was going to remain undetected by the officer. As the officer approached, but well before he came near me or my door, I very politely and calmly said exactly this, while keeping my hands out of the open window in plain-sight: “Officer, out of respect for your profession, I would like to inform you that I am legally transporting several unloaded and secured firearms inside my vehicle, but I am not armed at this time.” His response was a very sincere sounding “Thank you for telling me that upfront.” He then asked me to keep my hands in sight and tell him the whats/wheres for each firearm.

            After about a minute of discussion and after me proactively offering to let him search/inspect them himself, he had me exit the vehicle and sit on the curb behind my car. My gun keyring was in the closed center console, each gun was secured with its own cable lock through its breech and stored inside its own separate locked case. My vehicle has a front trunk and a separate rear hatch storage area. There were three more rifles under that rear hatch, and in the car’s front trunk (frunk) several different calibers of rifle ammunition in two locked ammo boxes, plus my targets, empty cases, assorted range gear, etc.

            Several minutes later, after he had seen/inspected the firearms and ammo, he walked back to me and asked for my license, registration and proof of insurance then allowed me to retreive the reg and insurance from my car. After running me through the computer he gave the items back to me.

            “Well Mr. Alexander, I’m not sure what you were thinking, but you came >THIS< close to having your car impounded for racing and XXX in a 65 tonight. As it sits, I'm going to let you go, because it's clear you're not a "bad guy" and you maybe just got a little over enthusiastic. Have a nice night."

            Contributing factors that really SHOULDN'T have mattered:
            * I'm white and 40-ish years old.
            * I'm polite and well-spoken when I want to be (and I did)
            * I demonstrated clear respect for his Eye-Thor-it-Tye!
            * I was driving an expensive car.
            * I was legally transporting firearms.

            Contributing factors that SHOULD have mattered and did:
            * I was not close to other vehicles / putting others at risk
            * I pulled-over immediately and placed my vehicle in the safest possible position for a roadside stop.
            * I remained calm and spoke slowly
            * I demonstrated compliance before the first words were spoken.
            * I had clearly taken great pains to ensure that my firearms were secure long before the stop.
            * None of the rifle types or configurations were in violation of any state or federal firearms laws.

            There is NO doubt (verified by the officer's own words) that had I not been transporting firearms, or had I not had them clearly over-secured in a manner that showed a clear intent not to violate any firearms statutes…. no doubt at all that I would have been arrested and charged with "Reckless Driving" "XXX in a 65" and had my car towed/impounded.

            The firearms announcement and interaction completely defused the original reason for the traffic stop because of the way it was handled before and during the stop.

            Guns…. a get out of jail free card. Who'd of thunk it?

          • Sounds like a Porsche. I don’t know how you could fit in one. I can’t or won’t. 🙂 I probably have more speeding tickets than any three people combined. When I was young, I lost my license twice from speeding, the last time for almost 2 years. That was over 30 years ago, but I try to be nice to cops when they pull me over and I tell the truth. It usually takes them by surprise. Yes I was speeding. I’ve had only two incidents, both in Iowa where the troopers were dicks. Once the guy said I was going faster than I was. I know how fast I go, even with speedo error I have it figured out…The other idiot was pissed I didn’t pull over immediately, but there was no shoulder and a drop off in a ditch. I wanted to go a little further to find an area where I was off the road, which is safer for him. On the other hand, it’s rare I got off with a warning. The car and your attitude probably did it for you. I found the lousier the car or bike I was using, the more likely to get hammered.

          • “I’m sorry, I guess I was driving like an idiot…” has always worked well for me.

          • I haven’t always driven the best cars. Sadly, it does make a difference in how officers approach the entire situation.

        • I am sure NY, NJ and CA would like to ignore the law. NJ is the worst and unfortunately, the direct way to get to Long Island. What I’d like to see is a federal reciprocity law where all states are made shall issue. The screaming from the progs would be music to my ears. 🙂

  • Martin Buck

    I live in New Zealand, where we obviously have different laws, and concealed carry is only available to law enforcement officers. But if you have a valid firearms license, you can transport your rifle to the range provided you keep the bolt and ammunition in a separate locked compartment. One rifle club member only ever rode a KLR650, and he always had his Lee Enfield strapped across his back. Transporting firearms means only going directly from home to the range, no shopping trips allowed in the way. We never had any problems with Police to my knowledge, they actively encourage people in safe handling and use of firearms. Don’t do stupid things in stupid places and you’ll be fine.

  • Don Mei

    The author should stick to writing about motorcycles. There is no reason to inform an officer that you are carrying unless 1) you are in a state that requires you to do so. 2) you are directly asked if you have a weapon. 3) you are asked to get off the bike and are about to be arrested.

    The author makes things needlessly complex. Here’s the cliff’s notes.

    1) Don’t do stupid things with stupid people.
    2) Never lie to the cops
    3) Don’t volunteer anything

    Don Mei

  • Go to USA Carry if you need to know the laws of the different states, because they do vary. That said, in my home state, I won’t be carrying a pistol unloaded and locked. What’s the use then? It seems like this was written from the California point of view…and people that don’t have CCW license.

    • milehisnk

      I think that was the point….you go to a gun shop and buy a gun, but you’re on your bike. What’s the law for bringing it home on a bike? That’s what they were informing of (or that’s the impression I got).

      • I found it from a California point of view. Living in AZ, I don’t have half the hassles that California residents have and I can do a lot more too. Just saying. I have no intention of ever moving to CA. Too expensive and restrictive. If I wanted that, I’d move back to NY.

        • Born to Ride

          Gun laws here are bullshit. Yet California is the only state where lane-splitting is legal and encouraged to alleviate highway congestion, and we don’t have speed trap cameras lining the freeways. Pick your poison.

  • Matthew McKenzie

    Good Read, would have been good to tie in with a similar article for horseback. (saddle rings etc.) I know if I was riding a WLA I would want the rifle to be be where the army intended it to be.

  • Gary

    I look forward to a follow-up article on how to convert your throttle to the left grip, so that you can squeeze off a few rounds whilst navigating the mean streets. Lame. Really lame.

  • kenneth_moore

    The article has interesting information on the legalities of carrying of carrying a gun on a motorbike, but nothing at all about if or how one would carry a gun for self defense on the road.

  • Old MOron

    Well, I hadn’t read this story before because I have no interest in owning, or even arguing about, guns. But I’m glad I read it because it was well done, and I because I always enjoy John B’s perspective – even on the rare occasion when we disagree.

    • Unfortunately, John’s name isn’t on the byline. Some other chap named Rousseau.

      • Old MOron

        Well, Dirty Sean isn’t on the byline, either. In any case, I have no doubt that John B knows how to look after his interests.

        • Well, I would hope they give credit where credit is due. As far as John goes, never met him. The best way to look after yourself is to avoid trouble. The best weapon is between the ears. When all else fails, Kilvinski’s Law applies.

  • dpaul

    No other right requires a permit and fee to exercise said right. When a permit is required to exercise a right it is no longer a right but a privilege subject to the whims of politicians and tyrants.
    In California it is virtually impossible to not violate some law when transporting or carrying a weapon and virtually impossible to obtain a concealed carry license.

    • It’s the same in NY, NJ and DC. At the very least be shall issue. I lived in NY for 40 years. While I miss some things about it, like the ocean, the food, some family and a couple other things, I am glad I don’t live there. High taxes, high regulation, over populated and over priced. I lived in Iowa for 9 years, great people, lower taxes and regulations and a shall issue state and now AZ. Lower taxes yet, gun ownership and bearing are constitutional and there’s plenty of open spaces. The downside is the schools suck compared to Iowa and some districts in NY and the politicians seem to know cost, but not value and I tend to be libertarian. Then are parsimonious to a fault. I guess that’s why people retire here. Oh yeah, the heat in the summer totally sucks. If I retire here, it’ll be in Flagstaff or someplace up north where it’s cooler.

      • dpaul

        Good to hear from a fellow Libertarian. We can turn this around politically if we elect enough Libertarians. But I can’t help but wonder where is SCOTUS, Justice and the congress as the state’s run wild with the second amendment.

        • The LP will never have the same success as the other two parties and the reason is simple: In a land of children, santa claus wins every election. The LP doesn’t offer anything tangible, no quid pro quo even. With the Dems and the GOP, there’s always some exchange going on, something tangible. That’s why we have the massive debt we do. The LP wants to end that party. How do you think that would play? Not well. You’d have to have a highly educated electorate that values liberty over safety. I don’t see it happening.

  • Pat

    FWIW, I disagree with the advice to automatically tell the Police Officer that you’re carrying. Naturally, if you are in a “duty to inform” state – you have no choice. And how do you know if you’re in such a State? You’ve done your research in advance.

    Now, not to sound like a hypocrite, I will advise that one time I did indeed tell a Connecticut State Trooper that I was carrying although I had NO duty to do so. It was a judgment call I made on the spot. The Officer was rendering assistance while my bike was disabled on the shoulder of the Interstate with a flat rear tire. I decided it would be better for the cop to be forewarned that I had a gun, rather than spot it while I was fumbling with the bike or bending over to inspect the tire. Cop was cool, simply asked to see my permit, and stayed with us until a tow truck arrived.

    Then there’s the problem of how to bring this information to the attention of the cop. I suppose the dumbest among us will simply wait for the cop to approach, then spin around and loudly declare, “I have a gun”. See how that works out for you!

    Lastly, there is the concept of no good deed going unpunished. Take the following scenario: you are transporting a gun thru New Jersey [you certainly are NOT carrying in the People’s Republic of New Jersey because of their ridiculous gun laws]. You are confident you did everything right – gun is in a locked container in the trunk, ten-round magazine is in the glovebox. To be on the safe side, you decide to voluntarily tell the cop you have a gun in the car during a traffic stop. So far, so good. The cop takes the information calmly and asks to see the locked box and separated ammo to confirm compliance. No problem with the box; however, you hand the cop your loaded magazine with your favorite defensive rounds – hollow points no doubt. You have now earned yourself a free ride to the hoosegow because hollow points are illegal in NJ. That fully loaded 10-round magazine now earned you 10 separate felony charges.

    As far as I’m concerned – don’t ask, don’t tell. YMMV

  • micah hills

    Thought afterwords that we could of made the nightly news. Two people stopped on a Honda Shadow with four guns and a thousand rounds of amo. We were on our way to the range.

  • timdnml .

    “Texas was also considering letting everyone open carry, but that’s just kind of ridiculous.” Right here is where I stopped caring what he had to say.

  • timdnml .

    It’s not about the gun, it’s about the control.

  • BrandROI

    Would it be self-serving for me to point out that Mark Gardiner’s Second Bathroom Book of Motorcycle Trivia has an entire chapter devoted to motorcycle companies that started out as gun makers, and vice-versa?