Atty. Ralph D. Sherman
130 West Main Street New Britain, Connecticut 06052
tel. (860) 229-0213 fax (860) 229-0235 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Traveling with guns
A reader wrote me recently about a book that may interest anyone who reads this column. Trouble is, the book may be hazardous to your legal health.
You may have seen ads in magazines for various books on gun laws. In some ads the author claims that his book is a complete guide to the laws of all 50 states. Other ads promote the book as a guide for travelers who want to transport firearms or even carry a concealed handgun.
There is no need for me to mention any book or author by name. I just want to let you know that I wouldn't trust any of these books.
Yes, at least one book was written by an attorney, and he ought to know the law. Too bad the legislatures in half the states have changed their laws since the time the book was published.
Worse, in the case of the book that the reader wrote me about, much of the information is not out of date - it's just plain incorrect.
So what can you do to obtain this kind of information?
Probably the best thing would be to ask an attorney. Depending on the attorney, and the question, this may or may not cost money. But it will be money well spent if it prevents your being convicted of breaking another state's gun laws.
Another good resource is the Internet. Not the bulletin boards and newsgroups, where I see even more misinformation than is contained in those books. No, the place to look is the official web site of the state you're planning to visit.
You'll probably find it fairly easy to locate the state's web site, and even the state's statutes and regulations. You may find, however, that the language is impossible to understand unless you have a legal background.
One other good resource is NRA. The web site now has the best 50-state "carry" guide I've seen. (The URL is http://www.nra.org/research/reciprocityguide.html.) Still, I would use it only as a starting point. If you don't have Internet access, you can call NRA at (703) 267-1180 and ask.
A final word of advice: Thanks to NRA and other organizations, more and more states now have carry permits that can be obtained by non-residents. If you already have your Connecticut state permit, you can get a carry permit from many other states simply by mailing an application form, a copy of your permit, and a check for $20-$50.
Copyright 1999 by Ralph D. Sherman