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Old 04-07-2011, 12:02 PM   #1
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Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

In talking to some Sportsmobile owners I've heard some say they carry a handgun or other weapon in their Sportsmobile whenever they boondock camp, particularly in the desert Southwest because of the possibility of coming across meth labs, drug dealers or illegal alien smugglers. I have camped in some very remote areas where, if someone wanted to, they could easily bump me off and steal my Sportsmobile. So the thought of personal protection has often crossed my mind.

Yesterday I attended a handgun safety course and was told it is illegal in California (where I do a lot of camping) to carry a weapon anywhere in a vehicle other than in a locked box that is not in the passenger area and the ammo must be kept separate from the gun. This got me wondering: If you do carry a handgun or weapon in your Sportsmobile when you camp, 1) where do you carry it, 2) is it loaded and 3) do you have a concealed weapons permit? Also, are there areas where you camp where you do carry your weapon and areas where you don't.

I want to be safe when I camp, but I also don't want to go to jail.

Your thoughts?
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:42 PM   #2
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Re: Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

Don't carry a hand gun (and if I did I wouldn't mention where it was hidden). I do keep a big can of bear spray next to the driver's seat .. the bear pepper spray that shoots 40 feet. I'm thinking I'll be a couple of more cans of bear spray to mount on both driver's doors and the back door. All I'm looking for is a couple of minutes to haul ass out of a bad situation.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:04 PM   #3
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Re: Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

Mac there is a good thread on this somewhere on the site. As far as Ca, while you're on the road yes you are under the same laws as any vehicle. From what I was told by the local law inforcement, one way around of carring a handgun without having to keep it in a locked box is to Disassemble the weapon. But places where you have to declair the weapon could be another story. While camped, a SMB is considered a home and the weapon can be handled in the same manor as at home but in some places this can be thrown out such as rest stops along the highway. I have a book that covers all of this at home that I can look up specifics. If you plan to pack, I would look into a safe mounted in the vehicle. Also because the law can change from day to day, I would ask before breaking the law.

I'll try to find the thread and post it here unless somebody else does.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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Re: Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

Oh yeah, remember each officer is always right and can take your weapon. If they are wrong all you have to do is get legal aid to get it back from them if they happen to be mistaken when they confiscated you weapon.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:42 PM   #5
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Re: Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

This topic is like debating "what is beauty" so I won't even bother trying to convince others that my opinions are correct or accurate.

That said, from my research (check out calguns.org legal FAQ), the class you took gave you faulty legal info.

The locked container requirement is valid if the gun is, or cannot, be stored in a trunk or other locked area that is separate from the passenger compartment. So in an SMB, yes it must be kept in a locked container of some sort.

The gun cannot be "loaded" and there is an whole bunch of case history on what the term "loaded" means in practice. But in short, the gun and ammo or a full clip can be stored in the same locked trunk or container.

I am a lot more confident about legal precedent and case history than I am in the views of any LEO I might encounter in the real world. So I may have to "win" in court after the fact.

But I am happy to face that risk. In short, I always camp in remote areas with a gun of some sort, and it is always transported in a way that I believe complies with CA laws.

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Old 04-07-2011, 01:58 PM   #6
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Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

Don't want to go to jail? Then you have to read the law. All of it.

Sadly, Dave is right. Every time they think they can get away with stopping someone else from having or getting a gun - or think they can get away with saying you can't have a gun over there (like the Post Office), they change the law. Seems like there is no shortage of people or places they don't want to have or take guns. So, it's tough to keep up.

So, if you don't want to go to jail AND you want to carry a gun, you have to read the law. Often.

I don't recommend reading a book about the law because if the book is wrong, the judge isn't going to care what it had to say about it and you still end up in the slammer.

Oh, and that's also a good point about the "incorrect" police officer. If you know the law and try to point it out to him, rather than jumping on the radio to see if you are right, he may just change the subject to something called obstruction. Then you could find yourself thinking about how right you while you are sitting in jail waiting to tell the judge how right you are.

So, if your objective is to stay out of jail, you might not want to carry the gun. If you think carrying the gun will help protect you, then grab a cup of coffee and get ready for a frustrating read.

As a guy who works pretty hard to follow the rules, I'm just say'n...

Rant complete.
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:35 PM   #7
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Re: Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

If the weapon is kept out of sight, how do they know that you even HAVE one? As far as I know, the back of your van, (behind the seats), if it has home amenities such as a toilet, sink, stove and beds, etc., constitutes a home and may not be searched without probable cause and a search warrant. Of course, I was wrong once before so there is always a slight possibility that I might be misinformed in this case too...
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:58 PM   #8
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Re: Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

In Colorado you can carry a loaded or unloaded gun in your vehicle, open or concealed. link Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO.org) just put a bill up to allow concealed carry without permit, but it got shot (cough, cough) down.

I'm very much on the "easier to get forgiveness than permission" side of this issue. While I have a CC permit in Colorado and Indiana and try to obey every aspect of the law as well as gun safety, I'll take the chance on getting jammed up in the legal sense over not being prepared to defend myself. To wit, should I happen to not unload and lock down my firearm upon leaving my California campsite, upon remembering I will not create a safety hazard on the roadway attempting to immediately remedy the oversight...

I know people who left California over not being able to carry, despite being legal, law abiding citizens.

So come to Colorful Colorado, put your gun up on the dashboard and relax!
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:01 PM   #9
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Re: Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

Our handgun is stored unloaded and separated from the ammo clip when on the road. Legal? Not really except here in CO but we spend most of our time behind the Zion Curtain.
Once camped it's always ready to go. We have never had any problems with people yet and hope it stays that way. It's not that we are paranoid but we want the option. Also, I tend to go off hiking,biking, snooping around once we are camped and my wife usually likes to hang out and read etc.at the SMB. I feel better knowing that she has the gun if she needs it.
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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Re: Do You Carry a Handgun When You Camp?

In Wy you can have a loaded gun in your lap and nobody cares.
I always have a gun in my Van.
I drive with it unloaded and load it when camped. I also have a large assortment of Knives and always have one with me when camping-hiking for obvious reasons.

I also have Bear spray and would use that in a heart beat.

I hate that I feel better with a weapon and wish it was different but it isn't.

Having said that I have never had any sort of an issue other than your basic big mouth and that's easy to diffuse but never any real threat.

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