Legally Carrying Firearms in Truck? Carrying Concealed Guns and Other Tips

For almost all states, it is necessary that the firearm is unloaded and the legal definition of a loaded firearm will change as per circumstances. For the most part, a gun will be considered loaded if it has a live round of ammunition. However, it is not limited to the firing chamber or magazine. For example, in a semi-automatic handgun, the firing chamber could be empty for the magazine could be loaded, so in this case, the firearm will also be considered loaded.

Along with keeping it unloaded, the penal code also provides additional needs to transport a handgun in vehicles legally. It entails that the firearm must be either locked in the vehicle’s struck or should be inside a closed container excluding glove compartment out of the reach of others. Here “Locked Container” suggests that the tank is secure is fully enclosed by a padlock or combination lock or a key lock etc. All these requirements mentioned above also apply to carry registered “Assault Weapons.”

Not the Utility Compartment

The utility compartment as of now is not defined in the Penal Code. Hence, a handgun should not be carried in the center console even if it is locked. It can neither be taken in the storage area behind the rear seat. Therefore, it is advisable that people should use another storage compartment in their vehicles to keep their firearms. It is also not advisable for truck owners to keep their handgun locked their cross-bed toolbox behind the cab. You might say that the Penal Code does have an exception for the truck of the vehicle, but the toolkit is not precisely the truck of the car, although many would consider it that way.

When You Don’t Have a Trunk

Many pickup owners would say that they don’t have a trunk, so for them, the legal way to transport a firearm would be to use a hard locking case. These locking hard cases for handguns are available at a lower price online. The correct way of using it would be to keep the gun unloaded and keep the fact locked to comply with your state law. We believe for pickup owners who don’t have a truck there isn’t a better way to transport firearms unless they lock it in a hard case, bot for rifles and long guns such as shotguns.

Most state laws prohibit the open carry of unloaded rifles or guns in vehicles, on the person in public places and public streets. It is also forbidden to carry in cities and area of incorporated county territory where the discharge of firearms is prohibited.

So, even if the pickup doesn’t have a truck, the owners should be prepared to lawfully carry their unloaded rifles in a locked container while they are outside the vehicle. That said, the penal code does have numerous exceptions to the requirements, but it would be difficult to prove in court if you fall within those exceptions.

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Firearms in Motorhomes

If you are driving a motor home or have converted your pickup to a motorhome, it will be considered as a motor vehicle, and you have to transport your firearms likewise as mentioned above. On the other hand, if you are camping in your pickup cum motorhome, it will be treated as a residence.

The Penal Code does provide prohibition against carrying loaded rifles of handguns with an exception for temporary residence or campsite. That said, the term temporary residence and campsite are still undefined, so it’s still a gray area. For example, if you have come to an established campground and have hooked up your tent, this would qualify as a temporary residence or campsite. However, if you have just pulled over a stop to sleep for a few hours in your vehicle, it will not be qualified as a temporary residence. If you are prosecuted carrying a loaded firearm in the motorhome, whether it was a temporary residence or not will be decided by the jury. Moreover, you should be aware of the fact that some public campground has additional legal restriction in carrying firearms.

Transporting Firearms Interstate

That said, I would like to comment that if you could meet some requirements under the Federal law, you could legally transport a firearm on your pickup during interstate transit despite having the state or local laws in place. You can transport or carry a gun for a lawful purpose from your state where you legally possess and send it to another country where you may lawfully possess and take it. However, the firearm must be unloaded, and neither the firearm nor the ammunition should be directly accessible from the passenger compartment.

In case your pickup doesn’t have a separate compartment from the passenger compartment, you can keep the firearm and ammunition in a locked container other than the glove box or console.

When Will You Be Charged With a Felony?

You can be charged with a felony if the vehicle contains unlawfully concealed handgun not listed in the state database. Most arrests for carrying an unlawfully concealed handgun has resulted only in the filing of misdemeanor charges. It also includes the ammunition that either in your immediate possession on is readily accessible to you. You will also be charged if the loaded handgun is not listed in your name in the AFS.

Here are Some Tips to Conceal Carry Firearms in Your Vehicle

Knowing State Laws

Your first move should understand your state laws about concealed carry handguns in your pickup. For example, if you are in North Carolina, it is valid to carry concealed pistol along with your permit and valid identification at all times. Moreover, you don’t need any permit to carry handguns openly in NC.

You also have to know the rules of the state you are moving into. If you drive to Virginia from NC, you know your permit will be honored there. But, you should be well aware of the various laws about the state you are visiting, and you are responsible for learning those laws.

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Furthermore, you have to take extra care of the issues such as accessibility of the firearm and if the gun is concealed. When transporting a firearm, you must ensure that the gun is not concealed and is not within the ready access to the occupant of the vehicle. Keeping a loaded gun behind the seat in a pickup is considered concealed and readily accessible for most US states.

If a rifle or a shotgun is carried openly in the pickup, it would not be considered concealed, but there are other problems as well. The Law Enforcement should have a complete idea over your intent. If you are pulled over for a traffic violation, you should make it easy for them by cooperating. And in North Carolina, you are needed to disclose the fact that you have a valid concealed handgun permit when approached by LE officer.

In NC, you can carry long guns in a locked hard case and also keep it unloaded. You can keep in the back of the pickup in a toolbox which is not readily accessible.

Securing The Firearm

To secure your firearm, you need keyed or biometric safe cases which can hold your handgun as well as other valuables. These are usually made from 14 gauge steel. They also come with a cable to secure the safe to the vehicle. This enables you to disarm yourself when you are entering public gatherings such as a church, school, or a government building. Here a lockable case attached to the vehicle would be a good option. You can loop the cable around the meat seat mount. Or you can use the steel loop on the back of the truck around the toolbox or a tie-down. Make sure that only you and other authorized people have access to the safe. You don’t want your children, or someone else gets curious about what’s in the safe and starts toying with it.  You could purchase safe from Hornady, Console Vault, TruckVault, and others.

The Console Vault safe convert existing center console of the cab into a secure vault which can store a firearm. You can also stash some hidden cash or relevant documents in it. This vault is made from 12 gauge cold rolled steel plate. It features a five-point locking system with a keyless combination lock. Then there are products from TruckVault which turns your pickup into a virtual safe on wheels. This is a drawer designed to be used in the pickup truck bed. It includes a couple of drawers which can hold up to 300 lbs of gear. With just a push of a button, it will quickly give you access to your extended arm.

Handgun Holsters in Vehicles

A Handgun stored in a gun safe is technically safe from unauthorized access, but retrieving it takes time. You may not have that much time in case the situation goes south. To defend yourself, you need your firearms to be hidden, yet accessible so that you can handle the situation. There are a few products available that allow you to mount a holster within reach of a driver. A holster would hold your handgun securely and discreetly. On the other hand, enabling you to draw naturally from a seated position behind the wheels. You could look into Gold Star Holsters for products that meet your needs and state laws. You could also opt for DeSantis Kingston Car Seat Holster. It attaches to the bottom of the seat with the pistol between the legs and the muzzle towards the floor.

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Other Conceal Carry Options

Another excellent option is carrying appendix, i.e. your gun with the holster tucked near the appendix under the clothing. This way, you can draw from a concealed cover faster and also works well when wearing a seat belt. If you have a holster at the 4 o’clock position, you have to lean away to access. With the appendix carry you have easy access to the piston while seated and even wearing a seatbelt. When you are in the passenger seat, remember that the seat belt will be in the opposite position. So plan it beforehand how you will conceal carry your handgun or pistol.

Small Space

The biggest downside of the carrying concealed gun would be not knowing how to use it. It is not like training in the shooting range. While in a pickup or the cab, you have very little space, and you have to make crucial decisions faster. You should be able to reach to the holster when needed in a moments notice. Many would practice doing precisely that in their truck cabin their garage. You must keep in mind, that you may not be able to use a two-hand hold. You won’t be able to extend your arm fully, you will have to reposition your body.


In many states, locked and unloaded firearms may be transported legally. However, the same law may not apply to other states. There are myriads of the different legal requirement to transport or carry a gun in your vehicle in your country. It gets even more complicated when you are moving from one state to state with your handgun.

For trailer and camper, it is advisable to keep the firearms unloaded, cased and locked somewhere in the truck. It would be an excellent option to save it unloaded and locked in a toolbox or similar cases. How you have to keep it beyond the reach of any occupants of the vehicle. To keep a handgun in range, take a look into the concealed carrying firearms laws in your state. For some concealed carry may not be allowed.

Mobile homes that are not attached to a towing vehicle can keep firearms within the boundaries of the law. The state and local law will govern the ownership, possession, and transportation of firearms.

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