Gun Laws for Carrying a Gun in Vehicles

| Last Updated:
October 13, 2023

Gun carrying laws in the United States are a matter of major concern among firearm owners, especially when they are carrying a weapon in their car. Carry laws change from state to state so there’s a lot of confusion among people regarding whether they can carry a gun in their car or not.

Here, we’ll try to understand the implications of carrying a gun in a car and the right method of carrying one. We’ll also use certain cases as an example to understand the variation of carrying laws in different states. So fasten your seat belts (pun-intended) and continue reading!

Can I Carry a Gun in My Car?

If you are in Idaho, yes you can carry without a permit. But if you are in D.C, you can’t. Similarly, each state has its own different laws regarding the transportation of guns in a car. Some states require you to have a permit to carry a gun in your car, some states don’t.

Similarly, the concealed carry permits of some states are valid in other states, but the vice-versa is not always true. If you want to carry a gun in your car, the best bet is to check with your local laws. If you are going to transport a gun to a different state in your car, you better check with their local laws as well. Most states require the firearm to be unloaded when carried in a car.

Some states require weapons to be disassembled and stored in the trunk, inside a safe, or chest. In some states, you don’t need a concealed carry permit to carry a weapon in your car, whether it is loaded, unloaded, concealed, or open. Some such states are Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, and Texas. On the contrary, some states with the strictest laws on gun carry are District of Columbia, California, New York, and New Jersey.

How Can I Conceal My Gun In The Car?

Concealing a gun inside your car depends upon the type of weapon you have. If you have a shotgun or rifle, the best place to conceal is inside the trunk. For better security, you can use a gun safe mounted inside your trunk. Most people carry handguns inside their car because of the weapon’s size. If you are simply carrying your gun without any protection, you can store it inside the glove box. However, doing this is not recommended since you leave your gun unprotected.

Conceal carry in a car with a car holster (Source)

The best way to conceal a gun inside the car is by using dedicated car holsters or mounts. Check out these small, but effective, gun magnets which can be mounted anywhere inside your car. Due to their magnetic properties, mounting and pulling out a gun is quick and easy. Other than that, you can use dedicated holsters that are mounted beside the seat of your car. If your intent is to simply transport the gun from one place to another, you can also use a portable gun safe

Gun Laws by State: A Few Examples

Gun laws vary greatly by state in the United States. Some states recognize the concealed carry permits of other states, while some don’t. In some states, you have to tell the police officer pulling you over if you have a gun in your car.

Covering all of the specific car carry laws of every state in this article is almost impossible, so we’ll take a look at car carry laws of certain states for reference. It is important to note that many states do not require a CCW permit for local residents. However, obtaining such a permit allows you to concealed carry a weapon in your vehicle in other states with respective laws and recognition for your state CCW laws.


California has some of the strictest laws relating to carrying weapons in a vehicle. According to the local laws, you cannot carry a loaded handgun inside the glove box or utility compartment of your car. A weapon should be unloaded and locked in the trunk or a separate locked box, other than the utility or glove compartment. The same rules apply if you are driving a motor home. But long guns can be openly carried without a permit, as long as they are unloaded.


Wyoming has the most lenient laws for carrying weapons in a car. A person who legally possesses a firearm license is allowed to carry a loaded handgun inside a vehicle or on their person. Plus, non-residents of the state are required to have a CCW permit from a recognized state. Local residents can carry a firearm concealed in the car without a permit.

District of Columbia

DC has the strictest laws for gun carry. A person with a valid license can carry a firearm in the vehicle, given that it is unloaded, disassembled, inaccessible from the passenger/driver compartment, and separately locked.


Texas has no laws regarding the carrying of long guns inside a car, whether concealed or not. These laws apply to both residents and non-residents of the state unless a person has been prohibited from the possession of firearms.


The state of Pennsylvania has somewhat mixed laws for carrying weapons in a vehicle. Carrying handguns in a vehicle requires an LCTF permit for local residents. However, if you are not a local resident of the state, you need to have a concealed carry permit from your state of residence. Carrying a weapon inside the car without a valid license is considered a felony and is subject to punishment.


Arizona’s constitutional gun carry laws allow weapons to be carried in a loaded state inside a vehicle by any person above 21 years of age without any permit. The laws are the same for both residents and non-residents of the state.


Different states have their respective laws related to carrying guns inside vehicles. Some states recognize the CCW permits of other states, while some don’t. Similarly, some states don’t require CCW permits by their local residents and but may for residents of other states. However, it is always a good choice to obtain a CCW permit from your state for carrying a weapon. Plus, you must always have some sort of a holstering or storing mechanism installed inside your car, so you remain under compliance with the law and can also access the gun quickly when needed.

People Also Ask

Although this is a very extensive topic, here are a few general questions which might still your thirst for queries related to carrying guns in vehicles. We have compiled a small FAQ section to give you a concise overview of the most commonly asked questions.

Is a Gun in Your Car Considered Concealed?

Yes. A gun inside the car is considered concealed if it is not secured and stays veiled in your vehicle in locations like the glove box, trunk or under the seat.

Can You Keep a Loaded Gun in Your Car?

The answer to this question is respective of local state laws. Some states require you to keep your weapon unloaded inside the car and beyond your reach. However many states, like Texas, allows you to keep a gun loaded for an emergency situation. Moreover, it is legal to keep a loaded weapon in your reach inside the car, under the Motorist Protection Act.

Can I Legally Have a Gun in My Car?

Yes. You can legally have a gun in your car. However, with certain restrictions respective of the local gun laws. Some states allow you to carry a loaded gun, while some require the weapon to be unloaded and secured. But in most cases, you can legally have a gun in your car.

Do You Have to Tell the Police You Have a Gun in the Car?

Again, the answer is pertinent to local state laws regarding carrying of weapons in a car. In some states like California, you have to inform a police officer pulling you over about the possession of a firearm and show them your permit. However, in some states, it is not necessary, though may be advisable in most situations. 

Leave a Comment