The definition of "unloaded," particularly in Indiana

I have completed the first two steps to acquire my CCW in Indiana but the state is not currently processing/completing them (which requires I present myself to my local precinct but they are not accepting public/licensing applications in person at present understandably). I AM allowed to bring my weapon to the range as long as it is “unloaded,” out of reach and locked in my car trunk. Trouble is, I can’t find the definition of “unloaded.” I’m assuming it’s a clear chamber and no magazine engaged (or no ammunition in an engaged mag). But I’ve also seen that a loaded mag, not inserted, may still be interpreted as the weapon being loaded. Does anyone know the actual definition? In the meantime, I’m just waiting to even load my magazines until I get to the range. Thanks.

Why not just travel with cartridges in the box, and empty mag out of the firearm, and nothing in the chamber?

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Good morning @George82! Our reciprocity map is a great place to start. While it didn’t have the definition of unloaded, there was a great link I followed to find the definition of loaded:

IC 35-47-10-4 “Loaded” defined
Sec. 4. As used in this chapter, “loaded” means having any of the following:

(1) A cartridge in the chamber or cylinder of a firearm.

(2) Ammunition in close proximity to a firearm so that a person can readily place the ammunition in the firearm.

Hope that helps!


This makes me laugh. A magazine out of the firearm is considered loaded.

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indeed that’s what i do…just wanted to know what the actual interpretation of the law was.

Exactly what I was looking for. THANKS!!!

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Just to play devil’s advocate. If you’re in a location with an empty firearm and the guy next to you has only a loaded mag and no firearm, which of you can be arrested for having the (unloaded) loaded firearm?

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Tell me about it! The law in Indiana was changed in 2016 I think it was to clarify how to bring your weapon to the range if you don’t have a CCW (which are currently not being processed in Indiana). But if you read the language, you see that they omitted some key definitions…what is “out of reach?” Some localities interpret that as in the trunk, others in the back seat though further research reveals that in the glove compartment is not out of reach and therefore requires a permit. Same with “loaded,” though it seems Indiana is one of those states where if you have rounds in the magazine “near” the weapon, it is still considered loaded even if the chamber is empty. It’s all good fun until someone puts out an eye. Older lady showed up at the range last week with a .22 she had been gifted. She was in the lane next to me. She pulled it out of her purse and was showing it around (waving it around, loaded) behind the shooting lanes…the range officer practically tackled her as I was waving her off and giving her a piece of my mind in no uncertain terms.

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There in lies the problem…

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I am not a lawyer

Dawn, thank’s for the link! I notice that the definition of “Loaded” applies to Chapter 10, “Children and Firearms.” That may be why “close proximity” is included, because it’s really referring to the owner’s responsibility to keep ammunition and firearms separated when children might have access.

I think the part you want is IC 35-47-2-1 (thanks to USCCA for the link). It says you may transport a handgun without a license in a vehicle with a few restrictions, including that it must be unloaded, not readily accessible, and secured in a case.

As for “unloaded,” I would think that if there is no magazine inserted or no rounds in the cylinder, then you should be fine provided you’re meeting the other requirements. If it’s inside a case that’s stored in your trunk, then it would take a real jerk of an officer to say you weren’t in compliance. (Also, be polite to LE, and most of the time they’ll be polite to you.) Besides, the case will separate your firearm and ammunition.

Again, I’m not a lawyer.

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THANKS. Indeed, what you pointed out was exactly what prompted my question because I saw in a beginner tutorial (I think it was Paul Harrell, I can’t recall) that in some states “unloaded” means all ammo in the box and none in the magazine, even if transporting separately. Got a great response from Brad…if you’re just going to the range, just wait until you get to the range and load your mags there and eliminate any doubt. Won’t be an issue when I get my CCW, but like I said, processing in Indiana is suspended for the foreseeable future since you have to physically present yourself with your ID, your permit application number and fingerprints to your local law enforcement. This has all been very helpful…occam razor apples here…simplest solution is to just unload everything, secure it in your trunk, and then load up at the range. You guys are great.


Long ago, a couple of months now, I used to go to two different indoor ranges. One of them inspected my bags at the check in counter to verify there were no loaded magazines. They only allowed magazine loading at the firing line. They had experienced a couple of negligent discharges by local LEO at this range, so this is their policy.

The other one doesn’t care if you show up with every magazine you own loaded, just don’t take a firearm out of its case unless you are at the firing line.

The reason I mention this is even when you get your concealed carry license, you might still have to make allowances for the rules at different ranges.

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While improving everything that we do is important (my line of business), single topic voting/changes are frowned upon by me. One guy can’t get it right, lose the guy, don’t change everyone else.

For comparison, my range let’s people coming in carrying (loaded on belt) but does not allow drawing unless it is during a class or under very specific circumstances. They want people to unpack only one firearm at a time, have only one firearm at a time on the bench, and unpack/pack only when the firearm is facing downrange. I do not like or agree with many of these rules (although I understand their reasons) but I go because I like the range and personnel.

Why? Because I want to shoot back and forth between two firearms and I can’t. Because I have bags that hold multiple firearms which are not all facing the same way inside, so I have to play games with the bag to pack one, turn the bag, unpack another, etc.

I believe you are looking for answer which will keep you out of troubles.
Just think the same way as LEO would think checking your car.
Keep ammo in trunk and empty firearm cased inside the car or in the trunk. (magazine doesn’t matter - must be empty)

There is no way you will break the Law in this case.

(personal experience before obtaining my CCL) :wink:

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