Transporting guns and ammo from calif (old home) to arkansas (new home)

Leaving calif to new home in arkansas. Never had CCW dont carry. Need to get guns and ammo I have owned since 1970s and fathers civil war gun collection and guns given to me by father and father in law (retired CHP) both passed. I havent had a back ground check since 1977 but never been in any trouble. I just dont want to get on Calif. radar by checking. Pulling a toy hauler with lots of house goods. Transport everything locked up in trailer? any thoughts?


I cannot speak to traversing California. However, best advice is to check each state you are going through on for their transport rules.In general… unloaded. locked in cases; if possible, ammo in a different location, like trunk of car if arms are in the trailer.

As for Arkansas… welcome. We are Permitless/Constitutional Carry, no need to get a Concealed Carry Handgun License (CHCL) unless you want There are a lot of laws about places you are not allowed to carry. So, I strongly suggest taking a CHCL class to learn those laws, just tell the instructor you do not plan on getting the license.

If you do decide to get a license, the process requires fingerprints and an FBI background check, so be prepared for that.


@Dave129 Welcome to our community, we are glad to have you with us. :slightly_smiling_face:

Use these maps to plan your route, usually if you are traveling through and your firearms are securely locked away you have free passage.

California Concealed Carry Gun Laws: CCW & Reciprocity Map | USCCA 2024-01-01 (


Hello and welcome @Dave129


Welcome to the community @Dave129

The trickiest part of your journey will likely be getting out of CA. Then your main challenge will be making sure wherever you are storing your firearms doesn’t get broken into during your travels. Again the greatest challenge for that will likely be in CA.

CA and other States usually have requirements stating that handguns must be unloaded and either locked in a truck or locked in a case out of reach. Not sure if locked in a trailer will satisfy this requirement? So locked in cases in the vehicle or trailer will likely be safest. Most States including CA I think only require that rifles be unloaded. Though locked in a case or trunk is probably safer idea as well.

It would be best to use the USCCA reciprocity maps that @BRUCE26 linked to to make sure you understand the laws of all the States you will be passing through. Then avoid staying in sketchy cities at sketchy hotels and park in well lit spaces preferably with camera coverage and you should be good to go.

Safe travels!


I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.

You are going through better states, all the way, as soon as you get out of CA. Unloaded, closed in cases, better if locked, in the moving van/trailer/cargo area of vehicle, separate from ammo. I’d lock the handguns up if possible.

Provided you can legally possess what you have in CA and it’s unloaded and in the trailer, I don’t see any problems all the way to your desination.

Again, not a lawyer

Check the “in vehicle” section of each state at on the map


Congratulations :tada:

I visited Arkansas couple years ago. Beautiful state.

I would suggest starting with CA DOJ.
Depending on your current location, you could be closer to crossing AZ or NV which should immediately allow you to breathe freedom. Until then, strictly follow CA draconian laws.


I agree that CA is your potentially biggest obstacle. There is always the option to ship them to an FFL at your destination, esp. for the handguns. You will most likely have to go through the 4473 process to reclaim them. Make sure everything is listed on a firearms record (ATF Form P 3312.8) which you can download from the internet. Whether you put them in your trunk or trailer have them in a locked container/case/safe. Insure them.


@Dave129 Welcome to the community!! Wondering if you have storage space under the bed of your toy hauler that you can bolt down a lockable metal container big enough to lock your “unloaded firearms” and store your ammo elsewhere separately while traveling to Arkansas. Keep in mind that your camper toy hauler is a second home (extension of your home)




You wouldn’t catch me in California but for the rest of the states, I would transport it the same way you would transport your hunting gun .
If you’re traveling across states, that don’t have reciprocity with the state that issued your permit

In a case designed for a firearm , well, some states only require to be wrapped up in a rag…
magazines unloaded stored/secured out of reach of the driver.

Some states allow people/ nonresidence over the age of 18, who can legally possess a firearm to open carry.


It’s just me, but the gun collection seems to be valuable, so I would check on shipping from FFL to FFL. I would carry but try to ship the others securely. I know, the cost! But, if I could I would !

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Good luck out there! You could always make a deal with the Cartels to use their underground tunnels at least to get you out of California!
Heck a couple of illegals for Brandon, you could make a few grand as well. Sounds like a win win! Let us know what it feels like to be free!


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I have moved more times than I can count, from a few states away to clear cross country.

Interstate transportation of your personal firearms is covered by Federal Law. As long as you are able to posses the firearm where you started and you final destination you are good to go through ALL states as long as the guns are unloaded and stored cased or packed as far away from you as possible (trunk, back compartment in an SUV or trailer).

Even staying in a hotel along the way, as long as it’s part of you journey, you can bring firearms into your hotel room for better theft protection tips and just load and resume you journey next day. This the same when traveling through any state.

One thing the will bite you in the ass is ammo, which has no such protection and states like NJ has a ban on private possession of hollow point ammo. They WILL ARREST for one round. That you need to research.


How sure are you that you can stop overnight in a prohibited state? I’m not a lawyer, but that is not my understanding


“In some states, the drivers must pass through the state without stopping, and in others only short stops are tolerated.”


State laws have NOTHING to do with this. An overnight stay is part of your trip if you’re moving or just taking your gun for a long ride. You are still considered to be “in transit”.

Here is a great article explaining it in detail.

And the actual text:
Federal Law On Vehicle Transport
(McClure-Volkmer Rule)

Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console. (18 U.S.C. 926A, 27 CFR 178.38.)*

And from the ATF


In practice it does not seem so cut and dry. Especially since this may be treated as an affirmative defense when you are arrested and facing felony charges as some states are happy to do.

From your link, it does say

  1. In order to guarantee federal protection, your transport through the state should be continuous and uninterrupted. This means you are not a tourist at any time. As a general rule you should not spend more than 24 hours inside the jurisdiction.

Be very, very careful if you are considering possession of a firearm in a state that says the firearm is illegal to possess

Granted, the states after CA, on the way to AR, don’t sound like a problem. This really becomes a problem with states like NJ, NY, MD, CA, IL, and the like

It also says (you link)

What About Transporting High Capacity Magazines, “Assault Weapons” or Other Prohibited Items Through A State?

It is important to understand that, although this federal law allows you to transport some firearms through restrictive states, it does not allow you to transport items that are prohibited under state law, such as high capacity magazines or “assault weapons”.

Your link also says

In one of the few cases that addressed this specific question, the court ruled that the federal law discussed above (18 U.S.C.A. § 926A) does not prohibit states from enforcing bans on large capacity magazines or bans on other weapons (like “assault firearms”) .

I could go on with quotes. The end result is…this is not a cut and dry, is not guaranteed, and is known to potentially be a “you may beat the rap but you won’t beat the ride” situation

You cannot be too careful with possession of a firearm/magazines in a state where those firearms/magazines are illegal (I simply wouldn’t do it at all)


Like I said, I’ve done it dozens of times without incident, Federal law is on my side, I’m not much for slowing down what I want/need to do based on what-ifs of potential scenarios that are statistically insignificant. Everyone else is free to do what they need to do to sleep well at night.


Your trailer isn’t part of your vehicle. Put them in your trailer, unloaded and lock your trailer. This will satisfy CA requirements and all the states you’ll go through (AZ, NM, TX).

I know a lot of people who have committed a lot of felonies without incident.

And I’ve seen some that were the unlucky ones who had incident, doing nothing different

Just sayin, every resource including the one you gave lays out that you could face felony arrest/charges, and maybe even conviction, if you possess certain firearms in states where possession of those firearms is illegal.

If that is a situation that may apply to anybody, the above recommendation of shipping FFL to FFL and picking up at your destination state after you get your driver license there is a very good suggestion IMO

Fortunately in this case, the states being traveled through are all much nicer than the one that is being left in the dust lol