Top 5 States to Avoid with Firearms

By CTD Blogger published on in Concealed Carry, Safety and Training

Just because it is the holidays, does not mean we can let our guard down. In fact, traveling to areas you are not as familiar with, crowded shopping malls, or on significant holidays all raise the threat from the everyday criminal as well as the lone wolf attacker. As a result, sadly, we need to be more vigilant and ready to take responsibility for our own safety. However, crossing state lines could land you an invite for Christmas dinner in the pokey. Here’s a list of the top five states to avoid while carrying with firearms, along with a handful of (dis)honorable mentions.

Picture shows an open concrete road through a plain, a blue sky with whispy clouds and a sign that reads, "open road."

If you plan to be driving through many different states, know each state’s laws and regulations on traveling with a firearm.

The passage of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act through the U.S. House of Representatives is a step in the right direction, but not a law yet. The U.S. is a patchwork of confusing and cumbersome laws that change the rules of what you can carry, where you can carry, and whether you can possess the firearm, ammunition of magazine at without running afoul of the local laws.  Now, if every state was like Vermont, law abiding gun owners could freely travel with their firearms with no worries. Unfortunately, many states have a history of being hostile to traveling gun owners. The federal “Firearms Owner Protection Act” allows travel through any state as long as the firearm is unloaded, in a locked case, and not easily accessible to the passengers. However, that is not to say that certain states that are less friendly to firearms have not created their own loopholes that would snare unsuspecting otherwise law abiding firearm owners. This led us to the top 5 states to avoid while traveling with a firearm this holiday season.

Top 5 States to Avoid With Firearms

  1. CONNECTICUT — Connecticut does not have any gun reciprocity agreements with other states. This means nonresidents are not allowed to carry handguns in Connecticut under a permit issued by another state.
  2. HAWAII — Every person arriving into the state who brings a firearm of any description, usable or not, shall register the firearm within three days of the arrival of the person or the firearm, whichever arrives later, with the chief of police of the county where the person will reside, where their business is, or the person’s place of sojourn. For more information, visit
  3. MASSACHUSETTS — Massachusetts imposes harsh penalties on the mere possession and transport of firearms without a license to carry. Prospective travelers are urged to contact the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau at (617)660-4780 or the State Police at for further information.
  4. NEW JERSEY — New Jersey some of the most restrictive firearms laws in the country. Your firearm must be unloaded, in a locked container and not accessible in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that anyone traveling within the state is deemed to be aware of these regulations and will be held strictly accountable for violations. Revell v. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, 10-236
    If you’re traveling through New Jersey here is information from the New Jersey State Police regarding transporting firearms through the state:
  5. NEW YORK — Use extreme caution when traveling through New York with firearms.  New York state’s general approach is to make the possession of handguns and so-called “assault weapons” illegal. But the state provides exceptions that the accused may raise as “affirmative defenses” to prosecution in some cases.  NY Penal Code s. 265.20(12), (13) & (16).
    A number of localities, including Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Suffolk County, and Yonkers, impose their own requirements on the possession, registration, and transport of firearms. Possession of a handgun within New York City requires a New York City handgun license or a special permit from the city police commissioner. This license validates a state license within the city. Even New York state licenses are generally not valid within New York City unless a specific exemption applies. Such as when the New York City police commissioner has issued a special permit to the licensee. Or “the firearms covered by such license is being transported by the licensee in a locked container and the trip through the city of New York is continuous and uninterrupted.” Possession of a shotgun or rifle within New York City requires a permit, which is available to non-residents, and a certificate of registration.

States to Be Cautious traveling Through or To

  • California
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Rhode Island

Where are your holiday travels going to take you? Will you be transporting a firearm? What precautions will you be taking? Share your answers in the comment section.

For firearms protection, check out U.S. Law Shield.

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Comments (38)

  • Kenneth


    I am reading this with a great sigh of relief that i survived. florida is very lax on traveling with a gun. You can carry a loaded pistol in your glovebox as long as you inform an officer immediatly you have it. which leads me what i survived. Being ignorant of other state laws i assumed all to allow transport.A couple of years ago i was going to give some of my firearms to my son who is in the army and stationed in mass.i took an assault rifle which had a bayonet on it and three thirty round mags, 1200 rounds of ammo. also had two tactical shotguns, a 22 rifle with four 20 round mags and two hand guns and about a 1000 rounds of ammo for these. they were boxed and wrapped as i had first planed on shipping them to him but decided to take them up ourselves. my wife and i first went north to buffalo to see the falls and went across n.y. to mass. outside of boston. reading this article made my knees weak just knowing what would have happened to us had we been stopped. i know ignorance is no excuse of the law so from now on everything will be thourghly researced for each state. thank you NY for not extending our vacation by thirty years or so.


  • Roy Hitoshi Miller


    Connecticut can’t be that bad. They issued me a nonresident CCW very easily.


  • Bruce


    Why are most of the anti-gun states part of the original 13 states? I’m confused.


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