For many of us, summer is a time for traveling. However, it’s important to remember that our safety doesn’t go on vacation. If you’re planning to travel this summer, be aware of the laws and regulations regarding firearms. Gun laws are complicated and vary by jurisdiction. As a responsible gun owner, it is up to you to know the laws and regulations wherever you go to make sure you are legally authorized to carry your firearm. The following tips will help you prepare for your upcoming vacation and ensure you’re protected.

Traveling by Car

When traveling throughout the United States, it is important to know the gun laws of each state you will pass through. Some states have restrictions on certain types of guns, so make sure you pack accordingly. Make sure you know which states offer concealed carry reciprocity for your permit. If you’re traveling to a state that does not recognize your concealed carry permit, you might have to leave your gun at home.

If you’re just passing through, the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 will protect you from liability as long as you are only stopping briefly for essential services such as getting gas, using the bathroom or to buy food. When passing through states with strict gun laws, it’s best to keep your firearm unloaded and locked in a secure compartment that is not easily accessible.

Traveling by Plane

If you’re traveling by plane, you will have to check your guns, gun parts and ammo. They cannot be transported in a carry-on bag. The TSA requires guns to be unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided case to prevent the firearm from being accessed. Only the passenger who is checking the firearm should have access to the key or combination of the lock. You must declare each firearm when you present them to be transported as checked baggage.

The TSA does change its policies from time to time, so before you travel, check the agency’s website for the latest regulations regarding firearms transport.

Traveling by Train

If you’re traveling by train, you’ll probably have to check your gun in your baggage. As always, make sure you understand the rules of the train company before you travel. Amtrak allows firearms to be carried on trains, but they must be transported in checked baggage and stored in a locked, hard-sided container. In addition, you must notify Amtrak at least 24 hours before your scheduled departure that you plan to check firearms and/or ammunition. Further, your firearms/ammunition must be checked at least half an hour before your train’s scheduled departure.

Traveling by Bus

Before traveling by bus, make sure you read up on the bus operator’s firearms policy. Some bus operators do not allow passengers to transport firearms. Other companies do allow booked transport of firearms. Again, these policies may change, so be sure you do your research before you buy tickets. If you’re committed to traveling with a firearm, you may want to consider alternative modes of transportation such as renting a car or using a taxi.