When transporting a gun in your vehicle several things must be considered. If you are merely taking the firearm to the range, between homes, or to the store, gunsmith etc…. then you will need to comply with the gun laws in your state. Most rules include storing the firearm unloaded in a case made for gun storage, separate from the ammunition and inaccessible to the driver or passengers. If you are in a Pick-Up truck or Sports Utility Vehicle these vehicles may have different requirements due to the lack of a trunk. This is true for handguns as well as long guns. These laws vary from state to state so if you are on a trip it is your responsibility to understand requirements for your home state as well as other states you may enter.
Carrying a gun in your vehicle is a completely different matter; you must consider ease of access, concealment, security in a crash, and safety/security when you leave the vehicle. It will likely take more than one solution to make sure you have covered all the bases.
The holster that you wear outside of your vehicle may be almost completely inaccessible once you sit down and buckle up. Inside the waistband holsters will likely dig into your thigh when seated, Pancake and outside the waistband belt holsters will likely be blocked by the seat belt buckle, and pocket holsters are typically not accessible when seated. Ladies if your gun is in your purse, harsh braking or turns may send your gun out of reach when you need it most.
A friend recently lamented this challenge while showing me his attempts at putting a firearm in the map pocket of his door and even trying to Velcro a holster to the console. None of these solutions gave him quick access nor would it ensure the firearm stays secure. A loaded gun weighs from 15 to over 30 ounces and can come loose and launch itself around the passenger compartment in a crash or rollover accident.
The best solutions that I have seen for both security and access when driving are marketed as “Car Seat holsters” One of the designs uses a strap that goes around and under the seat cushion placing the gun on the vertical surface between your legs at the front of the seat. It incorporates a snap or strap to hold the gun securely in place until you reach for it and release the retainer. A similar design straps around the seat back and places the gun at the junction of the seat back and cushion. It can be placed on either side for right or left handed people. Again a retention device prevents the gun from coming loose and becoming a projectile.
Several recent cases involving children gaining access to guns with tragic results is a reminder that we are responsible for our guns even when we are not present. When you leave the car if you cannot take your handgun with you, it must be secure from curious occupants and potential theft.
Storing your gun in the console or glove compartment is not adequate even if equipped with a lock. A typical interior lock will not stop a determined thief. Small gun containment safes are available that can be bolted or cabled to the floor or seat frames of the vehicle. Some have biometric readers so you can just swipe a finger print while others have combinations or keys. This method of storage will be secure when you leave the vehicle but may not allow the instant access you need in an emergency.
Next month: Traveling with your gun.
Until then …….Safe Shooting!