Presumably, you would wear your concealed, defensive handgun somewhere on you that would be the most comfortable and allow easy access in the case of an immediate need. What happens though, when you climb into your car or truck and that weapon is in a position that just isn’t practical?
Being seated in a vehicle can prove to be problematic if you have any intentions of quickly drawing a weapon that’s on your person. The position of your body, the close quarters, the steering wheel and your seat belt can all contribute to a general constriction of movement that may cost you valuable time. It can also make for an uncomfortable ride, depending on where you have your gun placed.
When traveling in a vehicle with a firearm of any type, one of the most important questions to consider is, ‘how fast do you really need to access your weapon?’ Unless you live or work in an area that is highly dangerous, with a very real threat to your personal safety, then you may be able to stow the weapon more securely while you drive. You may also just have a strong need for the peace-of-mind that having your gun within reach provides. Either way, this will help to determine where and how you maintain the gun within the vehicle.
What the Law Says
Before we get going on the practicality of road travel with your weapon, we’ll need to address the reality of what you can and can’t do according to the law. As a gun owner, it is absolutely your responsibility to ensure that you are compliant with all State and local laws, when it comes to concealed carry and vehicle transport. Rules and regulations in this regard vary broadly between States, so it’s best not to make any assumptions. Some jurisdictions will allow concealed carry within vehicles, but with further restrictions being placed on storage protocols.
Considerations may include:
- If you are a resident of the State or not
- The specifics of your concealed weapon license or permit
- If the weapon can be loaded/round chambered
- Handguns vs. long guns
- Can the gun be in plain view?
- Does the gun need to be securely locked or broken-down?
- Does your ammo need to be stored separately?
- Do local or State weapons transportation laws supersede concealed carry rights?
There’s a lot to consider, and you’ll want to make sure that you’re well informed.
Getting Yourself Set Up
So once you’ve determined what rules and regs you need to abide by, you can then go about the task of figuring how to best secure your weapon. No matter your approach, there are a few reasons why safely and discreetly storing your gun makes the most sense.
Staying Out of Jail
If you happen to get pulled over for whatever reason, the last thing you want is a cop seeing your handgun sitting on the passenger seat beside you. Even if you have a legitimate license or permit, it’s better to present your paperwork first, inform the officer and not have the situation be any more complicated than it has to be.
There are a couple of things to think of in this regard. First, having your handgun potentially bouncing around your vehicle interior is not ideal. Enough said. Secondly, you’ll want to eliminate any chance of a child or other unauthorized person easily getting their hands on the weapon for obvious reasons. Accidents do happen.
Car break-ins and smash-&-grab thefts have become more prevalent in recent years and vehicles with guns in plain sight would be a preferred target.
If you feel that you don’t require access to your weapon on a moment’s notice, it makes things a little easier for storage and transport. The best place to keep your weapon, if possible, would be in the trunk of your vehicle or under the back seats in a secure lock box or vault of some type. That way, it’s completely out of sight and will be much less of an issue with unauthorized access or potential theft.
If you require (and are allowed by law) really fast access to your weapon, there are a number of mounted holster rigs that can work quite well. Every vehicle is different obviously, so you’ll need to determine the mount location that is most practical. Common spots would include, alongside the steering column, under the dash, on the driver’s side of the center console or under the driver’s seat. Any set-up should allow for easy one-handed action since you may still need your other hand to steer. The other option is to go for a seatbelt holster that allows unrestricted access while you drive.
A good compromise for security and weapon accessibility comes in the form of vehicle gun safes. These are becoming more and more popular and there are a number of models available, with many that fit right into the center console. They are perfect for keeping your handgun hidden and secure, while still close to you in the driver’s seat. They are also handy for storing other valuable items like wallets, phones or passports and can feature convenient biometric locks so that you can avoid fumbling for a key every time.
Check with your firearms dealer or go online to see which vehicle storage solution would work best for your situation. There are a ton of innovative products on the market and you’d be hard-pressed to not to find something that will fit your needs.
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I have the Gum Creek steering wheel column holster.
It keeps the gun out of sight, while proving instant access.
Works with any holster with belt loops or clips.
Satisfies the Florida requirement for “securely encased”, so you can have your gun in it even if you don’t have a concealed weapons permit.
I disagree that you should immediately announce to the officer that you have a concealed weapon.
We have no duty to inform law here, so I never say anything unless they directly ask me.
It has actually never come up when I’ve been stopped by the police