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TX Man Transporting Unloaded Firearms Through NJ Doing 3-5 Years in Prison
A TX man, who was in the process of moving to Maine, made a very simple mistake, and never made it to his hew home. Dustin Reininger is serving a 3-5 year prison sentence in the Garden State because he made a mistake, he stopped to take a nap in NJ during his multi day drive from Texas to Maine.
A person may carry a loaded handgun without a permit while in or heading directly to a motor vehicle or watercraft they own or control. The statute does not specifically state the handgun must be concealed while heading to the vehicle or watercraft, and 46.02, which requires concealment of a handgun while in a motor vehicle or watercraft, is not applicable to a person while the person is traveling, pursuant to 46.15(b)(2).
even for Law Enforcement!
The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) is a United States federal law, enacted in 2004, that allows two classes of persons—the "qualified law enforcement officer" and the "qualified retired law enforcement officer"—to carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with certain exceptions.
You can legally carry a firearm in your car since the state recognizes a car as an extension of your home... You never know how a cop may interpret the law though and they do have the right to rely on their own discretion when sizing up a situation...
Texas law doesn't necessarily state unloaded or loaded for long guns, but to be on the safe side, why load them? Any cop pulling you over will be a LOT less suspicious of you if they aren't loaded.
In Tennessee, as long as the long guns are unloaded, you are fine...though if going there often, I'd recommend getting a HCP (Handgun Carry Permit) which even allows you to have loaded long guns in your vehicle.