Have gun, will travel

If you’re a hunter, you’re probably starting to think about the upcoming season: where to hunt, re-checking hunt regulations, finding your hunt gear, sighting in your rifles or shooting clays, you name it. But with all the things you are thinking of, the gun control laws on another state is probably not one of them.

However if you plan to travel out-of-state this year, it would probably be a good idea to check the gun control laws for both your destination and the states through which you may be traveling. Even if you are not a hunter but carry a blank pistol to hunt tests, it might be a good idea to look into other states’ gun laws.

Take for example, Shaneen Allen, a single 27 year-old mother of two and having no prior criminal record. Shaneen legally purchased a handgun in Pennsylvania and a week later drove to New Jersey to prepare for her son’s birthday party. In New Jersey, she was stopped for a traffic violation, subsequently arrested for unlawful gun possession – although she legally purchased the gun in Pennsylvania – and now faces three years in prison.

The problem is not only guns, but even ammo in the form of spent cartridges or balls and conicals. Consider the case of Mark Witaschek, a resident of Washington D.C. Police raided his home and arrested him when they found a: 12-gauge shotgun shell that years before had misfired; a .270 shell casing, and a box of muzzle loader conicals with plastic sabots. He was found guilty of “attempted possession of unlawful ammunition.”

According to the Deseret News, the top 10 states with the strictest gun control laws are: California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Conversely, the states with the most lenient gun control laws are: Utah, Alaska, Arizona, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Montana, Louisiana, Kentucky, Idaho, and Wisconsin.

If you consider yourself a conservative, you’ll probably see these examples as an infringement (to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another) and violation of the Second Amendment. If you consider yourself a liberal or progressive, you probably view gun control as a means of curbing violent crime. However this reasoning appears to be counter-intuitive since most of the top liberal cities also top the list for gun violence. In descending order, these cities include: Detroit, Mi., Baltimore, Md., Newark, N.J., Washington D.C., Cleveland, Oh., Buffalo, N.Y., Chicago, IL., Boston, Ma., and New York, N.Y.

But regardless of which side of the argument you’re on, it’s clear that the laws and rights within one state does not extend to other states, and what is legal in one state can land you in prison in another state. Even gun-related items may lead to an arrest and conviction, as illustrated by Mark Witaschek. So if you’re traveling out of state to hunt or even test your dogs, it may behoove you to check out the gun control laws of other states.