Carry and Indian Reservations

This is a discussion on Carry and Indian Reservations within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was watching a show about the Navajo Police. I understand you cannot have a Loaded Gun on the Reservation. If I were to go ...

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    Senior Member Array Haywood's Avatar
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    Carry and Indian Reservations

    I was watching a show about the Navajo Police. I understand you cannot have a Loaded Gun on the Reservation. If I were to go to Arizona on Vacation and I was out driving, do the Public High-Ways go through the Reservation? Would it be a big pain to carry out there If I were going to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and other National Parks? How do the Locals handle traveling around these areas? I would probably drive there from Ohio.

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    Senior Member Array Grant48's Avatar
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    Since indian nations are supposedly sovereign, the validity of a state concealed carry license on reservation property is debatable.

    This is the best info I've found on the topic, and even it poses more questions than answers:

    www.handgunlaw.us/documents/tribal_law_ccw.pdf

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    While some highways might go through the reservations I am 99.9% certain you are good to go on the highways provided you're legal otherwise. Once you get off the highways and roads and onto the actual reservations the laws of the reservations prevail.

    If you're driving from Ohio head south rather quickly so you avoid Illinois.

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    If you come to the AZ, and want to see some of the wonderful sights here, you will very likely cross thru some Indian reservation land. There are several different Indian tribes and reservations, and each with their own set of laws. I haven’t bothered to know all of them, other than to assume that firearms are not allowed on most of them.
    This is what I do (not legal advise).
    If I am driving thru a reservation on a highway, I carry normally.
    If I am going to get out and hike around on the res, I would probably not carry.
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    In AZ, lots of state roads go through reservations. If you break down or stop to take a photo along the side of the road, as long as you're on the public right of way (i.e., road and shoulder), you're fine. But don't go off hiking on Indian land while carrying a firearm. Your firearm and your vehicle will likely both be confiscated, and your appeal is through Tribal courts, not state or Federal. Good luck with that.

    Likewise, nearly all the casinos here in AZ are on reservations, as well as a number of gas stations, convenience stores and smoke shops - so don't carry there, either. It behooves you to pay attention and know when you're on tribal lands - most are well-marked, but some aren't.

    Beyond that, you should be good to go in National Parks and Forests, but I'd keep it concealed. The Nat'l Park Service changed their rules to allow licensed carry (in accordance with state laws) a couple of years ago, and I haven't heard of anyone having trouble carrying at the Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Parks since then. Prior to the change, you weren't even supposed to have a gun locked up in your car, so hooray for that change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    In AZ, lots of state roads go through reservations. If you break down or stop to take a photo along the side of the road, as long as you're on the public right of way (i.e., road and shoulder), you're fine. But don't go off hiking on Indian land while carrying a firearm. Your firearm and your vehicle will likely both be confiscated, and your appeal is through Tribal courts, not state or Federal. Good luck with that.

    Likewise, nearly all the casinos here in AZ are on reservations, as well as a number of gas stations, convenience stores and smoke shops - so don't carry there, either. It behooves you to pay attention and know when you're on tribal lands - most are well-marked, but some aren't.

    Beyond that, you should be good to go in National Parks and Forests, but I'd keep it concealed. The Nat'l Park Service changed their rules to allow licensed carry (in accordance with state laws) a couple of years ago, and I haven't heard of anyone having trouble carrying at the Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Parks since then. Prior to the change, you weren't even supposed to have a gun locked up in your car, so hooray for that change.
    Just curious, have you heard of any issues arising since AZ went to constitutional carry?
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    Just curious, have you heard of any issues arising since AZ went to constitutional carry?
    No, but the news reporters don't get direct feeds from Tribal Police, so I suspect there are enough violations that we just never hear about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant48 View Post
    Since indian nations are supposedly sovereign, the validity of a state concealed carry license on reservation property is debatable.

    This is the best info I've found on the topic, and even it poses more questions than answers:

    www.handgunlaw.us/documents/tribal_law_ccw.pdf
    Yeah, sovereign nations whose citizens receive funding from federal and state governments. While it could pose some problems in theory, I won't let it stop me from carrying. I've worked on the rez at night and I can tell you right now that I'd never do it again unarmed. The wild dogs are enough of a reason for me.

    If you take the time to read about tribal law, you'll find that it typically only applies to the people "living" on the reservation. Those passing through are still in the scope of state law. Whether or not tribal police will go along with that is another story. You have to weigh the benefits vs. the risks and decide for yourself how to go ahead. Personally, I will have my gun any time I set foot on tribal land in MT.

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    Let's make sure we are not admitting or advocating anything illegal here, folks.
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    I lived and worked for a year on the Navajo Reservation in northern AZ while teaching at a BIA school in the early 90's. Another teacher and I used to drive about a mile up the road from the school and shoot all the time and never got hassled by the Navajo Tribal Police. Of course that was before they became TV stars on one of those "Cops"-like shows that are on these days. Now there's probably no telling what they might do to get featured on the show . . . .

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    Avoid Indian reservations all together. If it's illegal for me to carry there, I ain't going.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    In AZ, lots of state roads go through reservations. If you break down or stop to take a photo along the side of the road, as long as you're on the public right of way (i.e., road and shoulder), you're fine. But don't go off hiking on Indian land while carrying a firearm. Your firearm and your vehicle will likely both be confiscated, and your appeal is through Tribal courts, not state or Federal. Good luck with that.

    Likewise, nearly all the casinos here in AZ are on reservations, as well as a number of gas stations, convenience stores and smoke shops - so don't carry there, either. It behooves you to pay attention and know when you're on tribal lands - most are well-marked, but some aren't.

    Beyond that, you should be good to go in National Parks and Forests, but I'd keep it concealed. The Nat'l Park Service changed their rules to allow licensed carry (in accordance with state laws) a couple of years ago, and I haven't heard of anyone having trouble carrying at the Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Parks since then. Prior to the change, you weren't even supposed to have a gun locked up in your car, so hooray for that change.
    HWY 69, in the Prescott area, goes right through Yavapai land. There's all sorts of development (Walmart, shopping mall, restaurants, etc) and I see people open carrying all the time. Guess the Yavapai Tribe doesn't care. Not even the instructors at Gunsite knew what the proper course of action was in that area.

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    I would use the same carrying criteria that I did before CCW came into existence.
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    IIRC, portions of I-44 in Oklahoma are posted as traveling through tribal land. What does that mean as far as carrying while traveling?

    Ken

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    When I drive thru reservations I am very careful about speed and all traffic laws. Avoiding meeting the local LEO is important as first step. Common sense and good behavior is always a good rule.


    Rich

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