This is a discussion on I was under a mile away from commiting a felony! within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by coffeecup I too live across the river from Illinois. I have solved the problem of carrying there. No friends or relatives in ...
Sometimes I wonder if there is some kind of detector at the state lines that flash red lights when someone crosses with a gun in their car. In that kind of situation I would place in in the glove compartment, lock it and do my best to obey the traffic laws. I realize that DC is a lot different than down here in SC but there isn't a reason to panic as long as you behave yourself.
gees, kinda crazy when we want to avoid our nation's capital like the plague
I am sworn to protect the Constitution of the U.S.A. from all threats both foreign and domestic.
Okay, this is not a legal answer, of course, but here's my two cents worth...
If you are going from VA to VA, and just happen to pass through DC, then it seems to me that the interstate transport clause of FOPA kicks in. This means that you may legally transport the firearm through 'enemy territory' if it is unloaded and locked. Get to the shoulder before you cross the river, get out, and lock the gun away in the trunk (separate from the magazines). Since VA is open carry, you are even protected when you take the gun out of your holster to stick it in the trunk. (FWIW, I live in MD so am not likely to see a CCW license anytime soon, but I think the moment I had one I would invest in a small lockable case to keep in the trunk at all times.)
Now, if you don't like this idea, you get to choose between a possible misdemeanor in VA (illegal U-turn) or a possible felony in DC (weapons possession). That's a no-brainer to me, since misdemeanors don't get your guns taken away. In fact, if an officer does pull you over, he may react favorably to your explanation: "Officer, I was lost and realized I was about to enter the district with my CCW on my person." Heck, even if he still gives you the ticket, you go to court and tell the judge you would like the charges dismissed based on your balance of competing harms. You may still eat the ticket and fine, but better than a District lockup.
That's pushing the limits to close for me.
Les Baer 45
N.R.A. Patron Life Member
Remember, it's not a crime if you don't get caught!
Just kidding, but as SIGguy229 said (and probably most importanly), don't panic. Yes, you have broken the law, but if you are smart you can get away without anyone being the wiser. Just obey the traffic laws and get back into VA as quickly as possible.
I used to have the same problem when driving from Texas to Florida, Alabama didn't have reciprocity with Texas so I couldn't carry in the 50 miles or so of I-10 across the state. I would stop before entering the state, unload and lock the gun in the back of the vehicle, then reverse it all once I got in Florida. Was a real pain, and I am still an advocate of a federal CHL that permits carrying in any state. And hopefully the Supreme Court will overrule the DC gun laws in the near future.
Abort the Obamanation not the Constitution
Those who would, deny, require permit, license, certification, or authorization for me to bear arms are as vile, dangerous & evil as those who would molest, abuse, assault, rape or murder my family
I use to visit my In-laws' in Falls Church, VA before they moved to Florida a few years ago. It's literally a stone's throw from DC and I have found myself in a similar situation more than once. Bottom line is don't panic! Unless there is an obvious reason, like a taffic accident or you commit some traffic violation, there is no reason for you to be stopped and chances are 99.99% you won't be. Simply find the nearest exit, go back the way you came and try your best not to be involved in an accident or to commit some act that would draw attention to you and give the police a reason to stop you.
If you are pulled over for some reason, say NOTHING about having a weapon unless you are asked. You may get by with nothing other than a talk with the local LEO's and a few grey hairs to show for your encounter. OTOH, if you are asked about a weapon don't lie. Tell the police the EXACT truth; you had not intended to enter DC, got lost and you were trying to return to VA. If you have a carry permit, show it to the officer since it will indicate you are a person of good character (only law abiding citizens get a license, right?) and simply have the gun for personal protection vs. less legal reasons. If you are lucky (it happend to me once... too long a story for here), the LEO will be pro gun and - especially now the the Supreme Court's about to hear the DC gun ban issue - he'll tell you to lock the unloaded gun in your trunk until you are out of Washington.
Like I just said, the U.S Supreme Court is about to take up the issue of gun ownership in DC. Hopefully they will make the correct the decision, carrying in DC will no longer be a violation of DC law and you - and everyone else who must travel in the war zone areas of Washinton - can carry a weapon to defend themselves without fear of being arrested if you're forced to us it.
"... Americans... we want a safe home, to keep the money we make and shoot bad guys." -- Denny Crane
Perhaps the laws are a "little" crazy. Same thing happened to me when I was a passenger and my wife was driving from Michigan back to Indiana. We were about two miles short of entering Illinois! I told her to stop. Let me out. I will be more than glad to walk over to the other side and she can pick me up once were were turned around. Crazy? Yes. Legal, well short of j-walking, yes. I don't want to loose my license or gun rights due to crazy laws. Just be in the know about what is legal and what is not. IF any of us carry in an unlawful place we do know the consequences. They can be serious! Just don't get caught does not cut it! Crazy perhaps, but that is the way it is.