Whether law enforcement officer or civilian, preparations for and traveling to the range operate in much the same ways. Weapons must be transported in a safe and unloaded fashion in a locked case inaccessible to the driver, passengers and children. This means, locking the emptied firearm in a locking box and placing it in the trunk of the car. But, these days, the ever popular Sports Utility Vehicle forces more stringent decision making regarding the safe transporting of weapons. Think: Safety First. Ask yourself what is the safest way to stow the weapon while navigating your way to the range. Often today’s SUV’s have sunken compartments in the back which could serve to carry a locked box. But, as each vehicle is designed differently, the responsible firearms handler must consider his safety, that of his passenger’s and the advent of a traffic stop. A traffic stop is important to consider. Think from the officer’s point of view: he or she observes an action by the driver prompting a stop for further questioning and investigating. The officer has no idea who you are or what you are transporting. Give the officer the benefit of the doubt that he or she did observe an action worth pulling you over. Always keep your hands on the steering wheel and immediately inform the officer where you are going (the range) and that you are transporting your firearms. Tell the officer how they are locked and where they are in the car. Offer this information with your hands on the wheel (so the officer does not think you are going to reach for any firearm) and before you gather the usual documentation of license, insurance and registration. Once or twice in my career, finding my way to a range for a match, I got lost and sped rather frantically in the interstate. Naturally, my driving patterns displayed a less than stellar conduct and I got pulled over. Identifying my goals (the range), my concerns (I’m lost) and the contents of my truck (firearms), I got directions from the officer and sometimes, they wanted to see my competition guns. Safety first, politeness always and reading a map ahead of time will make for memorable days at the range.
NRA Firearms Instructor – Nancy Rothschild
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