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Old 03-03-2009, 06:53 PM
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Can anyone give me CORRECT info regarding gun laws concerning a pistol stowed on board. I have to bring a boat by water of course through the States of FL, AL and MS and would like to do it for security as it's a two day trip. Do stay laws previal? What about federal, USCG, etc? My primary concern is being boarded by the USCG and getting in hot water over a firearm. I would of course immediately inform them so they wouldn't find it and draw on me. Know what I mean...
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:00 PM
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If you go into state waters - including berthing for the night then STATE LAW applies - Whatever state you are in. DON'T GO TO MEXICO
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:05 PM
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Suggest you give your local CG station a call to get first-hand info as to exactly what the federal laws are, as well as what they recommend you do if stopped and boarded.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:51 PM
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The way I understand it is if the firearm is properly registered it is legal to have on board.It is reconized by the USCG as an accepted sound producing device.I work in Alaska 5 months a year and never leave port w/o at least a shotgun on board.I have been boarded for inspections and the fact that the weapon was visable or being on board the vessel was never an issue.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:14 PM
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I believe it is different with a pistol. I KNOW professional captains that have been fined (very heavily I might add) because they had a pistol on board. The owner of the gun (the Captain) had a valid concealed weapon permit for the State of Florida - the boat's home port was Fort Lauderdale, but the boat was in New York for the summer. The boat was a documented vessel.

He was not tied to shore at the time of the citation, it was in NY Harbor and was in the midst of a boarding/safety inspection. Part of the problem may have been that when he was asked if there were weapons aboard he said no and yet when he opened the cabinet to retrieve the boats documentation papers the gun was in the cabinet in plain view to the officer that was right next to him. This was prior to 9-11.

I also know of another Captain that also was in some trouble when his gun was on board while he was tied to the dock in Gloucester. he was a commercial hook & line tuna fisherman and there was an incident on the boat involving his drunken mate, a one night stand and the mate's wife that decided to "surprise" him in Gloucester on a weekend trip when the boat was down for mechanical repairs. I do not know the full details, but I do know that the police were called to the boat due to a "domestic disturbance" and the handgun was in a locked cabinet on board. I do not know how or why the police found out about it, but when he argued that he had a permit for the gun he was advised "That dock your boat is tied to is connected to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and that permit is not recognized here."
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:38 PM
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You should not have any problem with a firearm aboard in these three states. This is the South. If the CG or marine patrol stop you, tell them truthfully where the gun is and follow their instructions.

I would keep the firearm and clip separated and secured in separate places--as you would in the car, just to be "safe". Frankly this coast is quite safe--just don't go too far up some rivers.....(just kidding, sort of). The ICW is very safe.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:55 PM
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What thataway says. In addition, there are basically no federal laws that apply to this situation. (Assuming the gun is legally possessed.) The CG could care less about guns on board as far as enforcement goes. As with any LE agency in these times, it is very good practice to immediately inform the head of the boarding party (if there is one) or person in command of the boat, if it comes to your gunnel, that you have a gun(s) and where it is.

States are a whole 'nother story. Basically, anytime you are in their waters their state firearms laws apply. I believe Bob gives you good advice about AL, MS and FL. I am certain he is correct about FL. It is dangerous to generalize, but keeping that in mind, most states will apply the same law to a gun on a boat that they will to a firearm in an auto. Bear in mind those laws often distinguish between a weapon locked in the trunk, locked in the glove box, or under the driver's seat (i.e., in easy reach of the driver.)

Last item, on a river which is a state boundary line, you are almost always going to be in the waters of both states.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:25 AM
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You should not have any problem with a firearm aboard in these three states. This is the South. If the CG or marine patrol stop you, tell them truthfully where the gun is and follow their instructions.

I would keep the firearm and clip separated and secured in separate places--as you would in the car, just to be "safe". Frankly this coast is quite safe--just don't go too far up some rivers.....(just kidding, sort of). The ICW is very safe.

I asked a cop once if it was ok to keep a loaded gun in the car with me in a case under the seat and his response was "Of course it is, an unloaded gun doesn't do you any good..."

If you ever see me with an unloaded gun, I also probably have my hands on the hood of a cop car for one reason or another...
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:13 AM
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You should not have any problem with a firearm aboard in these three states. This is the South.

Southern law dictates we must have guns with us at all times


Too many rules and regs up North for guns, can not belive people stand for all that crap
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:26 AM
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In FLorida you can put a weapon anywhere on your boat you want (NOT ON YOUR PERSON). I would say with 99.99 percent certainity that you will be fine in all those states carrying your firearm that way. It does not need to be unloaded. If you are boarded, uscg usually asks you about a firearm in their first words. Other LE should ask if they dont tell them shortly after first contact... You will have no problems, worst case senerio is someone will run your gun serial numbers...
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:53 AM
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Instead of asking questions here what you should be doing is taking a concealed weapons course and get you license. You should also go buy the book that explains the laws. What are you going to tell the judge? "Snapper Snatcher", on the Hull Truth said I could".
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:01 AM
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As long as you can legally own a firearm there are no federal laws that would preclude you from having a legal long gun or a handgun on your boat in federal or state waters. State laws vary, but AL and MS have no laws to keep you from having a legal long gun or handgun on board. It's always best to immediately advise enforcement that you have the weapon and tell them where it is. Do not reach for it or touch it in the process.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:21 AM
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Federal law states that as long as you have all legal permits from your boat port of call and you are in fedeal waters that is legal. This includes all rifle, shotguns, and pistols.... The problem occurs when you go into state waters, than you need to abide by state laws... So I have a LTC in MA. I am legal in federal waters but if I go into RI state water I must abide by RI laws...
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:36 AM
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Federal law states that as long as you have all legal permits from your boat port of call and you are in fedeal waters that is legal. This includes all rifle, shotguns, and pistols.... The problem occurs when you go into state waters, than you need to abide by state laws... So I have a LTC in MA. I am legal in federal waters but if I go into RI state water I must abide by RI laws...
What are the RI laws ? do they reciprocate with other states nearby ?
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:42 AM
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If you go into state waters - including berthing for the night then STATE LAW applies - Whatever state you are in. DON'T GO TO MEXICO
YEAH, about mexico, moved a 100+ footer thru sea of cortez and they take guns off boat in San Diego, all season in mexico with no gun......ummmm scary. No Sleepy when on hook at night


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Old 03-04-2009, 05:51 AM
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I asked 4 Maryland DNR police and got 4 different answers. I would be very careful what information you rely on. I would also suggest you get it in writing from each of the states you are going through, since you may need to present it to a judge to defend yourself...Good luck and have a safe trip..
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:52 AM
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Suggest you give your local CG station a call to get first-hand info as to exactly what the federal laws are, as well as what they recommend you do if stopped and boarded.
Not this crap again!


The statement above is the soundest advice I have heard on this subject yet. Are you going to tell the judge that someone on an internet boating forum said it was OK?
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:05 AM
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Not this crap again!


Are you going to tell the judge that someone on an internet boating forum said it was OK?
The judge would give that about as much merit as he would if you told him you got the information by calling the Coast Guard. Ignorance is ignorance irrespective of the source of said ignorance.
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:28 AM
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Have a CCW here in VA...since I don't go in waters other then VA and NC, I'm good to carry on board, or on my person, should I choose...would never go to NYC with a weapon on board...they have the most draconian, Byzantine anti gun laws in the universe...you WILL go to jail for 1 year...no if, and, no buts about it.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:36 AM
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handgunlaw.us is a good site for curreny gun laws. It is updated almost daily.
That having been said, get your carry permit, preferably from FL., and you should have less to worry about. I say FL because most states honor FL permits. SC however, does not. I think because we don't honor theirs.
Along those lines, FL currently has a backlog of 95,000 permit applications in the process. There was a large spike starting about October of last year for some reason...............The state is in the process of hiring 61 additional temporary workers to aid in processing them in a timely basis. By law the state has 90 days to issue a permit.
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