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Old 05-06-2020, 10:08 AM   #1
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Default Van life and guns

What proportion of van dwellers keep a firearm in their van? Are they more commonly rifles, shotguns, handguns? How often have people needed to draw them against a real threat? Have the threats been animals or humans? What do people with guns do when camping in places where they're illegal, such as national parks?
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:28 AM   #2
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Firearm threads tend to devolve into problematic areas, so let me suggest that we circumvent the definition of insanity, and do things a bit differently on this thread.

For those who feel comfortable doing so, PM me the answers to the questions in this table that I've imaged below. I'll anonymize your username and post the results once I've got them.

Remember I did something similar a few months back regarding electrical systems and charging methods (solar vs. alternator vs. generator vs. shore power). People seemed to like it. I didn't anonymize that one because electrical systems are not subjects of controversy.

Some of the most interesting people who carry firearms in vans are not necessarily at liberty to post publicly about their recommendations and experiences. They may be law enforcement officers or retired same, or other professionals with sensitive jobs or community roles. I've learned that from other threads. So this might be a way for more objective and less argumentative information to get disclosed in the van context.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to modify this table for better effect, please comment.

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Old 05-06-2020, 11:35 AM   #3
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This is one of those "tread lightly" forum issues that tend to go places that end up with moderators shutting them down. To me, it is not a political issue and mere discusssion should not be devisive, yet that is often where this topic goes. I hope all posters will consider this if we are to adress the questions as posed.

I can merely tell you what I do and that is, to the extent I can legally do so outside my state, I maintain the same routine while traveling that I do in my daily routine personal defense. Others who a hunters probably have an easier time, but must make their own provisions.

However, there are many legal perils (too many in my opinion) regarding the transportation of firearms. You need a good resource to not run afoul of state laws.

Some considerations when traveling in your "b":

1) Some states regulate capacity.

2) Many have their own strict interpretation of what "secured" and "unloaded" mean.

3) Some treat your motorhome as more like your home than a vehicle giving you more lattitude.

4) Others have strict rules on your destination. Like, are you transporting through their state or staying in their state.

Many things besides guns are also treated differently from state to state. Make sure you know enough to stay safe and legal.
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:52 AM   #4
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ps- Never had to draw it and don't suspect I'll ever need to. Then why carry you might ask? For the same reason people keep fire insurance on their home. No one ever expects to use it, yet we all have it (ok, 99.9% of us have it). Or to put it in another common phrase, better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
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Old 05-06-2020, 12:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Firearm threads tend to devolve...
Thanks, InterBlog. To be clear, I have no desire to start a controversy. I am interested in the specific information I asked for, not in a general discussion of the topic of firearms. Your point about confidentiality is well taken, though.
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Old 05-06-2020, 01:30 PM   #6
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Thanks, InterBlog. To be clear, I have no desire to start a controversy. I am interested in the specific information I asked for, not in a general discussion of the topic of firearms. Your point about confidentiality is well taken, though.
You don't need to have a desire to start a controversy. Other people can be counted on to do that for you.

I lived in my van cumulatively for 3 months of 2019, and about half of that time was in urban core areas, with all of their crimes (drugs, burglaries, robberies, assaults) and homelessness issues (according to the federal government, 60% of homeless have a severe mental illness or chronic substance abuse issue). I couldn't even sustain a thread discussion about safety in the urban core in an almost complete ABSENCE of a firearm component to the discussion.

Personal security is generally a polarizing topic on multiple forums. Why, I can't for the life of me understand. It should be as objective as any other health topic. Don't neglect:

(1) your nutrition and caloric intake,
(2) your exercise regime (cardio and strength both),
(3) your medical check-ups, and
(4) your self-defense strategies.

But it's not seen that way by many people.

I had legitimate, objective safety questions about urban boondocking - e.g., is there an information source where I can go to decipher gang graffiti so that I'll know what's being communicated on the wall in front of me? Nope. Never got anywhere with lines of inquiry like that.
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Old 05-06-2020, 01:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
...
However, there are many legal perils (too many in my opinion) regarding the transportation of firearms. You need a good resource to not run afoul of state laws.....
Two strategies on said good resource:

(1) If you decide to carry, be licensed, well-trained, and insured. Insurance is a small price to pay for management of those legal perils you mention. U.S. Lawshield is perhaps the biggest insurer, but I am told that they are not the cheapest.

(2) For those of us who are licensed in Texas, we have a reciprocity map to which we can easily refer, a visual aid that summarizes other states' laws. I keep a copy on the bulletin board I have behind my driver's seat so it's literally inches from me at all times. I won't post it because it gets updated so often that can go out of date quickly - google it. Other states probably have similar summary documents.
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Old 05-06-2020, 01:40 PM   #8
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Moderator's note:

For the reasons articulated above, the "no off-topic" and "no politics" rules of the list will be strictly enforced here. If your post isn't directly and obviously B-van related, please save us some work and hit DELETE before posting. Non-conforming posts will be deleted without warning or comment.
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Old 05-06-2020, 03:53 PM   #9
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What proportion of van dwellers keep a firearm in their van? Are they more commonly rifles, shotguns, handguns? How often have people needed to draw them against a real threat? Have the threats been animals or humans? What do people with guns do when camping in places where they're illegal, such as national parks?
Why would one ask or need a survey? It's a personal decision and circumstance to carry a fire arm in your van. If you don't know why, maybe you shouldn't carry. You can't post a sign on your van to tell everyone to stay away because you have a gun.

When we went up to Great West Van factory near Winnipeg the Canadian border patrol asked me if I carried firearms. I said, "No." He then said, "Do you feel safe." I then Jokingly said, "Am I crossing the wrong border? (meaning Mexico) He didn't respond to my question. On our return, the US Border patrol thoroughly searched our car. That was the only time we were ever searched. I wonder if they take response information seriously, note it, and convey between them. It could have been a coincidence, but don't joke.
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Old 05-06-2020, 05:35 PM   #10
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Why would one ask or need a survey?
Well, in order to learn something I feel I need to know as I'm getting started in the van life. I thought this forum was a good place to ask newbie questions. Perhaps I was mistaken.

To be clear, I'm not asking for advice on gun ownership in general; I'm quite well educated in that respect. But I do not know the ins and outs of such ownership in a traveling home. I can't gauge the level of risk of having one, or the level of risk of not having one, in a traveling home. That's what I'm after.
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Old 05-06-2020, 07:42 PM   #11
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Wasn't this covered EXTENSIVELY in another forum post? Seems to me that it had a huge number of replies. I would suggest that the OP do a search in the forum for that thread. I seem to recall that there was plenty of discussion there on the type of weapons carried by individuals.
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:24 PM   #12
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Wasn't this covered EXTENSIVELY in another forum post? Seems to me that it had a huge number of replies. I would suggest that the OP do a search in the forum for that thread. I seem to recall that there was plenty of discussion there on the type of weapons carried by individuals.
Hmm. I did search the forum before posting — basic courtesy — and I didn't find anything. However, it seems I must have fumble-fingered it or something. After seeing this reply, I searched again, and this time I found the thread you mentioned (from about 9 months ago). It's a long one — should keep me busy reading for a while. Thanks for mentioning it!
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:08 PM   #13
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...... and just about every RV forum I have ever been involved in! Usually doesn't end well!
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
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.... You can't post a sign on your van to tell everyone to stay away because you have a gun.
.....
Actually, yes you can! I myself do it religiously, and I have for years:

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Old 05-07-2020, 11:08 AM   #15
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Hmm. I did search the forum before posting — basic courtesy — and I didn't find anything. However, it seems I must have fumble-fingered it or something. After seeing this reply, I searched again, and this time I found the thread you mentioned (from about 9 months ago). It's a long one — should keep me busy reading for a while. Thanks for mentioning it!
IIRC, that thread was broad and general on the issue of self-defense, and did not get into the specifics of which firearms are carried, or why people believe that their choice is most appropriate for the van context.

Anyone who has professional training will realize how challenging it would be to properly self-defend in a van with a firearm. It's a confined space with difficult geometry. That's one of the factors that anybody researching this issue has to take into account.
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:22 AM   #16
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Responding to a PM:

It is not necessary to eliminate Canada from a trip itinerary just because you are carrying one or more firearms while vanning in the U.S.

Some border town police agencies offer "babysitting" services for firearms - do your research to see if this is offered near your trip route. "Babysitting" is a great way for those departments to raise extra cash while providing American gun owners with a convenient service.

For example, the Houlton Maine police department charges $15 per week (2019 fee) to store travelers' guns and ammunition in their evidence room. Maine is a permitless carry state, so there is no problem with a Texan walking into a Maine police station carrying a firearm - I've done it, and it's as routine for those guys as the sun rising in the east. It's easy peasy - they give you a receipt for your stuff, and you don't pay until you come back, because your firearm as effective collateral is no doubt worth more than your bill is ever going to be.

In the Houlton scenario, once you have left your firearm with the police and you get a mile further down the road to the Canadian border, then you have a choice to make. You can say "I'm not carrying firearms" which is true, or you can choose say, "I was carrying them but I left them with the Houlton Police Department". In my case I did the latter (reason omitted for brevity). They checked my receipt, verified that both firearm AND ammunition were inventoried on that receipt, and then sent me on my way into Canada, no van search, no hassle.

YMMV, but that was my experience in 2019.
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Old 05-07-2020, 12:31 PM   #17
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Ah, so you feel safe in Canada, if they ask?
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Old 05-07-2020, 12:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Responding to a PM:

It is not necessary to eliminate Canada from a trip itinerary just because you are carrying one or more firearms while vanning in the U.S.

Some border town police agencies offer "babysitting" services for firearms - do your research to see if this is offered near your trip route. "Babysitting" is a great way for those departments to raise extra cash while providing American gun owners with a convenient service.

For example, the Houlton Maine police department charges $15 per week (2019 fee) to store travelers' guns and ammunition in their evidence room. Maine is a permitless carry state, so there is no problem with a Texan walking into a Maine police station carrying a firearm - I've done it, and it's as routine for those guys as the sun rising in the east. It's easy peasy - they give you a receipt for your stuff, and you don't pay until you come back, because your firearm as effective collateral is no doubt worth more than your bill is ever going to be.

In the Houlton scenario, once you have left your firearm with the police and you get a mile further down the road to the Canadian border, then you have a choice to make. You can say "I'm not carrying firearms" which is true, or you can choose say, "I was carrying them but I left them with the Houlton Police Department". In my case I did the latter (reason omitted for brevity). They checked my receipt, verified that both firearm AND ammunition were inventoried on that receipt, and then sent me on my way into Canada, no van search, no hassle.

YMMV, but that was my experience in 2019.
Interblog, I'm certain of the storage, just not the year or border crossing.

In the late 90's I was traveling to Golden BC and was probably crossing on hwy 93 in Montana. Not long before I was arriving at the border crossing, I remembered the loaded 380 in my minivan, Darn, and now what?

Lie? Truth? .......... I chose the truth, the fellow said no problem. We will keep it for you until you return. The only potential downside was going back the same way, which was not a downside.

Not long after, I stopped traveling with a firearm. Grizzly Bear pepper spray obsoleted it - for me.

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Old 05-07-2020, 12:44 PM   #19
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Ah, so you feel safe in Canada, if they ask?
How anyone "feels" is irrelevant. The law is the law, in every jurisdiction. My Canadian father, in his younger years, was a firearms safety instructor, and owned multiple weapons as I was growing up. I wasn't taught to "feel" - I was just taught to be responsible and law-abiding in all jurisdictions.
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:37 PM   #20
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Well, in order to learn something I feel I need to know as I'm getting started in the van life. I thought this forum was a good place to ask newbie questions. Perhaps I was mistaken.

To be clear, I'm not asking for advice on gun ownership in general; I'm quite well educated in that respect. But I do not know the ins and outs of such ownership in a traveling home. I can't gauge the level of risk of having one, or the level of risk of not having one, in a traveling home. That's what I'm after.
You asked the same questions that I considered last year when I was at the beginning of RV ownership. I purchased this book. It helped guide my decision.
https://www.amazon.com/Travelers-Gui.../dp/0578422999

Some of us expect a forum like this one to be appropriate for information gathering, and are somewhat surprised when we are met with a response that resembles a condescending lecture. As a member of a variety of forums; automotive, audio/video, garages/tools, coffee, watches, RVing, I've come to expect there will be an alpha member who tends to display the type rebuttal post that was directed to you.

Recently I posted a 'How To' change I made to the TV system in my new RV. One of the first responses to my post, was from an RV owner who criticized me for even watching TV. He proudly proclaimed he hadn't watched his TV in 30,000 miles and X number of years of traveling.

In that my wife and I are 67 y.o., we're not interested in unsolicited comments about how we should be spending our leisure time.

Best to you.
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