Print

Training >> Browse Articles >> Firearms

+101

5 Reminders About Carrying Your Gun on Vacation

5 Reminders About Carrying Your Gun on Vacation

Sergeant Betsy Brantner Smith

Let’s face it, cops love vacation. We work our rear ends off all year so we can go fishing, boating, camping or take the family to the beach, to a historical site, or to one of the big theme parks. However, summer vacation often poses a problem for us when it comes to off duty survival. It’s easy to carry a gun when you’re hiking and camping, but it’s not so easy to arm yourself when you’re frolicking on the beach with your kids, dressed only in a Speedo.

Here are a few things to consider when you’re heading out on that family road trip.

Know the Rules

Off duty cops often don’t take a firearm with them when they travel because they simply don’t know the rules and regulations of various situations. I fly with a firearm (or two or three) everywhere I go within the United States. Go to the TSA’s website and check out the regulations for checking a firearm and ammunition in your luggage, its not as complicated as you might think. If you’re driving, make sure you’re familiar with HR 218 (the Federal law that allows law enforcement officers to carry a gun in all 50 states, with the some restrictions) and your own departmental policies concerning off duty carry. Many museums and theme parks have metal detectors and/or security checkpoints, so you’ll have to have your credentials ready, but most will allow an off duty or retired cop carry their firearm in their facility. Check out each place you intend to visit beforehand and remember to be informed, patient, and polite.

Always Have Control of Your Weapon

If you’re heading to a theme park with all those insane, 60 mph upside down rides and you intend to carry a gun, make sure it’s in a holster that can withstand all that G-force! Think about a smaller weapon for off duty or vacation carry. I love my small frame .380, but there are so many great options out there now for smaller arms and more concealable carry; do your research! If you’re heading to beach or the hotel pool, be sure that you make your weapon safe and that you secure it so it can’t be accessed by thieves or curious kids.

Consider Alternative Weapons

Occasionally, it’s just not practical or safe to carry a gun, such as when you’re building ocean-side sand castles with your kids or taking a resort scuba course, so consider alternative weapons, such as knives, an improvised blunt instrument, an old credit card that’s been sharpened on one side, and of course, your own body. Cops are used to having tools available to protect themselves, but if you’re going to be in a situation where your usual tools are impractical, think about how you’ll protect yourself in advance, and most of all, be aware. As we like to say in the Street Survival seminar, “your mindset is your most valuable weapon.”

Alcohol Consumption

Some of us (okay, a lot of us) like to kick back with an adult beverage or two while we’re on vacation. If you’re going to do that, especially if you’re with a group of friends, it’s often a good idea to appoint a “designated decision-maker” before you pop open the first bottle. Cops certainly aren’t immune to the “beer-muscle” phenomenon, and we’re used to being in charge, which can make some of us a bit belligerent when we’re consuming alcohol. Others become a bit too friendly and/or let our guard down too dramatically. So many cops have lost careers in alcohol-related, off duty incidents. Don’t be one of them! It’s much easer to enjoy yourself when you know you have a trusted friend who’s got your back, both physically and mentally. And don’t forget to take your turn as the sober one every once in awhile.

Uniform Trumps Plainclothes

If you get into an off duty force situation, remember that at some point the uniforms are going to show up and you’re initially going to look like just another bad guy. Mentally prepare for this ahead of time. Inform your family and friends what may happen if you have to take off duty action. Teach them to call “911” and inform the dispatcher not only what is happening, but who you are, what you are wearing, and if you have a gun or other weapons. When the uniforms arrive, do everything they tell you to do, even as you tell them you’re a cop. Be prepared to get treated like a suspect and obey all of their orders. Put yourself in their shoes; you know you’re a cop, all they know is they’re showing up to a “man with a gun” call.

This summer, take that well-deserved road trip, head for the woods, or get on a plane and hit the beach. Just make sure you don’t leave your survival mindset behind. Stay safe!


+101
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tom05

    about 1 year ago

    4 Comments

    When you decide to carry your gun on vacation then you have to be careful. You have to keep the gun absolutely protected to keep yourself and others safe. However, given the way travel costs are rising we need to have more cheap flights.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tom05

    about 1 year ago

    4 Comments

    When you decide to carry your gun on vacation then you have to be careful. You have to keep the gun absolutely protected to keep yourself and others safe. However, given the way travel costs are rising we need to have more cheap flights.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Lovingnurse2000

    about 1 year ago

    2 Comments

    Hello was hoping to find some answers from people familiar with this stuff. Heres our story, we are a family of 7 and planned a 2 week camping trip to help bring us all closer. My husband is a police officer so he would go to work and return back to our campsite straight from work each day so he carried his weapon the entire trip with the usual rule compliance. I was given a hard time every day by a certain park ranger,every day he harassed us about something, i was scheduled for a certain site for every day except 3 days which we were told they were reserved so had moved to another site until the last 3 days we could move back into our original site for final 3 days of our trip. The other family never showed up that reserved the site so i had gotten permission to move back into original one a day earlier from a different ranger and front desk, when it came to the next shift, this ranger that had ben giving us a hard time each day came on the shift then stopped at our campsite as we were starting to pack up to move back in he asked what we were doing, we told him and he drove on, as he came back through we had everything packed and it seemed like he waited intil we were all ready, he then tells us we cant move that we need to wait til dark to see if that family that hasnt shown up for 2 of their 3 days as i was checking in the very next day by 4 anyway. I got into verbal argument as i never lose my cool but he was on my tail since the very first night we showed up and i let him know he has ben harassing us and ben treating us very unprofessional and i always asked what we done to be treated like this, about that time he said we could move back to our other site, we got checked in and back to our final site about 7 pm my husband just gotten off work when 20 people came trotting through our site under our overhead tent and was planning on fishing in front of us, the water was about 10ft away from our campfire where we were sitting and it we would have surely gotten hit with their hooks. Plus my husband just bought a new truck and our car parked within the only space we were allowed, my husband asked the dad of the family very nice if they wouldnt walk tdown through our site with the poles because we had limited space and he disnt want the poles scratching his truck. Even though it was our camp site and not opened to public, we were nice and professional about it. The man was drunk and we disntnrealize it until that very second he started yelling at us, shouting swear words and threats by the second in front of our 5 kids and surrounding kids of the area. He came about 2 ft from my husband, i got my sister to call the ranger. We stayed calm and quiet and we even went up by camper away from them til all of sudden i heard him screaming and threatening againnat mynson fishing down by the water i took off and called out my sons name asking if hes ok, the man threatened to drowned my son and i finally spoke out at him telling him hes a minor and if he would harm him ill get my tazor. About that time the ranger with the grudge finally got there as the man shouted at him he was forced back to their own campsite and they talked up there for an hour then the ranger came back down giving me a 300$ disorderly conduct fine and even brought up our earlier confrontation when we were moving from the other site, 2 people from the sherriffs office were there to assist the ranger and they made my husband put his gun away saying he police officers were not allowed to carry their weapons off duty, made him look like a fool and threatened to arrest him, next thing i know, the supervisor of the ranger came over and kicked us out,making us pack up and move everything at 11pm at night for carrying a concealed weapon, this officer was a town cop and worked part time at sherriff stations who has had past altercations with my husband due to him being his ex wife's husbands best friend. This guy treated him bad yelling at him echoing through the woods calling him by his first name. While we forced to move in the dark with 5 kids, i fell holdi my 4 yr old boy it messed up my knee and my son hit his head.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mark13

    about 1 year ago

    8 Comments

    You have to be careful if you take the gun with you you have to think about safety issue. Traveling is fun when you forget about all worries and just want to have some fun like my grandparents are doing at Las Vegas Retiree Travel Destination.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    satya13

    about 1 year ago

    10 Comments

    You have to be careful with your gun you do not want to have troubles with it. I was looking for information on 7 Sights Along Vltava River when I found this post.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    satya13

    about 1 year ago

    10 Comments

    You have to be careful with it you should check the law of the place you are visiting and if you are taking it with you be careful, however, I am looking for suggestions of places which would appeal to an Australian jazz aficionado when I found your post.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    marcepinkie

    over 1 year ago

    10 Comments

    Police organizations all over the world focus on good education and training. I have read on http://www.flightsite.co.za/flights/airlines/british-airways-south-africa/ that all serve to improve the public's trust and confidence in police officers. Education is the key to a successful police force, whether it's the education of the police or the education of the public related to police matters.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PurpleHope

    over 1 year ago

    16 Comments

    In two days I'll be on vacation, so I have a question. What about Mossberg shotgun accessories? Do you think we should have them on us during vacation too?

  • Officer_bob_max50

    bmccarty

    over 2 years ago

    6 Comments

    Don't forget; if you carry off-duty to have: 1) a gun 2) a reload 3) your ID 4) a means of communiation (cell phone) 5) means of restraining BGs (long plastic tiewrap under belt?).

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    icrash57

    almost 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    do you know what the law is to carry my off duty weapon in to Canada headed up there for vacation.?

  • Officer_rizo_max50

    DEPUTY_RIZO

    about 3 years ago

    38 Comments

    @ psyke712, Here is the internet link to my state which is Florida. If you click on the state in which you live in, you can find all the information you need in order to know what state or states allows your states permit.... If you or anyone else have any questions let me know.... To all my LEO BRO'S and SIS'S watch your six...

    http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/news/concealed_carry.html

  • Usaeagle_max50

    djbiker

    about 3 years ago

    20 Comments

    ColoradoInvestigator, to reply to your post about non-LEO's having access to the site, As a non LEO I have to say that it is refreshing to have access to this site, and see what the LEO's really think about those of us in the community that have carry permits and seek only to protect ourselves and others from the BG's out there. If I were to rely on the MEDIA to get my opinions of LEO's, I would not think much of them. Whenever citizens carry rights are discussed on the news, all we see are the chief's points of view, and they do not like us very much for the most part.

    Most Chief's are elected or appointed and they seem to feel that a liberal viewpoint helps them in that capacity. Not a respectable position in my opinion. Any person that seeks to disarm me is an enemy of freedom. I consider myself a type of Sheepdog as well. I have had a carry permit since day one it was available in Tennessee, and I carry everywhere I can legally do so. If I am not allowed to carry in a posted area, I take my money elsewhere.

    I have never had to pull my weapon in any situation and pray that I never have to. I have at times, decided not to carry, I guess those are the times that I have gotten lazy and didn't want to bother with the bulk of the weapon, but recent, local events have made me, once again, decide to carry everywhere.

    It is a good thing to allow good, law abiding citizens like myself read posts like these. I see that as a permitted carrier, I am appreciated and accepted by a majority of LEO's. I have no illusions that I am a LEO or ever have any authority over that of any other citizen. BUT, I will defend myself and my family should the need arise.

    Everyone, I just want to say thank you for allowing us (regular Joe's) to have access to your posts, conversations, and input. It is very much appreciated by Us, the silent majority. Ignore the idiots out there that disrespect LEO's in their posts, they are less than 2% of Us.

  • Car_004_max50

    copper380

    about 3 years ago

    2026 Comments

    psyke712,

    I am not sure where to find it but I have seen listings for states that accept permits issued from other states. Best is to contact the police in the state you are traveling to and find out ahead of time if they accept your permit. You have to be careful though because you may travel through a state that does not recognize your states permit to get to another state that does. before traveling through states that do not recognize your states permit ensure you know how that state requires the weapon to be transported as you travel through.

    PS, a shotgun is the best home defense weapon (in my opinion) there is nothing that changes the mind of a would be perp than the sound of a shotgun racking a round!! I have pointed a shotgun at perps before and had no reaction but as soon as I eject a round and rack another there attitude has always changed (so far anyway but nothing is 100%). Besides, you have less chance of overpenetration through walls with a shotgun and pointing is easier than aiming under stress. Hitting someone with multiple projetiles is better than trying to place 1 round. So for home I suggest a quality assault style shotgun and talk with some cops about the best ammo, there are many excellent shotgun rounds out there now, the hardest part will be selecting the round that is best for your needs.

  • 14-photo_14_max50

    psyke712

    about 3 years ago

    26 Comments

    Hi guys and gals, I'm not an leo but, have a permit to carry and want to know what are the laws of carrying outside of the state of my residence? I have a .25 and 9 mm, as a single woman with a very young special needs child at home, I am also a psychiatrist. It is very easy for my clients in and out of the hospital to find me at home, as two have. We travel frequently(driving) and I would feel safer with my own protection on hand at a moment's notice.

  • Officer_rizo_max50

    DEPUTY_RIZO

    about 3 years ago

    38 Comments

    @ Colt45, I'm not sure about all states, but most states like Florida, as long as you have a Concealed Carry Permit you may carry you weapon with a round in the chamber, Fl Law also says that you may carry a firearm in your vehicle at any time as long as it is securely encased and not readyly accessable which means in a holster and in your "GLOVEBOX"... State Statue 790.25 And it doesnt say anything about weather or not you can have a round in the chamber... legally you can have a round in the chamber at all time, otherwise, you might as well use yor weapon as a paper weight. Cause without a round in the Chamber your gun is useless in an emergency, trust me I have had to use mine while someone had a knife to my throat in a robbery, if I would not have had a round in the Chamber I would have died. And this was before my Law Enforcement Career ... Good thing is, you dont even have to have a Concealed Carry Permit to have it in your car in Florida... Now, no rounds in the Chamber if your doing interstate Travel, unless, you have a Concealed Carry Permit and the state you are going into accepts that Concealed Carry Permit from your State.... Also the State of Wyoming just passed a law on 07/01/2011 that says any person who can legally purchase a FIREARM may carry said firearm legally without a Concealed Carry Permit within the State of Wyoming... And, here is the catch COLT45, you can have it fully loaded which means a round in the CHAMBER.... And Wyoming is an Open Carry State as well.... I carry both an FNP-40 USG Model and a Taurus PT-1911 .45ACP.... Not at the same time of course lol.... I hope you dont take this personally as if im calling you out, cause i'm not... I hope this information helps clear a few things....

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

Us_flag_normal_1__max30
SE851 received a gift from Jonas, 9 minutes ago.
Us_flag_normal_1__max30
SE851 received a gift from Jonas, 10 minutes ago.
Photo_user_banned_big
islamremon65 submitted the article: "[[FREE]] Chelsea vs Leicester City Live Streaming", 20 minutes ago.
Ba_old_glory_max30
Jonas commented on: "Southampton vs West Bromwich Albion: live Stream", 27 minutes ago.