“You have 30 days to decide and six months to move. We can talk more on Monday.” That was the end of the conversation I had with my manager in early May 2019. I was told my job was being moved to another state. And I had to decide if I would go along with it or not. I’m sure you can imagine the tough conversations my wife and I had over the next few days and weeks. We had lived in our community for more than 25 years and in the same state for our entire lives. After weighing the pros and cons of the move and its effect on our family, we decided that relocating for my job was the right thing to do.
Once we got that out of the way, we needed to purge some of our belongings, put our house up for sale, purchase a new house in another state and move everything we owned. Intertwined in all of this was the added weight of transporting my firearms and ammo, securing new carry permits, working out new storage options and selecting a home in a firearms-friendly area. Being a firearms owner, relocating to another state was a learning experience that presented some challenges and some unique opportunities.
Moving Basics: Location, Location, Location
We started with a list of typical features people look for when shopping for a new home. These included all the normal aspects like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage and other amenities. But as gun owners, we were also looking for room to store our firearms and ammo, enough property to fire our guns, and proximity to public and private ranges. While we could not find a suitable piece of property on which to shoot, we did find a home that fit most of our other criteria.
If you find yourself in a similar situation where you must abruptly uproot your life, you need to consider the concealed carry permitting process and how difficult it may be to obtain a resident permit when selecting where to live. Many states require you to be a resident in order to have a permit issued to you. Leading into this move, I had an Ohio resident permit and a Florida nonresident permit. Once we closed on the sale of our house in Ohio, my permit was no longer valid given that I no longer had Ohio residency. In the state to which we were moving, a permit applicant must take the state-sanctioned concealed carry class before applying for a permit. Therefore, I had to establish residency, take the class and then apply for the permit.
Another issue I had was that Ohio requires a state-issued ID card to accompany a gun owner’s concealed carry permit. Most people just use their driver’s licenses. However, for multiple reasons, I needed to obtain a driver’s license in our new state before we completed the move. In this case, I was able to use an Ohio-issued veterans ID card to satisfy the need for two forms of identification. The lesson I learned is to consider requirements in both the state you are leaving and the state to which you are relocating.
Unanticipated Bumps in the Road
Once the move was complete, I did seek out a concealed carry class. But between the COVID-19 outbreak and the 2020 presidential election, permit classes were booked months in advance. Even worse, an appointment to process the application was also scheduled about five months out. (As such, it is taking almost eight months to get a resident permit.) Fortunately, the state to which I moved recognizes my Florida nonresident permit, which has allowed me to continue to carry in the interim. The application process for the Florida permit is done by mail but does require the applicant to be fingerprinted by his or her local law enforcement agency. I would highly recommend the Florida nonresident permit since it may cover you in a similar situation and will likely add reciprocity states to your existing permit.
The application process for the Florida permit is done by mail but does require the applicant to be fingerprinted by his or her local law enforcement agency.
Another consideration on permitting is what a gun owner will need in order to purchase firearms and ammo in his or her new state. Illinois, for example, requires a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card in order to purchase firearms or ammunition. Our new state requires a state-issued handgun-purchase permit or concealed carry permit to purchase handguns. Long guns only require a state-issued ID. One final thought on permits. The drive time between our old home in Ohio and the new home is roughly eight to nine hours. While not something I wanted to do long-term, I did find myself making this trip monthly for about seven months. In doing so, I ensured that my combination of Ohio and Florida permits gave me reciprocity in each state through which I traveled.
Now that we had purchased our new home and I was driving back and forth between the two, I needed to consider how and when to move my firearms and ammunition. My company covered relocation expenses, but commercial movers will not carry ammunition. As fun as it would have been to go to the range and shoot through my inventory, that wasn’t a practical or wise option. The commercial mover assigned to us through the relocation company stated that, in addition to refusing to transport ammunition, it would not take firearms. There are, however, some commercial movers that will transport unloaded firearms as high-value items. This may be your only option if you are relocating to the other side of the country or if you don’t have the means to transport your guns and ammo yourself.
In my case, given the distance, I was more than willing to move my own firearms and ammo. I worked through my inventory of both and divided the firearms and ammo into logical groupings. In other words, I didn’t want to leave all of my 9mm ammo in Ohio and move all of the 9mm handguns to my new home. I began taking loads on each trip until I reached a point where I was not comfortable reducing my inventory in Ohio any further. That load waited for the last trip.
Moving My Firearms and Ammo to a Dream Home
Probably the most enjoyable part of the whole process was deciding how to store everything in my new home. It was a great opportunity to explore my storage and security options and to set up a workspace for cleaning, reloading and minor gunsmithing. Before I transported the first load of firearms and ammo, I was able to design and build my dream storage locker. The locker is big enough for a firearms safe and to store my ammo supply in a secure manner. I chose to decrease the spacing between studs to make it more difficult to enter through the wall and provided additional support for shelves burdened with the weight of ammo. I added a steel exterior door for increased security, and I sealed the locker as best I could in order to increase the effectiveness of desiccants and other means to dehumidify the space.
At the end of the move, you don’t want to find yourself saying, “I wish I had…” Take the time now to think through all of the aspects of relocating.
Atop that, I added a motion sensor tied to my home-security system and a Lockdown Puck. This device adds temperature and humidity monitoring and additional motion detection. Lastly, I added electricity to the storage space in order to support lighting and a dehumidifier if the need arises. I was also able to build a well-lit workspace nearby, sturdy enough to support working on firearms. Once the exterior was finished and painted, it looked like any other feature in the house. Given this new space, my wife now always knows where she can find me if I am MIA.
A Smooth Ride
Moving is very stressful, and there is no shortage of decisions that must be made during the process. Firearms and ammunition are just as important to the safety of your family as fire extinguishers or door locks. At the end of the move, you don’t want to find yourself saying, “I wish I had…” Take the time now to think through all of the aspects of relocating. Some things, like home selection and storage options, are more about desires. Other aspects, like transport and permitting, are necessary for staying legally compliant. Either way, a little planning upfront can make the process smooth and enjoyable.
Nine states plus Washington D.C. have mag-cap restrictions. They are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.*
The most common threshold for magazine capacity is 10 rounds or greater, with Colorado and Vermont banning magazines that hold more than 15 rounds or more than 10 rounds. In addition, while Virginia may not have a state magazine-capacity restriction, it regulates magazine capacities via an “assault weapons” ban that defines “assault weapons” as those with a magazine that will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition.
There are six states that don’t have full preemption of firearm laws, so municipalities may have magazine-capacity- restriction ordinances in those states. Municipalities were identified with mag-cap restrictions in California (although both cities mirror state law), Colorado (although neither have limits more restrictive than state law) and Virginia (although the municipalities where the ban is in effect are identified in state law, so the municipalities don’t have ordinances).
*Check USCCA.com/laws for specific details on the magazine bans in each of these states.
— Bonnie Gundrum, Senior Content Specialist