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CDL Truck Drivers Carrying Guns


Professional over the road CDL truck drivers are a unique breed of men and women. Strong, determined and masters of stamina, they keep the life blood of our country moving. Truck driving isn’t for everyone . . . in fact, few can actually handle the daily stress and long, endless hours of being out on the road. Long haul trucking is a rough life.

Along with this lifestyle come dangers. Driving through unfamiliar territory late at night looking for your loading or unloading destination . . . totally exhausted trying to find a place to park and you finally settle on the one spot you can find: along the side of an exit off ramp . . . or broken down out in the middle of nowhere . . . in this crazy world we all live in, danger can be just around the next bend.

I remember one night when I pulled into a truck stop in Jessup, Maryland and literally fell right into bed. What seemed like a few minutes later, I heard someone shouting, then some more yelling, and then . . . gun shots! The shots rang out about three trucks down from where I was parked. Seconds later, I was crawling into the driver’s seat, pulling back out onto I-95! To this day I don’t know what occurred, and at the time I didn’t want to know.

At present, there is no Federal Law that states that it is illegal for CDL truck drivers to carry guns in the truck with them. I’m the first to say that there have been several times when I would have felt much better had I had a handgun in my possession. But the question remains . . . should professional CDL truck drivers running over the road be allowed to carry hand guns with them? I find myself evaluating the pros and cons. The large majority of these men and women are good, honest and hard-working adults. The main priority is providing a living for themselves and their families. Should they have to face potential threats in crime infested areas without a means of protection, due to a few “bad apples” in the bunch?

Any professional trucker will tell you that when you are taking a high value shipment into an area of Detroit, Chicago, LA or New York City, etc., at 2:30 A.M., the potential of an attack is always probable. I recall several years ago when drivers were getting killed and their loads stolen while running across I-10 in South Texas along the Mexican border, where you can drive a hundred miles and only see a few cars.

On the other hand, trucking is a hard, stressful vocation. Tempers can flair at the drop of a hat. All one has to do is listen to the CB radio and you will hear constant fighting and berating by many drivers. One fight, one temper, and if one driver has a gun and other does not . . . ? For all the good, law-abiding drivers out there I wish they could be allowed to carry protection. But looking at the insane world we live in now, could it actually bring about more problems?  On the other hand … it is our Constitutional Right!

What do you think?

About the Author:

Aubrey Allen Smith is the author of the Truth About Trucking. An expert in transportation, and former police officer and a deputy sheriff, he has helped many new drivers discover the scams within the trucking industry.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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30 Responses to CDL Truck Drivers Carrying Guns. - Post a Comment

  1. schmidt

    Besides being a constitutional right, I feel that with proper training, any individual (except felons) should be able to carry. Imagine, if every trucker carried a weapon, do you think there would be as many crimes against truckers? If felons knew that every truck had a trained and armed driver, they might hesitate before considering their crime. My question is, how many drivers out there carry a weapon for self protection?

    • Jimmy

      Any law that states you cannot own and or carry a firearm for self defense is unconstitutional, rendering you a defenseless slave and therefore non-valid. I would question the legality of any said law.

  2. Allen Smith

    Allen’s Reply :

    Yes, I totally agree with you. I feel the majority of truckers out here are good, hard working people just trying to make a living. I was allowing for the fact that due to the stress of OTR, tempers flair and I’ve seen the potential of further violence. I wish we could carry protection, but the potential of more violence taking place is likely. As far as how many are carrying anyway? I believe the number is very few. The risk of being caught by LE or DOT, I believe keeps the number way down. Many will say they carry, but I do not believe many do…maybe just a “handfull.”

  3. Raymond Cady, Sr.

    What this article and law tells me is that Truckers has a sign on them that says GUN FREE ZONE! Come ROB, KILL or TRUCK-JACK me anytime you like, I have no protection.

  4. Larry Stafford

    Well, I am a Driver O/O and I will say that I belief that any American citizen who has no criminal history or mental health issues should be allowed to carry a firearm if they feel safer.[Nation wide] With that said, if you are not prepared to be constantly aware every moment of everyday where your hand gun is! And alway’s lock it up when not in possession of it,should not consider carring a handgun on a truck.

  5. admin

    This article appears elsewhere on the web, but in some cases mistakenly shows as it is against “Federal Law” to carry guns. I thought I had corrected this on all the sites, but may have missed a few…..I want to be more clear on this…….

    There is NO Federal Law stating that it is illegal for CDL drivers to carry guns in the truck with them. HOWEVER, you MUST remember that there ARE city, county and state laws that do! Running interstate commerce it is impossible to abide by each city, county and state law while having a gun in the tractor with you. Do I agree with these laws? NO….Also, many, if not all, motor carriers have the “rule” of “NO GUNS” allowed…..this is mainly due to the fact that they are aware of the city, county and state laws, as well as most shippers and receivers do not allow guns to be brought onto their property… even without such a Federal Law, there are many other “laws” that cause it to be illegal.

    Thanks, Allen

  6. Tom Reitano

    Other then the issue of Right in our system of goverment ; How about this,

    Criminals knowing truck drivers , who sometimes carry large sums of cash , valuble loads ect , Have NO protection by Law or Tradition!

    Sitting Duck anyone?

    Drivers should be alowed to carry in any State or City while in route to and from or waiting on such.

    The bad guys not knowing the armed from the un-armed will be left to wonder , If I rob him , will he shoot me dead?

  7. Joseph Quintana

    Just about all cops and former cops don’t want anybody to carry a firearm for self defense. To them we are all hotheads who cannot handle ourselves or a gun. I am of the belief as many others that as long as you are not a felon, mentally stable, and trained to use your firearm as well as when it is appropriate to do so should be allowed to carry firearms. I was trained in the use of firearms in the Marines and I still practice shoot. It should actually be against the law to prevent law abiding people, no matter their occupation, from carrying a firearm for self defense.

    • Bob

      The police are the hot heads, they have been out of control for years and now they are attempting to federalize them. The police are being trained in para military tactics and givin armored personnel carriers and fully automatic rifles, homeland security bought targets of pregnant woman, children and the elderly along with several billion rounds of hollow point ammo. And yet we are debating if a truck driver has this lawful right to self defense, guaranteed by the bill of rights. The question is do these local and state governments have the lawful right to deny you of these rights and or corporations .

    • Bob

      The police are the hot heads, they have been out of control for years and now they are attempting to federalize them. The police are being trained in para military tactics and givin armored personnel carriers and fully automatic rifles, homeland security bought targets of pregnant woman, children and the elderly along with several billion rounds of hollow point ammo. And yet we are debating if a truck driver has this lawful right to self defense, guaranteed by the bill of rights. The question is do these local and state governments have the lawful right to deny you of these rights and or corporations denying you the right to self protection. I believe any corporation or private property owner or de facto government agency who deny you this right and any harm comes to you because of these bogus, colorable laws, rules, ordinance, codes or policy’s serve as their waiver of immunity from suit. Police have absolutely no duty to protect “you” look up the U.S. Supreme Court decision on this.

  8. robert watts

    As the economy gets worse and for aurgument sake.lets say it does, we”ll probally see a increase in truck jackings. A “Madd Max” situation may be years off but anythings possible. Truckers should have a right to protect them-selves like any other business. Thank God Me and my first trainer werent armed because somebody would not of made back to Califorina!

  9. John Pridemore

    First of all IT IS NOT ILLEGAL to carry a gun in your truck. Unless you do not carry your home states carry permit and are in a state that reciporcates its authourity.
    I have a Georgia Carry Permit and I can not carry in South Carolinal, Illinois, Arkansas or New York as far as the western states are concerned I do not know as I do not go out west. I have even checked with the state of Wisconsin they do not allow conceled carry but do allow open carry.
    Good luck to all and if you can CARRY your protection with you.

  10. admin

    Thanks John for your input.
    Appreciate your thoughts and beliefs.

    What did you think of the law that I posted on the latest post?
    How would you interpret that law?
    More importantly, how do the local law enforcement interpret that?
    That was the concern I had with this topic. I’ve seen drivers arrested for their possession of a fire arm. It appears that law enforcement applies their own interpretation when the occasion occurs.( depending on what state , city, county, you’re in)


  11. Jeff N.

    I just want to say I hope the law never changes on the gun law for trucks. Ihave been driving for 22yrs and never been more ashamed of being a truck driver than I am now. There is so much hate among drivers ,its like a bunch of kids driving trucks. I have always carried one I may get cought some day but I will never have to worry about my safety while a way from home.I would just like to say to some of the drivers out there . “GROW UP” ||||||| keep up the good work you do for the drivers . Thanks.




    i feel that cdl drivers should be allowed to carry a gun
    in the truch that they are driving. there should be some
    required instruction/testing through the m/v dept. in
    their home state in conjunction with cdl testing that
    covers the legalities of carrying/using a gun as a cdl
    driver. a major deterrent to illegal firearm related acts
    would be for such acts to be prosecutable at the
    federal level throgh the u.s. dot and the state the crime took place in.

  14. admin

    Hey, Jeff:

    That is the point I was trying to make in some of my articles! Although I wish drivers could carry protection, the way so many of them act out there, it could be a blood bath!!!!

  15. jeff

    anybody here know of a good site to find more info on truck driving jobs in chicago? I’ve got this site bookmarked and im gonna keep checking it out, but i still would like to find a site that covers truck driving jobs in chicago a little more thoroughly..thanks

  16. Steve Wood

    If I can have a loaded handgun, in or out of sight, in my personal car, as an extention of my home, then what of my “home” on the road? If I have a permit to carry, concealed, what should it matter if I am in my car or my semi? Those “bad apples” out there also drive personal vehicles. Will it matter if they are in a bib rig or thier personal vehicle when they decide to “open up”?
    I say the 2nd Amendment is in violation here, and DOT needs to be challenged!

  17. Gail Sorrows

    As a woman who drove for years cross country alone, I will honestly tell you I always have a weapon with me. Yes, I know I could go straight to jail in some states. There were times when I had no choice but to get out of my truck late at night. A tire knocker is no protection. I have a tee-shirt that says “Armed and Dangerous”. Yes, I carry. Always have and always will. I don’t think I should be the only one who does not have a weapon. It is a shame that our industry is one of the most dangerous professions. No longer can we stop to help someone for concern about being attacked. No longer is it wise to stop to have coffee with a driver you don’t know. We have to be on the alert 24/7. In 1980 when I started driving it was fun. No more. I loved the freedom of running cross country, but the dangers of attack or assault are high. I can not depend on law enforcement to protect me at 3:00 a.m. when I have to drop and hook trailers in a dangerous place. Yes, I carry. Always have, always will.

  18. Allen Smith

    There are some very good comments on the other post I made about your CDL and Guns.

    Here’s the link, I think it will help a lot.

  19. Sandy Harpe

    You go girl!

  20. […] driver legally carry a gun in the truck? This is a very HOT topic! In my previous article, “CDL Truck Drivers Carrying Guns,” much controversy was created because nothing could be found anywhere showing any Federal […]


    The only states that CURRENTLY do not have “Safe Passage” are California, Illinois and of coarse the communist state of Massachusetts.I advocate any and all uses of firearms within the constraints of the constitution. With “rights” come responsibility so if you want to posses a firearm for the purpose of self defense and have little or no experience than please do the rest of us a favor and get some range time in first. Hope thew first portion of this was helpful…..couldn’t help but give my ten cents at the end lol.


  22. Ron

    While prohibiting a truck driver from carrying a gun across state lines is not expressly prohibited, the Federal Law is that a gun can only be transported across state lines for the purpose of permanently moving, hunting or participating in as shooting event. That expressly means that a firearm cannot be transported over a state line for protection. So, I would suggest that a CDL driver either obtain a hunting permit or a gun club membership at each end of their route. Many states also prohibit the carrying of a firearm in a part of the vehicle accessible by the driver or passengers. That means it would be a wise investment to have a locking door placed between the truck cab and sleeping area. For further information on this I suggest you contact the National Rifle Association’s ILA.

    Steve Wood states that his vehicle is an extension of his home. But the Federal Courts have ruled against that. Your vehicle can be searched without warrant. Such as with an RV you are also subject to search without warrant even in a campground. The only way the RV becomes a domicile is if you have it parked in a park where you are paying monthly. However having your gun in a locked area apart from the cab of your truck offers some protection from search. Remember if a state such as Illinois, New York or Massachussets catches you with a handgun, you could be facing 5 years i prison. In the case of both New York and Illinois, the 5 years would be mandatory without chance of parole or time off for good behavior. Regardless of any state you might travel through, you would be much better off carrying a rifle or shotgun rather than handgun. And best the long gun is not a semi automatic nor military type. Too often, police will identify a military rifle as an assault weapon, even if it is only a bolt action.

    • Jason

      wondering if a nightstand gun safe with finger pad release would count as a locked compartment.

  23. Jason

    I am currently an unemployed oil field roughneck attending cdl academy career retraining as my career field of 12 years is very dead. I have researched and found no actual laws prohibiting a truck driver carrying a firearm for protection (FMCSR or U.S. DOT). When I start driving I am going to carry based on my home state laws stating that when you are traveling in a vehicle it is an extension of your personal premise (just like being in your own house) and not even a concealed permit is required to carry concealed in your own home so long as it is not concealed when you exit vehicle. So I would say states not recognizing other states concealed carry permits does not even come into play on this issue. God Bless you governor Bill Owens! If someone knows otherwise please inform me and I don’t want opinion or hearsay… actual laws please.

    • bienvenido j jorajuria

      there are 35 states that have reciprocity on conceal weapons carry permits with the state of Florida with certain exceptions would be noted by each state consult your own state
      each company will or not allow you to carry in their truck.

  24. Jason

    and if you are convicted in another state there is also petition for certiorari. Also I am hoping I won’t be trekking as far northeast as “Illinois, New York or Massachusetts (sic) ” lol

  25. bienvenido j jorajuria

    yes they should because of all the reason you have pointed out
    the dangers. in any case truck drivers are already feared and have a poor image of the general population due to the main stream media
    the general truck driver population itself have not had any incidents of violence with guns due to a general respect among drivers.
    even though there is a genera group that may be carrying conceal weapons permits from their states are careful and responsible with their privilege equal to carrying a drivers license.

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