Armed American Radio is one of the fastest growing Nationally Syndicated Radio Programs in America. Host, Mark Walters is a columnist with Concealed Carry Magazine and co-author of the highly acclaimed book, Lessons from Armed America. He is also a 26 year veteran of the trucking industry. His radio show is heard in all 50 states and 11 countries, and he has appeared on the Fox Business Channel.
I have been asked by Mark to be a guest on the show which will air live on Sunday, August 8th, 2010 and is scheduled for the second hour of the show, from 9-10 PM EST. Discussion will be on truck drivers and their right to carry a firearm for protection. I urge everyone to tune in and call in to the show to share your views on this issue.
Professional truck drivers are expected to travel in and out of the highest crime areas in the country. We usually think of the most common places such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and the inner boroughs of New York City. However, truck drivers today can face life threatening situations anywhere across the nation as crime continues to rise. States that one usually does not associate with a high crime level have now made the list of the top 15 most dangerous states for 2010. Arkansas, my birth state, comes in as number 10 on the list, while Oklahoma, my home state, ranked number 13. Crime is everywhere.
The recent prison escapees out of Arizona, hijacked a tractor-trailer rig with two truckers and as all three escapees were serving sentences for murder, these truck drivers were lucky to escape with their lives. Others have not been so lucky:
- NY Truck Driver Shot, Killed In Cab
- Truck Driver shot in Fort Worth
- Truck Driver shot in neck, dies
- Truck Driver shot in Dillon
- Truck Driver shot and killed in Tampa . . . and on and on and on . . .
The issue of truck drivers being able to carry a firearm in the truck with them for protection is always a heated one. Many do not believe that this would be a good idea, and in fact, would lead to more criminal acts. Evidence, on the other hand, shows this is not the case. In case studies, both here in America and Europe, when more law abiding citizens were armed with protection, crime actually went down. The question is not whether or not truck drivers should be allowed to carry a gun in the commercial vehicle . . . the question is : are you willing to give up any of your Constitutional Rights under any circumstance?
Contrary to what you may have read on the internet, there is no Federal Law against truck drivers carrying a firearm with them in the commercial motor vehicle. In fact, Federal Law states that you can. According to Title 18 Section 926(a) of The Peaceable Journey Act, under Part 1, Chapter 44, it states:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle:
Provided, that in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked
container other than the glove compartment or console.”
The problem with truck drivers not being able to carry a gun with them for protection has nothing to do with a Federal Law. Truckers are faced with two hurdles to overcome when faced with this issue: (1) Being legal and not violating any city, county or state law of any state that they will be passing through and (2) abiding by any company policy that their employer may have in place. The first point is clear in the opening sentences of the Peaceable Journey Act:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof . . .”
A truck driver must know for certain that he or she will not violate any law of any city, county or state that they will be passing through on their journey, as it pertains to carrying a firearm within the CMV. Most often, this is not a problem since most states recognize a permit to carry . . . most do . . . not all:
- Driver arrested at Texas D.O.T. weigh station when gun discovered in truck
- Truck Driver arrested in New York when hand gun was discovered on routine inspection stop
- Maryland Truck Driver arrested after firearm found in vehicle
Whether you have a licensed, permit to carry . . . laws in cities, counties and states matter. That is number one . . . number two, an employer has the right to establish any such company policy that employees are expected to adhere to. Most motor carriers have a policy of “no firearms” allowed in company vehicles. It is the same as the policies of many shippers and receivers, such as a Walmart Distribution Center, for example. They will usually have a sign on their property stating that no firearms are allowed on company property and that they reserve the right to search your vehicle. It is their property, their policy.
So how do you answer the question, “Can truck drivers carry guns?” From a law point of view, yes . . . but I would make certain that it is registered and that you have a state license to carry. On the other hand, “Can truck drivers carry guns?” . . . no . . . not if the motor carrier or employer has a policy forbidding it.
So the final answer to this question really comes down to you, the truck driver. Are you willing to carry a firearm for protection within the cab of the CMV at the risk of losing your job? Federal Law allows it . . . your 2nd Amendment Right allows it . . . but as a professional truck driver who’s motor carrier may have a policy against it . . . you must make the personal choice of whether or not to carry a gun in the truck with you or not . . . and risk losing your job for it . . . as well as running the risk of arrest by violating any city, county or state law as stated in The Peaceable Journey Act. This is what it really boils down to.
What are the pros and cons to this issue? Good idea or bad? I hope you will tune in to the show on Sunday, August 8th, 2010 at 9 PM EST and let host, Mark Walters hear your thoughts on this matter.
© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.