As provided in my previous post, Truck Drivers and the Controversial Gun Debate, the right for truck drivers to carry a firearm in the commercial motor vehicle is always a hot topic among truckers. I can see both pros and cons to this issue, although I have found that most truck drivers will stand on their 2nd Amendment Right to keep and bear arms. We have received many emails from truckers across the country voicing their opinions on this issue, and we are seeing that about 95% believe they have the right to carry protection with them in the CMV, while about 5% are against it.
As many will recite the Peaceable Journey Act to back-up their right to carry, I wanted to dig a little deeper as to what, if any, does the Federal Regulations say about the transportation of firearms by licensed CDL holders. What I found is the term, unlawful possession, which I feel is important for all CDL drivers to understand. This term could be the reason why some professional truck drivers find themselves in trouble with D.O.T. or other law enforcement officials.
According to the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Volume 9 which was revised as of October 1, 2005 and Chapter XII, Subpart B under Section 1572, firearms are mentioned under Section 1572.103 – Disqualifying criminal offenses. Under this section, truck drivers can lose their CDL for life if they are found to be in violation of what is known as Interim Disqualifying Offenses. According to this Regulation, truckers can be disqualified from ever having a CDL license if they are found to be in:
“Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export, or dealing in a firearm or other weapon.”
As I read headline news where truck drivers have been arrested at a weigh scale or inspection site for having a gun in the vehicle, I had to wonder if there were another side to the story, since by all Federal Law and meeting all city, county and state laws and regulations, and if their motor carrier allows them to carry in the CMV, why were they arrested? I would have to conclude that they were, somehow, in violation of this unlawful possession offense. Not being an attorney, I had to research exactly what does “Unlawful Possession” mean? Although each state varies in their definition of unlawful possession, here is a general outline :
A person commits the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm (State permit license excepted) if the person knowingly:
- Carries any firearm concealed upon the person
- Possesses a handgun that is concealed and readily accessible to the person within any vehicle; or
- Possesses a firearm and has been convicted of a felony;
- Was committed to a State Health Authority (Court determination of mental illness);
- Was found to be mentally ill and subject to an order (Court determination of mental illness) that the person be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm as a result of that mental illness; or
- Has been found guilty except for insanity (Effect of mental disease or defect) of a felony.
You can read more about Interim Disqualifying Offenses from the FMCSA website, and be sure to tune in to Armed American Radio on Sunday, August 8th, 2010 from 9-10 PM EST as Mark Walters, myself and others, will discuss the right to carry as it pertains to professional truck drivers.
Mark Walters is host of the nationally syndicated, Armed American Radio by Salem Radio Network. He is the columnist (The Ordinary Guy) for Concealed Carry Magazine, and co-author of the best selling book, Lessons from Armed America, which is available at White Feather Press and all major book retailers.