Truck Drivers Caught In Crossfire of Confusing Gun Laws

by Jana Ritter - Published: 6/12/2017

(Some data and information on this topic has been supplied by For more information visit their piece on the story.)

The “right to bear arms” has been a major topic of debate in US politics over the last several years. But for truck drivers, self-protection is a very real concern they face each day on the job and many are caught in the crossfire of confusion about interstate laws.

                                                                     OTR truck driver gun laws

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Being alone on the road while transporting loads of goods makes truck drivers easy targets for criminals. According to, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates that truck drivers were the victims of 5 percent of workplace homicides reported between 2011 and 2015, with a total of 27 driver killings during that period. Most were killed while on duty parked on a local road, street or highway or in a parking lot or garage not owned by their direct employer. The increasing truck parking shortage and HOS regulations have also put drivers more at risk where many are forced to park in remote, unfamiliar and dangerous spots for mandatory overnight rest breaks.

Logically, most drivers certainly agree the dangers of their job should assume their right to carry legally permitted firearms. But legally, it’s the disparity of state laws that creates confusion for interstate truckers. While there is no federal law prohibiting commercial drivers from carrying properly permitted firearms, there is also no “blanket” federal law covering them in every city, county and state. For instance, drivers may obtain a legal permit in their home state but if their job requires them to travel to strict gun law states such as New Jersey, they could face a prison sentence of 3 to 10 years.

                                                                  Truck driver pulled over in New Jersey

“You have a very deep need for national reciprocity so that our rights for self-defense get extended across the United States,” said New Jersey based attorney, Evan Nappen. “Truckers are more likely to have this problem than anyone I can think of. They know they’re vulnerable to violence, and they also don’t realize how harsh New Jersey law is. The individual has to choose between who they fear more, cops or criminals.”

But until this problem is addressed, the following tips will help truckers better navigate their own way through the laws: