When is it illegal to carry ammunition across state lines?

I saw a program on Investigation Discovery last night (don’t recall which one), and the suspect was detained for further investigation because it was discovered he had ammo that had been manufactured/purchased in another state, and it was ‘illegal to transport across state lines.’ There was nothing illegal about the type of ammo itself, or the weapon that was used.

Don’t recall which program it was, but this was the case being dramatized. Washington state.

(The doc mentioned the suspect had had a previous conviction for DUI/DWI/OWI, but that was the only previous crime mentioned in the program.)

I dont think it is:

Starting this year, it’s illegal to bring ammo into California.


Then there’s Warning: D.C. cops under orders to arrest tourists with empty bullet casings

New Jersey also doesn’t allow the transportation of hollow-point ammo in-state unless you’re a New Jersey resident.

I expect that to get overturned under challenge at some point. It’s a stretch to say a spent casing is functional ammo. That’s like saying aluminum foil is ammo.

I’ve always thought that statute was a lawyer’s dream to litigate. What does it mean to transport a firearm “from” one place “to” another? Travel does not end until you return home, right? So, in essence, one never ultimately goes from or to another place. All destinations are temporary. (Unless the statute only applies during a transfer of residence from one place to another; a very dubious proposition)

So, how temporary is enough? Must I be driving with all deliberate speed? Can I stop in a certain locale to refuel or use the restroom? Eat dinner? If it is dark, can I get a hotel along the interstate and resume the trip tomorrow?

Can I stop off for a couple days or a week to see the local scenery so long as my final (as said above temporary) destination is a place where I can legally own the firearm? How long can my journey last?

I don’t believe any court has answered this question satisfactorily.

I don’t think a judge would find that kind of pedantry amusing. Transporting something from one place to another is certainly a thing.

I saw that same program and wondered aloud if it really was a federal law.

This has got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. As some of you know, I’m very much pro 2nd, so maybe I’m not seeing things straight. Is there anyone here who believes that arresting someone for possession of an empty shell casing is a well thought out and reasonable law that curbs gun violence? Our are we all in agreement that this has to be one of the stupidest laws to ever be passed.

To think, a year in jail, $1000 fine and a criminal record for possessing something that isn’t as dangerous as a Twinkie.

So, if I take off from my home in West Virginia, stop in New York for three days, then go to New Hampshire for three days, and stop in Pennsylvania for three days before returning home, where did I go “to” and “from”? Is my stop in New York covered by the federal law?

I agree that it’s pretty dumb but I suspect they wanted to be able to catch people who, let’s say, attempt a drive by shooting but ditch the gun before getting arrested. You can still tag them with the ammo charge based on the empty brass. It’s likely to catch more people who innocently have a case rolling around in their trunk or bag.

From WV to NY
From NY to NH
From NH to PA
From PA to WV

Which federal law are you asking about?

It’s hard to go from NH to PA without going somewhere else first. And while in transit in those other states (or foreign countries), you may do something other than traveling. That’s the entire point of what he’s talking about.

This one: 18 U.S. Code § 926A - Interstate transportation of firearms | U.S. Code | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

Particularly this part:

So where is the “to,” “from,” and what does “transport” mean? Let’s make it more clear: If I am driving from Maine to California, and taking a different route back through different states. It may take several days to two weeks, or months depending on my schedule. What are the requirements for my journey to be in compliance with this federal law? I think it is pretty clear that Maine is my “from” point, but where am I going to? California? If you plot it out, it is just another stop on the way.

What if, while I am in California, I get a plane to Hawaii and back to California, staying in Hawaii for a week?

I think even the most gun-friendly judge would say that I cannot use the law for a months long vacation and usurp the law of any or every state. So the question remains as to where that line is drawn: how temporary is temporary enough to only make a stop a waypoint instead of a destination?

Make it easy. Whenever you cross a state line, you have transported from and to. Your itinerary really doesn’t matter.

I suspect that it just fell out of their attempt to describe ammunition. Then they looked at it and thought “who cares? it only affects people from out of state who are stopped and searched by the police.-- most people will think that’s not a bad thing”.

Then they thought about it some more and thought “good idea – arbitrary arrest is technically illegal, and we can’t use marijuana possession any more, so we want something like this.”

Then the law is absolutely meaningless and has no purpose. It was meant to provide an immunity while traveling through a state which prohibited the weapon the traveller possessed.

The intention of the law was clearly to allow you to go through a state where a weapon was proscribed to one where it is legal. For instance, if I am traveling to Vermont I will probably have to go through New York. As this is unavoidable, the travel is protected, but only if it incurs no undue or long-duration stops. As such, stops for gas are permitted, as are grab-and-go food stops, but don’t decide that it would be a good time to have a steak dinner. It’s the responsibility of the person traveling to comply with the law, and it behooves that person to behave accordingly. Playing stupid games wins you stupid prizes, and even if you’re right you’re going to have to pay for the lawyer and fight the charges, so don’t press your luck. Plan your trip ahead of time and go through as quickly as possible.

I’m not sure where the line is drawn, but I have seen enough articles advising people not to stay in a hotel overnight in states where they could not legally possess a firearm to assume that there must be some court decisions that held that an overnight hotel stay is a intermediate destination. The same articles mention being very careful in the Northeast because of court decisions. ( and after doing some looking, I came up with Revell v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and *Torraco v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey * as probably being two of them)