Traveling With Guns: A Little Discretion May Be in Order

Now that the frost is on the pumpkin, the poorly maintained highways of our once-great land are teeming with hunters, traveling hither and yon in search of game. At the same time, however, there are criminals who are looking for them. Hunters carry guns in their cars, and guns are good to steal because criminals can sell them for money or use them in the commission of crimes. This saves them the trouble of going to a dealer, filling out a 4473, and being turned down by NICS. (As we all know, bad guys get their guns at dealers just like we do unless they get involved with something like Fast and Furious in which case the BATFE supplies them, but I digress.)

Anyway, if I were a criminal looking to steal a gun, or a bunch of them, I would stake out a parking lot at a sporting-goods store and wait until a pickup with a bunch of guys wearing camo and/or hunter orange pulled in to buy beef jerky and deer scent and pee. Then I would pounce.

I never, ever wear camo or hunter orange when I’m traveling during hunting season. Nor do I plaster my bumper with stickers that say “NRA,” or “Keep Calm and Carry Guns,” or have a photo of Hillary Clinton and a caption that says “If you’ll quit asking, I’ll stop lying,” or anything that hints that I am a gun owner.

If you have a pickup with a cap on it and you have to park, back the pickup against a utility pole so that the cap doors are blocked. If you don’t have a trunk, cover all your gear, and especially your gun case, with a tarp. If there’s more than one of you, leave someone in the car. He can go in and get jerky and deer scent when the rest of you are done. If he has to pee, he can wet himself. It’s good practice for old age. And as they said in the Army, “That’s why you blouse your boots, troop.”

Drive so as to avoid the interest of police officers. Some cops are hunters (a lot fewer, these days) and will understand if you have guns in the vehicle. Some will go completely bats**t. I’m reminded of the time Kenny Jarrett was pulled over in Delaware for swerving slightly while he fooled with a cigar. He showed the trooper his paperwork, and noticed that there were no fewer than six state police cruisers parked behind him, just waiting for the gunplay to commence.

In you travel interstate, remember that we are a nation of laws, poorly written and randomly enforced (Frank Zappa) and that our firearms regulations are a particularly crazy quilt. Not only that, but I suspect that many cops have no idea what the laws are, and don’t care particularly, and are willing to improvise if they dislike you. Keep your artillery out of reach, unloaded, out of sight, and in a locked, hard case, not a soft case with a trigger lock. If you have a hunting license, keep it with your driver’s license. Ditto your pistol carry permit. A pistol carry permit is still pretty decent proof that you’re not a lethal whack job.

It helps to be old. Old people don’t make much trouble except to have heart attacks in airports. The average cop knows that if he/she gives you a hard time during a field interrogation you may drop dead, and he/she will have to spend the rest of the day doing paperwork. If you don’t have a senile cackle, develop one.

Show some sense. The cemeteries are full of people who did not.