is always ready to ride! But first, let’s go over some simple tips and tricks for carrying concealed while straddling your favorite bike.
Because that’s how we roll people!
STATE LAW – KNOW IT
Every state’s firearm laws are different, so until there’s a uniform nationwide set of CCW rules and regulations, you need to be aware of each state’s laws when traveling with a firearm.
If you want to avoid prison or huge fines/legal fees, do your homework! Google it. Spend your time riding instead of doing time behind bars because you didn’t bother to follow state rules.
A few states require no permit to conceal or open carry. Others are reciprocal, which means your state’s concealed carry permit is recognized by other states. Still other states either don’t allow you to obtain CCW permits at all or make it a really tough slog.
When it comes to carrying while riding, the devil is in the details. In Missouri for instance, any state resident who legally owns a firearm can carry a loaded gun in their vehicle either out in the open or concealed in the vehicle or even on their person. That said, you cannot legally get out of your car carrying a concealed firearm unless you have a CCW permit.
The same laws apply to motorcycles in that state. You can legally carry a concealed firearm while on your motorcycle, but if you get off your bike you have to secure it on your motorcycle! Weird, right?!
And there are states that require you to secure your firearm in a lockable case, so be sure to have a lockable hard-sided gun case onboard your ride.
Lastly, when planning a lengthy motorcycle trip that will take you through several states, we highly recommend you print out a cheat sheet which lists motorcycle laws by state. Keep it handy so you can review it at a fuel stop or rest area before entering each new state.
One good rule of thumb is to carry while riding the same way you would carry when NOT riding.
So before leaving home, select which firearm to carry depending on the set of circumstances you will be dealing with on that particular day. For example, if you’re going somewhere that has metal detectors, you might want to seriously reconsider carrying.
If you’re running errands or doing a coffee run, it’s probably a good idea to carry a smaller caliber gun that’s compact enough to stick in your front pants pocket or, preferably, use a small pocket holster. It’s always better to use a holster instead of sticking your gun in your pocket to cut down on imprinting.
Another thing to take into consideration is public comfort level. Some people get freaked out when they see someone other than a police officer carrying a gun. In that case, they may wind up dialing 911.
Needless to say, this could lead to awkward and/or unnecessary confrontations with law enforcement and is one of the key reasons it’s always best to conceal carry where it’s also legal to open carry.
Risk levels rise when carrying while traveling. Wearing versatile underclothing that is comfortable will help you to always have your firearm at your side without the fit issues and comfort restrictions from standard holsters.
Everyday shirts or leathers can be worn over sleeveless T’s with compression fit, designed for ease of drawing your gun (i.e. they’re not bulky or constricting). There are apparel lines that specialize in this fashion wear, featuring an elastic holster that attaches to the shirt under the armpit with Velcro. You can wear it under any button-up shirt, vest, or your favorite Harley jacket. Check ’em out online.
A FEW FINAL CONSIDERATIONS
If you’re right handed, normally you’ll carry on your left side. But when riding, you might want to switch it up. That way, you can draw using your left without taking your hand off the throttle.
If you pull off the road to grab a bite, you may elect not to carry when going inside a restaurant. If so, you should always secure a firearm in your windshield or tank bag (compact guns) or you can fit larger handguns in your saddlebag. Wherever you ultimately decide to carry, practice retrieving your weapon as quickly as possible so it becomes second nature should you need it.
When planning a lengthy motorcycle trip which goes through several states, print out a motorcycle laws by state “cheat sheet,” which you can keep in my windshield bag. This way, you can look at it at a fuel stop or rest area before entering a new state so you’re fully apprised of rules and regulations.