The road can be a dangerous place for truckers. Between road-raging drivers, sketchy rest stops, and would-be criminals, many truckers face multiple life threatening incidents throughout the course of their careers.
A firearm is the obvious choice for self-defense, but many truckers hesitate to carry. The reason? The patchwork of concealed carry laws throughout the United States make it virtually impossible to carry a firearm across the country while remaining in compliance with the law.
But some truckers carry anyway—and for good reason. A survey conducted by Overdrive Magazine found that 73 percent of truckers have been in a situation in which they were unarmed but wish they were armed.
Seventy-six percent of respondents have felt themselves to be in danger while driving, delivering, or parking, and nearly a quarter have actually been attacked.
Despite these high numbers, only 33 percent of survey respondents say they have a concealed carry permit that allows them to drive with a firearm. Some trucking companies don’t allow their drivers to carry firearms, but Overdrive highlights the difficulty truckers face if they have routes in all 48 states.
Some states acknowledge other states’ concealed carry permits, but many do not. According to Overdrive, troopers have the right to search a commercial truck without cause, and if they find a firearm they may bring felony charges. Military bases and Native American tribal lands also strictly prohibit firearms, and don’t even think about bringing a firearm into Canada.
Ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse. Truckers need to be well-versed in each state’s firearms laws and conduct themselves accordingly if they want to avoid fines and penalties.
There are currently two bills in the U.S. Congress that could remedy this situation.
The first is called Michael’s Law Amendment, named in honor of Michael Boeglin, an unarmed trucker who was fatally shot and burned in his truck in 2014 in Detroit. This bill would create a federal concealed carry permit designed to allow truckers to carry across state lines.
The second bill—dubbed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017—would allow anyone with a concealed carry permit in one state to travel to any other state with their firearm. Introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., proponents of this legislation point out that drivers licenses are honored in all 50 states—why not concealed handgun licenses?
Truckers, perhaps more than any other demographic, understand the value of this legislation. While most people would only benefit from the CCRA three or four times a year, truckers would constantly be using their expanded right to self-defense.
The bill is still a long way from passing, but it has the support of this nation’s road warriors: according to another Overdrive survey, more than eighty-five percent of truckers said they would support the CCRA.