Is a Gun in a Glove Box Concealed?

Yes, carrying a gun in the glove box or console of a vehicle is considered concealed carry. But perhaps a more important question to ask is: Is it legal to carry a gun in the glove box of a vehicle? The answer is that it depends on the laws of the state you are driving in and on whether you have a Concealed Carry Permit.

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Is a gun in a glove box concealed

If You Have a Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW) Permit

In general, if you have a CCW permit, also referred to as a concealed carry permit, you can carry a loaded handgun in the glove box or console of your vehicle. However, if the permit was issued by another state, you need to check if the state you are driving in honors permits from the issuing state.

Some states honor permits issued by all other states and the District of Columbia. Others do not honor any permits issued by another state or the District of Columbia.

For example, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia honor permits issued by all other states and D.C.

At the other end of the spectrum are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia where no out-of-state permits are honored.

The remaining states honor permits from specific other states that they have reciprocal agreements with. See table and map below for more details.

If You Do Not Have a CCW Permit

If you do not have a current concealed carry permit, things get more complicated.

At the federal level, the Firearms Owners' Protection Act (FOPA) Title 18 USC § 926A, signed into law by President Ronald Regan on May 19, 1986, states that anyone legally entitled to possess a firearm at both the origin and the destination of a journey can transport it provided that it is unloaded, and it is not accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The law also says that, if the vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the driver's compartment (e.g., a trunk), the gun and any ammunition must "be contained in a locked container other that the glove compartment or console".

While this law, also referred to as Peaceable Carry Law, deals primarily with a person's right to transport a firearm across state lines, we can see that it does not permit the carrying of a gun in the glove box of a vehicle. We, therefore, need to look to state laws to determine where a firearm can be legally carried in a vehicle.

There are significant differences from state to state as to where a firearm can be located in a vehicle. To be allowed to carry it in the glove box, it can depend on whether the gun is loaded or unloaded or if the glove box is locked or unlocked. Also, some state laws specifically mention glove boxes whereas others do not.

For example, in California, if you do not have a permit, you can carry a gun in your car so long as you are a California resident, over 18 years old and the gun is unloaded and secured in a locked container, such as the trunk, or in a portable gun safe. A 'locked container' here does not include a glove box or center console.

By contrast, in North Carolina, you can carry a loaded handgun in a locked glove box or in plain sight on the dashboard or on a seat.

In Virginia, a loaded handgun can also be carried in the glove box but there is no stipulation that the glove box be locked.

In Delaware, you may not carry a gun in a glove box, but you can carry it in plain sight on a seat or on the dashboard of your vehicle.

In Vermont anybody can carry a gun in a vehicle, loaded or unloaded, concealed or in plain sight, without a permit.

In Montana, anybody legally allowed to possess a firearm can carry a loaded handgun in a vehicle. Outside of towns and cities the weapon can be concealed on a person but within towns and cities, it must be in the glove box or console.

See map and table below for more details.

Summary of Laws by State Map

Red: Cannot carry in glove box without permit; Dark Green: Can carry in glove box without permit; Light Green: Can carry in glove box without permit but with conditions.

Click on a state to see details


Penalties for Carrying without a CCW Permit

Depending on state law, in the states that require a permit, carrying a concealed handgun in the glove box without a permit or license can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is a crime that that incurs a fine, up to a year imprisonment, or both. A felony is punishable by a larger fine and a year or more in prison.

For example, in D.C. the penalty for carrying a loaded handgun in a vehicle without a permit is up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

In Illinois, if you do not have a current Firearm Owner's Identification Card the penalty can range from up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both to 2 to 5 year's imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000. The lower range of penalties applies if you have an expired FOID card or if it is your first offense. The higher penalties apply to persons whose FOID card has been revoked or are otherwise ineligible to hold a FOID card.

Is it Legal to Carry a Gun in the Glove Box in this State?


Finally, before deciding to drive with a gun in the glove box of your vehicle, you should always first check the laws of the state you are driving in, including any local county or municipal ordinances.

You should be especially mindful of these laws if you are planning to cross state lines. Even if you are in possession of a current CCW permit in your home state you could still get yourself into serious trouble if you are not aware of the gun laws in the state you are entering.

For example, if you hold a CCW permit in Missouri, and you drive into Illinois you will be treated in the same way as a person carrying without a permit. The same applies if you have a permit from Virginia and drive into the District of Columbia. This is because neither Illinois not D.C. honors permits issued by another state.

If you want to bring your gun with you when driving and you are unsure if it is legal to carry it in the glove box, you should unload it and lock it, along with any ammunition, in the trunk of your car. If your vehicle does not have a trunk, you should lock the unloaded gun and ammunition in a secure container such as a portable gun safe.

Video: Carrying a Handgun in Your Car & Difference between Open and Concealed Carry