A violent crime can occur anywhere at any given moment. However, it should not be a surprise to anyone that violent crime occurs more often in urban environments than in suburban or rural communities. A person venturing into a well-populated city for business or recreation would be well advised to conduct some pre-trip planning to ensure a safe stay. Accordingly, persons who are concerned about big city crime may wish to legally carry their firearms for personal protection during their visit. Appropriate arrangements should be made to ensure a hassle-free and safe experience.
The first consideration for carrying a firearm in the city is to ensure you are aware of any local ordinances regarding firearms. In some states, such as Michigan, firearm laws are “pre-empted” at the state level. As such, firearm laws are uniform and the same all across the state. However, in other states, such as North Carolina, gun laws may vary depending on what county you are visiting. Furthermore, different cities within a county may have varying laws at the city level. Failing to know the laws of the city you are visiting is not a legally valid excuse of running afoul of them.
You should be aware of the statutorily defined “gun-free zones” in the city you are visiting. In addition, you should also research all of the businesses on your itinerary to see if they have any company-specified bans on carrying firearms for visitors. If your plans involve traveling to and entering these areas, you must decide upfront what you are going to do with your gun. You may elect to leave your firearm in your vehicle, if local law allows you to do so, but please be mindful that criminals frequently prowl parking lots of “gun-free zones” looking to steal firearms from unattended vehicles. Thus, if you must leave your gun in your car, it would be wise to secure it in a car safe.
If the risk of having your firearm stolen from your vehicle is too great for comfort, you may want to have it secured in a safe in your hotel room or in a safe at the hotel’s front desk. Do not just leave your firearm unattended in a hotel room, despite how well you think you can hide it. If there are no safes available at the hotel or you can’t securely store your gun in your vehicle, you’re best bet may be to leave it at home.