Gun rights aren’t absolute, the motorcycle.com narrator opines. Is he saying they shouldn’t be absolute? That they should be but aren’t? Or that gun rights aren’t absolute because they must be tempered by responsibility? And then there’s the assertion that “duty to inform” laws are a good idea, and bikers should declare their firearms to a police officer any time they’re stopped, regardless. And other factual inaccuracies. The main takeaway? Don’t depend on YouTube for legal advice. Biker or not, check the actual law in your area/

45 Responses to Motorcycle Carry Explained. Or Not.

  1. I made it less than two minutes before the factual error regarding states that allow carry in vehicles. I can’t listen to someone who is ignorant.

  2. I understand the frustration with ignorance, but I also understand that the makers of this video are trying to make a video that insures you’re in compliance in the widest possible array of situations.

    Simply put, your rights don’t mean anything when some trigger happy dickweed with a badge shoots you half a dozen times and a good number of cops already hate motorcyclists.

    • Having been hit by a car making an illegal and reckless turn across my lane… and then ticketed by the cop that *I* insisted on calling myself…

      Yeah lots of cops hate motorcyclists, full stop!

      • It’s part of the general trend to hate competent people. People able to walk, and ride, on two legs/wheels instead of 4 and all. As well as able to do something useful, instead of being an apparatchik leech. In a world ruled by the proudly useless, jealousy of their betters can’t help become official policy.

  3. I ride armed all the time. Of course I’ve got a permission slip from my local sheriff.

    • I’ve not tried the scabbard but I can see that sort of thing going nicely with a cruiser. Security would be a problem, though. Padlocks and hand-carved leather just don’t go together very well.

      I ride a Kawasaki ZRX1100, the archtypecal Universal Japanese Motorcycle. My solution so far, for what it’s been worth, has been to break down my AR and pack the 2 halves into a duffel bag, and the Sub-2000 will likewise fit into a saddlebag. I’m also lucky in that the ZRX has an enormous compartment underneath the seat with enough room to fit 700 rounds of 9mm, give or take. Since that much ammo is pretty heavy, it’s the perfect place (only place really) to be. As for longer, fixed-barrel rifles such as bolt guns and the like, I’m looking at the Safariland 4551(?) 3-gun bag – it has a shoulder harness and should work pretty well to carry most anything short of a Mosin-Nagant. Although I kind of wonder about aerodynamic drag a bit. We shall see.

      Tom

      • You can get hard sized plastic/composite versions of them that lock too.

        There are other choices too. Obviously a rifle pack is one, but you can get stuff to mount something like an AR type rifle or SBR on the front of your handlebars.

        You can google “motorcycle rifle scabbard” to see a whole variety of different mounting options and scabbard options.

        Really it depends on where you go and what you do. I used a leather scabbard when I was 18 to hold a lever action .30-30 Marlin on my old ’02 Suzuki GS500. I modified the scabbard by using a leather punch to knock some holes in it and then put grommets over the holes. This allowed me to run a braided and plastic coated stainless wire through the lever so that the rifle could be locked to the bike with a rubber coated pad lock. Of course I never rode around town with a rifle like that if I was going to leave the bike unattended for more than a couple minutes.

      • Kind of always wanted one of those ZRXs but was always too into the hard core sport bikes. Now that I’m old though I traded in my Yamaha R1 last year for a Triumph Speed Triple. Classic Jap retro though on the Kwak.

        • How do you like that Triple? I almost bought one last year but the dealership said you had to buy to ride and I told them to f*&k off with that policy.

          If my insurance, Amex card and endorsement aren’t enough for a test ride, I’ll take my business elsewhere.

        • I always figured a test ride on a motorcycle was like getting to fire one shot from a firearm. Now if you could take it for a week you might be getting somewhere.

          Love the S3. Tons and tons of low and midrange. If it could keep it up for another 1500rpm it would be the perfect motorcycle engine, but right about when the rev limiter hits is right about when the R1 got downright violent. Still, with the arthritis in my left knee and hip it’s a fantastic trade off.

        • Good info, thanks.

          Last time I did a test ride on a bike I was out with it for half an hour (they were ticked until I announced I was buying one and not financing it). They just had to trust that my insurance and no-limit Amex had them covered, and they held on to a copy of my insurance and the card until they got the bike back.

          Really I don’t need more than about 10 minutes of riding it. My major concern is that I have a slightly oddly shaped body that means sitting on a bike tells me a lot, but if I can take a couple corners with it I’ll know it’s not going to be uncomfortable for me to ride and reach all the controls. I don’t feel the need to put the bike through all it’s paces, I just want to make sure it fits my body style.

        • I’ve always liked the ZRX as well. When I went to buy my XR1200, one of the local HD dealers had one on consignment and one new. The consignment bike had a sport shield, bags, sissy pad, and rack. It was exactly what I was looking for. They wouldn’t even call the guy to ask if I could ride it. So I asked about riding the new bike, nope. I asked, “How are you ever going to sell a bike if you won’t allow test rides?” The guy said it happens all the time. Maybe so for a softtail, or wide glide, or any of the same cookie cutter HDs that haven’t changed much in 20 years because the customer had been on a buddy’s bike. The XR is completely different from even other sportys.

          The other dealer in town didn’t have an XR, but would get one on the demo truck coming in a few weeks. I found one just over the state line in Ft. Smith that was the right price, new, and they would let me ride it. I ran down after work, signed the paperwork, and loaded it in the back of the avalanche and was a half hour away before I realized that I didn’t even test ride it. It’s a good thing I liked it. That was 6 years ago, it’s still in the garage.

        • To be honest I turned down the opportunity to take a test ride on the S3. The R1 was getting almost unridable and I knew the Triumph would still be awkward for a while until I got my leg back into riding shape. I wasn’t about to test the performance limits on a test ride anyway.

          Also, mine’s a 2015. The 2016 is a new version. I prefer the older one just because the new one has gone the fly-by-wire route and even though it probably smooths out the power delivery a bit I just don’t like having to ask HAL 9000 if I can go a little faster, please.

    • Saw a guy a couple days ago riding a motorcycle with a soft (long) gun case slung across his back. Not sure if he was legal, but it would take a real douche of a cop to bust him for it if he wasn’t. (I know that’s not really narrowing it down much when it comes to cops.)

    • I took my AR10 apart and put it in a backpack with the muzzle sticking out. No one cut me off going home that day I’ll tell you.

      • Tie a small American Flag to the part of the barrel that’s sticking out – should cover about every potential issue.

    • So what you guys are telling me is I can’t sling a lever gun over my back muzzle in the air while cruisin. That’s what I got out of that. It would be pretty badass for me to do that on the way to the range.

    • I’ve ridden with my M1 strapped to my handlebars in a gunsock, chamber flag, trigger lock, and keys for said lock locked in my trunk. Basically I took pains above what I believed to be strictly necessary to prove I wasn’t going to be shooting anyone with it or causing a ruckus. Other options included openly carrying it as that is legal here but I thought landing on it in the event of an accident would break my back. Different laws apply for “assault weapons”. No one seemed to notice on my hour long ride, even though this is CT. It did produce a bit of front tire wobble at 75 so not for the faint of heart.

  4. Interesting article and for the most part fairly well-written. There were a couple major errors (the Big Apple/state issued permit being the most egregious) though. But it’s well worth keeping in mind that the writer is first and foremost a MOTORCYCLE journalist, not a gun writer, and secondly, he’s in/from Nazifornia (I use that term advisedly). So there you go. I carry the same gun regardless of whether I drive a car or ride my bike, but then again I also live in a free state, too.

    Tom

    • From the NRA-ILA website: Possession of a handgun within New York City requires a New York City handgun license or a special permit from the city police commissioner validating a state license within the city. Even New York state licenses are generally not valid within New York City unless a specific exemption applies, such as when the New York City police commissioner has issued a special permit to the licensee or “the firearms covered by such license are being transported by the licensee in a locked container and the trip through the city of New York is continuous and uninterrupted.”

      The author explained the NY laws as “murky” which is generous. Those laws are ridiculous at best.

    • Just to say: a little Google action yields the appropriate laws. When I write about something of which I know little (which happens a lot) I fact check myself and/or call an expert. When commentators point out my errors I fix them. It’s not difficult, it’s a matter of pride and it matters.

    • CA has the worst laws but are cutting edge in how close you can get to removing your 2nd amendment rights. If they keep it up and they will, precedents will be set and it will be harder and harder for states to fight it off.

  5. When I was riding, I always carred on me, concealed and loaded. However it is legal in my state, (if you have a CCW) if not open carry loaded is perfectly legal. That’s just Washington state though. The advice given here is useless for us. However firearm ownership is absolute in this country, according to the second amendment. Just the feds (liberals and democrats) don’t think so.

  6. I ride a motorcycle in Florida and work with a gun. I follow the duty to inform, yet I have yet to meet the cop who gives a sh!t when informed I have a firearm on my person ( so far, always stopped in car). Have taken rifles , shotties and air rifles on back seat of bike encased in soft and hard sided cases and sheathed solely in sock type stretch covers, hell one time picked up a rifle covered in newspaper and garbage bags. bags broke off before I got home, made it home with no one looking at me twice, driving over 14 miles through an urban setting. Some cases are obvious as gun cases, others not so much so. I have not had an issue yet, in over 15 years residing in a very liberal urban area of Florida, here’s to hoping that doesn’t change.

    • I have yet to meet the cop who gives a sh!t when informed

      My experience is the same, and I do not live in a duty to inform state (MA).

    • This all sounds like a perfect use of the gun case/guitar case discussed a few days ago. Especially in California it is not that unusual to see a biker with a guitar slung on his back.

  7. I am always carrying even on a bike. I carry a Kimber .45ACP with Crimson Trace grips in a Galco Miami Classic rig with 2 extra 8rd mags on me and a six pack in the trunk of my Kaw Nomad 1600. Never want to run short on lethal pills if I need to defend me and the bride. Rotate the mags every thirty days just to keep the springs from setting. Also clean the gun on mag change day. Learned the importance of a clean weapon in my early days in SEA during the war games there. Like using the UPLULA loader to ease restoking the mags, otherwise its a chore and sore thumb time.

    Car carry is a Glock G30 2nd Gen 2 in a gun box under the seat within easy reach and with 6 extra mags in the console. When out of the car an Uncle Mikes IWB holster, extra mad in my rear pocket.

    I travel for work a lot and sometimes to some very bad areas.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one that rides, and carries while doing so. For me its 1911 IWB holster, and an extra mag.

  8. Rifle in a bag on the bike is useless….swivel mounted on the handlebars with a quick release is ideal….a belt felt rifle is preferred, so you don’t have to deal with fumbling around with mag changes while riding.

  9. Xd45 on my hip, open carry on my bike with third year expired tags, have yet to even be looked at funny, granted I only take the bike out here and there to keep the cobwebs blown out, took two years for me to repair a “friends” clutch job, so when I do take it out I stay within a mile of my rural home, that way I can explain easily if need be, the bike was a gift from my deceased brother, just nice to ride when I miss him.

  10. Yeah, back in the day a cop caught me with an illegally concealed weapon here in California. He let me off. Probably because I explained I used to be a prison guard.

  11. Overall, I thought this was pretty well done. I spend quite a bit of time on motorcycle.com and am glad to see they approached this topic with calm, respectful, rationality. Yeah they got a couple things wrong, but I see this as a minor win in the culture war being waged against guns. Net positive.

  12. CCW carriers should have to wear a giant sign that says that they have a gun. For the children of course….

  13. Never could figure out how Arnold was able to secure that mare’s leg Model 1887 between the trailing arm and rear shock on his Fat Boy, so I usually just settle for either a NAA belt-buckle 5-rd derringer, or a .380 mouse gun in a vest pocket. We squander gasoline primarily on warm-weather weekend outings, when traveling light is desirable.

  14. One thing I can’t figure out is how to carry on a bike. The most common reason for carrying is just in case something bad happens right? On a motorcycle, especially up here in NH, the risk of going down is much higher than some guy shooting up the local gas station. If I go down, I don’t want a chunk of metal stuck between me and the pavement to concentrate the impact on my pelvis/ribs. I’m wondering if anyone has figured out a way to carry on a motorcycle that won’t be a liability in the chance of an accident.

    • That has been a concern to me as well, broken pelvis/ribs in an accident. The comments I have gotten from a few guys on a gun facebook group I’m on who have been in accidents while carrying said their firearms didn’t cause any injuries. IIRC carried IWB (I think it started with a pic of the guys road rashed Glick), so figure 3 or 9ish. Comments I’ve gotten elsewhere about the same subject are similar.

      I have basically stopped worrying about it due to this feedback I’ve gotten, especially since I ride 98% of the time with a jacket, gloves, boots, helmet, and long pants.

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