Author Topic: Indian Reservation (through travel on highway)  (Read 1924 times)


  • Guest
Indian Reservation (through travel on highway)
« on: July 19, 2015, 01:04:38 PM »
Hello, I and my entire family will be traveling from Texas through New Mexico, Arizona and Utah in the near future and unfortunately for me, many of the highways including I-40 and Highway 89 from Arizona to Utah by the Grand Canyon run through Indian Reservations (Navajo Nation specifically and a few others).  After reading New Mexico and Arizona Law and speaking with local PD, State Police, etc., there seems to be confusion on what to do.  I found this attached to the law at

"Tribal Law only applies to those who live on the Reservation. If you are carrying a firearm with a permit/license
that is valid in the state the reservation is located in that permit/license may not be valid on the Reservation. They
will most likely take the firearm and tell you that you can go to Tribal Court to get it back. Some say as long as
you stay on the state roads through a Reservation you are OK but some Tribes ordinances state you can’t carry a
firearm in a vehicle or on the roads
on their Reservation

Some Departments have responded I would most likely be ok as long as I was only passing through, but then reiterated it depends on the Tribe and I should contact the Tribe if I want to be for certain.  One PD of the Tribe says it must not have a round in the chamber but can have a loaded magazine and kept in the vehicle secured not on my person, another said it could be on my person as long as I am in my vehicle, while another recommended I leave it at home.  Other sources have said if I am pulled over while driving through the reservation (non PD sources) on a highway that is public they may confiscate my gun and vehicle for breaking tribal law in Arizona (leaving me and all my young daughters stranded in the middle of nowhere) for being in possession of a loaded firearm.  I am very frustrated at the confusion because I can't get a strait forward answer in writing.  The Tribal departments have no email contact and only a phone number and the advice seems to be inconsistent depending on who you talk to.  

I will not be stopping in the reservations (unless there is an emergency that is life threatening) and I plan on staying on highway 89 or I-40 going through Indian Reservation Land to get to my final destination in Utah where I will then stay (that is not Indian Reservation land).

Can someone please clarify if I can carry on my person while in my vehicle, while traveling through the states of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah (I have a Texas CHL license which shows reciprocity).  If not, since I have a safe (that locks of course) installed in my center console, can I lock the gun (with it loaded) in my console and travel through without an issue (utilizing the castle law doctrine).  If this is still not acceptable, if I were to try to transport the gun unloaded in accordance with federal law, since the safe in my console does lock would the gun qualify as being stored properly (providing the ammo was elsewhere) or would it be considered accessable to me (the passenger and operator of the vehicle) because even though it is a locking safe inside of my console, it is still within arms length of myself.  

Clarification for these situations would be greatly appreciated, I want to follow the law, but because of the different opinions I am fairly well confused at this point.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Guest »


  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 996
    • View Profile
Re: Indian Reservation (through travel on highway)
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2015, 04:13:28 PM »

It sounds like you have done good research on this issue, and have come up with the same answer that I have—that there is no hard and fast answer, and this area of the law is confusing and poorly regulated. The safest way to go about your travel through tribal lands is to unload your firearm, lock it in the trunk, and do not stop until you are out of tribal lands. I would shy away from the safe because its location in the passenger compartment may be construed as being “readily accessible” by an over-zealous officer. This should cover you in the worst case scenarios on your route. Please see the link below for a comprehensive article we wrote on this issue. Depending on your exact route you may have more allowances with your firearm than I have indicated above, and the article should help parse that out. ... 25802.html
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Guest »