ATAW Exclusive: Firearms and Big Trucks – Myth…. Busted
By Renee E. Taylor
What is your life worth?
Trucker A is resting in the sleeper of his truck. He is awakened by the sound of a thief breaking into the truck, intent on stealing truck and cargo. The assailant enters the truck and upon seeing Trucker A, pulls a weapon with intent to kill. Trucker A is unarmed. The assailant kills Trucker A, steals truck and cargo. The cost is the driver’s life, the company’s stolen truck and trailer and tens of thousands of dollars of cargo. Trucker A’s family loses a husband and father.
Trucker B is resting in the sleeper of his truck. He is awakened by the sound of a thief breaking into the truck, intent on stealing truck and cargo. The assailant enters the truck and upon seeing Trucker B, pulls a weapon with intent to kill. Trucker B, having heard the assailant’s successful attempt to break into the truck, is ready. When the assailant turns to the sleeper, pointing his weapon at Trucker B while threatening to kill Trucker B, is face to face with Trucker B’s legally owned firearm. Trucker B shoots the assailant. Truck, trailer and cargo are safe, Trucker B is fired by his company, but lives to work another day. The assailant will not live to steal another truck.
It is a common misconception within the trucking industry that it is against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Rules and Regulations for a driver, who carries a concealed carry permit from his or her home state, to carry a legally owned weapon in his or her truck. This is simply not true. After studying the regulations, I called the FMCSA to confirm or bust this myth within the industry. According to the FMCSA, there is no rule denying the trucker the right to carry his or her legally owned and obtained firearm in the truck.
Trucking companies have different stories to tell their drivers and potential recruits with regard to firearms in the truck. A former trucker, I called several companies to see exactly what they tell their potential recruits when asked the question: As a concealed carry permit holder, can I carry my firearm for protection as a driver for your company? Their answers ranged from uninformed (Melton) to very honest (Schneider National).
When speaking to a recruiter from Melton, I was told that it was definitely in the FMCSA regulations that I could not carry my firearm in their truck as a company employee. The recruiter, who identified herself as “Leslie” was very polite, stating she had verified this with their safety director, although neither could say exactly WHERE in the regulations firearms were prohibited.
Schneider National’s recruiter explained their company policy against carry firearms in the truck this way – it is a company policy due to the fact that each state and many cities have differing (and often insane) laws regarding firearms. Therefore, there is company policy prohibiting their drivers from having a firearm in his or her truck. Some states do not recognize concealed carry permits from others, etc. At least Schneider was truthful in that it is their company policy, not the FMCSA’s rules that prohibit the driver from carrying a firearm in the truck.
FLT, who had an ad in our local paper for drivers to haul munitions, simply stated that it was company policy that drivers could not carry a firearm for protection.
There is another aspect to the above scenarios described in the beginning of this article. The driver, truck, trailer and cargo are expendable rather than face a lawsuit by the family of the criminal who was shot in the commission of the theft. Insurance carriers for each individual company may or may not have a provision with regard to the issue. Insurance companies will pay for the truck, trailer and cargo, as well as a pittance to the driver’s wife. It costs nothing to the company if their truck, trailer and cargo are stolen, they already pay the monthly insurance premium. It destroys the life of the trucker’s family when he is murdered in the commission of the theft. It is cheaper to lose a driver than face a lawsuit.
When my husband and I owned our trucking company several years ago, we were armed with both our weapons (both are concealed carry permit holders) and The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearms Laws in the Fifty States. As company owners, we made the decision that our lives and our equipment were not expendable. Those who hold concealed carry permits are trained in firearm use, laws and safety and are, as a whole, law abiding citizens. The criminal who attempts to steal your truck and threaten your life is not.
The FMCSA does not prohibit you from carrying your weapon in your truck for protection, regardless what your recruiter or safety director attempts to tell you. Firearms in trucks may be prohibited by the company or by their insurance, but not by the FMCSA. This is a myth…. busted.
As life on the road becomes increasingly dangerous, how you will protect yourself on the road is a question not to be taken lightly. With the many forms of self protection available, it could be life saving to choose what is best for you. Educate yourself by listening to Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk on XM Radio Channel 166 on Sunday nights. Join the NRA and take advantage of their education programs and informative publications. Then ask yourself two questions: “what is your life worth?” and “can you get another job?”