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Tribal Land

The Trickster

Regular Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
216
Location
Arizona
While I am aware that tribal lands are considered sovereign nations and as such, many have their own prohibitions concerning the possession of firearms, I am curious as to whether or not those of us who are not tribal members have any sort of "right of passage" while passing through? That is, if I am OCing while driving and I get stopped by a tribal cop while passing through a reservation (think Gilbert Rd. heading north to the 87), should I have any concerns?

Thanks in advance.
 

utbagpiper

Banned
Joined
Jul 5, 2006
Messages
4,061
Location
Utah
While I am aware that tribal lands are considered sovereign nations and as such, many have their own prohibitions concerning the possession of firearms, I am curious as to whether or not those of us who are not tribal members have any sort of "right of passage" while passing through? That is, if I am OCing while driving and I get stopped by a tribal cop while passing through a reservation (think Gilbert Rd. heading north to the 87), should I have any concerns?

Others will respond with much more detail and possibly even authoritative cites. Here is my best understanding and what I've always done. I've never had an interaction with tribal police, I am not a lawyer, YMMV, and so on and so forth.

So long as you are on the State or US highway passing through tribal lands, you are considered to be on State land and under the jurisdiction of the State for purposes including gun laws.

The moment you leave the State or US highway including to buy gas, stop at a hotel/casino, go explore that interesting side road, etc, you are now fully on tribal land and fully subject to their laws until such time as you get back onto the US/State highway.

The gray area in my own mind--that has never come up--is a situation such as stopping on the shoulder to change a flat, or perhaps even to buy something from a roadside salesman. My thinking is that the State/US right-of-way is wider than the actual pavement, probably extends to the fencing (if any) 10 or so feet off the pavement, and I'd still be under State jurisdiction. But I do not know this for sure and would love for someone more knowledgeable to bring up to speed.

I do my level best to avoid giving any reason whatsoever for tribal police to stop me while traveling through tribal lands on US/State roads. And I generally avoid venturing off those roads onto tribal lands proper.

Charles
 

MAC702

Campaign Veteran
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
6,337
Location
Nevada
...fully on tribal land and fully subject to their laws until such time as you get back onto the US/State highway...

Indian laws apply only to Indians, not to visiting "white men." They can kick you off of their land (back out onto the highway), though, much like a business owner trespasses you from a business. Some tribes have a history of violating this arrangement, so research the reputation of the tribe in question, or you might risk an illegally-confiscated firearm regardless of being in the right.

The only time a tribal law applies to you is if there is a specific state law that makes it so. For example, New Mexico has a state law that invalidates your concealed weapon permit on tribal lands unless you have specific permission from the tribe. That is the only state of which I am aware with such a state law. If the Indian cop (still usually a state-sworn LEO) throws the book at you, you are charged with a violation of state law, not tribal law.

Same with speeding on tribal lands. You are in violation of state speeding laws, not tribal ones. However, Indians of that tribe can also be in violation of the tribal laws at the same time.
 
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The Trickster

Regular Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
216
Location
Arizona
Thanks for the information. To be more specific, I am planning numerous trips from Mesa/Gilbert to the Sonoran Desert National Monument which is just east of Gila Bend. By using the 347 from the 10, I can connect to the 238 which will take me into my desired destination. Both the 347 and the 238 go through tribal land, but my understanding is that they are both state roads/highways and as such, tribal laws are unenforceable while traveling on them. I know that tribal cops do patrol on those roads but since they are POST certified, they have the authority to enforce AZ laws as well which is what they do on the aforementioned roads. I'm thinking it's the same as when one travels on the 87 to Payson; it goes through reservation land and I frequently see reservation cops on it and pulling people over, but tribal law is null and void on the 87.

Thoughts?
 
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MAC702

Campaign Veteran
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
6,337
Location
Nevada
Tribal cops can and will bust you for speeding and other traffic offenses that are violations of STATE law. They are cops.

Unless you are a member of their tribe, you are not under their tribal law. But remember still that they are cops. Cops are cops. Act accordingly.
 
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