International Shotgun Rules

by WyldKard at mendax (with permission)

These rules were compiled from a variety of sources on the Internet, and modified for best readability, understanding, and conformity to the more popular set of shotgun rules. This consititution is fully endorsed and sanctioned by the International Shotgun Committee. A minor variation of this document was posted in the Wall Street Journal, some time ago.



Section I: The Basic Rules

Article 1: In order to call Shotgun, the caller must pronounce the word “Shotgun,” verifiable by the driver.

Article 2: Shotgun may only be called if all occupants of the vehicle are outside and directly on the way to the said vehicle.

Article 3: Early calls are strictly prohibited. Shotgun may only be called while walking toward the vehicle and only applies to the drive immediately forthcoming.

Shotgun can never be called while inside a vehicle or still technically on the way to the first location. For example, one can not get out of a vehicle and call Shotgun for the return journey.

Article 4: The driver has final say in all ties and disputes. The driver has the right to suspend or remove all shotgun privileges from one or more persons.

Article 5: An optional rule, stating that before Shotgun may be called, the vehicle must be in sight (of the driver).

Section II: Special Cases

These special exceptions to the above rules should be considered in the order presented; the case listed first will take precedence over any of the cases beneath it, when applicable.

Article 1: In the instance that the normal driver of a vehicle is drunk or otherwise unable to perform their duties as driver, then he/she is automatically given Shotgun.

Article 2: If the instance that the person who actually owns the vehicle is not driving, then he/she is automatically given Shotgun, unless they decline.

Article 3: In the instance that the driver’s spouse, lover, partner, or hired prostitute for the evening is going to accompany the group, he/she is automatically given Shotgun, unless they decline.

Article 4: In the instance that one of the passengers may become so ill during the course of the journey that the other occupants feel he/she will toss their cookies, then the ill person should be given Shotgun to make appropriate use of the window.

Article 5: In the instance that only one person knows how to get to a given location and this person is not the driver, then as the designated navigator for the group they automatically get Shotgun, unless they decline.

Article 6: In the instance that one of the occupants is too wide or tall to fit comfortably in the back seat, then the driver may show mercy and award Shotgun to the genetic misfit. Alternatively, the driver and other passengers may continually taunt the poor fellow as they make a three-hour trip with him crammed in the back.

Section III: The Bastard Rules (aka Survival of the Fittest)

Article 1: If the driver so wishes, he/she may institute the Bastard Rules on the process of calling Shotgun. In this case all rules, excepting that of Section 1, Article 4, are suspended and the passenger seat is occupied by whoever can take it by force.

Article 2: The driver must announce the institution of the Bastard Rules with reasonable warning to all passengers. This clause reduces the amount of blood lost by passengers and the damage done to the vehicle.

Please follow the above rules to the best of your ability. If there are any arguments or exceptions not covered in these rules, the driver calls the shots, as stated in Section 1, Article 4.


Amendment I: The Laser Rule

This is a regional rule from the mid-west, in which a person may call laser, after shotgun has been called, to override the shotgun call. This is only valid if the driver verifies the call as we see in Section I, Article 4.

Amendment II: The Rotating Shotgun Rule

This rule is native to a suburb of Philadelphia, PA to ensure that everybody gets shotgun at least once per long road trip.

Article 1: Before the first ride a passenger will call shotgun under the normal procedures, as stated in Section I of the Official Rules.

Article 2: Once a passenger has had shotgun, he or she may not have shotgun again until everyone else has had shotgun.

Article 3: Before the second ride, everyone (besides the person who has already had shotgun) competes for shotgun under the normal conditions.

Article 4: This continues until the trip has either ended or if everyone has already had shotgun once.

Article 5: Once everyone has had shotgun, the “shotgun order” has been established. You must now rotate in that order.

Article 6: The shotgun order recycles over and over until the trip is finished.

Article 7: Person(s) joining the trip after the first ride are entered into the order by the following process:

Clause A: On their first ride, the calling of gun is between that person and the person whose turn it is in the shotgun order.

Clause B: if the order has not yet been established, the new rider is entered into the pool of riders calling for shotgun.

Article 8: Driver still has final say in all ties and disputes. All rules from the Official rules, including special cases, and the Bastard Rules, are still in effect.

Amendment III: The Shotgun Clause

This rule native to the south, but practical in many northern cities, states that the potential occupant with the largest caliber weapon on their person defaults to shotgun, unless one occupant is actually armed with a shotgun, in which case he gets shotgun. If two or more occupants actually have shotguns, then the over/under barrel configuration rules.

Amendment IV: The Specific Amendment

Any person who wishes to claim shotgun must actually pronounce either the word “Shotgun” or “Gun.” One may not say the name of a type of shotgun, such as “12 Gauge.” If a passenger does, then he or she can lay no claim on shotgun, and may be called by another person.

Amendment V: Rider to the Laser Amendment

When a passenger calls Shotgun, another passenger may call “Shotgun Double Barrel” to override the shotgun call. Additionally, any passenger who says “No Blitz” after claiming shotgun, may not have it taken away by either the “Laser” or “Double Barrel” rules.

These rules hold no precedence over Standard shotgun procedure, and the driver has final say in all calls, as stated in Section I, Clause 4.

Amendment VI: The “House” Rule

The Owner of the vehicle decides which Shotgun Amendments to institute on his own car. All passengers must abide by the rules of these Amendments, which are stated in this constitution. This amendment clarifies that not all Amendments need be active at any given time.

Amendment VII: Eviction

If the vehicle is forced to stop for a serious infraction of the Shotgunner, the Shotgunner must relinquish his/her seat, if the driver so wishes.

Serious infractions have been known to include spilling alcoholic beverages, spilling any beverage, being annoying, breaking parts of the car, and in extreme cases, just being ugly.

Amendment VIII: Bitch, Spanky, Comm and SAM

After Shotgun has been called, other patrons may call “Bitch,” “Spanky,” or “Comm,” referring to the seat behind shotgun, the seat behind the driver, and the center back seat, respectively. SAM applies to the hatchback or trunk.

Amendment IX: Navigator

The passenger who has shotgun MUST serve as Navigator. By this, he must watch out for signs and intersections that the driver may miss during the course of a road trip. The Navigator must also ask for directions out the window.

It is also the responsibility of the passenger who has shotgun to take control of the radio and air conditioning, however the driver has final say over the settings. The other occupants of the car can also have an opinion. If the passenger with shotgun is caught forgetting their duties and makes the car listen to commercials and/or bad music, then his privilege can be lost. Of course, this is all in good judgement of the driver. As Navigator, the driver may also ask him to operate other devices such as the windshield wipers, and rear window defroster.

Amendment X: First Blood

This rule from the mid-west states that whoever draws blood (supposedly when the bastard rules are in effect) gets shoved in the back of the hatchback (or trunk) with the spare tire.

Amendment XI: Australian Shotgun

In Australia, if two people tie for shotgun, then the first person to put their thumb on their head is awarded shotgun. If they both do this at the same time, then an immediate pissbolt (race) to the car is required.

Amendment XII: Five Minute Rule

This rule, which originated in Massachusetts, states that in the event that the passenger riding shotgun leaves the car (ie: to get something from his house or a convenient store) is allowed 5 minutes in which to return and still retain his shotgun privilege. If he does not return within the time frame allotted, another passenger may take his place.

Amendment XIII: Awnings

Once all passengers have exited through the final doorway on the way to the car, (provided the car is in view), they are considered outside and may call shotgun no matter what covering is overhead. This rule applies to all awnings, covered decks and all outdoor shelters. Garages are considered outside so long as the door is open.

Amendment XIV: National Bitch

This rule alters Amendment XIII, where the caller of “Bitch” gains the center back seat. Comm is replaced with “Spanky 2,” referring to the seat behind Shotgun.

Amendment XV: Refueling

In addition to Amendment IX, if the car needs refueling at any time, it is the duty of the Shotgunner to gas up the car and pay (though usually with money given by the driver).

Amendment XVI: The Race

Under this amendment, if there is a tie when calling shotgun, the first person who touches the car wins.

Amendment XVII: Ozzie Pissbolt

This amendment is a cross between Amendments XI and XVI. If the driver gets confused or annoyed with chaotic rules arguments, he may shout “Ozzie Pissbolt,” suggesting that the first person to touch the car is awarded shotgun.

Amendment XVII: Jedi Run

If the car is not within sight of the driver, and significantly far away, so that the proposed walk to the vehicle is neither linear nor within five minutes, the initiating party may call “Jedi Run” after a successful shotgun call (vehicle visibility is not required for this success). She must then beat all other opponents to the vehicle. In order to secure shotgun, the initiating party must not be out of breath or tired by the time the rest of the troupe arrives. This overrides any other countermeasures for shotgun if executed before they come into effect.

Amendment XVIII: Alternate Names

This amendment adds additional aliases to Amendment IV.

Shotgun may also be called under the following aliases: Gun, Shogun, Catgut, and Shotty. Bitch (as in, behind shotgun) may also be called under the following aliases: Rightsies and On-The-Rightsies SAM may also be called under the following aliases: Turrets

Amendment XIX: Alternative Seats

In addition to Amendment XIII, anyone who wants to be duct-taped to the roof calls “Mir!” If a trunk is present in the vehicle, then this “seat” will hereby be recognized as “Ex-Wife.”

Amendment XX: Reversion

If the original caller of shotgun lost their seat to some countermeasure, as seen in Amendment I or V, the initial caller may shout “Same Seatsies” to regain their right to shotgun. In addition, “Double Barrel” and “Laser” may be followed by “No Blitz,” so that the original caller cannot regain their shotgun right. “No Blitz” and “Same Seatsies” are synonymous with “No Recall” and “Recall Shotgun,” respectively.

Amendment XXI: Duel

In such a case where any present shotgun rules still causes confusion between two individuals, they may duel for the honor of Shotgun. This duel takes the form of one (and only one) round of traditional “paper, rock, scissor.” Alternatively, this may be replaced by one (and only one) round of “odds or evens.”

Amendment XXII: Chinese Sneak Attack

In the event that someone manages to touch the car’s handle, and/or is in the car before anyone called shotgun, then they immediately receive the shotgun priviledge. However, this amendment does not apply to someone who ran to the vehicle in question in order to do so.

Amendment XXIII: Broken Seat

In the event that the front passenger seat in the car is extremely uncomfortable (i.e. has a big hole in it), the passenger who called Shotgun must sit in that seat. The other passengers may ridicule him as they wish.

Amendment XXIV: Smoking

Article I: In the event that smoking is allowed in said vehicle, smoking passengers are given consideration over non-smokers in order that they may utilize either the window or ashtray.

Article II: In the event that there is more than one smoking passenger, the passenger that has already lit-up has Shotgun privilege over those who are not already engaged in the act of smoking.

Amendment XXV: Secondary Passenger

If a passenger is “just along for the ride,” then they must sit in the back seat (or worst seat, if the car is otherwise full), because the ride is not for them.

Amendment XXVI: Double Shotgun

This rule from Delaware states that if a given passenger calls a valid “shotgun”, then he or she may not say “shotgun” again. By calling “shotgun” a second time, he or she would automatically forfeit their seat and shotgun is reopened to the other passengers.

Other passengers are allowed to try to trick the person who originally says “shotgun” into saying it again, in order to claim shotgun for themselves.

Amendment XXVII: Contraband

In the event that the car is about to pass an abandoned case of beer, pornography, or any other form of contraband that the passengers might find useful in some way or another, it is the responsibility of the passenger riding shotgun to open his door and scoop up the said beer, pornography or contraband, while the car is still in motion.

Amendment XXVIII: No Bitch

This rule states that once Shotgun has been called by one of the passengers, the remaining passengers may call, “No Bitch.” The passenger who calls “No Bitch” last, or fails to call it at all, is forced to ride bitch.

Amendment XXIX: No Chauffeur

In the event that there are fewer passengers than capacity would allow, there must always be a passenger riding shotgun. This would include a couple. This is to prevent the driver from feeling like a chauffeur.

Amendment XXX: Additional Navigator Duties

Article I: It is the job of the Navigator throw all trash and empty beer bottles out of the window. The beer bottles must be crushed under the tires to destroy all evidence, in case of an emergency situation.

Article II: The Navigator must possess the ability (and the will) to insult other drivers and be heard, if they deserve it (i.e. being cut off). This is to allow the driver to continue to operate the vehicle properly.

Article III: The Navigator must possess the ability (and the will) to roll down their window and invite any chicks in adjacent cars to the driver’s destination.

Amendment XXXI: Seniority

In the instance that one of the passengers is much older than the rest of the passengers, he/she is automatically given Shotgun unless they decline.

Amendment XXXII: Ten-Foot Rule

This rule native to Myrtle Beach and Charleston, SC, states that once a passenger has called Shotgun, another passenger may call “10 Foot Rule.” In this case, there would be an immediate race for the car. The first passenger to come within 10 feet of the car is awarded Shotgun.

Amendment XXXIII: Backfire

This rule from Central NC states that if a passenger has shotgun on a trip, and then calls shotgun for the return trip, any passenger may call, “Double Shotgun Backfire,” to prevent a single passenger from dominating the front seat.

Amendment XXXIV: International Travel

When crossing the border into another country. All shotgun claims are void, and passengers may once again call shotgun. If another passenger gets it, the driver must pull over at his earliest and safest convenience.

Amendment XXXV: Context

A passenger may only receive shotgun if he says shotgun within the context of calling shotgun. For instance, a passenger may not be awarded shotgun if he says, “Did anybody call shotgun?,” or if he/she was talking about a shotgun.


  1. thanxz 4 tha rules itz awesome now i can have a chance at some shotgun rules nbet otha in it…
    i think u should pat urself on tha bac….

  2. I had just wanted to say I love your site quite a bit of information here I will be reading for days!

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