Flying with guns may seem problematic and stressful, and in fact, you may even think that it is illegal now. However, you actually can travel with gun if you follow a few tips and rules. You may need to know how to travel with a gun for a hunting trip far from home, for personal protection and for other reasons. Regardless of why you are traveling with a gun soon, these tips can help you to enjoy a safe and hassle-free trip.
1. Learn About Special Rules and Regulations Beforehand
When traveling with guns, you must follow very specific rules, or you run the risk of getting booted from your flight and in trouble with the law. Your airline may have special rules about flying with guns that exceed your state and federal government laws.
Therefore, thoroughly explore all rules from the airline and laws well ahead of your trip. Keep in mind that you generally must plan ahead to comply with some of these rules, and they may also affect the amount of time it takes for you to check in your bags at the airport or to pass through Customs.
2. Pay Close Attention to Laws When Travelling Internationally
If you are flying with a gun across international borders, you will need to take extra steps to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations. You must understand the firearm rules in each country you are passing through or that you are spending time in.
More than that, you will need to comply with the U.S. Customs regulations regarding firearms as well as customs laws in other countries. These can vary dramatically from location to location, so spend ample time researching them if you want to avoid potential delays or the possibility of your firearm being seized.
3. Invest in a Sturdy Case
In the United States, traveling with a gun is only permitted if the gun is locked in a sturdy case with hard sides. Some people who are flying with guns may think that the case that the gun was purchased with will suffice. How this is not always the case.
After all, many guns are not sold with an accompanying hard-sided case. Remember that the gun must be fully concealed in a sturdy container, and no part of the gun may be exposed. The exception to this rule regarding a hard case is if you have a rifle with a scope. This type of firearm may be carried onto the plane, but it cannot be loaded.
4. Ensure That the Weapon Is Unloaded
All firearms should be unloaded regardless of if they will be stored in a locked case or carried with you onto the place, as may be the case with a rifle. When you check your baggage in with your airline and you are flying with guns, you typically must certify that your weapons are not loaded and are properly secured.
5. Buy a Secure Lock for the Case, if Necessary
When you want to know how to travel with a gun, note that the case that the gun is stored in should be securely locked. Your case and lock may be inspected carefully; any flimsy locks or locks that can easily be pried open without a key will not be permitted.
The last thing you want to deal with is the possibility of finding out that your lock is not acceptable when you are preparing to depart on your trip. When in doubt, make a direct inquiry with the airline or the TSA before your trip.
6. Proceed Directly to the Checked Baggage Area
Curbside baggage check-in is convenient and can save you a lot of time when traveling. However, this is not possible when you are flying with guns. You will need to walk into the airport to check all of your bags and securely locked firearms with your airline. While this can be inconvenient, it is required.
You should plan ahead for potential delays when checking your firearms in so that you do not miss your flight.
7. Declare the Firearm
When you arrive at the front of the line for baggage check-in, you will need to formally declare the firearm. The attendant may or may not ask if you are flying with guns. However, you are required to notify the airline of the gun in your baggage regardless of whether you are specifically asked about it. You also will need to declare any related items that are in your bags, such as ammunition and firearm parts.
8. Understand Laws and Regulations Regarding Firearm Parts
Many people who are flying with guns will also fly with related parts, such as a muffler or a silencer. As is the case with the actual firearm, these parts also need to be securely locked away inside the case. They cannot be carried onto the plane. The exception is if you are traveling with a rifle. The scope of your rifle may be carried onto the plane in a suitable case.
9. Learn About Ammunition Laws
There are also special rules regarding traveling with ammunition for your firearms. In most cases, ammunition must be locked in the same case as the gun that it is used with. For example, with you are flying with multiple guns, you cannot lock the ammunition for all weapons in one case and the firearms in another case. When flying with guns, your clips can be loaded or unloaded. However, all related items must be locked together in a hard-covered case.
10. Follow the Same Procedures for a Replica or Toy Gun
Some people may have plans for flying with guns that are not functional. For example, you may be traveling with a gun that is a non-functional replica of an antique gun or that is a toy that looks like a real gun. Keep in mind that the rules and regulations regarding traveling with guns of this type are the same as when you are traveling with a fully functional gun.
While there are specific rules and regulations that you must follow with you are flying with a gun, you can see that these are commonsense rules that are relatively easy to follow. Spend time exploring specific rules and regulations that may affect your upcoming trip as a first step.