Flying with Firearms Regulated by the National Firearms Act:
1. Make sure you receive an approved 5320.20 for all firearms regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA) (suppressors and AOWs exempted). Note that filing a 5320.20 even for suppressors and AOWs can help later on.
2. Check with the airline before traveling to ensure that they don't restrict certain guns. Find out if they are friendly BEFORE buying non-refundable tickets!
3. Check with the airline to find out their policy on how to ship the firearm.
a. The FAA says that the gun must be in a locked hard sided case.
b. If you're traveling with a smaller weapon, can you put this case into a larger case? Can that outer case be soft-sided? This may or may not be moot depending upon the size of the firearm being transported and/or if the firearm is broken down.
4. The Carry of Ammunition is limited by regulation. Unless you have a very good reason, buy your ammunition at your destination or Fedex it to yourself. DO NOT carry ammunition in a magazine and have that magazine inserted in your firearm.
5. INSURANCE: Find out how your insurance treats a lost or stolen firearm.
6. Carry printed copies of the airline's policies and FAA regs. Have them ready to produce for any ticketing agents and TSA Agents who don't know what they're doing.
Federal law requires you to declare that you are transporting a firearm and to demonstrate that it is unloaded. Go to the ticketing agent and state that you have a firearm to declare.
They'll give you a tag to sign that says the firearm is unloaded. The tag goes inside the case with the firearm! Should the ticketing agent attempt to place the tag on the outside, politely explain that they go inside. If they object, demand a supervisor. They are not only placing your firearms in jeopardy, but they're also violating federal law.
Remember that the case with the firearm must be locked-- do not go anywhere until security clears the case. They WILL break the locks off if you're not around, and an unlocked case does not fly.
1. hand the case to the ticketing agent and inform them that firearms are present.
a. There is no need to identify that they are machine guns" or "short barreled rifles" or "sawed off" or whatever. Identify them as "firearms." You might use the term barrel extension "barrel extension" for a silencer. This may avoid unwanted scrutiny. Ticketing agents generally don't know what they're looking at anyhow;
It is always a good idea to have a copy of this:
TITLE 27 CFR CHAPTER II
PART 478—COMMERCE IN FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION
(b) No common or contract carrier shall
require or cause any label, tag, or other
written notice to be placed on the outside
of any package, luggage, or other container
indicating that such package, luggage,
or other container contains a firearm.
(f) Firearms in checked baggage. No aircraft operator may knowingly permit any person to transport in checked baggage:
(1) Any loaded firearm(s).
(2) Any unloaded firearm(s) unless—
(i) The passenger declares to the aircraft operator, either orally or in writing before checking the baggage that any firearm carried in the baggage is unloaded;
(ii) The firearm is carried in a hard-sided container;
(iii) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the individual checking the baggage retains the key or combination; and
(iv) The checked baggage containing the firearm is carried in an area that is inaccessible to passengers, and is not carried in the flightcrew compartment,.
(3) Any unauthorized explosive or incendiary.
(g) Ammunition. This section does not prohibit the carriage of ammunition in checked baggage or in the same container as a firearm. Title 49 CFR part 175 provides additional requirements governing carriage of ammunition on aircraft.
COMMON CARRIERS.—Section 922(e) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘‘No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm.’’
From the TSA Website:
When traveling, comply with the laws concerning posession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.
Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.
Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock.
Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.
Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.
United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44, firearm definitions includes: any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; and any destructive device. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm.
Ammunition is prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm. Read the requirements governing the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8).
Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm.
https://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/baggage/firearms-ammunition.jsp This is American Airlines Policy on Firearms:
Traveling with firearms and ammunition
Laws on the possession of firearms differ between states and countries. Please check the requirements of your destination before you travel. Contact Reservations for international travel requirements and if any portion of your trip is operated by another carrier.
Within the U.S., you can only travel with firearms and ammunition, including pellet and BB guns, as checked baggage if you’re over 18 years old. You must check them with an agent at check-in and declare that you’re traveling with firearms and ammunition.
Firearms must be:
In a locked, hard-sided container (like a rifle case)
Ammunition must be:
In the original packaging from the manufacturer or in packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition (made of fiber, wood or metal). Ammunition is not accepted in magazines or clips.
Watch the TSA Traveling with Firearms video Opens in a new window
There is no limit to the number of items you can carry in your in rifle, shotgun or pistol case, but baggage and oversize / overweight charges may apply.
See oversize / overweight baggage charges
Loose ammunition, magazines or clips and firearms are not accepted when traveling to or from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (POS).
https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/baggage/sports.aspx: This is United Airlines Policy on Firearms:
United accepts shooting equipment as checked baggage in hard-sided shooting equipment cases.
Firearms will be accepted only from a customer who is 18 years of age or older.
International firearm regulations and laws vary by destination and transiting country. Contact appropriate consulates or embassies to obtain specific entry requirements applicable to destination(s). United is not liable for any assistance or information relating to such regulations or compliance with such laws provided by any United employee or agent to any customers, or for the consequences to any customer resulting from his or her failure to comply with such regulations or laws.
Beginning April 6, 2016, and until further notice, checked firearms will not be accepted into Belgium or on connections through Brussels Airport. Customers who requested transport of firearms in checked baggage on or before April 5, 2016, may change their travel plans without penalty or additional fees to an alternate United destination within Europe.
Firearms are not accepted to and from Bahrain, Israel, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Customers traveling to Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA) with checked firearms and/or ammunition must be in possession of a gun import license or a temporary transportation permit, which must be certified and validated by a Guatemalan Consulate. Customers traveling with checked firearms and/or ammunition through Guatemala City do not require a permit as long as their bag does not leave the airport controlled area. Customers must ensure they have all the necessary documents required at their final destination.
Customers traveling to or through Milan, Italy (MXP) or Rome, Italy (FCO) with checked firearms/ammunition are subject to police clearance at their first point of entry into Italy. Security staff will take the firearms/ammunition to the police office for inspection. Firearms and ammunition must be packed in separate containers.
Customers traveling to or through Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) with checked firearms/ammunition must obtain permission from the Netherlands Consulate/Embassy in their country of origin prior to departure. Weapons are subject to confiscation in Amsterdam unless the owner can show all required permits. Customers traveling on military orders with checked firearms may do so without prior consent from Dutch Customs. Checked military ammunition is forbidden.
For travel to and from the United Kingdom, pistols, rifles and shotguns must be packed in a hard-sided rifle case. Customers must have the appropriate license or certificate in addition to a British Visitor's Permit (BVP). A Great Britain resident will need to act as a sponsor and submit a BVP application to their local firearms licensing department on your behalf.
Curbside check-in of a firearm is not permitted.
Firearms must be packed in a hard-sided container with a lock. The container must be locked at the time of acceptance by United Airlines and the key or combination must remain in the customer's possession. If a hard-sided container is needed, see the container section of this site.
Handguns must be packed in a hard-sided container with a lock. The container must be locked at the time of acceptance by United Airlines and the key or combination must remain in the customer’s possession. The locked hard-sized container holding the handgun may be placed inside an unlocked soft-side piece of luggage.
The firearm will be transported in a section of the aircraft that is inaccessible to the customer. Proof of registration is not required.
Firearms carried in addition to the free baggage allowance will be assessed at the current excess baggage charge.
No more than 11 pounds of ammunition may be carried. The ammunition may be packed in the same container as the firearm or in a separate container. Ammunition must be packed in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood or metal containers. The ammunition inside the container must be protected against shock and secured against movement.
First or second checked bag service charges may apply.
Note: Customer must sign and date a Firearm Declaration Tag declaring that the firearm is not loaded.
Traveling by Car:
1. Avoid unnecessary stops
2. Secure in vehicle, out of sight
3. Always keep vehicle in your sight
4. Bring it with you in stealth case - Carry into store or restaurant with you
5. Remember to bring it out with you.
If you are interested in a NFA Trust and how you can legally purchase NFA regulated items, call me or email me and i will be happy to tailor a trust for your specific needs.
Postal address: 801 Congress, Suite 350, Houston, TX 77002
General Information: TexasTrustLawyer@TexasNFATrust.com
Consult with Attorney Sean Cody for NFA trust: SeanCody@HoustonAttorney.org
Texas NFA Trust
5 simple recommendations for travelling with your firearms. Remember it's your responsibility to know and abide by current law.
Follow and adhere to Federal firearm transportation guidelines. Federal law is pretty straightforward. No federal permit is required. The Firearms Owners' Protection Act (FOPA) shields you from local restrictions while transporting firearms for lawful purposes.
Under FOPA, notwithstanding any state or local law, a person is
1. entitled to transport a firearm
2. from any place where it may be lawfully possessed
3. to any other place where it may be lawfully possessed
4. if the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm must be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console. Ammunition that is either locked out of reach in the trunk or in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console is also covered.
Exceptions apply to
1. those who are convicted felons;
2. persons under indictment for felonies;
3. adjudicated "mental defectives" or
4. those who have been involuntarily committed to mental institutions;
5. illegal drug users;
6. illegal aliens and most nonimmigrant aliens;
7. dishonorably discharged veterans;
8. those who have renounced their U.S. citizenship;
9. fugitives from justice;
10 persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence; and
11. persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders.
Guide to the Interstate Transportation of Firearms
Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide - downloadable PDF
BATFE's Answers To Frequently Asked Questions - downloadable PDF
Airline Transportation of Firearms - See Below for addiitonal Discussion
Abide by state and local gun laws.
License to Carry, Concealed Handgun License Reciprocity
Ask about restrictions at specific locations. Do they allow concealed oropen carry? Are you going to disarm?
Get a concealed License to Carry aka the Concealed Handgun License.
DO NOT SPEED - Drive carefully and obey the speed limit.
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