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Author Topic: Flying With Firearms  (Read 11047 times)

Offline SharpsShooter

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Flying With Firearms
« on: July 14, 2011, 04:16:13 PM »
I came across an article online last night that I though would be perfect for this forum called How To Fly with Firearms from Tech Prepper, which calls itself "A 'Nerd' Survival Guide."  Whether you want to travel for hunting, relocating, or if you just want to be prepared on a business or leisure trip, you may have lots of reason for wanting or needing to take a firearm along when you travel by air.  This article gave me the idea to make a post about the rules of taking firearms with you when flying.

The gist of the article boiled down to four main points of order that you need to know before traveling via air with a firearm: 

Firearms must be unloaded.  Don't take a loaded gun on the airplane.  You probably shouldn't even take a loaded gun into the airport.  Very few people are allowed to fly with loaded firearms and chances are that you aren't among that group.

Firearms must be checked.  You can't take your nail clippers through security, you can't take your pocket knife through security, you can't take your screwdrivers through security and you certainly can't take your guns through security.  I suppose you could try but it would no doubt end very badly for you so it isn't recommended.

Firearms must be in a locked hard case.  This is pretty self explanatory.  A hard case so it's protected from bumps and bruises.  A locking case so it's protected from unmotivated theives.  The article author recommends pelican cases.  I like pelican cases so I'm inclined to agree with the article author.

You must sign an afadavit saying that your firearms is unloaded.  This afadavit is signed in front of the agent to whom you present your cased firearm and is locked in the case with the firearm.

The article also presented information on bringing along ammunition whilst traveling by air:

Ammunition must be in the original manufactures container. This, presumably, means exactly what it sounds like it means.

Ammunition must be kept separate from the firearm.  As does this.

The total Weight of Ammunition allowed per person is 10 pounds.  And this.

The exact information from the TSA website is as follows:

Traveling with Special Items

Firearms & Ammunition

Improperly packaged firearm.

You may only transport firearms, ammunition and firearm parts in your checked baggage. Firearms, ammunition and firearm parts are prohibited from carry-on baggage.

Failure to adhere to the following regulations will preclude passengers from traveling with firearms, ammunitions or firearm parts:

  • Travelers must declare all firearms, ammunition, and parts to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
  • The firearm must be unloaded.
  • The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.
  • The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.
  • TSA inspects all firearm cases at the ticket counter. Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation. If travelers are not present and the security officer must open the container, TSA or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.
  • Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging that is specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
  • Travelers may not use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).
  • Ammunition may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows packing guidelines described above.
  • TSA prohibits black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder.

These regulations are strictly enforced. Violations can result in criminal prosecution and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.
Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Therefore, travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.

Also, please note that other countries have different laws that address transportation and possession of firearms. If you are traveling internationally, please check regulations at your destination about their requirements.

There are certain limited exceptions for law enforcement officers who may fly armed by meeting the requirements of Title 49 CFR § 1544.219. Law enforcement officers should read our policies on traveling with guns.

Don't forget to check with your individual airline for any special restrictions or requirements for traveling with firearms.

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Flying With Firearms
« on: July 14, 2011, 04:16:13 PM »

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Offline GunLink

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Re: Flying With Firearms
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2011, 10:08:42 PM »
Great info!  Thanks for posting it.

Offline 1slickAR15

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Re: Flying With Firearms
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2011, 10:56:55 AM »
thanks for the info.  I've been curious how it would work to fly somewhere for a hunting trip.  Is it pretty much the same to fly to canada or is there a lot of extra hassle?  I wonder if it wouldn't be easier just to use an gun from the outfitter if they provide them

Offline masfonos

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Re: Flying With Firearms
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2011, 11:10:40 AM »
Good to know.  I've been in conversations about this but it usually comes down to people just making up what they think is an answers that sounds reasonable and pretending to know what they're talking about.

Offline SharpsShooter

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Re: Flying With Firearms
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2011, 11:14:59 AM »
thanks for the info.  I've been curious how it would work to fly somewhere for a hunting trip.  Is it pretty much the same to fly to canada or is there a lot of extra hassle?  I wonder if it wouldn't be easier just to use an gun from the outfitter if they provide them

I'm no expert about flying or otherwise traveling with firearms, I just read that article which sparked my curiosity so I looked up the regulations.  I had no idea what the rules for traveling to Canada were, but I did find the following online.  Hope it helps.

RCMP Info for Firearm Users Visiting Canada
Fact Sheet

Here is some basic information about bringing a firearm, or other items regulated by the Firearms Act, into Canada.

The Firearms Act is a federal law and therefore applies across the country. Provinces and territories may have additional requirements, especially with respect to hunting.

An individual must be at least 18 years old to bring a firearm into Canada. Those younger than 18 may use a firearm in certain circumstances, but an adult must remain present and responsible for the firearm.

Classes of Firearms and Devices

There are three classes of firearms in Canada:

  • Non-restricted (most common rifles and shotguns): These may generally be imported for purposes such as hunting, protection from wild animals in remote wilderness areas where firearms are allowed, or target-shooting. They may also be taken in transit through Canada by a reasonably direct route.
  • Restricted: (longer-barreled handguns, some types of long guns) These are allowed for certain purposes, such as target shooting at an approved club or range, but they are not allowed for hunting or self protection.
  • Prohibited: (shorter-barreled handguns, automatic weapons) These cannot be brought into Canada.

Some firearms are classified as restricted or prohibited under the Criminal Code based on their general characteristics (e.g. barrel length or calibre); other restricted and prohibited firearms are specified by name in Criminal Code Regulations.

Some large-capacity magazines are prohibited even if the firearms to which the magazines are attached are allowed. As a general rule, the maximum capacity is:

  • five cartridges for most magazines designed for a centre fire semi-automatic long gun; and
  • ten cartridges for most handgun magazines.

There is no maximum magazine capacity for other types of long guns, including semi-automatics that discharge only rim-fire ammunition.

Replica firearms, except for replicas of antique firearms, are prohibited and cannot be brought into Canada. Replica firearms are devices that look exactly or almost exactly like a real firearm but that cannot discharge a projectile or that can only discharge harmless projectiles. As a rule, to be prohibited, a device must closely resemble an existing make and model of firearm, not just a generic firearm. Many of these devices have to be assessed case by case.

Devices designed exclusively for signalling purposes (e.g. flare guns), and intended to be used solely for that purpose, are exempt from the requirements set out below.

Licensing and Registration Requirements

Firearm owner and users in Canada need a valid firearms licence allowing them to possess firearms and a Canadian registration certificate for each firearm in their possession. A licence issued under Canada’s Firearms Act is different from a provincial hunting licence.

Non-residents have two options for meeting the Canadian licensing and registration requirements:

Option 1

Declare firearms in writing, in triplicate, using the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration (form CAFC 909).

If there are more than three firearms, a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Continuation Sheet (form CAFC 910) should be added.

Once the declaration has been confirmed by the CBSA customs officer, it acts as a licence for the owner and as a temporary registration certificate for the firearms brought to Canada; and it is valid for 60 days. The declaration can be renewed for free, providing it is renewed before it expires, by contacting the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) (call 1-800-731-4000) of the relevant province or territory.

A confirmed declaration costs a flat fee of $25, regardless of the number of firearms listed on it. It is valid only for the person who signs it and only for those firearms listed on the declaration.

Option 2

Apply for a five-year Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) and register the firearms in Canada. The PAL must be issued before the firearms can be registered.

To apply for a PAL, applicants must provide evidence that they have passed the written and practical tests for the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. If they wish to be licensed for restricted firearms, they must also have passed the tests for the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course. A course from another country does not meet Canadian legal requirements. However, the tests can be taken without taking the courses.

The CFO of the province or territory that will be visited can provide information on any other documents that will be required to complete the background security check.

Once a PAL is obtained, an application to register firearms can be submitted either online at no cost or by mail after completing a paper application (CAFC 998). Some firearms must be verified by an approved verifier before they are registered. Call 1-800-731-4000 (Canada and the U.S.) or (506) 624-5380 (outside Canada and the U.S.) for help in verifying firearms.

With a valid licence and registration certificate, there is no need to complete the Non-Resident Firearms Declaration or pay a fee.  However, an oral declaration must still be made to the customs officer.

For Firearms Borrowed in Canada

No licence is required if the firearms user remains under the direct and immediate supervision of a licensed adult.

Otherwise, you need one of the following:

  • a valid PAL (see Option 2), or
  • a valid Temporary Firearms Borrowing Licence (for Non-residents) (form 715).

NOTE: a confirmed Non-Resident Firearms Declaration does not currently permit the borrowing of firearms in Canada.

A temporary borrowing licence permits the borrowing of Non-restricted firearms only, and only for one of the following purposes:

  • hunting under the supervision of an outfitter or other person authorized to organize hunting services in Canada;
  • hunting with a Canadian resident who has the proper firearms licence and hunting licence;
  • competing in a shooting competition;
  • target shooting at an approved shooting club or range;
  • taking part in an historical re-enactment or display;
  • engaging in a business or scientific activity being carried out in a remote area where firearms are needed to control animal predators;
  • taking part in a parade, pageant or other similar event; or
  • using firearms for movie, television, video or theatrical productions or publishing activities.

Buying or Selling a Firearm in Canada

Firearms which have been temporarily imported, using a confirmed Non-Resident Firearms Declaration, must be taken back out of Canada. If the firearms are registered in Canada, they may be transferred (sold or given) to a properly licensed business or individual by calling 1-800-731-4000. During the transfer process that must take place whenever a firearm changes ownership, the firearm will be registered to the new owner. A CFO must approve all transfers of restricted firearms.

Duties and taxes may be payable on all firearms that are sold or given to someone in Canada. For more information, please contact the CBSA at 1-800-461-9999 (toll free within Canada) or (204) 983-3500 or (506) 636-5064 (long distance charges apply).

To be eligible to acquire a firearm in Canada, a PAL is necessary. The firearm will be registered to the new owner during the transfer process.

Buying or Importing Ammunition

A valid PAL, a confirmed Non-Resident Firearm Declaration or a Temporary Borrowing Licence (for Non-Residents) will allow you to buy ammunition in Canada. As well, you may bring limited amounts into Canada with you.

Storage, Display and Transportation

Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) is responsible for regulating the import of ammunition under the Explosives Act. You may contact NRCAN for information on how much ammunition can be imported for personal use. For information on how much ammunition can be imported duty free, please contact the Canada Border Services Agency.

When you bring a firearm to Canada, you must comply with the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations.

In order to bring a Restricted firearm to Canada, an Authorization to Transport (ATT) from the CFO of the province or territory where entry to Canada will be made needs to be obtained. With a valid PAL and registration certificate, application for an ATT can be made in advance. If the firearms are being declared in person with a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration, the declaration must be confirmed before the ATT is requested from the CFO.

CFOs can be contacted Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. local time, by calling 1-800-731-4000. These hours of operation should be kept in mind when making travel arrangements. If an arrival time will not coincide with the CFO office hours of operation, the CFO can be contacted in advance to see if other arrangements to obtain an ATT can be made. No ATT is required for Non-restricted firearms, but they must be secured as required by the Regulations.

US Customs and Border Patrol Info on Canadian requirements for taking firearm / rifle to Canada to hunt

What are the requirements for taking a firearm / rifle to Canada to hunt?

The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for deciding whether to let a non-resident bring a firearm into Canada. As a general rule, non-residents may bring a non-restricted rifle or shotgun into Canada for approved purposes such as hunting, target shooting, wilderness protection or in-transit movement by a reasonably direct route to another point outside Canada.

Restricted firearms (mainly handguns and some semi-automatic long guns) can generally only be imported if the person can demonstrate a need for having the firearms in Canada – for example to take part in an organized target-shooting event.

For more information on the documents you will need to import a firearm, please refer to the fact sheet for firearm owners visiting Canada.

You can meet Canada’s license and registration requirements by presenting a Non-resident Firearm Declaration (form 909), to a customs officer at your point of entry. If you have more than three firearms, attach the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration - Continuation Sheet (form 910).  Once the customs officer has confirmed your declaration, it will serve as a temporary license for you and a registration certificate for each firearm listed on the declaration for up to 60 days. A confirmed declaration costs a flat fee of $25 Canadian.

If you frequently go to Canada to hunt (must be 18 years of age or older), you may want to obtain a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL).  To apply for a PAL, fill out form CAFC 921. With your application, please provide proof that you have passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course.  If you wish to be licensed to possess restricted firearms for an approved purpose such as target shooting, you must also include proof that you have passed the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course. If you have not yet passed the tests, you will need to do so before you apply for a PAL. A course from another country will not meet the requirements of the law. You can take the tests without taking the courses.

Before submitting the application, contact the Chief Firearms Officer of the province or territory where you will most likely be using the firearm to find out what documentation you need to provide from authorities in your country to confirm that you are not known to be a threat to public safety. The two references required to sign your application do not have to be Canadian citizens or persons in authority. An initial PAL costs $60 for non-restricted firearms only, or $80 for any combination of non-restricted and restricted firearms. The fee to renew a PAL has been waived until May 17, 2008.

Once you have obtained a license, you can apply online to register your firearms. Alternatively, you may submit a paper application (form 998) to Central Processing Site, Box 1200, Miramichi, NB E1N 5Z3. Your firearms need to be verified by an approved verifier before they can be registered. For help to verify your firearms, call (800) 731-4000 (Canada and the U.S.) or (506) 624-5380 (outside Canada and the U.S.).

Information on how to obtain the Possession and Acquisition License and forms can be obtained on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Web site, or by calling call (800) 731-4000.  Prior to leaving the U.S., you should register your firearm at a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office on the CBP Form 4457 Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad. You will need this form to present to CBP upon your return to the U.S.

For more information about Canada's regulations for temporarily importing a firearm, please contact the Canadian Border Services Agency at (800) 461-9999. 

Also, don't forget that you will probably need to come back to the states with your firearms so you may need a Customs Form 4457 and whatever else is needed for getting back in smoothly.

Offline GunLink

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Re: Flying With Firearms
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2011, 02:07:50 PM »
Wow!  Once again, great info.  Thanks for looking up all that information and posting it!

Offline SharpsShooter

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Re: Flying With Firearms
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2012, 07:03:16 PM »

I found this online and wanted to add it to the thread.  Happy Flying!

Offline Th3Sain7

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Re: Flying With Firearms
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2013, 06:14:32 PM »
I read on several travel forums that some people travel with a gun in their luggage just to keep TSA from opening it and messing with other contents of bags.  Apparently even a flare gun will do the trick since they are not allowed to open a bag with a gun in it.  Sounds like it would work.

Offline GunLink

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TSA Will Permit Knives Back on Passenger Planes
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2013, 12:53:47 PM »
Not about firearms, but probably of interest:

TSA Will Permit Knives Back on Passenger Planes

Brooklyn, NY – The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) is pleased to announce breaking news for all knife owners. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced late morning on March 5th that they will allow people to carry small pocket knives on passenger planes.

The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) was instrumental in working with TSA to allow this policy change to become a reality. "As the knife and tool industry association, we were very pleased to work with the TSA on these revisions to ease the restrictions for all Americans carrying essential and valuable tools when they travel," noted Jan Billeb, AKTI Executive Director. "This has been a long time in the process and it was very exciting to get the call from TSA that it was actually going to happen," she added.

Effective April 25th, the agency will permit knives with blades shorter than 6 centimeters (no longer than 2.36 inches) and narrower than 1/2 inch at the widest part. (Bats and other sporting sticks will also be allowed onboard as carryons.) TSA staff told AKTI that the restrictions could not be immediately effective in order to allow personnel training time to avoid problems at security checkpoints.

Detailed diagrams of allowed and prohibited knives can be seen in Resources under Traveling With a Knife on the AKTI website, on the TSA website, or in this TSA document.

Fixed blade knives, razors, knives with molded grips, and box cutters are still prohibited items.

TSA Administrator John Pistole made the announcement in Brooklyn at the AVSEC World Conference. He noted that allowing these items onboard would allow screeners to focus on the highest priority threat—non-metallic explosive devices. Valuable TSA resources will be used where most needed and passengers will not be inconvenienced or have to voluntarily abandon their Swiss Army or other small pocket knife.

Guidelines for small pocket knives on airplanes will align the TSA Prohibited Items List with the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Prohibited Items List, a policy change that that has been pushed for several years by the American Knife & Tool Institute, industry leaders including Swiss Army and Leatherman, and supportive members of Congress.

"Our meeting with the American Knife & Tool Institute in September was invaluable in this decision to allow small knives onboard airplanes," acknowledged a senior advisor at the Transportation Security Administration. Several top level officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security met on September 20, 2012 with AKTI Executive Director Jan Billeb, AKTI President Bill Raczkowski (Gerber), AKTI Vice President Rod Bremer (CRKT), AKTI Legislative Chair CJ Buck (Buck Knives), Peggy Bremer (CRKT) and AKTI Legislative Counsel John Larkin.

During the meeting with AKTI, TSA officials were impressed by the efforts of the nonprofit association to educate its members and the public about the current regulations, including distribution of thousands of AKTI luggage tags in the past years reminding people they could travel with their knives as long as they were placed in checked luggage. "Our meeting was an open and excellent exchange of understanding regarding the issues the TSA faces and the concerns of our organization representing the knife community and travelers in general," stated CJ Buck, President of Buck Knives.

"While the knives TSA will allow on airplanes starting April 25th are somewhat limited," acknowledged Rod Bremer, President of Columbia River Knife & Tool, "this is a huge step in the right direction for all knife owners and recognition that knives are crucial tools for Americans whether at home or traveling. Being consistent with international guidelines means international travelers will understand and be able to easily comply when traveling to the U.S." "TSA should be commended for their continued efforts to enhance their abilities to keep travelers safe by spending more precious screening time looking for dangerous materials while relaxing restrictions on simple tools like a pocket knife."

AKTI President Bill Raczkowski expressed thanks not only to the TSA for listening to the American Knife & Tool, but also noted that "John Larkin, AKTI's Legislative Counsel, should be commended for his efforts in coordinating TSA meetings and we thank Jan Billeb, AKTI Executive Director, for all her efforts working with AKTI members and TSA to help make this a reality.

"We cannot thank Swiss Army and Leatherman enough for the groundwork they laid lobbying their congressional representatives to encourage this change," Billeb responded. "At their request, early in 2010, the American Knife & Tool Institute provided letters to key legislators to encourage TSA adoption of the fairly recent changes to the ICAO policy that allowed knives."

In 2005, in a letter to then Administrator Edmund S. Hawley, AKTI began the dialog with TSA requesting re-evaluation of the regulations that prohibit passengers from carrying knives onboard commercial airlines. The organization also pointed out the needless harm done to the United States knife industry over such prohibitions that did not address legitimate aviation security issues raised.

"AKTI will continue to work with the Department of Homeland Security on any knife questions that arise and for possible further revisions," announced Jan Billeb. "Knife companies with questions about their products can contact us for assistance in getting answers."

About the ICAO
A specialized agency of the United Nations, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection.