Traveling with Firearms
Every year, millions of men and women travel to different states or even out of the country to hunt or compete in shooting events. When taking to the air, traveling hunters and shooters must take special care to follow airline regulations regarding transporting their firearms.
Use the following seven tips to make your trip safer and more enjoyable.
Be early — The average flyer should arrive one to two hours before takeoff. If you are traveling with a firearm, arrive sooner. When checking in you will need to fill out a form declaring the firearm is unloaded. Ticket agents will open your gun case to verify this.
Call ahead — Rules concerning firearms can change quickly. Ask for the rules when you book your trip, and call back a few days before you leave to ensure nothing has changed.
Open your mouth — Declare the firearm to the first airline-ticketing representative you see. When you declare it, call it a firearm, not a gun or weapon. Those words can cause unease, which may mean delays for you.
Be a hard case — Airlines require firearms be transported in a TSA-approved hard case that is lockable. Have the key ready, since you will need to unlock and relock the case during check-in.
Check the extras — Knives and ammunition must be stored separately from the firearm and packed in checked luggage. Airlines have different regulations on how much ammunition can be carried and most require you to transport it in its original packaging or a container designed specifically to hold ammunition. Any amount above the allotted weight will cost extra. Check with your airline for specific restrictions.
Know the laws — Before heading out, read up on the gun laws for the area to which you are traveling, especially if you plan to leave the country. Countries such as Canada and Great Britain require documents to be completed months before entering the country with a firearm.
Be responsible — Every time you are out with a firearm, you become a representative of the shooting sports. Follow gun safety to the max and prove that responsible gun owners are a danger to no one.