Each year, hundreds of travelers face potential arrest for failing to declare firearms or ammunition when traveling. Thus, if you’re a gun enthusiast electing to travel with any type of firearms, then you’ll need to comply with the laws concerning their declaration and possession, as these regulations vary by local, state and international governments.
No one is exempt from the law, and the penalties are severe. In fact, in 2015 alone, TSA officers detected an average of more than seven firearms per day at airport checkpoints, with many of these incidents leading to arrests, citations and confiscation of weapons.
So if you’re looking to take your firearms with you on your next trip, make sure you do it right by following these tips.
1. Buy the Right Bags and Cases
While it may come as a surprise, the original casing or containers in which your guns were sold will not get through security checkpoints when traveling. In fact, there are a number of specific protocols to which you must adhere in order to transport your weapons. First and foremost, the firearm must be unloaded and housed in a locked and secured hard-sided container.
Not sure where to look for the proper storage of your firearms? Outdoor retailers like Cabela’s that specialize in firearms equipment and supplies are your best bet. Just remember: Your firearms must be declared at the counter upon checking in at the airport and remain in your checked bag for the duration of the flight.
2. Stay Educated
The most important factor to consider when traveling with firearms is the gun laws of your destination. Educate yourself about the rules and regulations concerning firearms to determine what is acceptable. When it comes to flying, however, each airline has different rules, so conducting thorough research should be part of your pre-trip planning.
For example, some airlines allow you to pack your ammunition in the same bag as your firearms, while others forbid that practice. There are also restrictions on how much ammunition you can carry, as well as how many firearms you can check. But don’t merely rely on the airline for this information, as it’s ultimately your responsibility to be prepared in order to avoid any confusion when you arrive at the airport.
3. Be Honest and Forthcoming
Upon arriving at the check-in counter, be open and honest about the number of firearms in your possession and which you plan to carry on the flight. Most importantly, this is the time to declare you’re traveling with unloaded firearms. By failing to declare your weapons, you can run the risk of being arrested, fined or having your weapons confiscated.
Finally, if an airline agent asks to inspect your bags, be forthcoming about the number of firearms you in your possession, where they are located and how they can be accessed. Once the inspection is complete, be sure everything is properly secured properly and locked.
Ensure You Have a Hassle-Free Getaway
It may seem as though traveling with firearms can be tedious and a headache you’d rather avoid altogether. However, by following all procedures and protocols, carrying your firearms on a plane, train or automobile can be relatively seamless. In the end, you’ll want to follow these tips when traveling with any firearm to ensure a hassle-free getaway.
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