Firearm travel and transportation is a tricky task, as there are many rules and regulations. There are federal laws that one must follow, as well as specific state laws. If you participate in the transportation of a firearm in an illegal manner, there are serious repercussions. Make sure you are well informed about all the laws, so you aren’t at risk. Here are some of the fundamental methods of transportation, their basic rules, and resources where you can find more information:
There are special procedures for the shipment of firearms. Title 18, Chapter 44, Title 26 and Chapter 53 of the United States Code mandate these rules. Essentially, you can ship packages that contain firearms between licensed importers, manufacturers, dealers and individuals. Handguns must be shipped through Next Day Air Service. Firearms must be shipped in their disassembled form, in order to meet compliance with federal, state and local law. UPS does not accept automatic weapons, like machine guns, for shipment. Firearms must meet packing and labeling requirements. They must be shipped in new corrugated packaging, which meets the guidelines for single wall box strength.
Ammunition must be packed and shipped separately. The shipper must use Delivery Confirmation Adult Signature Required service. For hunting, a person may ship a firearm to themselves, in care of another person, where they intend to hunt. The package should be addressed to the owner “in the care of” the out-of-state resident who receives it. No one, but the owner, can lawfully open the package or take possession of the firearm upon its arrival.
Federal law doesn’t have available permits for the interstate transportation of firearms. There isn’t a federal, coverall permit because the laws vary state by state in the transportation of firearms. As a traveller, you must be aware of these laws, as they aren’t uniform and have some very specific nuances. If you are unaware of state laws, it is best that you carry your firearm unloaded, locked in its case and stored in the trunk or your flat bed tool box. They shouldn’t be visible from outside of the vehicle. There are some specific federal laws on the transportation of firearms that may align with the state laws and should be followed. The Firearms Owner’s Protection Act states that a person can transport a legally possessed firearm between states where the legal possession is obtained. According to Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 44 s926A, ammunition should be stored in a separate locked container. This means you cannot carry your gun in its holster while you drive. The NRA-ILA website provides the rules for interstate transportation of firearms and has state-law resources for firearm owners.
When you fly on a commercial airline, you can transport unloaded firearms in a hard-sided container. The container must be checked in and can’t, under any circumstances, accompany you onto the plane as a carry-on. The container must also be locked and completely secure—if the case provides any sort of easy access it will be prohibited from the plane. Firearm parts, like magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, must also be concealed in checked baggage. The only carry-on firearm accessory is a rifle scope. Reference the TSA website for an extensive list of rules for flying with firearms or ammunition. Make sure you look up the laws of the state or country that is your destination. Gun laws can be found on a state’s government website. Don’t rely on any websites that lack the suffix “.gov” as their reprint of the laws may not be updated.