What Do I Need to Know About Travelling with My Firearm?

Americans enjoy the freedom to roam about the country, and roam we do.  There are many things to see in our great land and one of American’s favorite phrases is, “Road Trip!”  When travelling, Americans also want to be safe and be able to protect themselves and their families.  In order to ensure this protection, Americans often want to bring a firearm along.  Fortunately, possession of a firearm for protection is lawful in much of the United States.


It is important to know the laws of the state to which you are travelling and the laws of those states you will travel through.  If you have a concealed carry permit from your home state, many other states will recognize that concealed carry permit, and you can carry your firearm concealed on your person.  This is known as “Reciprocity.”  As a Security and Freedom Legal Defense Group member, a call to the non-emergency number on your membership card can be invaluable for determining these laws.  

Federal law (18 USC 926A) says if you can lawfully possess a firearm in your home state and in the destination state, you may transport the firearm across state lines.  Further, the law allows you to travel with your firearm through, but not to, states with strict gun laws (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, etc.).  In this case, the firearm must be unloaded and it, along with the ammunition must be stored out of reach.  A locked storage container might be a good idea for this.  Such containers will be the subject of a future edition of this newsletter.      


If your “road trip” includes a commercial airplane flight, you can still take your firearm with you.  Federal law allows you to transport your firearm in your checked baggage.  The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) requires that the firearm be unloaded and locked in a TSA approved, hard sided container.  Upon arrival at your departure airport location, you must declare the firearm with the agent of the airline you are travelling on.  They will have you open the suitcase the firearm is in for inspection.  You will sign a verification that the firearm is unloaded, and the agent will place a tag inside the suitcase showing the firearm was declared and is unloaded.  You may also carry ammunition in your checked baggage, but it must be packaged in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition.  A visit to the website of your airline will give you more specifics about travelling with your firearm.  Again, you will want to confirm that you can lawfully possess the firearm at your destination prior to travelling with it. 

Did someone say, “Road Trip!” 

(Sources – www.atf.gov, www.govinfo.gov, www.tsa.gov)

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