There are many rules governing overseas travel with firearms. Those who wish to bring weapons while traveling should do research ahead of time and read the applicable rules from the nations they intend to visit.
A first step is to fill out Form 4457 from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to Mike Piccioni, The Daily Caller Guns & Gear Editor. This form, which is on the agency’s website, lets the government know what personal items the traveler will take along and bring home.
The form calls for details about the weapons that will be traveling, including serial numbers, caliber, model and make. Once it is filled out, the traveler should take the form to a Custom’s office and sign it in front of an employee there.
Travelers should not bring weapons inside the Custom’s office, but rather tell officials that they are secured in a vehicle (and ready for any inspection).
Patience is crucial when traveling with weapons, Piccioni noted.
“When planning your trip, don’t just think about your final destination, but all the stops in between. Plan plenty of time for dealing with customs, as it’s highly likely that you will be pulled aside for verification and additional questioning,” he said.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, only unloaded weapons may be carried “in a locked, hard-sided container as checked baggage.” The container must be completely secured from being accessed. All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are prohibited in carry-on baggage.”
Customs and Border Protection also offers guidance about traveling outside of the United States temporarily with a firearm.
Upon entering the airport, your firearms should be locked and unloaded.
Travelers are also urged to weigh the weapons as they add additional bulk to a checked bag, Beretta suggested.
“Carry your gun case in the closed and locked condition into the airport until you meet the ticketing agent,” wrote Beretta blogger Tom McHale. “The agent will tell you what to do and when. Some airports call TSA straight to the counter. Others have an airline agent escort you to a TSA checkpoint with your luggage. Just do what they say and you’ll be fine. At some point, they will have you fill out an orange declaration card and place it in your gun case.”
After that, wait around to make sure you aren’t asked to reopen your gun case for inspections.
Keep the keys for your gun case’s padlock in your carry-on luggage. But be prepared for surprises, McHale said.
“TSA might clear your gun case upon your departure. Yes, some other TSA agent may cut your locks off somewhere between your departure gate and your final destination. They’re not supposed to without a really good reason, but it happens,” he said.