April 17th, 2010

Important Rules Governing Shipment of Firearms and Air Travel

NSSF VP and Gen’l Counsel Lawrence Keane has analyzed the laws governing transport of firearms and ammunition. Here Keene explains long-standing restrictions as well as some new rules that affect firearms owners who ship guns by Common Carrier or who bring firearms when they travel by air.

Disclose to the Carrier if Contents Include Firearms or Ammunition
In a recent case, an individual was criminally prosecuted by the federal government for shipping two guns and some ammunition via a common carrier. The federal government also seized and forfeited the firearms and ammo. Why? Because the shipper “knowingly” failed to disclose to the carrier in writing that the contents of the package contained firearms and ammo. He violated Section 922(e) of the Gun Control Act. This case provides an important lesson for all of us who may, for example, ship a firearm to ourselves for an event rather than check the firearm as luggage.

You MUST declare the contents to the common carrier in writing (on the carrier’s form, check the box/fill in the line). It is a crime to “knowingly to deliver or cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for transportation or shipment . . . to persons other than a licensed [importer, manufacturer, dealers, or collector], any package or other container in which there is any firearm or ammunition without written notice to the carrier that such firearm or ammunition is being transported or shipped.”

Transportation Safety AgencyName on Airline Reservations and Picture ID must be Identical
An important new change is taking place for everyone who travels. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has launched a program called “Secure Flight,” which will require travelers to provide their full name as it appears on the government-issued identification they will be traveling with (i.e. passport, driver’s license) when making airline reservations. With this change, you will no longer be able to travel under an abbreviated name or nickname (i.e. Scott vs. W. Scott, Liz vs. Elizabeth or Bill vs. William). This change in airline procedure may affect you and require you to make changes to how your name appears in your travel documents including profiles with your travel agency.

Transportation Safety AgencyEducate Yourself About Restricted Items
The TSA offers a comprehensive list of all prohibited items on its website, www.TSA.gov. The lengthy list explains which items may be carried on and which must go in checked luggage. The exhaustive list of items barred from carry-on includes many things you might not expect.

For example, it is illegal to have drill bits or even screwdrivers (more than 7″ in length) in carry-on luggage. Scissors longer that 4″ must be checked. Hammers must be checked. Gel shoe inserts must be removed and checked, and even snow globes may not be carried on a plane. Because its hard to remember all the restrictions, we recommend you download the TSA’s digital PDF brochure on restricted items, and use it for reference before your new airline trip.

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