Preparing to Travel with Firearms
If your intention is to grab your shotgun from the safe and stick it in the case on your way out the door without considering some safety measures in advance, you’re just looking for trouble. Do your homework! Study the requirements and procedures applicable to your trip before you travel so that you are prepared and won’t have any surprises.
If you’re traveling by airline to San Antonio or another destination, that is especially important. Here are some considerations:
- Check the TSA website before you travel to verify your understanding of their requirements. Regulations and requirements change, so don’t assume the policies in place during your last trip still apply.
- Specific airline requirements and procedures vary. Check with your airline before you go to the airport.
- If you’re traveling with shotshells or other ammunition, be aware that it must be packed in an appropriate ammo container. Make sure there is no ammo in your firearm case. Specific airline requirements will vary, so check with your airline before you go to the airport.
- Do not try to place any ammo or parts of your firearm, such as the bolt, scope, or bipod, in your carry-on.
- If you are traveling internationally, do your research before you travel. Know the requirements of your destination country, plus the requirements of any countries that you will be passing through and the requirements of your airlines. Ignorance of the rules will only lead to disappointment and delay.
- Do not decorate your gun cases or vehicles with shooting or firearms-related stickers or decals, i.e. no decals for NSCA, NSSA, ATA, SCI, or a brand of guns or ammo.
- When flying with your firearms, place your gun case in a cardboard shipping container after the required inspections. Carry a small roll of tape in your carry-on for this purpose.
- If you are shipping your guns to San Antonio or elsewhere via FedEx, UPS, or other carrier, be sure to declare it as a firearm and to follow their shipping guidelines.
- Guns should be packed securely in their cases with no room to move around, especially along the length of the gun. If possible, remove bolts and scopes from your firearm and secure them in the case in order to prevent damage. Pack your gun case in a cardboard shipping container, if available.
- Shipping addresses should avoid any reference to guns, firearms, shooting, etc. For example, instead of “National Shooting Complex,” use “NSSA Headquarters.” Or use the name of an individual at the recipient address, or initials or an abbreviation that deletes any reference to firearms.
- Use appropriate cases when shipping or traveling with guns. Cases should be hard-sided, be lockable, and close tightly. Don’t use a $100 case for an expensive gun!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure your guns are insured before you travel. Have you bought a new gun or other equipment? Is your coverage up-to-date? SIAI has provided discounted, worldwide firearms insurance to NSSA and NSCA members since 1991, and we highly recommend their coverage and service. See theSIAI website for more information.