If you regularly compete in sports shooting competitions, you will have to travel with your firearms a lot. In some cases, you may even have to travel abroad and take international flights. Firearms and even competition airguns can be dangerous if mishandled, and there are also some laws and legal matters you have to know when traveling with your sports shooting equipment. Therefore, any serious competition shooter should be aware of the legal and safety-related complications that might accrue when traveling with guns.
To help you prepare for traveling with your sports shooting equipment, we have prepared some recommendations.
Check the laws of the countries you are traveling through and to
If you are driving with your sports shooting equipment, you may have to cross country borders, or in the case of the US, state lines. In the US, different states have different laws regarding the legality of firearms and airguns. The laws are subject to changes, and to mention all of them here isn't entirely possible. However, here are some main laws you should know about:
- To travel with a firearm, you should be legally permitted to own a firearm in every state you are passing through.
- The firearms should not be kept within a readily accessible state, which means that they should be unloaded, and preferably carried in a locked state, in the trunk of the car.
- You should also store your ammunition separately from the firearms, to avoid any problems in case you do get pulled over.
- If you get pulled over, make sure to inform the police officer that you are traveling with firearms and other sports shooting equipment in the trunk of your car, and have all the necessary paperwork for it.
The better solution is to call your local police office or consult a lawyer and ask them how you can legally travel with your firearms, ammunition, and other equipment. Also, ensure you have all your paperwork on you when traveling with firearms.
Understand Transport Security Administration (TSA) rules when flying with your firearms domestically
You can also fly with your firearms; however, they need to be registered as checked baggage, and be in a locked case, in an unloaded state. You can't carry ammunition with you, since it can be explosive, and dangerous at high temperatures. The rules for traveling with firearms can change at different airports, depending on the country or state laws, and the final verdict of whether you can or cannot fly with your firearms or airguns rests with the specific TSA officer you are dealing with. Therefore, when you have to fly, it is better to ship your equipment ahead of time and collect it from the courier when you land.
Make sure your firearm, and other equipment are stored safely
When traveling with firearms, sports shooting airguns, ammunition, and other shooting equipment, maintaining safety is very important. You should keep your guns in a hard case, and store the ammunition separately, in a heat-resistant case. If you are traveling with an airgun, especially co2 powered guns, you should not have any loaded co2 canisters in your car, as they can get over-pressurized with heat, at relatively low temperatures, and cause problems. Your firearms and airguns should also be unloaded and carried with an open action if possible.
Traveling with sporting firearms and airguns can be a little intimidating at first, however, it is entirely possible. If you follow all the rules and have all the legal paperwork, you can travel to almost any country or state with your firearms. However, make sure to consult a specialist on the exact laws before you leave.
Good luck and safe travels!