Unless you are a convicted felon, under indictment for felonies, are mentally deficient, an illegal user of drugs, an illegal alien or are military veteran who was dishonorably discharged, there is no federal restriction on transporting a gun or firearm across state lines. Also, if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence or are subject to restraining orders pertaining to domestic violence, federal law states that you cannot transport any firearms. However, many states have laws that regulate gun transportation. Also, many cities have ordinances that restrict transportation. If you travel, you must be conscious of the law and comply with each jurisdiction’s requirements.
Carrying a Gun
Whenever you are carrying a firearm (handgun, shotgun or rifle) on your person or easily accessible in your vehicle, state and local laws become applicable. It is important that you find out what the law is in each state. You can do this by calling the attorney general’s office in a particular state or by calling the NRA/IRA at 800-392-8683. This will help determine whether a permit is necessary and how you can obtain it. Many states require a permit but will not issue them to nonresidents.
Transportation by Vehicle
Most states allow gun transportation in a vehicle as long as it is unloaded, cased and locked in the vehicle’s trunk. However, exceptions to this rule are applicable to interstate transportation of firearms. For example, if you have a trailer or a camper that is towed by your automobile, you should transport the gun in the trunk, making sure that it is unloaded and cased. But if your vehicle is of the type where living and driving spaces are not separate, then place the firearm in a locked, rear compartment where it cannot easily be accessed by the driver or passengers.
Firearms Aboard Commercial Airplane
The carrying of any concealed or unconcealed firearm, on or about a person on a commercial aircraft is prohibited by federal law. They are permitted as baggage but the Transportation Security Administration has specific requirements for transporting the firearm and ammunition. These requirements include: the firearm being checked in with the carrier as luggage, the firearm being declared orally or in writing, the firearm must be unloaded, and it must be carried in a hard sided container. Firearms and ammunition are prohibited as carry on luggage.
Firearms Aboard Other Carriers
If traveling by boat, train or non-commercial plane through interstate or foreign commerce and are legally in possession of a firearm, you must deliver the unloaded gun into the custody of the captain, pilot, conductor or operator until the destination is reached. Most bus companies such as Greyhound typically refuse to transport firearms.
Canada and Mexico
Canadian gun-transport laws are very strict. If you take a trip to Canada and plan to bring a firearm, you must declare the possession to a customs officer. The gun must also be registered at a cost of 18 Canadian dollars. After registration, you must obtain a Non Resident Firearms Declaration Form and be approved at the border, which costs $50 Canadian. Semi-automatic shotguns and rifles that are less than 660 mm or have a barrel length less than 457 mm are prohibited in Canada.
Gun transport to Mexico also is very restricted. However, an may bring two sporting shotguns or rifles for hunting and 50 rounds of ammunition per gun. A tourist permit must be obtained from the Mexican Consulate that has jurisdiction over the area where the tourist is living. You must also obtain a military permit and a hunting services agreement from the Mexican Secretary of Urban Development and Ecology. This must be in the possession of the hunter at all times along with his passport, five picture IDs and proof of citizenship.