TSA: Traveling with Firearms

Traveling with Special Items

Firearms & Ammunition

Attention all passengers traveling with firearms. Please note the following:

Travelers may only transport UNLOADED firearms in a locked, hard-sided container in or as checked baggage. All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames and receivers, are prohibited in carry-on baggage.

Residents of the 5 boroughs with a premise permit please note the additional prohibitions placed upon you by the Beach vs. Kelly decision of 2008.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.

Also, please note that other countries have different laws that address transportation and possession of firearms. If international travel is planned traveling internationally, check the regulations of the destination country to ensure compliance with their requirements.

There are certain limited exceptions for law enforcement officers who may fly armed by meeting the requirements of Title 49 CFR § 1544.219. Law enforcement officers should read our policies on traveling with guns.

Photo of a firearm improperly packaged
Photo of a firearm improperly packaged.

 

Failure to adhere to the following regulations will preclude passengers from traveling with firearms, ammunition or firearm parts:

  • Travelers must declare all firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
  • The firearm must be unloaded.
  • The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.
  • The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft.
  • If firearms are not properly declared or packaged, TSA will provide the bag to law enforcement for resolution with the airline. If the issue is resolved, law enforcement will release the bag to TSA so screening may be completed.
  • TSA must resolve all alarms of checked luggage. If a locked container containing a firearm alarms, TSA will contact the airline, who will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner and advise the passenger to go to the screening location. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.
  • If a locked container alarms during screening and is not marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm.
  • Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.
  • Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
  • Firearm magazines and ammunition clips must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.
  • Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows the packing guidelines described above.
  • TSA prohibits black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder.

These regulations are strictly enforced. Violations can result in state and local criminal prosecution, as well as civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation.

Guns & Firearms

Item Carry-on Checked
Small arms ammunition, including ammunition up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge- Check with your airline or travel agent to see if ammunition is permitted in checked baggage on the airline you are flying. Small arms ammunition for personal use must be securely packaged in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Ask about limitations or fees, if any, that apply. No Yes
BB guns No Yes
Compressed Air Guns, including rifles and pistols (to include paintball markers) – Carried in checked luggage without compressed air cylinder attached. No Yes
Firearms – firearms carried as checked baggage MUST be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared to the airline at check-in. No Yes
Flare Guns – May be carried as checked baggage MUST be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared to the airline at check-in. Read our section on Camping. No Yes
Flares No No
Gun Lighters* No Yes
Gun Powder including black powder and percussion caps No No
Parts of Guns and Firearms No Yes
Pellet Guns No Yes
Realistic Replicas of Firearms No Yes
Starter Pistols – can only be carried as checked baggage and MUST be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared to the airline at check-in. No Yes

 

NOTE: Check with your airline or travel agent to see if firearms are permitted in checked baggage on the airline you are flying. Ask about limitations or fees, if any, that apply.

*Permitted in checked baggage only if it does not contain lighter fluid.

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