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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

Transporting Firearms and Ammunition

You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened will not be accepted. Be aware that cases that are supplied when purchasing a firearm may not be appropriate for securing the firearm when flying.


  • Comply with regulations on carrying firearms where you are traveling from and to, as laws vary by local, state and international governments.
  • Declare all firearms, ammunition and parts to the airline during the check-in process. Ask about limitations or fees that may apply.
  • Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Firearm parts, including firearms frames and receivers, must also be placed in checked baggage and are prohibited in carry-on baggage.
  • Replica firearms may be transported in checked baggage only.
  • Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags.
  • All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are prohibited in carry-on baggage.

United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44, firearm definitions includes: any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; and any destructive device. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm.


  • Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, 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 rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as described in the packing guidelines above.

Read the guidelines for law enforcement officers flying armed.