Firearms and Ammunition

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The Transportation Security Administration detects firearms and other weapons at security checkpoints daily. Travelers may only transport ammunition and unloaded firearms in a locked, hard-sided container as checked baggage and are prohibited in carry-on baggage. Below are the guidelines for transporting firearms and ammunition:

Firearms

  • Firearm

    Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Firearm parts, including firearm frames and receivers, are prohibited in all carry-on baggage and must also be placed in checked baggage.

  • All firearms, ammunition and parts in checked baggage must be declared at the airline ticket counter during the check-in process.
  • Replica firearms may be transported in checked baggage only.
  • Travelers are encouraged to check regulations related to carrying firearms where they are traveling from and to, as laws may vary by destination.
  • Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags.
  • Consistent with the new ATF definition of firearm, TSA now considers frames, receivers, and 3D printed guns to be firearms under its civil enforcement program.  These items remain prohibited items and must be transported in accordance with TSA regulations in a passenger’s checked bag.  In addition, TSA considers a firearm to be “loaded” when both the firearm and its ammunition are accessible to the passenger.  For example, if an individual has a firearm in accessible baggage and ammunition in his/her pocket, or any combination where the individual has access to both, the firearm is considered “loaded” for purposes of assessing a civil penalty.

Ammunition

  • 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 a 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

Law Enforcement Officers

There are certain limited exceptions for law enforcement officers who may fly armed by meeting the requirements of Title 409 CFR § 1544.219. Law enforcement officers traveling with firearms can visit the law enforcement officer travel section of tsa.gov for a list of policies.

TSA must resolve all alarms in checked baggage. If a locked container carrying a firearm alarms, TSA or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.

Before leaving home, travelers are encouraged to check their baggage to ensure they are not traveling with any prohibited items including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition to avoid a possible arrest or civil penalties.

For specific types of firearms and ammunition allowed in checked baggage visit tsa.gov.

Last Updated on August 24, 2022 

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