Moving Firearms & Transporting firearms and ammunition aboard commercial air carriers

Transporting Firearms
After years of aggressive public education on prohibited items, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to struggle with communicating the issue of how to properly transport guns and ammunition aboard commercial air carriers. Recent reports have included daily gun incidents each day across the country. Checkpoint screeners have done an excellent job in detecting the weapons and keeping them off airplanes, but each situation causes delays in the screening process. Another related cause of delays is the frequent occurrence of weapons not properly declared and packed. Baggage screeners often find guns-loaded and unloaded-amidst clothing and other items in checked bags. Since most instances involve travelers who are not aware of the gun transport rules or who have unknowingly presented the weapon at a checkpoint, the TSA hopes a public information campaign will help reduce the number of incidents and resulting unnecessary delays.


  • When traveling, comply with the laws concerning posession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.
  • Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.
  • Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock.
  • Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
  • Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.
  • Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked 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.


  • Ammunition is prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
  • Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm. Read the requirements governing the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8).
  • Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm.
TSA is reaching out to gun dealers, sports associations, law enforcement organizations and others to help get the message out concerning the rules for transporting firearms,  irearm parts and ammunition. The Federal requirements regarding travel with firearms and ammunition aboard commercial air carrier are listed below.
For additional information, and for the most recent information, please visit the TSA Website at
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