How To Travel Domestically in the US with Firearms or Ammo

If you are planning to travel across state lines on federally regulated transportation or stay in a hotel with your firearms or ammunition, it is important to take all necessary preparatory measures to stay safe and legal.

By checking the rules beforehand, as well as securing everything properly and giving notice to the proper authorities, this seemingly daunting task will not only be doable, but should be smooth-sailing.

  • Check The Rules

It is important to look into the regulations put forth by each locality and state you will be traveling through and the accommodations you will be staying in, as they may vary significantly.

  • Federally Regulated Transportation: 

Ask your train agency or airline about all applicable limitations and fees. If you are bringing ammunition along for the ride, inquire about their specifications for it as well.

  • Hotel Accommodations:

Even if you have a CCW, you should still ask your hotel about their policy on guns. Many of them do not allow them on their property with or without a concealed carry permit, while others may require you to surrender it to their security staff. If you plan to visit a hotel bar, find out what the food and beverage laws are in the state you will be staying in.

  • Pack and Secure It Properly

Securing your firearms safely and up-to-specs typically entails storing them, unloaded, in a hard-sided container that locks. Only you should have the key, keeping it with you at all times, unless personnel requests it to ensure compliance. A great way to go would be to get a gun box that can be unlocked using multiple methods, such as biometrics, RFID, or a keypad.

  • Federally Regulated Transportation:

All firearms, accessories such as compensators, and ammo are only allowed in checked baggage, excluding rifle scopes, which can be brought in a carry-on. Make sure to comply with all specifications, meeting all criteria for ‘unloaded’ status to avoid serious penalties. If you pack everything correctly and get a good gun safe, you may be able to store both firearms and ammunition together.

  • Hotel Accommodations:

If your hotel does, in fact, allow you to keep your firearm with you while on the premises, safeguard it in your room or vehicle. Do not leave it in your hotel room when you are not present.

  • Give a Heads Up

To avoid delays, disruptions, or surprises in the legality department, give your transportation agencies and hotels preemptive notice about what you will be bringing along and when.

  • Federally Regulated Transportation:

Before any air travel, declare all firearms and ammunition to your airline. If you will be taking a train, make a reservation for them in advance.

  • Hotel Accommodations:

Always tell your hotel if you will be carrying and follow all of the procedures they have in place. If this is not done properly, you could potentially face severe penalties of law.

If you are planning to bring your firearms across state lines on a plane or train, or stay in a hotel while storing your guns or ammunition, check out the following resources for further information:

TSA—Transporting Firearms and Ammunition

Amtrak—Firearms in Checked Baggage

USCCA—Handguns at Hotels

Always look into the laws and regulations of the states and localities you will be traveling to and transiting through to stay safe and legal.

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