Feds Suspend Confusing Gun Travel Rules

RigbybiggametestU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has just updated its website to provide clarification on its current position concerning electronic registration for traveling with firearms abroad.  On April 29, 2015, CPB added a page to its website explaining that it is “temporarily suspending implementation of the regulation” concerning electronic registration as the agency works to modify the Automated Export System (AES). The CBP webpage can be accessed directly from here: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/323/kw/export%20hunting%20rifle/suggested/1. The full text of the new CBP notice appears at the bottom of this alert.

As this suspension is only temporary, SCI members should continue to monitor their electronic communications from SCI for further developments on the firearms registration requirements.  SCI will continue to update you as we receive additional information.

The information in this email is not intended to serve as legal advice.  Those with questions or need for additional information should contact CBP directly.

The following was excerpted from the CBP Website:

Traveling outside of the U.S. – Temporarily taking a firearm, rifle, gun, shotgun or ammunition abroad for hunting purposes

What is the process for a traveler temporarily taking a firearm, rifle, gun, shotgun or ammunition abroad for hunting or sports-related purposes?

Current export regulations issued by the Department of State require travelers to file electronic export information (EEI) for temporary export of personally owned firearms via the Automated Export System (AES) prior to departure from the United States.

CBP is aware of issues that travelers are having with the implementation of this regulation and is working to ensure that no traveler attempting to legally take their firearm out of the country experiences significant delays or incurs additional cost.

Because of these issues, we are temporarily suspending implementation of the regulation as we work with our  government partners to modify the AES system to make it more user-friendly for individual travelers.  In the interim, CBP will continue to follow their long standing practice of issuing and certifying a Certificate of Registration (CBP Form 4457).  During this time, when a traveler contacts CBP to register their firearm for export and reentry, CBP will:

  • Complete a CBP Form 4457 to ensure a problem-free return to the U.S., and
  • Provide a fact sheet about the regulation and how to comply in the interim.

If you need to register your firearm in the course of your travel, please give yourself enough time to do so, 2-3 hours is a good estimate.  You also have the option of registering in advance at a CBP Port of Entry.  Once a firearm is registered, the 4457 can be used repeatedly for that particular firearm.

CBP advises travelers to become familiar with the import requirements of the foreign country(s) that they may be traveling through or visiting. Those countries may have more restrictive laws and regulations regarding the use of firearms within their countries.  For many countries that do allow the temporary importation of firearms, the CBP Form 4457 is required for entry of a U.S. owned firearm into their country.  (Canada does not require it, but it does facilitate the temporary importation. Be sure to become familiar with Canada‘s import requirements.)

Please note, if you are taking ammunition, and there is a possibility you will not use it all and would like to re-import it, your 4457 should reflect the kind of ammunition you are departing with.

Upon returning to the United States, the traveler will make a regular declaration regarding the personal effects and goods that they are carrying and ensure that they declare any firearms and ammunition. To satisfy the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives requirements for the re-importation of a firearm please refer to 27 CFR 478.115(a). The ATF regulations allow for the use of the CF 4457 upon re-importation, and does not require an approved import permit (ATF-6), provided that CBP is satisfied that the firearm was previously exported from the United States and is now being returned. To establish such proof, a bill of sale, receipt, copy of ATF Form 4473, household effects inventory, packing list, or registration on Customs Forms 4457 or 4455 may be used, if the registration form is completed prior to departure from the U.S. For military personnel, a properly executed Department of Defense Form 12521 signed by either the serviceman’s commanding officer or an authorized Customs officer may be used. The acceptability of such proof is within the purview of the Customs officials at the port of entry.

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