Guns & Travel: Do You Know the Rules?

January 9, 2008 - Posted at 4:29 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- The weekend arrest of former Jonesboro City Council Member Alec Farmer brought up many questions about the rules of travel with guns of any sort.

While it may be legal to travel with a gun, we learned some states do not honor the gun-carrying permits from other states; that's what caused the problem for the former alderman.

The best rule of thumb...if you are packing more than just the basics, check before you go.  While firearms and ammunition are only allowed on airplanes in your checked baggage, taking the weapons across state lines may not be always legal.

"There are laws that prohibit them from carrying a concealed weapon. certain states that have concealed weapon permits, those are honored in Arkansas, but they need to check before they come to find out what the law is and also if they carry a concealed weapon and if that right to carry will be recognized under Arkansas law," said prosecuting attorney Brent Davis.

Many U.S. states have legislated gun laws independent of existing federal firearm laws.  The state level bans vary significantly in their content, form and level of restriction.

"The only way you can check is to call the Attorney General's office in that particular state before you travel there, check federal guidelines for transporting firearms on an airplane, check with the carrier of the airline that you are traveling with as to any restrictions," said Davis.

All firearms must be declared to the airlines during check-in and must be packed unloaded and in a hard-sided locked container.

Passengers may check up to 11 lbs. of ammunition as checked baggage only. The ammunition has to be packed in the manufacturer's original container or a crush proof container of equivalent value. Also, under no circumstances may a passenger board carrying any kind of ammunition.

And for travelers driving across state lines with weapons, check with state police for exact rules and regulations.

"They are passed not only for the safety of the individual, but for the safety of law enforcement officers also. You need to comply because those are certainly the type of laws that could ruin a trip if you run afoul of them and it's a good idea if you find out about them before you go," said Davis.

When traveling, military personnel also must declare weapons and ammunition and are not allowed to transport any firearms in checked baggage.