Leaving the USA with firearm items in your luggage ?

You cannot simply put the items into your luggage and board a flight, nor can you ship it using a skybox. You could face stiff penalties for doing this.

Become aware of US export requirements

The law in Trinidad now allows FUL holders to import items that are compatible with the firearm(s) on their FUL if imported in non-commercial quantity. All the FUL holder needs to do is present their FUL to Trinidad Customs. Be prepared convince the Customs Officer that the item is in fact compatible with your firearm.

This is a welcome change in the law for FUL holders as it removes the burden of issuing an import permit from the office of the Commissioner of Police for every person and each item they wish to import, to personalize, improve or maintain their firearm. The bottlenecks at both the firearms office and customs have been eased. You still require an import permit for actual firearms and ammunition importation. Only accessories and items necessary for maintaining a firearm are covered by the allowance to import without an import permit.

As delightful as that may be on the Trinidad & Tobago side of things, it does not eliminate the requirement of obtaining an export license for firearm parts and accessories being exported from the USA. You cannot simply put the items into your luggage and board a flight, nor can you ship it using a skybox. You could face stiff penalties for doing this.

The U.S. Department of State's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, administer export control regulations. Their scope goes beyond the item alone and covers who the item is for, where the item will be used and what purpose the items will be used for. This is serious business.

The sale, transfer, transportation, or shipment outside of the U.S. of any product prohibited or restricted for export without complying with U.S. export control laws and regulations, including proper export licensing, documentation or authorization, is strictly prohibited and may result in civil penalties and/or constitute a federal crime.

Several firearm-related items require an export license including for example, Reflex Red-Dot Sights, Iron Sights, Night Vision and Thermal Equipment, Laser Aiming Devices, Trigger Kits, Magazines, Shotgun Magazine Extension Tubes and Sling Swivels.

Some of you reading that list might be saying that you bought those items on Amazon or eBay and brought them in through a skybox or popped them in your luggage and didn’t have a problem. That just means that you haven’t gotten caught or it could mean that you were caught and the next time you set foot in the United States you’d get arrested, probably fined or jailed and then deported and your visa revoked. Is it worth it ?

That seems like a lot of trouble for only a Red-Dot doesn’t it. US export laws were formulated for a reason and it’s important that you comply with the laws and do not attempt to leave the US with those items without an export permit. If you don’t do the export the right way, you’d also be guilty of failing to file paperwork with the Census Bureau and US Customs & Border Protection.

Export control laws and regulations are complex. Any summaries of such laws and regulations provided herein are not comprehensive and are not to be taken as legal advice or counseling. If you’re looking to export a firearm related item, leave it to us.