Importing a firearm from Europe to the United States

This is a discussion on Importing a firearm from Europe to the United States within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm traveling to Eastern Europe in a few days to visit my ill grandfather, who worked as a police officer in the area for many ...

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Thread: Importing a firearm from Europe to the United States

  1. #1
    Member Array sss's Avatar
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    Importing a firearm from Europe to the United States

    I'm traveling to Eastern Europe in a few days to visit my ill grandfather, who worked as a police officer in the area for many years. When he retired, the government allowed him to keep his service revolver as a memento of his years of service. Grandpa and I haven't kept up as much as we should have, so he just recently found out that I'm interested in shooting...

    With that in mind, I've been doing some research on the steps involved in importing a firearm into the United States. US Firearm Importation Rules gave me a decent overview of the paperwork involved in doing this, but I still have a few questions that the site doesn't address.

    According to ATF, there is no need for an FFL to do what I want to do, which should hopefully make the process pretty straightforward:
    ATF Information:

    A nonlicensee may obtain a permit to import sporting ammunition for
    personal use (excluding armor piercing handgun ammunition, tracer, incendiary,
    or large capacity ammunition feeding devices), and firearm parts (other than
    frames, receivers, or actions) without engaging the services of a Federal
    firearms licensee. Silencer parts and certain machine gun parts are subject
    to the NFA and may not be imported. If the nonlicensee chooses to have a
    licensee handle the importation, the licensee should complete and send to ATF
    an ATF Form 6, Part I, in accordance with the instructions on the form. The
    nonlicensee's name, address, and telephone number should appear in Item 9,
    "Specific purpose of importation."
    What I'm confused about is how to actually get the firearm into the United States:

    1. Will a firearm be accepted as part of my luggage abroad? My destination is not accessible via a direct flight, and requires that I have layovers in "gun loving" European countries including Germany and Austria. Lufthansa seems to allow firearms in checked luggage, but I'm very concerned about being interrogated or otherwise harassed in a foreign country.

    2. How about shipping the pistol to my house here in Texas? I understand that the ATF permit takes a month or two to be approved, so I'll be back at home again well before the permit is issued. If at all possible, I think I'd much rather have the pistol shipped here instead of flying out there again. I've found plenty of resources on shipping a firearm domestically, but nothing for sending them via UPS/FedEx/DHL from Europe. Can this be done?

    Any tips from someone who's done this before would be greatly appreciated. :)
    "A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker." - H.L. Mencken

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  3. #2
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    A nonlicensee may obtain a permit to import sporting ammunition for personal use (excluding armor piercing handgun ammunition, tracer, incendiary,or large capacity ammunition feeding devices), and firearm parts (other than frames, receivers, or actions) without engaging the services of a Federal firearms licensee.
    Silencer parts and certain machine gun parts are subject to the NFA and may not be imported. If the nonlicensee chooses to have a licensee handle the importation, the licensee should complete and send to ATF
    an ATF Form 6, Part I, in accordance with the instructions on the form. Then on licensee's name, address, and telephone number should appear in Item 9,"Specific purpose of importation."
    The way I read it you cannot ship it yourself. I'd call the ATF directly and get the word directly from them.

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    Member Array irish_ironsight's Avatar
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    Actually I have just done this myself, I imported a pistol from Ireland.

    From the US point of view you will need to complete an ATF Form 6.
    The ATF will finish it and issue you with the import documents and 2 copies of Form 6A, the paperwork and firearm is presented to US CBP on your return to the USA, they finish their sections and your on your way. YOU must travel with the firearm yourself, if not then you will need an FFL to do the importing for you.

    I found it very simple to get the import organized, the problem was the export paperwork from ireland which took almost a year to arrange.

    Good Luck
    Surrounded and outnumbered, pass me my vest!

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    Member Array sss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish_ironsight View Post
    From the US point of view you will need to complete an ATF Form 6.
    Do you remember how long your request took for the ATF to fill? I've read anywhere from 1-6 months, though that seems very broad to me, even for the federal government. :)

    I'll only be overseas for about 8 days, so I'll probably end up having to arrange this through an FFL.

    Thanks for the help so far.
    "A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker." - H.L. Mencken

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