In preparation for a hunt in South Africa for some plains game, I made a trip to Portland Airport customs to fill out the requisite form 4457. Not a big deal, really. I’ve done it before. But there has been something in the wind for about a week. An old law was dredged up from the redundant department of redundancy. It seems that if you want to take a firearm out of country, you now have to register with the IRS as a business to get an Employer Identification Number, then register with AES directly. Then . . .
take a 30 question test, and register your “export” with the .gov. The new old law supposedly went into effect April 3rd. (Even though the law was passed back in 2012). As we all know, if you want to complicate something and also make it ridiculous, let the government handle it (think the Postal Service or Amtrak).
Under the old method, the form 4457 made note of make, model, serial number, caliber, and who owned it. Simple really. The new way? After five evenings of trying to figure out the new old system, I finally got things done. All it asks is what are you exporting, and how much does it weigh. No serial numbers, no make, model, caliber. Nothing.
I made it out of Portland to Atlanta, with no issues. TSA checked my pelican double rifle case for explosives. None found. They also checked the form 4457 sitting right there between the boomsticks. American Airlines made me sign a card swearing that the rifles were unloaded. Good to go.
After a nice overnight layover, I checked in to Delta’s terminal in Atlanta. Just before check-in, I g0t an email announcement from Safari Club International advising that some airports are doing the AES direct and some are just using the 4457. They made me sign a similar form about them being unloaded and sent me to the TSA/oversize baggage room.
Here we go.
I’m thinking my paperwork may be in error, or something obscure will be amiss. I’m the guy who usually gets the pat-down by agents.
They took the case, checked it for explosives residue, and wished me a pleasant flight. A part of me wanted to protest and demand they look at all of my hard work. The more intelligent side of me just smiled and said ‘thank you.’
In another day of travel, I will be in the wild veld of the Limpopo River Valley with RF’s Big Horn Spike Driver hunting the elusive Kudu with Superior Safaris in an un-fenced 30,000 acre piece of wildlife heaven.
Stay tuned for my bullet performance test: a 350 grain Hornady XTP on big game.