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“The rifle is a noble weapon. It brings us pleasures that no scatter-gunner can ever know. A shotgun takes you into cultivated fields, or into those narrow wastes within sight and sound of civilization. But the rifle entices its bearer into primeval forests, into mountains and deserts untenanted by man. To him in whom the primitive virtues of courage, energy and love of adventure have not been sapped, there is scarce a joy comparable to roaming at will through wild regions, viewing the glories of the unspoiled earth, and feeling the inexpressible thrill of manliness sore-tested by privation and hazard, but armed and undismayed.” – Horace Kephart

I’ve always liked that quote. And it means more as I pack for lands both charted and un-charted . . .

I’m just a few days out from a new adventure. Tonight I breath a sigh of relief. A couple of weeks ago, I started seeing news releases about a new law taking effect regarding taking firearms out of the country and back.

As part of my preps for this trip, I made my way to the customs office at PDX to register the two rifles I’m taking.

This is normally done with a form 4457. It’s easy, simple and only requires a visit to a Customs office. They check your gat against what you’ve filled out, stamp it, sign it, and your good to go.

While there, I asked the customs gent about the new law. He said, in effect, that nothing has changed, that I was good to go with the two 4457 forms. Like those above.

As I’m on my way home from Customs, my phone pings. It’s an email from Dan Zimmerman with a bit of info on the new export regulations on firearms. I get home feeling frustrated. So I start doing some digging, phone calling, email exchanges. Calls to Safari Club International. Ugh, it seems this “new” law, that was actually enacted back in 2012, went into effect April 3rd.

The upside is, I learned a new cuss word. The down side, I don’t have much time before I leave.

Time to get to work. The first step is having the IRS issue an Employer Identification Number. No, I’m not an employer. Not sure I want to be. That step was fairly easy. You just have to know which boxes to check. No brainier. It took me all of a half an hour. (I was eating, OK?).

Oh and by the way. The .gov shuts down their internet sites at 7:00 p.m. My time. So technically it took me two nights.

Then on to AESdirect. Oh hell. I dealt with this mumbo-jumbo as a lumber importer a couple years ago. My first form took eight hours to complete. And that was with phone help from the people in the know. So I call my hunting buddy who has completed his and get a few tips. This time it only took a four hours. But that was just to get an account set up.

Then there is a 30-question test and you can only miss three. Some of the questions are common sense. Others? WTF?

I pass the test on my third try. I’ve blown five evenings on this. Now on to getting my export stuff done… Another new cuss word! I think I’m finally good to click the “submit button.” Crap. Bad data.

Long story short: their software doesn’t work with Macs. It doesn’t work with Google chrome. I needed to download Firefox as my browser. On my fourth night, I finally manage to get it completed.

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Here I am. Less than a week from departure and I finally have it done. Why you may ask? I don’t consider this any kind of Second Amendment issue. There are export and import issues here. Other countries with their rules and laws. For all sorts of stuff. Not just guns.

But it’s the call of the wild that I hear every day. It’s un-charted territories. Crocodiles on the banks of rivers, elephants wandering, hippos grunting in the night, the songs of the jackals as I drift off to sleep in a canvas tent in the bush. The smell of the ironwood campfire. The taste of wildebeest biltong. A herd of Cape Buffalo moving towards an afternoon watering.

The camaraderie of friends old and new as we enjoy the campfire to lament a day of not seeing a single Klipspringer, or a celebratory drink over a new taxidermy bill. Also, because I enjoy being “armed and undismayed.” No matter which country I may find myself in. Because when I can, I do.

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17 Responses to The New Trials of International Travel (With Guns)

  1. As an FFL and an importer, I totally get all the forms just for security purposes especially for export. You check with the state department too? They control all the exporting of firearms and not just with customs.

    • I ɢᴏᴛ ʜᴏᴏᴋᴇᴅ ᴏɴ ʜᴀᴠɪɴɢ ᴀɴ ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇ ʙᴜsɪɴᴇss ᴀʟᴍᴏsᴛ ᴀ ᴅᴇᴄᴀᴅᴇ ᴀɢᴏ ᴡʜᴇɴ I ᴄʀᴇᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴀɴ ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇ ᴄᴏᴜʀsᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴍᴀᴅᴇ ᴍʏ ғɪʀsᴛ ••••••••••• $2,503! ••••••••••• ɪɴ ᴏɴᴇ ᴡᴇᴇᴋ, I ʟᴏᴠᴇᴅ ʙᴇɪɴɢ ᴀʙʟᴇ ᴛᴏ sᴛᴀʏ ʜᴏᴍᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴍʏ ғᴀᴍɪʟʏ, ᴍᴀᴋᴇ ᴍᴏɴᴇʏ, ʜᴀᴠᴇ ғᴜɴ ᴀɴᴅ ʜᴇʟᴘ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀs.
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    • Mark N.,

      Oh, there is a purpose alright … the purpose is to punish people for owning firearms and to maintain a revenue stream for government “Remington Raiders” (pun intended).

      For those of you who don’t know, Remington, in addition to making firearms, used to make typewriters — the predecessor to word processors. And our military used lots of clerks for logistics and to make reports. Of course many of those clerks used typewriters. Hence many people referred to them as “Remington Raiders” since they were military personnel and yet would never see combat.

  2. I hope your trip is satisfying and productive, Tom.

    That may take some of the bite out of all the unfriendly regulatory grief you went through.

  3. do it while you can… the BOY King is pushing hard everyday to set the world on fire for his WWIII/ Holy War.

    good luck on hunt.

  4. Is traveling internationally with suppressors the same, plus getting permission from the ATF and complying with the laws of the country you’re traveling to?

  5. Namibia’s temporary import form is effectively postcard-sized, and you fill it out when you land. Why isn’t ours any more?

  6. TIO, sooner or later you’re going to have to slow down long enough to write a damn BOOK! Have you been keeping notes? Taking pictures?

    • I’ve been taking tons of pics and notes. Keeping a diary.
      Currently at a hotel in Mokopane. Hitting the airport in Joburg tomorrow for Mozambique.
      WooHoo!

  7. Tom, have fun, enjoy your adventures, be safe and careful when and where req’d and may you have an uneventful return trip with your expectations all met.

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