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Firearms and US Customs

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  • Zorniak
    I did some homework today, as I am leaving for another living history event in Indiana in less than 2 weeks, and one in Wisconsin the week after and needed to
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 14, 2001
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      I did some homework today, as I am leaving for another living history
      event in Indiana in less than 2 weeks, and one in Wisconsin the
      week after and needed to know where I stood regarding my firearm. I
      personally will not be at Mississinewa this year. These are the

      I contacted US Customs at the Winnipeg International Airport and spoke
      to a supervisor, the officer indicated to me:

      In order for Canadians to bring a firearm of any sort they must be in
      possession of a permit, namely "Permit for Importation of
      Firearms, Ammunition and Implements of War".

      Application forms are available at US Customs. We must fill in a form
      ATF Form 6-Part I (5330.3A) (8-92), and return it to the ATF
      in Washington. The application for a permit takes 4-6 weeks to
      process. There is no charge for the permit and it is valid for 12
      months from the date of issue. By the looks of the permit application
      more than one firearm can be listed on the permit.

      In the words of the officer "Up to September 11 US Customs officers
      generally ignored the need for "foreign nationals" to be in
      possession of the (above) permit". She indicated to me that there will
      be zero tolerance regarding crossing the border by land or on
      boarding international flights without this permit and having a weapon
      of any sort. Flintlock muskets are included in their definition of a

      She indicated that this was the policy, in the past and will now be one
      that is adhered to. I indicated that in the past we never had any
      problems. She was blunt and said those days are over. She said we have
      been just plain lucky no one ever pressed the issue with us.

      The officer gave me the number for the ATF in Washington which I duly

      I spoke with an inspector in the Firearms and Explosives Imports Branch
      at length about the situation and why we bring firearms into
      the US. She was very knowledgeable about re-enacting and empathized
      with our plight. She also reiterated the words of the Customs
      officer and said we have been lucky for may years. She also said she is
      a former Northern Minnesotan, and said the days of Canadian
      hunters and sportsmen etc taking weapons of any sort into the US without
      the permit are now history. She fully understood that we
      are not hunters and that these are not modern weapons, but the
      regulations will be enforced with due diligence.

      Let me editorialize:

      The events of September 11 will now forever change how we freely crossed
      the border to enjoy our hobby. It is now a fact of life that
      the largest undefended border in the world is also become part of
      history. The freedoms we once enjoyed have now been taken from
      us. This applies to American and Canadians alike. We have lost a big
      part of our innocence.

      To my American friends. I feel deeply for you. We as Canadians have
      lost only a small part of our freedom. What you have lost is
      much greater and we must view our loss as a minor inconvenience.

      To our noble foe on the 1812 battlefield. Your offerings of muskets to
      any Canadian who is without only is a gesture that will never be
      overlooked or forgotten. I thank you on behalf of those who be at
      Mississinewa and I thank you for your generosity.

      Don Zorniak
      The Forces of Lord Selkirk
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