Firearms and US Customs
- 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.
The Forces of Lord Selkirk