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Transfer Of Residense - my experience

The legal aspects of owning, shooting, importing arms/ ammo and other related legal aspects as well as any other legal queries. Please note: This INCLUDES all arms licensing issues/ queries!
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Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby NNP » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:39 pm

Hi all

I was able to get a firearm to India (till Mumbai customs, where it was detained). I know I am hardly half way through as I have just applied for a arms license in Pune , but I just felt I should jot down my experience which might help others in planning to import a firearm. (You all in this group have helped me a lot with suggestions , because of which I atleast was able to get the firearm with me to India)

Here is the flow I went through
1. In US I took a local firearm training course. This was sometime in 2009 beginning. Note that since under TR you need to have owned the firearm for more than 1 year, its better to start the process asap.
2. I took a online hunting training course and paid a small fee (15 - 20 $) to get a hunting license. Took a printout of the license.
3. Quite hesitant , I went to a gun shop in US , for the first time. The owner was not aware that persons with H1 B VISA's are allowed to buy a firearm (if they have valid hunting permit). According to him we could only buy long guns. But I spent quite some time with him explaining him and he finally agreed. I had to fill a form (ATF 4473), with my I 94 number on it and the hunting License number along with other basic information.
4. It took 3 - 4 days for NCIS background check to complete , after which I finally bought the firearm and proudly got it home !!! PLEASE note that in US laws about firearm transport are very strict .. so for us (non citizens ) its better to keep firearm unloaded and in a locked case in the car trunk. Dont want to get into a legal mess if a police officer finds you with a firearm in your reach.
5. After this I tried to apply for a firearm carry license in US , which is only for US Citizens and people with green card. Hence it was not accepted...
6. I continued to train in the gun range and did some gun courses and kept all the certificates with me.
7. I joined NRA and local gun range. I kept the membership info with me keeping in mind it will help me with licensing in India
8. Before my India trip , I kept all copies of my hunting license , gun purchase receipts etc. Also i requested the firearm dealer to give me a copy of Form 4473 which has the proof that a background check was done on me. I think this will help in India for license.
9. Just a few days before my India trip , I visited local US police station and requested a criminal background certificate. They charged 15 $ and gave me a report (clean) in 1 week. again my thought is that this will help with local licensing.
10. Also I called up Mumbai customs to make sure that they will allow me to deposit the firearm at customs ... I was a bit worried that they might arrest me for some odd reason ... Its not normal for me to carry a firearm on a flight .. so I was worried , but the customs officer was very nice on the phone and asked me to declare it in red channel and i would be fine
11. I was initially very worried that how the flight will go with firearm .. so I was checking with various shipping companies if they ship firearm from US to India ... but that did not work out fine ... since they have rules to not allow firearms (just stating this experience ... not that anyone needs to do this)

So all the above steps were done to ensure I have a smooth trip to India... now a bit about the actual travel to India from US.
1. It is perfectly legal to take the firearm with you into India as checked in baggage , but you need to first check with your arilines.
2. Try to take a flight that will directly land into India. This is from my bad experience in Hongkong a few years back , when I was getting back a airgun from US and though US folks allowed it in checked in baggage , hongkong police harrased me quite a bit. I strongly suggest a direct flight from US to India ... the flight can go through as many airports in US .. as long as it will not land in any other country once outside US.
3. Give multiple calls to airlines to be absolutely sure that they allow firearms to be checked in for International flights.
4. On the day of flight , lock the firearm in a hard loakable box \ safe ...
5. Arrive 2 hrs earlier than normal at the US airport. You can walk with the bag into the airport , but at the check in counter declare it to the person. They are very cool about it .. so dont worry.
6. they will check your firearm bag and send it seperately to the Aircraft. Also they will ask you to fill a firearm declaration form ... fill it.
7. Once the flight lands into India , atleast at Mumbai , the bag with firearm was sent on the same luggagge belt as with other bags !!! .. its a loop hole considering I could access the firearm anytime ... anyways ...
8. Once you pick ur bag , go to the RED Channel .. DO NOT by mistake go into green channel.
9. Tell the officer about the firearm , show him the receipts , etc which will proove that you are under TR.
10. Now you will have to spend maybe an hr at the airport while they lock the firearm seal it and prepare a detention receipt. Make sure you take that receipt with you.

I had no problems at Mumbai customs .. no bribe or no harrasment ... I was very impressed by the way they treated me.

I hope the above experience will help others .. IF anyone has any questions please send me a message and I am sure I can guide you till Indian Customs experience ... I am myself stuck with the licensing part in Pune , India .. so I cannot give any gyaan on that part :)


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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby boris » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:22 pm

Very Informative post sir,thanks a lot.

Which gun have you bought from the states and which guns did you own over there.

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby nagarifle » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:56 am

nice work

just one thing did you ask what the customs charge per day to detain your arms?

getting the arms to India is easy, leaving with it from the customs is a differnt matter, hope you get your licence soon


if you say it can not be done, then you are right, for you, it can not be done.

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby ckkalyan » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:21 am

Very informative report; thanks for sharing NNP


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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby xl_target » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:09 am

Thank you for taking the time to post your experience in such a clear and concise manner.
Please continue to detail the steps that you take in the process of acquiring your arms licence.
This would make a complete reference guide for the Indian citizen returning from abroad and wanting to bring arms with him.

“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” — Winston Churchill, Oct 29, 1941

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby NNP » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:15 pm

@ boris , I bought a Taurus Mag 327. It can fire a .32 long , .32 S , .327 cartridge .. hence I bought it ... since I can use comparitively less expensive .32 S&W rounds that we get in India.

@nagarifle , I did ask them the charges , but they did not provide a definate answer .. they said it will depend on when I collect the firearm. Frankly , I was pretty happy that I was uneventfully able to get it till customs .. from US .. and so I did not question them too much. I hope the cost is not too much though !

@ ckkalyan .. thanks ... nice to see you find this useful

@ xl_target ... yes , I will detail the steps for the arms license process too. As of now I have prepared the documents , and will submit tomorrow to Police. Just one moer thing , I have also got contact of a lawyer , and I will approach him if the license is rejected for some reason. (which is quite probable)

Will keep all posted ...

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby hvj1 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:48 pm

Hello NNP,
Its not surprising to find people on this forum, who are genuinely interested in helping out other people with their experience. You are certainly one of them. I sincerely admire and appreciate the time taken by you, to post in detail, information, which I am certain will be extremely useful and prevent a helluva lot of heartburn.
Finally your choice of weapon, particularly caliber is PERFECT.
Thank you very much.
Best Regards and Happy Shooting.

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby Hammerhead » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:56 pm

If I must say , by the time one of our friends received the gun from the customs in New Delhi - half of the parts including the magazines were gone. Even though he had the Firearms License for all india or some thing like that prior to transport the gun.The gun was kept with customs for few days and all ruined. Wish you a very good luck - Haji

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby rcdoma » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:46 am

Congrats NNP on your successful import!!! :cheers: :D Good-luck getting your license soon and picking up your weapon. Thanks for taking the time to document your experience, hope you got some good ammo too.

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby Anand » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:39 pm

Congrats on getting so far NNP. I have a few questions for you:
1. Which airline did you get your pistol through? what airport did you fly out from?
2. Did you get an export license? what was your experience?

AFAIK getting a Handgun Carry Permit/Concealed Carry Weapon License (CCW) is allowed in Some states even if you are not a citizen or a Green Carder.

Please elaborate the details and questions asked by the TSA and the person at check in counter, also did you clearly mention that you were leaving the country meaning that the pistol was in fact being exported?

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby nagarifle » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:36 pm

just hope the storage charges do not come to much, on the other hand one should not be surprised if they charge INR500 per day.

am not saying that is what they charge, AFAIK its based on weight and size.

hate tho think that the storge charges will be more the the cost of the arms.


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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby ribaalber » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:02 pm

NNP wrote:@ boris , I bought a Taurus Mag 327. It can fire a .32 long , .32 S , .327 cartridge .. hence I bought it ... since I can use comparitively less expensive .32 S&W rounds that we get in India.


You bought the snub nose Federal?

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those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes....."
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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby NNP » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:35 pm

@hvj1 - No Thanks ... Its because of suggestions and help from members of this group that I was able to reach this stage .. I am glad to be of any help whatsoever

@hammerhead - I have locked the revolver in a locked case, with 2 locks of which I am only aware of the combination. I dont think anyone will mess with the weapon ... (I hope so :) ) ... But if I really get a license and am able to see it again , i will sruely post the condition in which I received it :) .. hoping to see it in one piece.

@rcdoma - thanks ... yes I got 40 rounds of 327 Fed mag :)

@Anand - I came from US in Continental airlines. I called them up several times to check the process to be sure I am on the right track. The flight was from Atlanta to Newark to Mumbai straight. I can provide more details if need be ... like the exact flight # ... but I think that does not matter as long as you DO NOT land at any other country , which I can assure you , will get you into trouble.
No , I did not get any export license. It is not needed as far as I understand. I too was worried about it since a few folks on this forum too suggested that it is needed , but from my experience I can tell u its not needed. Just land up at the airport , declare it to the check in person and tell them that u need to check it in straight to Mumbai (or Delhi etc).

I hardly had any chance to communicate with the TSA person ... the lady at the check in counter walked me through the entire process .. so I was not asked any questions by TSA.
HEre is what happened ... I drove to Atlanta airport. The firearm was in a checked in bag ... I walked to the check in counter just like we do always ... but before starting check in , I told the lady at the counter that I had a firearm. She was not too shocked to hear it. She gave me a "Firearm declaration form" which I filled and kept a copy with me ... as a proof that I had declared it .. in case I am questioned later.
I told her that I wanted to take the firearm with me for good. I asked her if others had done it before in International flight and she said folks to Africa etc do it for hunting trips ... but not heard of people taking it to India.
She asked me if I had the necessary documents to carry it into India... I told her yes ... (But she was not too bothered by it .. so I did not think giving more details made sense)

@nagarifle ... 500 per day !!!! :( :( :( ... please tell me u re joking .. i ll go broke if its that much ... I came to India in Oct ... and its already 3 months and mabe 2 -3 more months before I get a license (if i do) ... Lets hope its not so much. I have one contact in Mumbai customs ... not that I want to bypass any rules etc .. but i ll make sure I am not charged more than what its supposed to be. Will keep you posted on what happens.

@ribaalber - Its a 327 Fed Mag Taurus , 2 inch barrel ... so I guess its a snub nose ..

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby sa_ali » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:56 pm

Congrats man, well done.
I really hope that you get your license and then we get visual feast of your gun also.

Best of luck bro.

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Re: Transfer Of Residense - my experience

Postby NNP » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:25 pm

Thanks Sa_ali !

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