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Old 13-06-2018, 14:23   #31
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

There are wooden "plugs" that can be inserted to limit the number of rounds in the tube. Your CCP is a very good introduction. Best to get a translation of it and an outline in a few languages to explain what it entails and the vetting preceeding the issue.
Many customs officers don't understand let alone speak English. Italy, France, Spain, Portugal Greece and many countries further East often present with language issues. Having translations shows good will and is much appreciated by the officers. My European Firearms Pass has all the languages of participating countries for that reason. I used to have a clay pigeon launcher on my boat, and when on the high seas, used to keep my eye in and break the monotony. Showing the clays and the launcher invariably broke the ice and explained the presence of shotguns on board, and the ammo. Even if you are permitted to keep your shotgun on board, you may have trouble getting ammo for it in most countries, without an actual licence. Before the European Firearms Pass, I carried Bala Blindada shotgun slugs. These would most certainly do the job on a polar bear up close, if needed. I also carried "signal rounds", which gave an almighty bang some 30-40 meters out. The few times I thought I needed to discourage wildlife, it worked like a charm. Explaining to customs that you are sailing up north, where a defence against polar bears is required by the authorities, in a translated format, is very helpful. Your illustrated shotgun is used in Europe in the "3 gun" and "Practical Shotgun" shooting disciplines, and thus well known and accepted as a sporting arm. It is also widely used in wild boar shooting, with slugs.
Again, this is well known to and accepted by the authorities. My selection of ammo carried on board has never been debated, but would match the sporting requirements, if asked. As I explained before, we don't possess firearms here for the social occasions you would use the very same gun and ammo for in your home country. My safe is UK police approved, it has a separate locking compartment for ammo. The safe and the compartment have good quality high security locks. The authorities generally looked at the high security keys, and wanted to know who other than I had access. Short and only answer: only me.
You can request a visitor's permit in some countries, if you wish to go to a range ashore, or a boar shoot. You would need a written verifiable invitation. Very few places would grant you such a permit, as you would be transient on your boat. Most would require the link up with a local gun or rifle, known to the authorities, who would vouch for you. That is where a firearms license for the actual gun is helpful. Other then up North, I have never had the wish nor a reason to take a firearm ashore. It is a huge inconvenience to keep under your control, you would not want to carry it around (sleeved of course) and if you wish to stay in a hotel or B&B, they have no means to lock it up for you. To avoid this prize kerfufle, keep it locked in the safe on board. If you offer to have your safe sealed, you are already half way there. I put a vapour phase corrosion inhibitor inside my safe and ammo compartment and it protects both for up to a year. I don't know if I may recommend the make I use, it has worked well for years.
Please be cautious with "bear spray". In many countries it is a prohibited item and is regarded in the same light as a firearm. In others, such as Germany, the % of the active ingredient is regulated. The Bear Spray might exceed this, and you would be arrested, should you walk around with it. In Holland, or the UK, you can't have any whatsoever. Caught with it is arrest and big trouble.
Same with knives, very strictly regulated. If you have not been to Europe or the Med, and you hail from a "hot area" in the USA, you might experience a brief culture shock. As I did, coming from South Africa, the 6th most dangerous country in the world.
Things are very relaxed and peaceful here. Our cops aren't even armed! Neither are the crooks! A simple consideration when cruising around Europe or the Eastern Med and further: if you feel that you need a gun or a knife in a certain area, you would not go there even if you had them. If you go up North, and want to go for walks in polar bear country, you are required to be armed.
No where else. Simple. The trip up to our waters equally has no hot spots with pirates or violent thieves. I have done the trip up and down a few times, never came to grief. Central and South America, parts of the USA, very different kettle of fish in places.
In time, you will become just as slack as we are and chill. Hope this is helpful. Fair winds!
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Old 13-06-2018, 14:30   #32
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

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Originally Posted by boat driver View Post
The discussion of being armed anywhere in the world is easily answered by contacting each anticipated stop national authority and respecting individual laws- stay within a few parameters-

shot guns and other "sporting" arms are generally accepted worldwide with advance notice and permission (do not hide) Large magazines, excessive ammo supply, and machine type guns (rapid repeat/auto fire) are red flags.

as an international vessel- certain items , including self propelled flares, are considered legal or illegal in certain countries- so advance notice and strict adherence (respect) is recommended. I will admit the last twenty years views have changed.

My personal experience included the flair gun and flares being sealed by customs tape (had to be put into a locked locker within hull ) and it was checked when clearing. The flairs and hand pistols were considered same and treated as such. (customs tape can remove varnish if left on to long)

An experienced captain advised me to declare guns as safety equipment for making noise to attract attention. This was acceptable but do not carry excess ammo and account for all when exiting.

One note on shotgun ammo- look for brass casings and lead shot. We dipped our shells in wax prior to boarding- steel shot will rust to a slug in a couple months of humidity. Same for the gun-grease well.

Be safe
Great advice. Thanks
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Old 13-06-2018, 14:34   #33
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

OK, I don't want to be the cause for this to get off topic. I was merely suggesting alternates to guns for self protection. So enough of the sprays already, toss em. Hair spray?
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Old 13-06-2018, 14:47   #34
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

So far I think I've seen one post germane to the OPs question.
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Old 13-06-2018, 15:32   #35
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

At the risk of stating the obvious, you really need to contact the countries involved, and get their responses in writing.

Don't risk possible heavy fines or imprisonment based on advice received on an internet forum!
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Old 13-06-2018, 15:48   #36
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

Ken-
The NRA encourages travelers to call them to ask questions like this. Even if you are not a member, they will possibly have the information available, or at least know who to contact to verify the current status in each nation. (Remember, laws sometimes change on June 1st not just January 1st, and you need to be sure the information is current.)

Odds are that even where the weapon may be legally "transported", it would be required, or appreciated, if you are able to keep it in a locked "bonded" compartment. (A sealed Pelican type case might also do, and that gives you a way to hermetically seal things, keeping air and moisture out.) Something that customs can put a seal on, to be sure it has been sealed and not accessed. Same thing may apply for ammunition, there are countries that literally will count every shell in/out, and they may also be happier to see the shells packed in the original carton.

(800) 672-3888 is their main number.
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Old 13-06-2018, 17:05   #37
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

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Originally Posted by Clivevon View Post
Hi. I kept my boat in & sailed around the Balearics for 12 years, with never a hint of any threat. Being British, apart from firing a clay pigeon shotgun on a cruise liner once, the only guns I have ever seen in my seven decades were carried by (usually foreign) police or army. Please be aware the gun culture here is completely different to the USA. We have our ways, you have yours. Please note I am staying polite. This thread is something of a wake up call. I will certainly look at any US flagged boats with a different eye in future. It had not occurred to me that you lot would want to bring your guns over here with you.
+1 This topic is an eye opener for me and I can believe for many other Europeans. Pls leave this part of your culture at home.
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Old 13-06-2018, 18:46   #38
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Ken-
The NRA encourages travelers to call them to ask questions like this. Even if you are not a member, they will possibly have the information available, or at least know who to contact to verify the current status in each nation. (Remember, laws sometimes change on June 1st not just January 1st, and you need to be sure the information is current.)

Odds are that even where the weapon may be legally "transported", it would be required, or appreciated, if you are able to keep it in a locked "bonded" compartment. (A sealed Pelican type case might also do, and that gives you a way to hermetically seal things, keeping air and moisture out.) Something that customs can put a seal on, to be sure it has been sealed and not accessed. Same thing may apply for ammunition, there are countries that literally will count every shell in/out, and they may also be happier to see the shells packed in the original carton.

(800) 672-3888 is their main number.
This is a very good suggestion. Iíll also have one of my Italian friends look into the local laws. Contrary to what most seem to think... Iíve walked by many sporting goods stores in Italy that sell guns. Iím assuming people buy them and use them, knives are also sold just about everywhere along with spear guns.

So, Iíd really like to hear from a few folks from Italy who know the rules about gun ownership in their country. Iíll be passing through Portugal and Spain on my way to Italy which is our home base.
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Old 13-06-2018, 20:18   #39
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

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I reside part of the year in the UK and travel all over Europe. I have only known a licenced firearm mindset, in South Africa and in Europe. Because of my length of stay and frequency of residence in the UK, the local police requested me to apply for a shotgun permit and a firearms licence, instead of a visitor's permit for those firearms. My South African firearms licences for a .22lr rifle, a .375 H&H rifle and a .308 Win. rifle were granted without any issues whatsoever, as was a shotgun permit. Further to this, a .223 rem rifle and a semi automatic 3 shot shotgun licence was granted for locally bought firearms. Additional thereto: a 7 shot semi automatic shotgun, on my firearms licence ( shotguns with more than 3 shots are deemed to be firearms and licenced as rifles.)
I was given free of charge a "European Firearms Pass" by the local police. This document allows me to transport and use the firearms listed on them and ammunition through and in all the countries who accept and issue this pass, on a reciprocal basis.
When I visit the far North, I present my European Firearms Pass and carry my original licences as well, for inspection by the local authorities. Same when transiting signatory countries. On board I have an approved firearms safe, bolted to the sole and bulkhead and out of sight of casual visitors. My rifles are multiple shot magazine fed bolt action rifles. My safe can be sealed by customs, as it has eyes welded to it to pass a seal through. I report the firearms on board and exact number of rounds, and had these inspected by customs on entry in different countries on entry and departure. Never had any kind of problem or attitude anywhere.
The authorities are well aware that licenced firearms owners, who are thoroughly vetted and strictly play by the rules are not a problem. I hunt all over the place, and up North one is expected to have firearms for polar bear protection.
I normally notify customs in the country I visit or transit well ahead of my arrival, and include passport details and all licence details. The responsible and cooperative attitude on my side has always been appreciated and returned.
Europe has had a firearms culture for sport and hunting since ages and is not anti gun per se. They are very intolerant of undeclared and illegal firearms, and it normally means a criminal record, expulsion and very likely gaol time. My advice is to work with the guys and be upfront about what you carry. The worst that can happen, is that you hand them in until you leave the country.
If you wish to hunt in any country, and do not have a licence because your country does not require any, proof of your booking with an outfitter or an invitation that can be verified often suffices, in my experience. Hunting and sport activities are accepted reasons for carrying a firearm, self defense is NOT!!!! Happily, we do not have a culture of violence that causes people in some countries to arm themselves, and firearm ownership is a privilege around here, not a constitutional right. When you interact with customs agents, it is worth bearing this in mind and acting accordingly. Other than having 2 boat hooks pinched when alongside, I have never felt even remotely threatened in my nearly 50 years of cruising in Europe and a self defense plea for having guns on board in these waters is unlikely to get a sympathetic reaction from customs. Hunting and sporting purposes are well understood and accepted by the authorities around here. Please don't be tempted to hide guns and not declare them. If one goes missing and is used in a crime and is traced back to you, all hell will break loose.
The means exist to have a firearm on board legally, one way or another, with or without conditions or restrictions.
Whatever you do, please don't break the rules and the laws regarding firearms around here, there is no sympathy. Hope this helps.
Fair winds!
An actual, informed reply! Thank you! Just what the many of us were hoping to hear.
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Old 13-06-2018, 21:36   #40
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

In addition to rules of the foreign countries you will be visiting, be aware of US gun export laws. You may only take a gun out of the US without an export license if it is for personal use, and it is presumed in that exemption that the gun will return to the US with you. If it does not then you have exported the gun, and that carries a whole host of licensing requirements. It is easiest if you file a Certificate of Registration (CBP Form 4457) with CBP, that way you are covered both in terms of taking the gun out of the US and in getting it back in.

For your shotgun in particular this is covered in 15 CFR 740.14(e):

Quote:
(e) Special provisions: shotguns and shotgun shells.
(1) A United States citizen or a permanent resident alien leaving the United States may export or reexport shotguns with a barrel length of 18 inches or over and shotgun shells under this License Exception, subject to the following limitations:
(i) Not more than three shotguns may be taken on any one trip.
(ii) The shotguns and shotgun shells must be with the personís baggage but they may not be mailed.
(iii) The shotguns and shotgun shells must be for the personís exclusive use for legitimate hunting or lawful sporting purposes, scientific purposes, or personal protection, and not for resale or other transfer of ownership or control. Accordingly, except as provided in (e)(2) of this section, shotguns may not be exported permanently under this License Exception. All shotguns and unused shotgun shells must be returned to the United States. Note that since certain countries may require an Import Certificate or a U.S. export license before allowing the import of a shotgun, you should determine the import requirements of your country of destination in advance.
I know that doesn't answer directly the OP's question on EU rules, but you do need to be aware of the rules at both ends.
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Old 13-06-2018, 22:00   #41
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

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Don't think bears have been a problem in Europe for about 2000 years
Is it not the Russian "Bear? One of their legacy bombers is definitely the Bear.

[Intended as an attempt at humor, and as such I will not be offended by a serious deletion.]
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Old 13-06-2018, 22:10   #42
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

Ken,

I've only ever dealt with sporting weapons loaned at a club in Italy, so not quite the same boat as you. Don't know if you read Italian, but you might want to have a look here at a superficial article. It appears that a license to possess at home (presume you can qualify the boat as 'at home') requires a psychiatric/psychological examination to determine your fitness to have a weapon. Presume that has to be done by an Italian shrink with the appropriate license.

You'll also need proof of proper training (I suspect, but don't know that nothing will carry over, you'll likely need to take an Italian firearms course).

Lastly, no criminal record and good character. Pretty sure the US Embassy can help you out here, they have for me when a good character reference is required for visas, etc.

Then you can apply for the actual license.

www.carabinieri.it/files/2918.pdf

If I understand correctly you will have to surrender the weapon at the border until such time as you get the license in place (unless you get it in advance) then you might be able to carry the weapon on the vessel. Really no idea if they will issue a license to a non-resident.
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Old 13-06-2018, 22:47   #43
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

Contrary to what some people have posted here, traveling with shotguns (note NOT assault weapons, not handguns) in Europe is not all that unusual. There are legal processes for traveling with them legally. For European citizens (and possibly residents), it is the European Firearms Pass, which is valid alongside your national license. You have to fulfill a mass of conditions -- the weapon and ammunition must conform everywhere to local law, you have to properly declare them everywhere, the weapon and ammunition must be sealed in many cases, the weapon and ammunition must be locked up, etc. etc. -- but if you do, it's legal throughout Europe because of the European Firearms Directive.

If you are not eligible for a European Firearms Pass, then you have to get a permit in every country you visit. In the UK this is pretty straightforward, but it must be done some time in advance. Doing it for 5 or 6 countries would be -- a lot of paperwork. Putting it mildly. If it is even possible everywhere.

Then note that not all Med countries are members of the EU. Even the European Firearms Pass won't help you there.

So the answer to the OP's question, assuming he (or a member of his crew) is not eligible for the European Firearms Pass, is to get a permit in every country he plans to visit or might have any occasion to visit. I can speak from personal knowledge only about the UK, Spain, and Nordic countries -- it's possible in all of those places. Beyond that, I can't say.


Why in the world anyone would want to go through this immense hassle, plus the risk of serious trouble in case you make a tiny bureaucratic mistake, just to have your guns sealed up and illegal to even take out, is not the subject of this thread. Having weapons on board will turn a complete non-event -- crossing a European border where you ordinarily don't have to declare anything or be inspected -- into a big bureaucratic hassle with different risks. You are allowed to cross freely between European countries without customs procedures UNLESS you have something like a firearm which must be declared at every national border.

But FWIW, we are carrying weapons for defense against polar bears in the Arctic. Our solution was for a crew member who is a European citizen to get a European Firearms Pass, and to apply for individual permits in the non-EU countries we visit.
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Old 13-06-2018, 23:54   #44
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

As others have said, I'd contact each country I was going to individually and get their responses in writing before going.

This is not something you want to mess around with, as short of smuggling people/drugs across it's probably the thing that will turn out the worst for you if you mess it up. So make sure you have the correct procedures in hand - ideally directly from customs.

It sounds like you've made up your mind to take a gun but it's adding a large amount of hassle for no reason.
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Old 14-06-2018, 01:13   #45
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Re: Serious Gun Question for EU Med

...
when in Rome, do as the Romans do ...

common sense + respect for the visited countries and their people ask you to leave your gun(s) behind (in the US) when visiting the Med - since Europeans don't like to see gun-carrying boats and people !

laws, etc. are created and enforced for those who lack common sense and respect (applies pretty much to any law).
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