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Old May 4, 2013, 01:12 AM   #1
Skyanide
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Citizenship and Legally Buying Ammo in the US

Hi all,

I've done a forum search, couldn't find an answer to this specific question; so forgive this newbie poster if I missed an answer already posted.

I'm an American citizen (US born and American father) but reside in Canada (according to Canadian law I have dual US/Canadian citizenship). But for all intents and purposes I am a US citizen but do not reside in the US.

I hold a non-restricted and restricted PAL (firearms license) and have a Savage 99 chambered for .300 Savage rifle cartridges that, in Canada, is becoming harder to come by.

I vacation often in the US, and although I do not intend to import my rifle into the US I am interested in buying ammo to return with me to Canada (not for the price but for the availability). I will be vacationing in PA and passing through NY enroute to the border.

So my questions are:
  1. Can I legally obtain these cartridges as a non-resident US citizen in the US?
  2. Will dealers sell to me? ie say Dick's sporting goods.
  3. Would there be any legal issues in the two states I will be passing through?
Some knowledgeable legal advice would be appreciated.
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Old May 4, 2013, 09:09 AM   #2
Alabama Shooter
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1- Yes, with the caveat that some states have other restrictions on ammo purchases. IL, for example requires you to be a resident and have a special card.
2- Yes. In nearly all states ID is not required for purchase. If ID is required show them your US Passport.
3- Yes with the following limitations:

Quote:
Q. What do I need to bring my firearms into Canada?

A. ALL fully automatic weapons, handguns and pepper spray are prohibited in Canada.
You must obtain a gun permit for your guns. Refer to www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca. You may bring a hunting rifle or shotgun into Ontario for hunting or Competition purposes in you are 18 years of age or older. Firearms must be Registered for a fee of $25. This permit is valid for a period of 60 days. You can also bring up to 200 rounds of ammunition for hunting or 1,500 rounds for use at a recognized shooting competition. Any amounts of ammunition in excess must be tax paid.

http://www.canadawelcomesyou.net/faq.html
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Old May 4, 2013, 10:17 AM   #3
carguychris
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Regarding #1: Be aware that NY State is in the process of instituting some stringent ammo purchasing requirements. I have not studied how the new NY law might impact purchases by non-residents.

Regarding #2: Skyanide, do you HAVE a U.S. passport? Proving your American citizenship may be an issue otherwise. However, federal law doesn't formally require a licensed dealer to verify a buyer's ID for an ammo purchase, and in my experience, few dedicated gun dealers routinely ask for ID if the buyer appears to be obviously older than 18; OTOH many large sporting goods discount stores always require ID due to internal store policies.

Also, if you return by commercial air, boat, train, or bus, IIRC federal law requires you to declare that you have ammo in your luggage.
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Old May 4, 2013, 10:23 AM   #4
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Alabama Shooter, your number 1 is not quite accurate. I am a Wisconsin resident right on the border with Illinois and I buy ammo in Illinois all of the time, I just have to show my drivers license.
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Old May 4, 2013, 10:37 AM   #5
2ndsojourn
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Guys, he's traveling to PA, not IL or NY.

PA does not require any ID to buy ammo, I just bought some over there a couple weeks ago. I'd be more concerned with the Canadian border guards upon my return visit, given what I read on here last week.
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Old May 4, 2013, 01:21 PM   #6
jnichols2
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I believe he will be passing through NY.

I would want to get through NY quickly. It's legal to transport guns and AMMO in transit that are legal for you elsewhere, but it must be locked up.

From what I have heard about the NY police, I wouldn't leave the interstate.

From Wikipedia:
Non-resident travel through N.Y.

New York state law provides restricted exceptions for interstate transportation of firearms by non-residents. Non-residents may transport through New York state any lawful firearm to any place without New York where an individual may lawfully possess and carry such firearm.

While in transit within New York state, the firearm must be unloaded. The firearm and any ammunition for it must not be easily accessible by anyone in the vehicle's driver or passenger area. For example, the gun and ammunition must be kept in the storage area of the vehicle, such as a car's "trunk." In vehicle's without a storage area separate from the driver or passenger compartment, the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.".[22] You may also transport a firearm for target competition purposes, "by a person who is a member or coach of an accredited college or university target pistol team" and "while attending or traveling to or from, an organized competitive pistol match or league competition under auspices of, or approved by, the National Rifle Association and in which he is a competitor, within 48 hours of such event or by a person who is a non-resident of the state while attending or traveling to or from an organized match sanctioned by the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association and in which he is a competitor, within 48 hours of such event."[23]
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Old May 4, 2013, 01:42 PM   #7
Aguila Blanca
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He said he's not bringing the firearm into the U.S. The law regarding transport of firearms thus would not apply. In the absence of a firearm, there is nothing in Federal or NY state law to require that ammunition be locked up during transport.

As others have stated, my concern would be what the Canadian border inspectors may do. But, since he lives in Canada, he's probably better situated to figure that out than we are.
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Old May 4, 2013, 04:45 PM   #8
jnichols2
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Actually, New York is concerned with "The firearm and any ammunition".

Remember; they are very gun unfriendly.

I'm going there this summer. I'll take no gun, ammunition, or pocket knife over 2 1/2". I only want to stay there for 2 weeks, not 20 years.

I'm not trying to be argumentive with you, but New York has changed.
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Old May 4, 2013, 07:08 PM   #9
carguychris
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Jnichols2, I believe that Aguila is correct. Disregard the recent NY gun control hysteria. I cannot find any current or upcoming NY statute that restricts the transport of ordinary sporting rifle ammo in the absence of a gun that can fire it. Some exotic so-called armor piercing rounds are illegal to possess in NY, but AFAIK such ammo is equally (or more!) illegal in Canada, and is virtually non-existent in. 300 Savage regardless.

Since my first post, I have verified that the NY ammo purchase background check requirements do not go into effect until January 15, 2014.
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Old May 5, 2013, 08:40 AM   #10
Skyanide
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Thanks for the responses, guys.

I don't have a US Passport (yet), but my valid Canadian one shows my US place of birth, and I keep a notarized copy of my state birth certificate with me when travelling in the US. (The US Border Agency has always accepted these as proof in the past, although I do plan on getting a US one sometime in the future.) That said, a place that doesn't ask for ID would be better than one that does just to avoid the hassle.

The leg of my trip through NY will be direct on the interstate. I was planning to buy in PA (no sales tax).

The Canadian Border won't be an issue, so long as it's declared to the agent when coming in; the amount will be small, probably 100 rounds or less (I'm trying to build up a brass supply for reloading).

My concerns were primarily obtaining the ammo and transport (locked in my trunk without a firearm).
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Old May 5, 2013, 11:33 AM   #11
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Exporting ammo may require a State Department or Commerce Dept. license.
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Old May 5, 2013, 12:43 PM   #12
Aguila Blanca
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I periodically visit a friend in PA, primarily so we can go shooting together. I have never been asked for ID when purchasing ammunition in PA.

One indoor range we shot at asked for a pistol permit since we were shooting handguns. I don't know if that's a legal requirement (two other ranges we've hit did not ask), but I have a PA license to carry firearms so they were happy.
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Old May 5, 2013, 02:25 PM   #13
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From Skyanide:
" I was planning to buy in PA (no sales tax)."

Umm...I think you better double check on that. Not that it matters much because your only reasonable purchasing choice will be NY (good luck with that) or PA. If you're traveling into southern PA and are close to DE, there is no sales tax there, but it's not worthwhile to drive far just to save a buck on tax.
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Old May 5, 2013, 08:42 PM   #14
Skyanide
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Quote:
Umm...I think you better double check on that. Not that it matters much because your only reasonable purchasing choice will be NY (good luck with that) or PA. If you're traveling into southern PA and are close to DE, there is no sales tax there, but it's not worthwhile to drive far just to save a buck on tax.
I vacation yearly in PA, and have never been charged sales tax where I usually shop. If that's changed it must've been recently unless it's an ammo only tax.

I'm not making the trip to buy ammo; it's actually a week-long golfing trip.
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Old May 5, 2013, 11:46 PM   #15
hermannr
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I have purchased ammo in the US, and then took it into Canada. (WA/BC) I am a Naturalized US citizen, Canadian by birth. BTW: you do not need to be a US citizen to purchase firearms or ammo in the US. You need to be in the US legally. I, personally, would not patronize Dick's Sporting goods. They have shown that they are not 2A supporters.

If you are importing (into Canada) less than 500 rounds (at least that was the limit for what I was doing it. I would bring ammo up for shoots at my BIL's gun club), they consider it personal use. If you import more at one time you will need to go the importer route. At the border, just show them your PAL and declare the ammo as personal use.

Once you exceed the personal use limit they want to tax it, and they want you to have an importer's license. Check on what the personal use limit is these days to make sure it has not changed.

DO NOT purchase in NYS. Their new (un)safe act effects ammo purchase but not ammo possession). WDC has ammo possession restrictions, but I think that is it for possession problems.
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Old May 6, 2013, 05:02 AM   #16
Skyanide
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Thank you, Hermannr, that is most helpful.
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Old May 6, 2013, 05:42 AM   #17
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I shot in NYS for years, as a Canadian (Now a US Citizen) crossed at the Peace Bridge to shoot IPSC. Did this for years, different rule changes never stopped us competing, just meant more paperwork stuff.

Seeing the poster with Aquila in his Monika, brings back an incident crossing back to Ontario, many years ago, in which the very young lady at the booth, looking in the trunk of my Caprice, a 5000 case of Aquila target .22 LR sitting there, "You have to pay duty on ammunition purchases" I said I just keep it in the trunk, "my Wife does not like it in the house, any how Americans do not write French all over their boxes"

The fact that it was Spanish escaped her, good plinking ammo for the Gun Club. Those kind of things happened all the time, would not dream of playing tricks with the anti gun atmosphere of today. I can not see any problems with your ammo purchase, or your returning home.

Enjoy your Golf Vacation, I live 1/4 of a mile from the site of all the Open Golf here in Orlando, and don't play Golf.
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Old May 6, 2013, 07:22 PM   #18
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The OP mentioned Dick's - they DO ask if you are a citizen, etc. - whether they will make you show ID or not may have some impact
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Old May 7, 2013, 09:17 AM   #19
carguychris
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^^^ Actually, I'd recommend avoiding big-box stores like Dick's for additional reasons: (1) They're generally less likely to stock .300 Savage than a more specialized local shop, and (2) the irrational panic buyers seem more focused on big-box discount stores because the prices are lower. IOW I bet the OP will have better luck finding it at a local shop; in fact, a more customer-oriented local shop may set aside the desired 100 rounds if he/she calls ahead and tells them when he/she expects to arrive.

The current American ammo situation is very unpredictable and fluid, so the more that can be done prior to the OP's arrival, the better.
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Old May 7, 2013, 02:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
The OP mentioned Dick's - they DO ask if you are a citizen, etc. - whether they will make you show ID or not may have some impact
They do, and I seriously question the legality of this. I believe it's discriminatory and they should not be doing it. There is no law whatsoever they are following when they ask this. It is as legally relevant as asking what your race or religion is.
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Old May 21, 2013, 04:41 PM   #21
Skyanide
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Just a follow-up on this; I didn't have any issue purchasing the ammunition in PA. There was no issue at the border upon returning, although the border guard did ask how I got them to sell to me. I just reminded him that I'm an American citizen and that I purchased in PA and not NY. He said , "yeah, NY is pretty sticky".
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Old June 14, 2013, 10:20 PM   #22
Juanno
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US Citizen buying Ammo in Canada and coming back to the US

I've read the various threads. I am a US citizen and am wondering if I can buy ammo in Canada and then bring it back to the US (WA state). I see that to buy I'll have to get a PAL from Canada which is available for a $60 fee for 5 years and application, etc. My main question is when I come back into the US can I bring the ammo back? I asked a customs officer last week and he had no idea if I could or not. I reviewed the ATF site and I do not believe I would have to fill out Form 6 since I should not be considered an importer buying a box or 2 of 30-06 ammo but maybe I do have to do that. Any actual experience would be appreciated. Thx.
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Old June 15, 2013, 08:43 AM   #23
natman
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There are no FEDERAL laws restricting ammo purchases, especially since you're a US citizen. I don't think that there are any PA laws either. Your potential problem areas would be transporting the ammo through NY (unlikely to be a problem) and getting the ammo through Canadian customs.

You're in a better position to research Canadian import requirements than I am.

P.S. I'd do some shopping in advance to find a source of 300 Savage before I left.
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Old June 15, 2013, 09:04 AM   #24
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I live in PA, and most stores do NOT check I.D. The big box stores may, but gun shops don't. In addition, ammunition is subject to the 6% state sales tax.

I would also be more concerned with Canadian Customs at the border upon the return trip, and travelling through NYS with anything related to guns.
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Old June 15, 2013, 04:34 PM   #25
Skyanide
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Quote:
I've read the various threads. I am a US citizen and am wondering if I can buy ammo in Canada and then bring it back to the US (WA state). I see that to buy I'll have to get a PAL from Canada which is available for a $60 fee for 5 years and application, etc. My main question is when I come back into the US can I bring the ammo back? I asked a customs officer last week and he had no idea if I could or not. I reviewed the ATF site and I do not believe I would have to fill out Form 6 since I should not be considered an importer buying a box or 2 of 30-06 ammo but maybe I do have to do that. Any actual experience would be appreciated. Thx.
All ammunition purchases in Canada require you to show your PAL; unfortunately, getting a PAL is more involved than just filling out a form and paying the fee. At minimum. to obtain a PAL you must complete a safety course ($125) or challenge the course to write the exam ($40), then wait 2 weeks to get the certificate back. The you fill the form, including references, etc, send it in with the safety certificate and your money, then wait about 45 days for the PAL to be sent back. You're looking at about a $200ish investment to even get that far ...
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