Warning to Travelers

For many years, travelers preparing to embark on international or domestic flights have been warned not to take packages from others. Sadly, both teenagers and adults have fallen into the trap of inadvertently acting as couriers for illegal materials, often with disastrous results.

While no one would knowingly take illegal materials, many people are not familiar with current rules and regulations. It is critical for all travelers, as well as parents of travelers, to familiarize themselves in order to avoid any mistake.

Reportedly, some young students returning from Israel brought back what they considered interesting souvenirs — bullets, used or otherwise. Apparently, the misconception was that if such a memento is safely stored in a suitcase — rather than in a handbag — it is legal.

For the record: it is unlawful for any person, other than a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), to knowingly import, or bring into the United States, any firearms or ammunition. The same applies to EU countries and many others, including Russia, a country that often serves as a transfer station for low cost-flights. Recently, a student who was unaware of this, was detained by Russian authorities for months after such items were reportedly found in his suitcase.

It is the responsibility of parents to educate themselves — and their children — as to what can and can’t be legally brought onto a plane, both with regard to packages sent by others and souvenirs and mementos for oneself. And when in doubt, leave it out.