Of all the travel tips we’ve ever run (nearly 1,500), none may be more common-sense than this one: Don’t bring a gun on an international trip unless you have all the necessary justification and you know how to carry it safely and legally. But as a Wisconsin woman found out this month, the flight is not the only part of the process that should make you think twice about traveling with a gun.
As written in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via USA TODAY), the woman had a .25 caliber handgun and six rounds packed in a suitcase she checked to fly with her from Fort Lauderdale to the Cayman Islands, where she was booked to begin a cruise. On arrival, the bag with the gun was seized, and “her vacation turned into an expensive lesson in how American gun rights don’t always travel well, and that could land her in a foreign prison…Despite her claim of a Wisconsin concealed carry permit, in the Caymans, it was considered illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm. Conviction carries a mandatory seven-year prison term upon a guilty plea, 10 years if convicted at trial — unless the court finds ‘exceptional circumstances.'”
After three nights in a Cayman prison and paying her $10,000 bail, the woman is now awaiting trial and her fate. And according to the story, she’s not the only American in this situation. A Florida man is currently awaiting his own trial after bringing a 9mm handgun to the Cayman Islands.
The lesson, above all, is this: The laws and customs in your home are not universal, and you should be aware of those of your destination before you travel. If you don’t respect the laws of your host country, you risk big-time trouble. No matter how you feel about them, American gun laws are different from those in most of the rest of the world—and that’s an important thing to recognize.
Related: Is It Legal to Fly with a Gun?
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