Firearms and bear defence 1

This page is a summary of my thought and experiences. I couldn't find much information about the transport of firearms to and permits for Greenland, so have documented my experiences here to help others.

Please be aware that these are my thoughts and experiences, not ballistic or legal advice.

This trip is in this powerful animal's back yard, so I've had to consider what I am doing about this. The limits on my options are controlled by UK legislation and airline regulations. So I've settled on taking a high capacity pump action shotgun with solid slug. This gun will also be suitable for any rabid arctic foxes there too. Obviously using lethal force will be a last resort.

I was hoping to take more exotic rounds as a deterrent (bean bags and whistler shells), but this is where rules have got in the way. Airlines won't carry whistler rounds as they are classed as pyrotechnics and therefore won't allow them on a flight. The beanbag rounds may have been permitted, but the manufacturer in the UK was concerned as they are designed for law enforcement and wasn't aware of export rules as a civilian. They were also very expensive and needed to be purchased as a box of 25. I may revisit these if I go again and funds allow.

I have found the permit requirement from both Greenland and the airlines fairly simple once I found out what was required. I'm hoping I can get some flares / noise devices once I'm in Greenland.

I can't fault the Greenlandic police for their simplicity and efficiency in this matter. All I had to do was to email the police and ask for the application form for a permit. Once I filled this in, I emailed it back them and within a few hours I was in possession of my permit.

As I'm transiting through Denmark I had to have a EFP from my local police, this is free of charge once you have a UK firearms permit.

As I was flying with Norwegian for the first leg to Copenhagen I had to tick the firearm box under special luggage with my flight booking.

Once I had all of my permits in place I had to notify Air Greenland that I intended to fly with a firearm. This wasn't the most straightforward job to do, but fairly informal once I started the conversation with their customer services rep. They don't make this clear on their website. So make sure you speak to them in advance.

Another regulation that needs to be adhered to is to carry the gun in a hard lockable case. I chose a peli 1700 which I got off of eBay. This case is the smallest that I can get my gun into once it had been taken apart. It weighs a fair amount, but there is no way round this problem. There are other manufactures out there who do lighter cases, but as this trip is 4 flights each way I wouldn't expect them to last the trip.

Once at Gatwick it was a fairly simple process of checking in as usual, the lady at the check in desk noticed the weapon booking, asked me a few questions and then called someone from the baggage crew to come and check it. We went to customs where a guy just finishing his night shift took down the details and checked the paperwork and serial number. Reading between the lines there are a few travellers who's paperwork isn't totally in order. Then I locked the case and was escorted to the freight xray machine and off it went.

Arrivals was just as simple. I picked my case off the conveyor belt (!!!) Went to the red channel, after a chat and look at permits I was cleared into Copenhagen ready to wait for my flight to Greenland to start checking in.

The systems were much the same in Greenland with a relaxed attitude toward the firearms.

On my way home I landed at Gatwick where my luggage was taken to the red channel for me to collect. I was greeted by 3 officers who were trying to guess what gun I had with me. It was a lot more official with paperwork checked etc, but all done in a friendly way with no hassles at all.

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