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November 29, 2016

Hand-Carrying Your Exhibit Firearms to SHOT Show? What You Need to Know

There are two ways for exhibitors to get their display firearms onto the show floor. For those exhibitors displaying more than 15 firearms, you’ll want to use the freight shipment method. Simply go to, click on the “Exhibitor” dropdown menu, choose “Exhibitor Resource Center” and scroll down to section “Firearms Policies” for a full explanation of this shipping method. For exhibitors displaying less than 15 firearms, hand-carrying those firearms into the show can be a better and less complex choice, but there are defined procedures to follow. This article outlines that process.

Complete the Firearms Inventory Form

Fill out the Firearms Onsite Inventory & Security Program form located in the Exhibitor Resource Center Firearms Policies section. Email the form to Century Security (which will use it only for emergencies). We recommend having two people create this list for use during check-in and check-out as a way to combat mistakes and double-check all pertinent information for each firearm.

Create two copies of the list. One inventory list should stay at your office. This will serve as an aid to help to check-in the firearms upon their return to your facility when the show is over, but it can also be used in the event ATF inspects your business while you’re at SHOT Show (even though you’re traveling with select firearms, your A&D records will show these inventory items as residing in your building). The second copy should be kept with the show firearms for use checking in when you reach the show floor at the Sands Expo Center. You should have a copy of your current FFL with you.

Note: In addition to the inventory list, those bringing NFA firearms to the show for display must make sure they have a copy of the registration for each such firearm with them. Leaving a copy of each of those registrations back at the office is also advisable.

Security Considerations

Taking your firearms off your business premises should mandate that you have some sort of security plan in place for protection during travel. If you plan on spending the night along the route, be sure that security plan includes working with these stopovers (e.g., keeping firearms secured and out of sight in a vehicle, stored in your hotel room, locked at a temporary storage facility, etc.).

You must be prepared to report missing or stolen firearms should either incident occur at the show or during interstate travel or shipping. There are three types of reports and actions to be taken in the event of missing or stolen firearms. They are:

  1. Firearms taken in a crime.
  2. Firearms missing from inventory.
  3. Firearms missing from interstate shipment.

General Show and Travel Considerations

Though the show policies regarding firearms on display at SHOT Show are available in the Exhibitor Resource Center section of, a few items bear emphasizing.

  1. It is paramount you ensure the firing pins in all display firearms have been removed prior to transporting the firearms (this is another good reason to have two people create the inventory list, double-checking that similar-looking firearms aren’t accidentally being shipped with intact firing pins). Remember, all firearms will be inspected by an NSSF Safety Advisor before they can be displayed at the Sands Expo Center.
  2. If you are driving to the show, be sure to research and follow all local and state laws regarding firearms transport along your route of travel. This is especially important if your travel will include stopping overnight; this can be problematic in some states (such as New York and New Jersey).
  3. Once you arrive at the Sands Expo Center, you should proceed to the taxi drop-off area to hand-carry your firearms into the building. You will need two people to do this. One person to stay with the firearms and the other to drive the vehicle out as this area is designated as drop-off only (i.e., no parking). You can do this anytime during setup.
  4. During booth setup you can take the firearms straight to your exhibit. If your booth is not ready, you can take advantage of Century’s free Secured Storage (Level 1 Security Office, Room 306). At some point you should make an appointment with the Safety Advisors (Level 1, Room 304) to have your firearms inspected and tagged before 10:00 p.m. on Monday, January 16. If you have fewer than 15 firearms, you can schedule an appointment in advance through a form located on the Exhibitor Resource Center. If you arrive during show hours, you must go immediately to the Safety Advisor office, Room 304, before taking firearms on the show floor.
  5. Be sure to use nondescript, lockable containers for your firearms. This is helpful not only while you’re in transit to the show, but also when you shut down your booth each night. All firearms displayed in booths overnight need to be secured (a guard will need to be present in the booth overnight), or you must take them to the free Secured Storage service in your area (Security Room 306 on Level 1, Level 2 Hall D in front of aisle 16,000 or the Bassano Room 2801 on Level 2).

Remember that hand-carry is just that—carried into the show floor by hand. Do not carry firearms through the casino or adjacent hotel and restaurant facilities!

If you do not want to hand-carry your firearms to the show, you must use the Advance or Direct Security shipping label on all containers. These labels are located in the Exhibitor Resource under “Freight Shipping.” Also, if you are shipping firearms, remember they must be shipped separately from your booth display, as shipped firearms will be sent directly to secured storage onsite, where they will require one of your staff members to sign them out. If you have questions regarding shipping to the show, contact Freeman at 702-579-1700 or If you have questions regarding secured storage at the show, contact Century Security at 407-226-1168 or

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