Flying with guns


December 30, 2002, 09:56 PM
What is the current rule on flying with guns in your luggage? I have done so before, but now, the airlines are saying that you shouldn't lock your checked luggage - if they see something suspicious under the x-rays, they will cut the lock anyways.
To me, this is just an opportunity to get your guns (and other pricey items) stolen.
Has anybody flown with guns since the new x-ray machines have been phased in? All luggage is x-rayed, so I know everybody knows I have a gun in the case, but do I really have to make it easy for some thief?

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January 1, 2003, 01:58 AM
I flew 3 days ago. No x-rays, but everything was 'sniffed'. The inspections are done while you are there to watch. They cannot open your bag without you being present to observe. If you are selected for a hand search then you are there for that. I have enjoyed that twice in the last month.

January 1, 2003, 04:30 PM
You can still check a firearm in your baggage. You're supposed to notify the clerk at the check-in desk that you've got a firearm. It's supposed to be in a case made for a pistol. (Original box will work if it's plastic and has a lock on it.) Ammo must be stored separately in the luggage, and most of the airlines prefer it be in its original box or a plastic aftermarket ammo container. Clerk usually asks you to prove that the firearm isn't loaded. (One dim bulb who asked me to "show me that it's not loaded" about a year ago didn't know the first thing about firearms -- I could have loaded it right in front of her and she'd have thanked me.)

I've heard there are still airlines that put a bright colored sticker on your bag saying there's a firearm in it, but I haven't been able to confirm that rumor. (Most of them used to do it -- basically marking the bags for thieving employees to get free firearms.)

When I traveled to be with family recently for the holidays , I didn't check a gun as I feel less comfortable with the "security" "precautions" high school dropout employee-robots are deploying than I once did. But if you gotta do it, I definitely encourage you to let them know it's in the luggage. Years ago, I never told them and never had a problem. Now, there have been arrests made for failure to notify them that you've got a weapon in your checked luggage -- and, I believe, they have a (federal) felony option if they want to totally screw up your life for a while.

Better would be to have a carry gun waiting for you on the other end of your flight -- that's what friends are for. When my friends come see me, they know they get their pick of handguns to carry while they are here. Many friends in various destinations give me the same courtesy. Offer that to your close friends and family when they come see you -- those with understanding will often reciprocate.


January 1, 2003, 10:02 PM
Where the hand checks are done will be dependant on which airport you fly from. At the larger airports, the checks will take place behind-the-scenes, and they can and will open your bags while you are not present. They will tag your bag if they hand-check it, so you will know it's been searched.

January 2, 2003, 01:53 AM
Shamaya, welcome to the boards. The firearm MUST be declared, see number (1) below. Although the regs say the pistol must be in a locked hardcase. A hard sided suitcase will do for some, but the govt. allows the carriers to make their own requirements, see number (2) below:

"(d) No certificate holder may knowingly permit any person to transport, nor may any person transport or tender for transport, any unloaded firearm in checked baggage aboard an airplane unless -

(1) The passenger declares to the certificate holder, either orally or in writing before checking the baggage, that any firearm carried in the baggage is unloaded;

(2)The firearm is carried in a container the certificate holder considers appropriate for air transportation;

(3) When the firearm is other than a shotgun, rifle, or other firearm normally fired from the shoulder position, the baggage in which it is carried is locked, and only the passenger checking the baggage retains the key or combination; and

(4) The baggage containing the firearm is carried in an area, other than the flightcrew compartment, that is inaccessible to passengers."

Regarding the 'steal me' tags. Airlines use to try to do this, but as of 1994 that practice was made illegal by 18 USC, sec 922(e).

"No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm."

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