Suitcase w/ pistol inside.. locked or unlocked?


Jim Diver
January 3, 2003, 12:10 AM
For a moment I was thinking about getting on a plane instead of driving to visit my dad on his b-day... So I call Alaska Air and ask the question of the day... When flying with a pistol (in a locked hard case) in a checked suitcase, should the suitcase (as requested by Barney Fife at the TSA) be unlocked.

After the lady questioned the supervisor and even called a few check in counters at the airports, the answer is UNLOCKED suitcase!?!? :banghead:

Jeeeze... why not just save time and give it to the TSA Fife or baggage handler as a gift?? :fire:

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January 3, 2003, 12:12 AM


January 3, 2003, 12:20 AM
Yes sir. Drive.

This has nothing to do with safety. It's designed to stop the average person from carrying a firearm on a flight. Doesn't matter if it's in checked baggage or not, they don't want you to bring it. Period.

Jim Diver
January 3, 2003, 12:20 AM
Here is another question for anyone who might know...

Say I do fly (I won't for sure), place the pistol in a locked case inside a locked suitcase and check it... they pop the lock (So much for Amendment IV) and search it... when it gets to my destination and the pistol case is missing, who gets to pay for the cost of a replacement (assuming it can be replaced)??

What if the purpose of the trip is to spend a grand or so to attend a shooting class? Now you are out a gun and the cost of the class you might as well not attend w/o a gun.

This whole idea of popping locks and seaching w/o cause or warrent is just begging for a lawsuit... I am shocked that no one has filed one yet.


January 3, 2003, 12:30 AM

I may be wrong about this, but IIRC, the limit of the airlines liability is printed on the ticket. Been a long time since I looked.

But I can tell you before you look. The AL's have a small, VERY small rate of recovery on loss. A few hundred dollars if memory serves.

Jim Diver
January 3, 2003, 12:53 AM

That was when the airline had the bag from start to finish... now that the Fife's have a part in the chain, I have afeeling that the airline will just point a finger at barney and say collect from TSA.....

January 3, 2003, 01:13 AM
Well sir, if that's the case. All I can say is GOOD LUCK.

4v50 Gary
January 3, 2003, 02:22 AM
That's why you declare the gun and the value. It's creates a "bailment" that raises the duty of care for the carrier. Otherwise, the airlines will try to get away with the standard fee for lost baggage. I'm worried when I have to travel with my tools (swiss carving chisels, etc.).

January 3, 2003, 03:42 AM
more people in AR will be
TSA just "updated security" here
met the deadline and the 1st day some yo yo had a loaded handgun in baggage" FBI will be asking the owner questions" our news said. News said "its ok to have and travel just leave un-locked"

I'd rather drive on our poor roads first.

Kahr carrier
January 3, 2003, 05:15 AM
Send it FEDEX overnight thats a lot safer.:)

January 3, 2003, 06:30 AM
Lahr makes a great feal of sense. Is it legal to ship a handgun to yourself across state lines?

January 3, 2003, 07:16 AM
I believe you fall into shipping to FFL dealer trap.
Me I'll drive, legal in 26 states...thats why I went to the trouble, to save trouble.

Chris Rhines
January 3, 2003, 12:33 PM
I recently flew home for the holidays, and took my pistols with me. They were in a locked hard case, which went into my duffel bag. The duffel bag was sealed at the counter with a plastic zip tie. No objections from the ticket agent, and the TSA didn't cut it off (I use colored wire ties as tamper seals.) Try that, if you must fly.

Also, I've flown with pistols before, but this time the ticket agent wanted to inspect them to insure that they were unloaded. Never had that happen before, but it went smoothly (the ticket agent really liked my Pardini...)

- Chris

January 3, 2003, 04:41 PM
UNLOCKED!!!!:fire: :banghead:

January 3, 2003, 04:56 PM
You may ship a gun to yourself anywhere in the US, with the package addressed to your destination and marked C/O Yourself. It is illegal for another person to open the package.

I posted on TFL abt Delta trying to break into my gun case last Aug. At that time, the corp rep told me that under the system that started 1 January that the gun case would have to be unlocked and that my best bet was to "buy extra insurance" for my gun. I have since heard varying reports that guns should be (un)locked, but the TSA website FAQ for the new baggage rules states that the case SHOULD be locked:

Still, they'll know what's there once it's xrayed, and I'm only going to use the Fed Ex ahead plan from now on. Same for my defensive folding knives.

January 3, 2003, 04:58 PM
There's no reason to bash the TSA guys and gals. They are doing a job, period. They took advantage of the chance to get a federal job with decent benefits. They don't make the rules. They don't have any latitude in enforcing them.

January 3, 2003, 05:08 PM
I know I shouldn't bash the poor folks but this duplicative, redundent statement can't go without notice. :-)

From the TSA webpage cited in the earlier message
"Firearms carried as checked baggage MUST be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided gun case, and declared to the airline at check-in. Only you, the passenger, may have the key or combination. Ammunition may be packed in the same locked container as the firearm, so long as it is not loaded in the firearm. Small-arms ammunition must also be declared to the air carrier and placed in an appropriate container - securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amount of ammunition.

"In addition, small-arms ammunition must also be declared to the air carrier and placed in an appropriate container: "securely packed in fiber, wood, or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition." Ammunition may be packed in the same locked container as the firearm, so long as it is not loaded in the firearm."

January 3, 2003, 05:23 PM
Alaska Airlines (Horizon) once temporarily misplaced my laptop. When dealing with the lost luggage folks they informed me that their lost luggage compensation policies exclude laptops. If this is in fact the case then I imagine that firearms are certainly not covered.

Eagle, ID

January 3, 2003, 05:41 PM
Just had an idea...

I'm gonna take the (rather large - bought it for my Bushy Dissipator, which just barely fits - works great for a "broke down" rifle or shotgun tho, or for multiple handguns) case that I'll use if I have to fly with something, and mount a plastic-covered cable in a way that it won't be "removable." This cable will be threaded through the trigger guard/action/whatever unremovable chunk of whatever I'm having to travel with, and secured with a large padlock. If they wanna open it up, fine. There's NOTHING that says that my toy has to be able to be REMOVED from the case...

January 3, 2003, 11:22 PM
See also:


Kentucky Rifle
January 4, 2003, 10:54 AM
Can you drive through Canada with a firearm in your car?


January 5, 2003, 12:58 AM
KR, I don't think so. Even if you are going to hunt up there I have heard it is a hassle. Hopefully, others here will clarify this but I don't think you can legally carry a weapon for protection if that is what you are asking.


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