I need some advice on flying with handguns


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sako_75
December 18, 2006, 10:08 PM
I am flying to Texas at the end of the week and am in need of some advice on flying with handguns. I am planning on taking 3 or 4 handguns on this trip. I have the following case http://www.shopatron.com/product/product_id=SKB2SKB-1816/328.0 and have made a provision to add a pad lock to this case. My question is can I treat this case as a pice of checked baggage as it is, or should I take another suitcase to place this rather large handgun case into?

Thanks

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GRIZ22
December 18, 2006, 10:21 PM
It would seem that your case with a padlock would meet the requirements. You really should be asking the airline you're flying on. I have a smaller case I lock and put in a Haliburton aluminum case whicj is locked. More than I need to do but it does make it bigger and more difficult for someone to walk off with.

sako_75
December 18, 2006, 10:27 PM
It does meet the requirements of Southwest airlines, but I am asking because I value the opionions found here on THR more, than just taking the airline regulations at face value.

Lennyjoe
December 18, 2006, 10:28 PM
The hard case meets TSA requirements. I would suggest getting a padlock that is TSA compatable so they can gain entry if needed. Do not pack the ammo in the same case. Also, ammo needs to be in a box. Either the factory box or a plastic reloading box so it is secure and not loose in the bag. I would suggest you put that gun case inside of a suitcase.

Be sure you check the airlines website for declaring weapons. It would behove you to print out a copy of TSA's regs as well as the airline you plan on traveling. One last thing, arrive a little bit earlier to check in and keep your ear out for your name to be paged if they need to contact you.

sako_75
December 18, 2006, 10:32 PM
LennyJoe

Why the TSA padlock? I thought that the owner of the firearm, was the only one that should have the key to the case. Please correct me if I am wrong.

nplant
December 18, 2006, 10:43 PM
You're case will be fine by itself. My experience with flying Southwest is that you do not need a TSA approved lock (in fact, I would avoid them, as it allows tampering that you don't need).

Some airports don't have the screening equipment out front or in a passenger-accessible area (San Jose, CA is one). At SJC, they make me demonstrate the gun(s) are unloaded, then they take the closed case and unlocked lock(s) from me, down to the screening center.

So far, nothing has gone missing (knock on wood). Everything is properly locked up on the other side.

Las Vegas (LAS) has a better system where you just lock your case, take it to the passenger-accessible TSA screening area, watch them put your casethrough the machine, and then they just give you the thumbs up (sometimes they also give you a gawk, if you have a cool gun).

Of the two systems, I'd prefer the latter, because you don't have to blindly trust the TSA.

Aguila Blanca
December 19, 2006, 01:33 AM
The hard case meets TSA requirements. I would suggest getting a padlock that is TSA compatable so they can gain entry if needed.
Do NOT use a TSA lock on a firearms case.

Federal regulations require that the firearm owner retain possession of the key or combination to the locked case. If the TSA needs to look inside the case, they should ask you to open it. It is illegal for them to open it.

Aside from that, just how many illicit copies of TSA keys do you think are out there? Completely aside from the legal aspects, the practical issue is that you don't want to use a TSA lock on a firearm case unless you enjoy opening up an empty case when you arrive at your destination.

Ed Ames
December 19, 2006, 02:03 AM
...went through all sorts of worry for no reason.

I used a pelican 1510 case, which is a hard-sided case designed for carry-on use (for carrying cameras and such)... I loaded a GPS, two boxes of ammo, a few other odds and ends (knives, flashlight, and so on) into the case, and slapped a standard (NOT TSA) padlock on the outside. I actually had the gun in a second small padlocked case just because that's how I usually transport them... so it was locked inside a locked case. As such, if the TSA had wanted they could've asked me to remove the outer padlock.

I declared the firearm at the check in counter (DFW) and the woman basically said "Just tell the TSA bag screening people..." and then went on to chat about how busy the airport had been earlier in the day and so on. At the bag screening checkpoint they asked "any firearms, chemicals, etc." -- I pointed to my 1510 and said "this contains a firearm and ammunition. I then pointed to my other bag and said "this is just clothes and so on."

The screener took bags and boarding pass, and pointed me to a row of chairs a few feet from the screening area, saying "Please wait there while we screen your bags." I asked them if they were going to want the key to the case, and the guy said no, not unless there was an issue. I didn't have to do this, but frankly I was just carrying a $140 revolver I'd purchased w/ my C&R while visiting Texas and I can't imagine anyone wanting to mess with it, nor steal it... and I wanted to see what their reaction was.

A few minutes later the screener came back, handed me my boarding pass, and said, "Thank you Mr Myname, everything looked fine -- have a good flight!"

In other words, it was a total anticlimax. Upon arrival in CA my bags popped out on the carousel along with everyone else's. BTW: I had one of the "indicating" TSA locks on my non-firearm bag and they didn't open that either. Someone (I think it was the TSA but I wasn't paying that much attention) marked the tag on the gun case with a red grease penned F, and put a matching mark on the claim tag, but that was the only difference in handling between the two bags.

It's a bigger deal to you than to them.

carebear
December 19, 2006, 02:57 AM
Someone (I think it was the TSA but I wasn't paying that much attention) marked the tag on the gun case with a red grease penned F, and put a matching mark on the claim tag, but that was the only difference in handling between the two bags.

They put a mark on the tag outside the bag? Visible to anyone who saw it?

That's a violation of Federal Regs right there. The whole idea of putting the "steal me" tag on the inside of the outer bag is so the baggage handlers can't tell which bags might be worth stealing.

If I'm reading you right, a TSA supervisor should have been involved immediately on you realizing it. Not for chewing out but because they need to follow up on what happened, where, and why. It's the only way some of the staff is going to learn their own rules.

Ed Ames
December 19, 2006, 10:35 AM
I think the presence of an un-cut non-tsa padlock on a $175 case would be enough of a "Steal me" for anyone.

If you are the sort to, at the end of a 3+ hour flight, find and complain to the TSA in California about something that happened in Dallas, and caused no harm... good on ya!

GHF
December 19, 2006, 11:38 AM
Having traveled a number of times, here's how I go at it:


Put the unloaded weapon(s) in a lockable hardsided case with locks only you have the keys to open. TSA locks are not allowed.
Check the airline(s) you are flying on, and determine if the ammo MUST be in boxes OR in can fly in loaded magazines. If loaded magazines are permitted, make sure the pouches fully cover the magazines. The round from the pipe(s) must be in a box, not loose. Secure and protect magazines and ammunition boxes from possible damage.
Put the lockable hardsided case with the weapon and the ammo/magazines into a cheap, non-descript bag - with clear labeling outside and inside - for checking in. The labeling should be limited to:

Your Name
Your Cell Phone - if you have one, or your home phone if you do not
Your personal email address - if you have one
NO ADDRESSES, JOB TITLES, ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE INDICATED

Other stuff - like shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc, could be there also.
Check this non-descript bag at the airport. Have the rules for the airline in hand.
Make sure you have the keys to the lockable hardsided case with you and you alone at all times. You will have to open the lockable hardside case to demonstrate to the airline that the weapon(s) are not loaded at checkin, and if the TSA wants to see.
Have the serial number(s) and descriptions of your weapons on you, so if they "disappear" you can report the loss/theft to the airline, local police and the ATF immediately.

TX1911fan
December 19, 2006, 12:20 PM
Ammo in the same case as the guns is just fine, as long as it is packed correctly.

RedAlert
December 19, 2006, 12:28 PM
I have a sister-in-law who works as a lawyer for Homeland Security. She provided me the following link to get information of TSA policy for taking firearms aboard aircraft as checked luggage:


http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm
TSA: Traveling with Special Items

This is the straight scoop. If you follow these guidelines you will have no problems provided you act like a responsible adult.

RDF

carebear
December 19, 2006, 01:31 PM
Why do they call that section "Traveling with "special items"? There's only one kind of item discussed, guns.

Why not call it what it is, "traveling with firearms"?

A) They're doing us a favor by keeping it "low-profile" so folks don't freak out that guns are allowed in checked baggage and push for new laws.

-or-

B) They don't want to let people know that traveling with guns is perfectly kosher and thus have more people doing it. Cause guns are bad.

bruss01
December 19, 2006, 06:44 PM
I need some advice on flying with handguns

They weigh you down and make it hard to flap your arms properly. I wouldn't recommend it.

redneck2
December 19, 2006, 07:18 PM
Heck, just take them with you in your carry-on stuff. That way, you don't have to worry about losing them.


:D

ozarkhillbilly
December 19, 2006, 07:38 PM
Having flown with firearms on more than one occasion, GHF advice in post #11 is good advice, thatís what I have done and never had a problem. As a matter of fact it has been my experience that flying with a firearm is easier then flying without one. When you get to the airport do not stand in line go find someone that works for that airline and tell them you have to declare a gun, in over 20 times I have always been moved to the front of the line and then at least half of those times been given a personal escort to the front of the security line and everybodyís always been very polite. My wife now always wants me to take a gun so she does not have to stand in lines.

12GA00buck
December 20, 2006, 12:42 AM
You've already got plenty of good advice, but about the baggage; Atleast with alaska air, a hardsided gun case can replace one of your 2 free check in bags. Any bags after that are $50 bucks a pop.

Have a good flight

cngerms
January 12, 2007, 08:22 AM
I attempt to be as discreet as possible when declaring a firearm at the ticket counter; therefore, I carry a laminated card in my wallet that states, "I would like to declare a firearm, please." I show this to the ticketing agent and the TSA baggage inspector so that I do not have to speak the words aloud. I don't want to draw attention to myself OR MY BAG from others in the airport and I, especially, don't want an anti-gun freak hear me say the word "firearm" in the airport where the potential exists for that same idiot to screw up your expensive travel plans.

MaterDei
January 12, 2007, 08:38 AM
I attempt to be as discreet as possible when declaring a firearm at the ticket counter; therefore, I carry a laminated card in my wallet that states, "I would like to declare a firearm, please." I show this to the ticketing agent so that I do not have to speak the words aloud. I don't want to draw attention to myself from others in the airport and I, especially, don't want an anti-gun freak to hear me say the word "firearm" in the airport where the potential exists for that same idiot to screw up your expensive travel plans.
Does the agent question you by using cards? If not, what's the point? The heck with the blissninnies, I don't see how somebody uncomfortable with me legally checking a firearm could possibly mess up my travel plans.

+1 to GHF's advice. Sage.

cngerms
January 12, 2007, 08:59 AM
Does the agent question you by using cards? If not, what's the point? The heck with the blissninnies, I don't see how somebody uncomfortable with me legally checking a firearm could possibly mess up my travel plans.

Nothing changes procedurally by using the card. The ticket agents and TSA understand that it is only an attempt to be discreet by not drawing attention to myself or announcing that I'm transporting a valuable item in the bag. I fly A LOT and sometimes I don't make it to the airport on time and I often see baggage handlers standing behind the ticket counter. This is just a way to avoid a scenario that may delay me further and possibly prevent a gun theft. The fact that some bonehead is uncomfortable with me legally checking a firearm is irrelevant and I couldn't care less, but if that moonbat decides I'm suspicious for some "moonbat" reason and complains, that delay could cost me a flight.

Cliff47
January 12, 2007, 09:34 AM
Give yourself plenty of lead time to get checked through and your baggage re-examined. Also, keep your sense of humor, you may need it more than once onthe trip.

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