NYC - JFK Airport and declaring your firearm!


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Spreadfire Arms
April 30, 2007, 12:42 PM
it seems that in NYC it is easier to get your pistol into the 5 boroughs than it is to leave with it, at least by airplane. i left on friday AM for NYC from Austin and declared my firearm. they didn't give me any trouble, but somehow i did get subject to "secondary screening" when i got to the screening gate.

about an hour ago, i arrived at JFK airport and declared my unloaded Glock to JetBlue. they said "we are waiting for a supervisor" haha right, i had heard it is SOP for them to call for a uniformed officer to check you out

then some uniformed officer shows up, NY-NJ Port Authority Police (PAPD). he didn't even give a crap, i showed him my creds and he said "thanks have a safe flight".

then the lady decided that i hadn't had enough grief so she put a big fat "S" in sharpie pen on my boarding pass which qualified me for additional screening. so i got the full body search but hey at least that got me to the front of the airport screening line which was about 75 people long. i'd have readily traded to be subject to secondary screening to cut in front of 75 people.

whats crazy is that nobody cares if you enter NYC with a gun, they care if you leave with a gun though. from what i understand you have to be either a LEO or have a NYC CCW to have a gun in NYC, and since JFK airport is in NYC if you are travelling with a pistol and don't have LE creds or a NYC CCW you're screwed!

i heard the JetBlue lady make a statement under her breath when looking at my pistol case when she was attaching the "firearm declaration" tag on it. she muttered, "why do you need that?"

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The Unknown User
April 30, 2007, 12:46 PM
That sounds like a nice big pain in the rear. :P I'm glad you got through security alright.

DragonFire
April 30, 2007, 02:28 PM
if you are travelling with a pistol and don't have LE creds or a NYC CCW you're screwed!

I'm confused. You had your handgun with you? I thought all firearms had to be in locked cases and went with the checked luggage. Even LE or NYC CCW can carry in an airport.

I don't see how you could have gotten through the airport carrying it.

Aguila Blanca
April 30, 2007, 08:07 PM
What you experienced is a VAST improvement over what happened to the businessman traveling through one of the NYC airports a few months ago. If you don't recall the incident, my fuzzy recollection is that he missed a connection and had to spend the night at an airport hotel. This meant he had to reclaim his checked handgun, then re-check it the next morning. However, despite the provisions of the Firearms Owners Protection Act, the Port Authority police decided he had to be arrested. He spent something like a week in jail before he was finally sprung on bail, and then it took awhile longer for the prosecutor to realize he had no case and drop the charges.

The guy sued. I don't recall if he won or if it is still in the courts, but basically ... he ran interference for you, because without that case to set a precedent they would have hauled you off to the pokey, too.

Spreadfire Arms
April 30, 2007, 10:58 PM
DragonFire wrote:

I'm confused. You had your handgun with you? I thought all firearms had to be in locked cases and went with the checked luggage. Even LE or NYC CCW can carry in an airport.

I don't see how you could have gotten through the airport carrying it.

for clarification it was unloaded and in a locked case in my baggage as per TSA rules.

Aguila Blanca wrote:

but basically ... he ran interference for you, because without that case to set a precedent they would have hauled you off to the pokey, too.

probably true. my point is, why do they care if you are LEAVING their city with a pistol, and not caring if you ENTER with a pistol?

JaxNovice
May 1, 2007, 06:10 AM
You are using a single experience with one person to conclude that nobody (out of a city of 8 million) cares? Flawed logic.

I have flown into and out of all three major airports in NYC many times declaring guns and I usually experience the same same set of protocols.

Neo-Luddite
May 1, 2007, 09:49 AM
my point is, why do they care if you are LEAVING their city with a pistol, and not caring if you ENTER with a pistol?

You were honest and legally qualified. You were (no doubt) polite. You were not doing anything wrong whatsoever.

***king with you was an easier dodge than doing actual work.


(sorry to be cynical)

K-Romulus
May 1, 2007, 10:18 AM
Were your doors opened because of LEOPA?

How were you able to bring a gun into NYC from Texas, and not have the Port Authority Officer jack you up?

They probably didn't KNOW that you were coming into NYC. Once your baggage gets checked at the departure gate, how would the destination authorities know what was in the luggage unless told by the airline?

gunsmith
May 1, 2007, 02:35 PM
I was under the impression that anyone who was not LE would be hauled to the hooosegow....you didn't spend the night ,did you?

ctdonath
May 1, 2007, 06:15 PM
why do they care if you are LEAVINGBecause that's the already-in-place full-on checkpoint they have to work with. Checking your baggage when you arrive doesn't happen, and there's no point setting up such a system. Checking your baggage when you leave already happens, so they'll abuse that accordingly. If they find something, then they've got a solid reason to prosecute you: there's no quibbling over "but I just arrived, it wasn't supposed to go this way...", if you have a gun illegally while leaving then, well, you had the gun illegally in the state, period.

Remember: it's not about safety. It's not about crime control. It's about citizen control. NY is far more concerned about keeping the sheep herded and exploited than dealing with wolves.

Welcome to the Empire State.

george29
May 1, 2007, 07:36 PM
I allegedly might have landed at JFK from a foreign, non-english speaking country that has far too much sand, declared my alleged 16 shot 9mm and walked out of JFK without anyone batting a lid. The criminals know more about how well laws are enforced than we law abiding folk, which could be why crime pays often enough. I also got stuck in NYC for 3 days and I sure wasn't leaving my alleged piece in a motel room.

Aguila Blanca
May 1, 2007, 07:48 PM
probably true. my point is, why do they care if you are LEAVING their city with a pistol, and not caring if you ENTER with a pistol?
Because it's New York, and the cops (most of them) are lazy. There's no easy way for them to catch you when you pick up your luggage and walk out to a taxi, but at the check-in counter they have a nice ticket agent all prepped to call them over for the bust.

If anyone thinks that's NOT the reason, please explain. They don't care if they get you coming in or going out, as long as they get you they are sending their anti-gun message.

Spreadfire Arms
May 1, 2007, 08:40 PM
i just find it ironical that they care you're leaving with the gun rather than taking it into NYC undetected and selling it when you get there. which one is worse?

Orthonym
May 1, 2007, 08:51 PM
"It's our policy. There's no reason for it, it's just our policy."?

Spreadfire Arms
May 3, 2007, 02:54 AM
yeah i think that applies here. thinking about it now i should have questioned the validity of making me go through secondary screening by TSA at the whim of an airport ticketing agent. i dont know if it is JetBlue's policy, or JFK Airport's policy, but really, if i am going to be honest enough to declare my firearm, have the creds to have it legally in NYC, and got checked out by the airport cops, then why am i also being singled out for additional screening?

i guess it is the message they have to send to the pro-2A crowd about the "gun free" zone in NYC.

Spreadfire Arms
May 3, 2007, 03:22 AM
for people travelling thru NYC with a firearm or are otherwise interested, here is a link i found off packing.org:

http://www.packing.org/state/documents/new_york_city_phpD8JGuF_doj_doc_nyc_air.pdf

something you should print and take with you and put in your suitcase, should you be hassled by the airport police or the airline.

bear in mind that this legal opinion from the US Department of Justice, Office of the Assistant Attorney General, applies strictly to firearms declared in checked baggage in airports (does not address carrying in NYC). the precondition is that you were travelling to the NY airports from other states where you could legally possess the firearm, for example, Connecticut. they would have to prove that you didn't come from a destination in New York from what it appears.

it says:

The Department of Justice agrees with that Section 926A applies to the situation set forth assuming:

(1) the person is travelling from somewhere he may lawfully possess and carry a firearm;

(2) en route to the airport the firearm is unloaded and not accessible from the passenger compartment of his car;

(3) the person transports the firearm directly from his vehicle to the airline check-in desk without any interruption in the transportation, and

(4) while carrying the firearm to the check-in desk it is unloaded and in a locked container

ArchAngelCD
May 3, 2007, 03:24 AM
So let me get this straight, all your paper work was in order and the Port Of Authority Police cleared you. The SOB at the desk says, "Why do you need that?" and then puts a big "S" on your pass. You are then subjected to a full body search because the SOB behind the desk didn't like you having a gun. That sounds like intentional harassment to me. I would have contacted an Attorney after you were safe at home. She gave you grief, she should get some back. She has no right to harass you just because she doesn't agree with the Founding Fathers. People like her should be put in their place but nicely and legally. She should lose her job for treating a customer in that manner.

GRIZ22
May 3, 2007, 08:29 AM
As a Federal LEO I flew out of a lot of airports in the US and being I worked in the NY area most of my career my trip usually started out of one of the NY area airports. I would always carry on the aircraft. I'd fill out my paperwork at the counter. One time I was filling out the paperwork and the service rep printed out my boarding pass and told me I had pre-selected for secondary screening. She said she didn't see any sense in that and crossed it out. When I would get to the security checkpoint I'd ID myself and they would always have a PAPD (in the NY area) or local LEO check my ID.

I think having a LEO check your ID when you are boarding when your carrying is the airline's out for liability (we had a LEO check his ID). Having the LEO check your ID when you're checking a gun in your luggage may be overcautious but all of us in the NY area remember planes involved in 9/11 left from Newark.

If you don't recall the incident, my fuzzy recollection is that he missed a connection and had to spend the night at an airport hotel. This meant he had to reclaim his checked handgun, then re-check it the next morning. However, despite the provisions of the Firearms Owners Protection Act, the Port Authority police decided he had to be arrested. He spent something like a week in jail before he was finally sprung on bail, and then it took awhile longer for the prosecutor to realize he had no case and drop the charges

That is the jist of the story and I understand Port Authority settled out of court.

ctdonath
May 3, 2007, 08:46 AM
if i am going to be honest enough to declare my firearm, have the creds to have it legally in NYC, and got checked out by the airport cops, then why am i also being singled out for additional screening?Because you are making it easy for them to find any excuse to throw your butt in jail. They appreciate that, as it makes their job easier.

billinaz
June 25, 2007, 01:13 AM
On July 22, 2006 at approximately 7:00AM I arrived at the John F Kennedy Airport in NYC and went to the America West ticket counter in Terminal 7.

I told the ticket agent that I needed an unloaded firearm tag to put in the bag I was checking that contained an unloaded gun.

The ticket agent looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and I repeated my request. He went to another agent who pointed to some boxes containing forms on a cart.

The agent went over and placed a multi part form in front of me and told me to fill it out. I recognized the form as one that is used when flying while armed in the cabin. I informed the ticket agent he had the wrong form and I needed the small orange card that went inside the bag. He walked away and came back with the with the correct tag and put it in front of me and said fill this out. I signed it and gave it back to him.

After he filled out the airline portion I reached for the tag to put it in the bag and he said that the tag does not go in the bag yet.

After checking my other bags, the ticket agent took my bag and told me to follow him to the CTX machine that was around the terminal in the United Airlines area. At this point, the ticket agent took possession of a firearm in NYC.

At the CTX machine, before the bag was screened or opened, the TSO called the PAPD. This is one point I would like to bring up.

At this point the NYC area airports are the only ones in the USA who are doing this. This is not SOP for any other airport. This brings this area out of the consistent screening promised by the TSA years ago.

I have been through major airports including Phoenix Arizona , Dallas Ft Worth Texas, Washington DC, and Orlando Florida and done the exact same thing and the screening was absolutely consistent. Once the tag is signed and in the bag, then it went through the CTX machine and possibly opened by a TSO. Never in any case was one of the airport LEOs called, notified, or requested. The bag then went through to be loaded on the aircraft in the baggage compartment.

The PAPD is using this procedure to arrest people who may not have a local NYC permit. This was not applicable to me, however I still feel that this procedure is a selective enforcement of local laws that if the following conditions are met do NOT require the possession of a NYC gun permit or license:

1.) The person is not a prohibited possessor of firearms or ammunition as defined by federal law.

2.) The person is permitted to possess a firearm at their departure point and their destination point. For example if flying from Connecticut where they have a permit to possess a firearm to Arizona where the permit is recognized.

3.) The person travels with the gun secured in the case not accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle and takes that bag containing the firearm directly to the ticket agent to declare it.

4.) The person declares the unloaded firearm packed in accordance with TSA and FAA guidelines to the airline.

According to the US Department of Justice in a letter dated February 18, 2005 this is exactly the intent of the United States Code 18 U.S.C. Section 926A. According to the letter the DOJ informed the appropriate law enforcement agencies of this information. I have attached a copy of this letter. The letter is also available the internet at:

http://www.nraila.org/images/DOJltrTSA.pdf

Nowhere in the DHS, TSA, or FAA rules is there a requirement for a local law enforcement agency to intervene in the process of legally declaring a firearm to be placed in the baggage compartment of an airplane.

While this may be the SOP for NYC airports, it still does not make it lawful or right. Just because of local opinions that may be unfavorable to gun owners, it still is not the right thing to subvert the Federal requirements so that local opinion of a local law may be enforced.

I fully support DHS and TSA in their pursuit of making the skies safe through their published regulations.

It does not make the flying public any safer by enforcing local laws that conflict with Federal Statutes. The Federal Statue in this case preempts local laws if the person traveling has complied with the TSA and FAA requirements. It is not the local agencies responsibility to perform this search or intrusion into the activity of someone traveling lawfully.

PAPD officers have acknowledged that the case would most likely get dismissed (as they have been to date). Knowing that the cases are not being prosecuted amounts to unnecessary harassment and incarceration of people who have complied with their legal requirements when declaring an unloaded firearm. There is currently a lawsuit against the Port Authority on this very issue.



My other concern is the TSO (Chris #18588) who started writing down enough information to identify my bag as containing a firearm. I asked him why he was doing that and he said he and to list the bag as containing a firearm. I told him that it was not permitted to identify a bag that contained a firearm. He told me that was what was required and I again told him that it was not only not required, but a violation of federal law. This was not an SOP at any other airport.

He continued to write the information to allow my bag to be identified as containing a firearm and I asked him for a complaint form. He asked me why and got argumentative when I told him I did not think he should be making the information on the firearm in my bag available to anyone. After continuing to be argumentative, I again asked for a complaint form. I never got the complaint form from him.

I have been in contact with Judy Finkelstein at the JFK Airport on this issue and she is going to discuss it with the AFSD/LE and the FSD. I would like to compliment Judy on her open minded conversation with me and her willingness to listen to other points of view.

I do however feel this issue also needs review at the national level rather than solely at a local level and that this policy should come from the DHS upper management to either approve or revise the current procedure at NY area airports.

Prince Yamato
June 25, 2007, 01:22 AM
You know, threads like this give me nightmares... literally. I have dreams that I'm visiting my family in New York, and right before I leave, I discover that I've accidentally brought my handgun with me to New York. The dream usually ends with me woken up and sweating from nerves. Seriously. It's not that I'd ever be stupid enough to do something like that, but the repercussions from doing such a thing are so severe. Funny thing is, down here in the South, seeing my handgun gives me comfort, in NY, it would inspire fear... Isn't there something fundamentally flawed about having to be afraid of a tool that you use for your own protection? It's harmless on its own, but some politician writes a stupid law and all of a sudden, it's more dangerous as an inanimate object!

Thanks Spreadfire... now I'm going to have to sleep with the SureFire on! :D

sully0812
June 25, 2007, 01:52 PM
These policies NEED to change.

New York is not an island unto itself, no matter how much the local culture seems to think that the sun rises on Long Island and sets on the far side of Manhattan.

NYC and it's airports in particular, are the major hub for travel into and out of much of southern New England. Attempting to force local laws on travelers who have no intention, nor desire, to spend one extra second of their lives in NYC is not only in violation of federal laws, but actively denies me my Constitutionally Protected Freedoms.

My wife's family is located in Southern Connecticut, much to my unhappiness. Consequently we visit there more often than I would like, and though I have jumped through the legal hoops to have my gun in CT, I am loathe to bring it, simply because the only major airports that are reasonable for us to use, are in NYC, and I don't wish to spend a week in jail while New York's finest figure out that they are the lawbreakers, not me.

This affects many more people than just the unfortunate sould who live in the area. Why the NRA hasn't attacked with both barrels is beyond me. Aside from the outright gun-bans in cities such as Washington D.C. or Chicago, this is one of the most egregious assaults on 2nd Amendment freedom that is currently happening. The localized gun bans affect those who live there, but NYC's assault on travelers affects all those who live or visit in surrounding states, but must rely on the essential services located in NY for travel.

:fire::fire::fire:

BigRobT
June 25, 2007, 04:01 PM
Were it me, I would have gotten the name and whatever other info I could obtain from the ticket counter agent and once home, contacted JetBlue about the harassment. There is NO need for anyone to inflict their own beliefs on a customer. Of course, airport security is extremely discriminatory, especially if one is a white male between 30 and 60. Ohhh, and NEVER change your ticket or members of your party, as it pops a major red flag and everybody in that party becomes subject to additional "screening". We had that problem when one of my daughter's friends couldn't go on a trip, so we changed the ticket to one of our nieces. We did this more than a month prior and still encountered numerous problems just because of that change. The airlines are becoming more inept as every day passes.

romma
June 25, 2007, 04:41 PM
WARNING! Slight Hijack...


Interesting experiment:

Take two people, one is a law-abiding citizen, the other a career criminal (not currently on probation or parole).

Have them both get caught carrying a concealed weapon in NYC and see who has more legal hassles, and which one gets more jail time.

Even the playing field by giving them both the same public defender of course..

My money is on the law-abiding citizen getting more hassle and jail time. Because the courts and the State already now the criminals mind-set and know that the time behind bars mean little to the criminal.

They will give more hassles to the law-abiding citizen to keep the other law abiding citizens in line.

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