New reg's for flying w/ firearms


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Idaho
December 25, 2002, 11:37 PM
I flew Alaska/Horizon during my Christmas vacation, and had different rules and regulations for checking a firearm going and returning. According to the counter clerk, this is a TSA mandate, NOT specific to Alaska Air, and should cover all airlines.

The gist is that the steal-me tags are back - sort of. As you may recollect, some time ago firearms in checked luggage were required to be marked by a bright red/orange tag on the outside of the luggage indicating a firearm was within. Apparently due to the increased theft of bags with the bright tags, the rule was modified so that the tag, which requires the passenger's signature that the firearm is unloaded, was to be placed inside the firearm case.

Enter the TSA. Due to TSA screening procedures, luggage locks are now prohibited. They want to be able to rifle through your bag if the bomb sniffer goes beep, apparently. In addition, the outside of the firearm case gets the "firearms not loaded" tag attached to the OUTSIDE of the case.

That's the bad news. There may be some kinks left in the system (surprise) that remain to be worked out, and under the system as administered by the clerk who checked me in (YMMV), it can be somewhat circumvented. I was travelling with handguns in a small handgun case. After checking by phone, the clerk indicated that yes, in accordance with earlier rules, and the tag that I just signed, the handgun case was supposed to be locked. The case itself had the tag attached, but then I placed the case inside a duffle bag that was not marked as containing firearms, so the bag thrower by the plane was none the wiser.

As with all new rules, they may change on short notice, or your airline or your check-in clerk may apply them differently, so I highly recommend calling prior to flying.

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blades67
December 25, 2002, 11:43 PM
Thanks for the heads-up, I'll be flying to Alaska in May and have found that ticket agents don't have a clue what their own rules are.

Nosferatu
December 25, 2002, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by Idaho

Enter the TSA. Due to TSA screening procedures, luggage locks are now prohibited. They want to be able to rifle through your bag if the bomb sniffer goes beep, apparently. In addition, the outside of the firearm case gets the "firearms not loaded" tag attached to the OUTSIDE of the case.



To hell with that! If they are going to violate my personal privacy then they are going to have to work to do it. I'm buying some Aluminium luggage and welding the seams shut! Have fun opening that one!

As far as flying with a gun, I have never been patient enough to deal with an airline that changes their rules depending on who's working the counter that day. Fed-Ex gets the nod whenever I have to travel via airlines with a firearm.

Blackhawk
December 26, 2002, 12:00 AM
Likewise. No way I'm going to fly with a firearm.

22x9
December 26, 2002, 12:03 AM
... I'll be heading to Seattle,WA in the spring and am looking into this very topic.

EOD Guy
December 26, 2002, 11:59 AM
I don't think the counter clerk was correct. Not putting the tag on the outside is not an airline rule or just a Federal regulation. It is the law. Marking the outside of the suitcase that it contains a firearm is illegal.

Jeff OTMG
December 26, 2002, 09:37 PM
EOD guy is correct. The tags are not even mandated by regs. They have always been optional. TWA didn't even have tags. The regs are that the guns must be carried in checked baggage, declared unloaded, and be unloaded. You are not required by the FAA to sign anything, the FAA does not require inspection. Anything beyond that has always been up to the individual airline, which is why the declaration tags all look different. The firearm regs were amended (check USC 18, Chapter 44 it is in there somewhere) in 1994 to prohibit any notification being placed on the outside of the bag. If they try to tag my bag I will be calling the BATF, as I did a few times on United. United no longer tags bags.

dj53
December 26, 2002, 10:05 PM
This email from TSA probably just adds to the confusion, but I received this answer from them on 12/20/02:


The Consumer Response Center wishes to provide additional information to our previous response concerning checked baggage. Passengers who are transporting firearms should continue to follow the procedures identified in 49 CFR Part 1540.111 and airline requirements for declaring firearms and ammunition. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and declared with the airline.

Please contact your air carrier for guidance.

-----Original Message-----
From: dj53
Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2002 9:19 PM
To: TSA-ConsumerResponse
Subject: Procedure for Checked Firearm


Sirs:

FAA regulation require that I check my unloaded firearm in a LOCKED case,that only I have the key or combination. This is in direct contradiction to your new recommendation that I leave my checked baggage UNLOCKED.

What is your policy on checked firearms, and how can you reconcile the two regulations?

Respectfully,

dj53

:confused:

Ian
December 27, 2002, 12:37 PM
I just flew with my Sistema 1911 about 10 days ago, from Indy to Denver. I declared the pistol, and the baggage clerk gave me one of the bright orange liability "this gun is not loaded" tags to sign. He told me to put it in my bag near the gun, but he never asked to see the gun or even the case it was in. I didn't notice anything different about the luggage tag on the outside of my bag. I was really quite surprised by the lack of hassles they gave me ('course, going through the metal detectors to get into the concourse was still a dehumanizing insult).

Erik
December 27, 2002, 05:45 PM
Locked bags will either be unlocked or not allowed on the plane that day, along with the passenger that they belong to.

For practical matters, the unocking in question occurs behind the scenes by TSA personnel.

Airline security personnel have the final say, by the way. (They tend to ere on the side of caution, for obvious reasons.)

Or something along those lines.

---

On a side note, there is no such thing as 'sneeking' undeclared forearms through any more, as all baggage is subject to screening behind the scenes. (Or will be shortly.)

Idaho
December 29, 2002, 03:10 PM
Officially, the new regulations are required to be effective 1/1/03. When I say "new regulations" I mean the screening of all bags (checked or carry-on). I think some good points were made above about what is or isn't required, as well as the fact that the process is likely to vary by airline.

EOD Guy
December 29, 2002, 09:03 PM
There is no requirement that checked bags be unlocked. It is only a recommendation. Of course, if your bag is selected for a search and it is locked, the locks will be forced open. Don't worry, they will put a nice note in your bag telling you that they broke your locks.

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