Flying with guns - can anything else be in the locked gun case


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snorky18
June 7, 2011, 08:40 PM
I'm flying from Nashville to San Antonio on Southwest. My gun will be packed in a Pelican 1450 case, which has plenty of room left in it.

Are there any regulations prohibiting me from putting non-gun related items in my locked pelican gun case? Specifically my wife's digital SLR, and probably my spyderco as well.

Has anyone had any trouble doing this?

Also, I'm debating putting the locked pelican case in a discreet soft duffel bag vs. having a bright yellow pelican case with padlocks on it floating around loose.

In terms of the liklihood of my bag "going missing" (accidentally or on purpose), is one method preferable to another?

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ball3006
June 7, 2011, 09:29 PM
When I fly, which is unlikely anymore, I pack my pistol in a hard side pistol case along with the mags, and ammo in the original packaging. I then lock the case. I put the pistol case in a hardside suitcase that is locked. Duffle bags are too easy to cut open. Remember, all checked luggage is xrayed so your pistol is seen by baggage handlers, etc....To answer your question, yes, you can have other items in the pistol case. however, you will have to open it when you check it and again when you give it to the TSA to check.....I have never had a problem flying with pistols, I took three once. I think that bag is marked and watched more closely. When I checked the bag with three pistols in it, the ticket agent said I was as bad as her husband.......chris3

Kliegl
June 7, 2011, 09:32 PM
You can put stuff in a gun case along with the gun. Boxes of ammo and empty magazines and other assorted such will work.

For the love of GOD, NEVER check a camera! Those guys throw baggage. Throw being the operative word.

If it's a pistol, sure, put it in a larger bag with stuff to keep them from throwing it any harder than they can. If it's a long gun, the duffel will only get banged up around a long gun sized case.

Use decent to good non TSA locks. You will sign for the gun. They will not lose it because they will face legal liability if they don't return it to you. "Oh, the crime got committed with THAT gun? Yeah, NWA stole it a few years back, check with them."

Southwest is pretty good on guns. I've checked a pair of long guns going to San Antonio many times. They will assume you're deer hunting, except it's the wrong time of year. Be advised, San Antonio will just send that thing out on the carousel.

hso
June 7, 2011, 10:27 PM
Ask the airline.

Drail
June 7, 2011, 10:40 PM
As stated above, go to the airline's website and read and print their rules and take them with you. The airlines set the rules for carriage, not the TSA. Don't be surprised if the airline's own employees don't know the rules. All of the airlines have their own rules dictated by their lawyers and their insurance carriers. They're not all the same. Some airlines will allow the ammunition (in factory boxes) to be in the case with the gun, most will not but will allow it to be in a suitcase. You might also want to check the laws for every city you land in. They're all different. Only YOU can have a key to the gun case. Don't use a TSA approved lock.

medalguy
June 7, 2011, 11:30 PM
I sure would!!

SMITHWESS
June 7, 2011, 11:31 PM
You can put whatever else you have room for in there, there are no restrictions on what else can go in the case.

Ammo has to be in the original factory box, and I believe the quantity limit on it is by weight. You can't get more than a box or two through.

As long as you're not flying into Cali, NY, NJ etc. the airline regulations themselves aren't too challenging.

DogLegArms
June 8, 2011, 12:14 AM
Definitely call the airlines ahead of time regarding their firearm policy and get the website link and print it and bring it with you. Most likely your problem will be due to the airline employees not knowing the policy and not the policy itself. I've heard that some jewelers will declare firearms just to put their jewelry in the gun case when flying.

When I fly with handguns, I have one of those metal gun safes for your car with a cable and attach it to the frame of the suitcase and it goes inside the suitcase. If you can do that with your Pelican case, that might be a good idea. Oh yeah, get there early in case you run into problems!

WardenWolf
June 8, 2011, 05:07 AM
The TSA likes to see a cable lock through the action. You can have a box of ammunition in the case with your pistol. When I flew, I had a full box of ammo and a boresnake in the case with it. Beyond that, while there's no technical restrictions on what you can put in there, the TSA is accustomed to seeing specific things when they x-ray your gun case. If they see something they don't expect, they WILL ask you to unlock it for them, causing you further delay. It's best to avoid doing something like that.

kozak6
June 8, 2011, 06:39 AM
I've heard that some jewelers will declare firearms just to put their jewelry in the gun case when flying.

A while back, I read an article that suggested declaring a blank pistol or a starter pistol for the purpose of securing other valuables in the case. I don't have a link, though.

TexasRifleman
June 8, 2011, 08:20 AM
I'm not sure where this story of guns being safer comes from. Neither TSA nor the airlines mark or distinguish a bag with guns in it from any other bag.

The card you sign is for you. They don't keep a copy and they don't enter it into their reservation system.

The card simply proves that you declared it unloaded as required by regulation.

As mentioned, do NOT use a TSA lock.

Here's TSA's rules, airlines sometimes modify these but for the most part they are pretty much the same.

Travelers must declare all firearms, ammunition, and parts to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
The firearm must be unloaded.
The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.
The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.
TSA inspects all firearm cases at the ticket counter. Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation. If travelers are not present and the security officer must open the container, TSA or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.
Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging that is specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
Travelers may not use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).
Ammunition may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows packing guidelines described above.

NavyLCDR
June 8, 2011, 11:06 AM
I'm not sure where this story of guns being safer comes from. Neither TSA nor the airlines mark or distinguish a bag with guns in it from any other bag.

Especially since it would violate Federal law if they did mark the bags!

Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.

I know this is on the TSA website, but it is very misleading. It is against Federal regulations for the owner of the firearm to surrender the key/combo to the firearm case to anyone, including TSA or airline personnel! If they want the case opened, it is the owner of the gun that unlocks it.

FAS1
June 8, 2011, 11:28 AM
I have taken that same flight many times with a G26, a loaded mag and a Spyderco C07 knife in a locked plastic gun case in my checked bag. Never had an issue.

TexasRifleman
June 8, 2011, 11:40 AM
It is against Federal regulations for the owner of the firearm to surrender the key/combo to the firearm case to anyone, including TSA or airline personnel! If they want the case opened, it is the owner of the gun that unlocks it.

Yes, and I spent a good deal of time at DFW airport a couple of years ago asking for a supervisor over this. They demanded the key, I refused. They don't like it when you refuse them.

But, they liked it even less when their boss told them they were wrong.

I fly with handguns pretty regularly and even as long as I've been doing it I still give myself an extra hour on top of everything else just in case I have to deal with either an airline or TSA person who doesn't get it. Usually the airline folks are very easy to deal with, it's TSA personnel who seem to have no clue.

Another tip I've learned over the years: I fly pretty much only with a 1911. I take the gun apart before putting it in the case. A box of parts seems to bring out much less stress in people than a gun, and it's clearly unloaded in that condition.

snorky18
June 9, 2011, 10:02 PM
I should have mentioned, I had already printed off 2 copies of southwest's policy, tsa's rules, and the specific federal code of regulations that specifically prohibits anyone but me having the key.

I put the pelican case (locked with non tsa locks) in a larger duffel with a bunch of my clothes around it (which did have a tsa lock).

This morning in Nashville I told the lady at the counter I needed to declare an unloaded firearm, she said that's fine, handed me the red and white card to print and sign, then asked me to unlock my bag and put it in there on top of the pelican case.

That was it. No TSA screening, she didn't ask me to show that it was unloaded (which I checked about 5x last night when I packed it anyway). I had been a bit nervous about it (sort of like the first time I carried), but in hindsight, it added 60 seconds to the check in process, and was extremely simple.

Which is to say, unless I'm flying for work specifically, I think I'll be doing it more in the future :D

PavePusher
June 11, 2011, 12:05 AM
If you put one or more knives in the gun case, cut an appropriate-length slit in the foam to wedge the knife into. Less likey to move around and possibly scratch up a gun, or fall out a loose cornor of the case.

No, don't ask.... :banghead:

marktx
June 12, 2011, 10:05 AM
A while back, I read an article that suggested declaring a blank pistol or a starter pistol for the purpose of securing other valuables in the case.....

That trick is apparently used a lot by professional photographers.

NavyLCDR
June 12, 2011, 01:33 PM
That trick is apparently used a lot by professional photographers.

But NOT by professional travelers as all declaring a firearm does is add to YOUR time and hassle and does NOTHING to provide extra protection for luggage.

swinokur
June 12, 2011, 02:25 PM
...I have never had a problem flying with pistols, I took three once. I think that bag is marked and watched more closely. When I checked the bag with three pistols in it, the ticket agent said I was as bad as her husband.......chris3It is against Federal regulations to mark any baggage containing a firearm. Same applies to shipments via common carriers.

I'm sure NavyLt can give the cite

:evil:

razorback2003
June 13, 2011, 01:57 AM
I have put a box of ammo in the original packaging and a flashlight with my handgun and holster in my locked gun case. You have to declare ammo to the airline. You can probably put just about anything you want in your gun case as long as it is legal to take on the plane. It isn't a bad idea to put expensive stuff that you don't want stolen in the gun case because the gun case is locked up and can't be opened by the TSA folks without you there. If possible, insure your gun case with the airline.

Any other expensive stuff I would carry on, if possible.

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